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The Bivou Lijiang 4-Day Meili Circuit (Greater Shangri-La Adventure)


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The ideal adventure for a deeper and more insightful experience of Northwest Yunnan, an area more popularly known as the Greater Shangri-La. See more at

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The Bivou Lijiang 4-Day Meili Circuit (Greater Shangri-La Adventure)

  1. 1. 1 2 This is the ideal adventure for a deeper and more insightful experience of Northwestern Yunnan, an area more popularly known as Greater Shangri-La. Taking the less trodden path, we will visit places most tour groups fail to venture, and avoid the need to retrace your steps on the return journey. Experience a safe and comfortable private journey using our 4WD jeeps, driven by our experienced drivers, the only option for an exciting adventure than the usual large and noisy tour buses used by tour groups.   The undisputed best choice for anyone looking for the ultimate travel adventure in Yunnan! Moirigkawagarbo 看见 更多 云南最美旅行线路 梅里环线 日4 The best tourist routes in Yunnan
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  3. 3. 梅 里 环 线 四 日 示 意 图 MAPOFMERILOOPLINEFOURDAYS 2 3 6 Religions Ethnic groups Natural Sceneries LEGEND Deqin Meili Snow Mountain Baima Snow Mountain Mountain Pass Benzilan Nixi Pottery VillageCizhong Tongle Village Weixi Tacheng Qizong Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Shangri-La Little ZhongdianShika Snow Mountain Haba Snow Mountain Tiger Leaping Gorge Lijiang Lashi Lake Shigu (Stone Drum) Town Sanba NuRiver LancangRiver Jinsha River Gongshan Bingzhongluo 1 3 2 4 2 Route Scenic Hotel Meals Hike Horse Postal Mountain Daju Xionggu Wenshan Honghe Kunming QujingChuxiong Lincang Puer Xishuangbanna Dehong Baoshan Lijiang Dali Deqin Shangri-La Weixi River Lake City/Town Highway Distance Road G214 S225 S226 S226 G214 S226 G214 S308 S308 S991 G214 196KM 215KM 191KM 195KM Napa Lake N
  4. 4. 7 China Geographic Magazine 2014 China's Top Travel Route Scheduling P1 Highlights P2 Day 1 P3 Day 2 P9 Day 3 P15 Day 4 P20 Lijiang-Xionggu-Qiaotou-Little Zhongdian- Shangri-La Shangri-La-Nixi-Benzilan-Deqin-Feilai Temple Feilai Temple-Deqin-CizhongTongle-Tacheng Tacheng-Qizong-Shigu-Lijiang Be well-prepared for inclement weather conditions: Pack warm and waterproof clothing and prepare adequate sun protection. Respect local customs and religious beliefs. Maintain an attitude of tolerance and understanding towards the material and living conditions of the places we visit. Bring along your own high-energy food supplements. Please Note Maintain a positive attitude, Avoid strenuous activities. Avoid overeating, Stay warm. Keep warm. Do not take too many showers, Avoid the consumption of alcohol. Avoid over-reliance on oxygen, reduce activities that will increase your oxygen uptake. Take necessary medication in a timely manner medicines as early as possible. How To Reduce The Eects Of High Altitude (AMS)
  5. 5. 2 3 Not To Be Missed! Bear quiet witness to the sacred sight of the morning sun as it slowly illuminates Mt Kawa Karpo, turning one of the Tibetans' most revered peaks gold. Enjoy wine-tasting at the vineyards of century-old Cizhong church, drink vintage wines made using traditional French missionary winemaking techniques. Catch the amazing sight of the Yunnan Snub–nosed monkeys, one of the rarest mammals in the world, as they forage for moss on the trees of Baima Snow Mountain Join in the turning of the World’s – Largest Prayer Wheel at Shangri-La Dukezong Old Town Hoist a Tibetan prayer flag, called Lung ta (meaning Wind Horse) in Tibetan send blessings to your loved ones. Accompany your whole journey with sumptuous local gastronomic delights . Take home a souvenir piece of black ceramic for your friends, manufactured by a unique traditional process going back a thousand years.  Go to Watch the documentary “Kawagarbo” at a bar called “Meili Reminiscence” Visit the unspoilt Tongle village and experience first-hand traditional tribal life with Lisu minorities Day 1 Lijiang-Lashihai- First Bend of the Yangtze River - Qiaotou Village - Tiger Leaping Gorge - Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge-Yi Ethnic village- Little Zhongdian - Old Town of Shangri-La (198.7km) Lijiang-Lashihai (13km 20mins) Along the way, enjoy the sight of quaint Naxi villages and vast orchards on the banks of the Lashihai wetlands, along with the lofty peaks of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the background. Stationing ourselves at the viewing platform (altitude 2600M) enjoy a bird’s eye view of the whole Lashi Basin, with the snow mountains perfectly juxtaposed against the silver lake, little wonder it is sometimes called “Highland Suzhou”! Lashihai Lashihai is a National-level Wetland Park. Home to 57 species of birds, around 3000 migratory birds from Siberia arrive every winter , including at least 9 species of rare and endangered bird species. Every village in Lashi has its own horse ranch with experienced horse trek guides to take you on a deeper exploration of the area. At the end of the trip back to Lijiang, you will have the option to take part in a day tour including horse riding, boating and birdwatching with the local horse trekking guides. Lashihai-First Bend of the Yangtze River (25km 20mins) The new Dali-Lijiang highway has allowed us to avoid the need for long hours on the winding mountain roads. Gazing out of the window as we breeze along, you can see the mountain range stretching as far as the eye can see (this is south of the Hengduan Mountains). On both sides of the road are evergreens, mainly include Gaoshan Pine (Pinus densata) and Armand Pine (Pinus armandi). First Bend of the Yangtze River (Viewing Platform)  (2200M) This viewing platform may not provide a close up look at the First Bend of the Yangtze River. But ona clear day, you will be able to see the breathtaking panorama of Mt Haba, the Jade Dragon Mountain and the meandering Jinsha River. First Bend of the Yangtze River - Qiaotou -Tiger Leaping Gorge (54km 1hour) Tiger Leaping Gorge Rated one of the most beautiful canyons in China by Chinese National Geographic Magazine, Tiger Leaping Gorge is also one of the deepest canyons in the world.
