China. The serenity of the Yunnan province
Travel book places is always exciting. In the middle of the last century among the eternal romantics was a popular novel by James Hilton “Lost horizon”. His plot is twisted rapidly in the Himalayas crashed airplane with a British team. Those who survived were among the most beautiful landscapes, far from civilization. Next, the author describes the beautiful valley, ringed inaccessible cliffs, where in isolation for life-centenarians with superpowers, in harmony with oneself and the surrounding world.
Imbued with the idea of possible civilizations in Tibet, travelers from all over the world flocked to Asia in search of his Shangri-La. And the astonishing thing turns out to be a fantastic edge really exists. The places described by the English writer, is located in Yunnan province in southern China.
To get to the modern Shangri-La is not so easy. The main transit point – the city of eternal spring Kunming. From there by train to go to Lijiang, and then higher into the mountains to Shangri-La.
The amazing town of Lijiang has a long history of 1,300 years, and the old town listed as world cultural heritage. Well-adapted to the mountainous terrain, Lijiang stands out with its tile roofs. Medieval winding streets, pot-bellied bridges, patterned roof of grey tiles, an elaborate system of canals in the city are always Packed, buzzing everywhere Chinese tourists.
The center is square with the old market and souvenir stalls. There you can find exotic goods: woodwork, calligraphy, antique embroidery on silk, mountain herbs and the famous PU’er in fancy packaging. Lijiang and its surroundings are home to Naxi and Tibetan ethnic groups, which has a matriarchal way of life and keeps the traditions in dress, culture and food. And in the evening at the Academy of music at the entrance to the old town, there are concerts of classical Taoist music on traditional instruments, which are not found outside the province.
Lijiang is at an altitude of 2400 meters above sea level. And from the city Park, Black Dragon Pool Park on the horizon are seen snow capped peaks of jade dragon. 13 sharp teeth reminiscent of a dragon’s head, and the highest of them reaches 5500 meters. Since a long time ago here was the sea, the mountains have a green tint from algae. So the dragon called the jade. The mountain slopes are decorated with lush forests and thickets of rhododendron, but if you go higher – there is permafrost. By the way, for this purpose in the Central stores of Lijiang sell the oxygen cylinders.
To around 4500 meters there is a lift. And from the sudden drop in altitude may have a headache, so travelers are advised to spend in the city a couple of days for acclimatization at altitude. And only after the adaptation of the organism to rise above. Trails you can ride on Himalayan yaks.
In the vicinity of Lijiang’s many other natural attractions, the blue lake Heilongtan with reflection snowy peaks in the clear water or a waterfall Kowloon (9 dragons) with smooth cascades up to a width of 110 meters.
The glacier of jade dragon is one of the highest in the world, its melt waters feed the city’s canals of Lijiang. Walking through the old part of the city, you can see many bridges and rivers with colored carp. Some channels are close to cafes and restaurants, where it is always cozy, and the interior is decorated with bright red lanterns.
In the evening on the terrace of the restaurant is acquainted with authentic cuisine nasi. Often the classic set includes a set of 36 snacks to eat it all, even the two hungry travelers not under force. But the Chinese like such a massive feast, so food was plentiful, and after dinner some of the dishes have remained untouched by Chinese standards it is a sign of prosperity and luxury.
Near the alley Wuyi Jie next to the stone bridge there’s a great place Ama Yi Naxi Snaks.
Inside the secluded courtyard and serves traditional Naxi food and the most popular here are various types of fungi. The Chinese know how to cook mushrooms in original ways, as, indeed, and other products. The most important thing is to make a simple product, something unusual. Fruity wine from litchi incsu do with old technology, this variety is very like the locals for a delicate flavor and astringent taste.
In Lijiang there are many authentic hotels in the spirit of medieval China. And one such luxury hotel Banyan Tree Lijiang. Elegant Villa pavilions nestled among the beautiful Chinese scenery, a picturesque lake and the mountains jade dragon on the horizon. Patio reminiscent of a Zen garden with neat beds and traditional décor. Here peace and quiet are frequent guests. Especially in the tea room, where the master introduces to the tea traditions of China, holds a spectacular ceremony with a tasting of PU-erh and rituals for good luck.
Within strong walls hidden oasis of harmony delicate silk sheets and the room’s Feng Shui. Some villas have a heated pool, where you can admire the surrounding scenery. Guests eager to relax even deeper, can use the spa. Within an atmosphere of privacy and all the techniques for the body involve the use of natural ingredients – ginseng, the fragrant Jasmine flower, green tea and red rice. In addition, classical Oriental medicine and massage in Chinese directed to the proper circulation of qi energy in the body. The combination of aromatherapy, acupuncture, massage techniques and practicing tai Chi activate the internal energy in the body for subsequent travel in Yunnan.
Other hotels Lijiang / Self-booking of hotels in China
The good-natured elder Dr Ho gave me herbal tea and told him to be optimistic in any situation.
Just North of Lijiang is a small picturesque village of Baisha. This is one of the oldest villages of ethnic Naxi architectural complexes and palaces. The streets of the old town can be explored on foot, look to the Palace Daboczy with medieval frescoes and the Palace Staff.
In addition to architecture in BISE should visit the world-famous herbalist Dr. Ho. About Daoist doctor wrote the article, journalists from different publications, and many even ordered him the original prescription drugs. Dr. Ho’s famous for the fact that he knows all about the healing power of Himalayan herbs. In his workshop everywhere are slides and containers with chopped herbs. Listening to patients, the doctor finds the right blend of herbs and gives recommendations on how to use magic mix. And most importantly – in addition to the herbal mixtures Dr. Ho talks about the importance of positive thinking and the need to smile and feel happy.
Tiger leaping gorge
Powerful streams of the Yangtze river squeezes between high cliffs through a deep gorge is tiger Leaping gorge. It was washed out by the river over 5 million years. Such a beautiful name canyon was due to the legend of the brave tiger, who jumped over the rapid streams of the Yangtze in one of the bottlenecks is 30 metres away among the rocks.
The gorge can be completed in 3-4 days on the narrow path over the precipice. This is a popular route for trekking. The gorge is 16 km away.
The trail winds along the top of cliffs, opening around every corner is a new spectacular scenery. And somewhere far below, a thin turquoise stream of rapidly flowing Yangtze. The route starts from the village of Qiaotou at the stretch of road between Lijiang and Shangri-La. More convenient and expeditious way to see the gorge is to book a day trip by jeep at your hotel. In 8-9 hours you can see the most beautiful places of this corner of nature in the Himalayas.
After seeing the old town of Lijiang and passing through Tiger Leaping Gorge, it’s time to go higher into the mountains, to the mysterious edge with a mystical name of Shangri-La. Climbing up the winding serpentine, starts diqing Tibetan Autonomous Okrug. Along the road there are flower fields with horses and secluded Buddhist monasteries, and the sky becomes closer.
An hour walk from the town centre is the 300 year old Tibetan monastery, home to about 600 monks. The complex was built in seclusion among the mountain hills and vast meadows. Within an atmosphere of peace and tranquility, young monks reading mantras, others twist prayer wheels and artistic painting on the walls is striking in its philosophical depth and stories on the theme of life and death.
To get this authentic monastery in two ways – with a tourist bus from town or on a mountain trail, bypassing the ticket office. The latter method is much more interesting and extreme.
In the centre of the old town of Shangri-La is main street Square Street. And around Buddhist stupas, monasteries and temple of the Zhuangjing Tong prayer with the largest drum in the world is 21 meters tall and 100 000 small cylinders.
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