At 7:30am, we disembark the stuffy train and breathe the crisp Lijiang air. Ahead of us looms the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lijiang’s undisputed landmark which attracts gazillions of tourists to its much over-hyped new-old town. Yet behind the city walls, adventure lies in ambush. We’re stoked to surprise it right where it expects us.

Leaving the station
Leaving the station

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Morning bliss at the Dulong river

This is the account of a trekking journey I recently undertook in the Dulong river valley, Yunnan’s remotest corner in between Myanmar and Tibet. Part one of this story was originally published on GoKunming.com.

We stretch our stiff legs when we alight the green and white jeep. For the past three days, we’ve done nothing but sit in ever smaller vehicles: big comfy bus from Kunming to Liuku 六库, a smaller regional bus from Liuku to Gongshan 贡山, and finally a small jeep loaded with eight people bouncing their heads off the padded bodywork that took us across a high mountain pass from Gongshan to Kongdang 孔当.

We’ve arrived in Yunnan’s most secluded valley, home to the Dulong river 独龙江 which rages from its headwaters in Tibet through a mere 100 km of Yunnan, shedding over 1000 metres in altitude before flowing into Myanmar’s Irawaddy river. Locals consist of the Dulong 独龙族 and Lisu minorities 傈僳族 , but there are some Nu people 怒族 to be found as well.

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