  6. 6. 4 5 Dayan Old Town in the morning A view of Jade Dragon and Haba Snow Mountains Tiger Leaping Gorge Little Zhongdian at fall Spanning 28 kilometers, it is divided into Upper, Middle and Lower Tiger Leaping Gorge. View the magnicent scenery of the rushing rapids between the Jade Dragon and Haba Snow Mountains. According to legend, tigers used to jump from one side of the gorge to the other by way of the rocky outcrops, hence the name “Tiger Leaping Gorge”. We will be ascending around 200 metres, so visitors need to prepare for long- distance walking and pay attention to their personal safety. Tiger Leaping Gorge- Qiaotou - Yi Ethnic Minority Village (47 km 1 hours and a half) After a brief hike in the gorge, we will go back to Qiaotou village for lunch (most of the restaurants here do not provide a written menu, so you choose what you want from the display, which may include everything from preserved and fresh meats, to wild mushrooms, river sh and even seasonal wild vegetables! Yi Ethnic Minority Village (altitude 3300M) The Yi ethnicity of Northwest Yunnan are economically and politically weaker than the other ethnic groups in the region, so most of them can only live in the mountains and hills. This is the largest Yi ethnic cluster before entering the Tibetan area a village we jokingly term 'Jian Pu Zhai' (“a simple village”, which has the same sound as the Chinese word for “Cambodia”). On a clear day, this is another great vantage point for Mt Haba and the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Yi Ethnic Village- Little Zhongdian (18 km 30 mins) As the altitude gradually climbs, vegetation on both sides of the road starts to vary, the small shrubs you see are mostly Alpine dwarf rhododendrons, while tall trees are Sargent spruce (Picea brachytyla) and George's Fir (Abies georgei) trees , species unique to these high altitudes. This also indicates that we are beginning to enter the Tibetan area. Beyond the large open green space in front of us, called The Gidam Ranch, are village houses dierent and special, being trapezoidal in shape and constructed of earth and timber. These Tibetan- residential dwellings have unique ethnic features, such as white towers on the left side of the road, Marnyi Stone on the right side, colorful prayer ags called wind horse ags, and wooden racks called highland barley frames. Little Zhongdian (altitude 3200M) As other tour buses struggle noisily up the 214 National Highway , our 4WD jeeps quietly and smoothly navigate this dicult section of the road (reminiscent of the former 214 National Road, which was a bumpy road just like this one, and hence The Yunnan-Tibet road was previously jokingly known as the “rattling organs road”, because these two pronunciations are quite similar in Chinese). As we follow the road into the depths of Little Zhongdian, the view with which we are confronted is not only one of beauty , but it also helps us to better understand the relationship between the Tibetans and the land in which they live; the Tibetan people and their philosophy of coexistence with nature; and the relationship between their life and their religion. The Milk River winds through this fertile piece of land, where cattle and sheep are scattered in various corners, and eagles circle around the
  7. 7. 6 7 mountains. Tibetans believes that every living things possesses a spirit and conforms to God's will, so they do not believe humans to be masters of the world. If you happen to see a Tibetan along the way, just say ‘za xi de lei’with enthusiasm to him, and he will return you an even more enthusiastic ‘za xi de lei’ and a smile. (‘za xi de lei’ is the pronunciation of‘hello’ in the Tibetan language, it means to “bring luck and health” to people) Small Zhongdian- Shangri-La (34 km,40 mins) As we return to the 214 National Highway from the rugged country roads of Little Zhongdian, on both sides of the road we still see Tibetan houses built on vast areas of grassland and cultivated land. From May to September of each year, dierent kinds of owers bloom on these elds, making the land an ocean of owers. If yaks happen to cross through the road, vehicles are required to wait patiently, and must not honk their horns. Qingke (Highland Barley, a type of cereal unique to the highland plateau, belongs to the barley family, is used to make typical Tibetan staples such as ‘Zan Ba’. Zan Ba is often accompanied by butter tea, which is made with yak milk. Yaks are often referred to as ‘Gao Yuan Zhi Zhou’(which literally translates as “the boats of the plateau”) and the rearing of yaks is a crucial source of income for many ordinary Tibetan families, carrying with it many of their hopes. Shangri-La The British writer James Hilton published the novel "Lost Horizon"in 1933. The book describes the presence of a paradise hidden in the mountains of the Himalaya - Shangri-La. Indeed, here you can nd the Karakal mountains standing like pyramids, the mysterious Blue Moon Valley, and sacred lamaseries, and the people who live in this area enjoy an isolated and peaceful life, just like those living in The Peach Garden as described by the famous poet Tao Yuanming of the Jin Dynasty. The word‘Shangri-La’ had not previously existed in the English dictionary, but after this book was published, people from many dierent countries around the world began to seek the true paradise of ‘Shangri-La’ . In 2001, the Zhongdian county in Northwest Yunnan Diqing ocially changed its name to Shangri-La. The name change was approved by the State Council, and it was declared that the word Shangri-La originates from the Tibetan word Shambhala, which translates as the sun and the moon of the heart . Dukezong Ancient Town (altitude 3300M) During the Tubo Dynasty a fortress was established on the slopes of the “Big Turtle Mountain” in this town. The fortress was named Dukezong, meaning moonlit town. In parallel with Dukezong is another town on the bank of the Milk River,‘Niwangzong’ meaning solar town. The existence of the “solar” and “moonlit” towns here are strong evidence to prove that this region is indeed the true land of Shangri-La (which if you recall is translated from Tibetan, “the sun and moon of the heart”). In Moonlight Square of Dukezong Old Town is the Turtle Mountain Park , home to what is claimed to be the world's largest copper spinning prayer wheel. According to legend, rotating the prayers slowly together with others can bring believers absolution from guide and good luck. The ancient town of Dukezong was one of the most important towns on the commercial route “Delamu”(Ancient Tea Horse Road). The slippery stones on Cobbler Slope (the oldest street in Dukezong), worn smooth over the centuries, have borne witness to the change over this period of history. Although the caravan trade no longer exists, Tibetans who live in the center of the town still keep those old traditions alive, for instance, every night after dinner they will go to the square for the‘Guozhuang’ street dance, which reects the Tibetans as a singing and dancing nationality. You will have the opportunity to dance hand-in-hand with them, which presents an unforgettable chance to immerse yourself in real Tibetan culture,. In January of 2014, an inferno brought catastrophe to this thousand year old town, and we might never know the real cause of the tragedy. But we cannot help but think of that old prophecy often recited by elderly Tibetans: If we only know to blindly and excessively demand from nature, then there will come a day when the guardians of nature will bring upon a disaster to punish us. These words may sound very transcendental, but in reality brim with Tibetan natural philosophy. Seemingly unrelated events are no doubt connected by some form of karma unbeknownst to humans. No matter whether these sayings have any scientic basis, we still hope those involved will not make the same old mistakes again, and will instead rebuild this charming ancient town with a view to long-term sustainability. Explanation of Ethnic Phrases Guozhuang Dance: It also known as Guozhuo, Gezhuang, Zhuo etc. It means Circle Dance in the Tibetan language, and is one of the three main folk dances in Tibetan culture. White Stupa: A common landmark building in the Tibetan area, it is mostly white, and used by Tibetans to ward o bad luck and pray for good fortune. It is usually built at villages, and some spiritually rich places sacred mountains, lakes, hilltops etc. In front of the white stupas are usually these stove like structures called Weisang platforms, and every morning, Tibetans will light some pine needles and cypress leaves on this platform giving rise to fragrant smoke. While holding a rosary and saying the spell, they circle around the white tower in a clockwise direction ,which is called ‘Zhuan Jing’. This process usually lasts for one to two hours. Mani Stone Pile: In Tibetan areas, people are often able to see piles of stones stacked like towers, this is the Mani Stone Pile. Mani Stone Piling is a Tibetan folk art, which are mostly engraved with the six word mantra, insight, statues and all kinds of auspicious patterns, in order to exorcise evil and pray for luck.
  8. 8. 8 9 The Wind Horse Flag: The wind horse ag is a unique feature on the Tibetan Plateau, it is also known as the Tibetan ag, called ‘Lunda’. It is a colorful cloth erected in the Tibetan Buddhism region, on White Stupas, Mani Stone Piles and the rooftop of temples. The name “Wind Horse Flag” came about because the ag is painted with a white horse along with the religious scriptures.The ag blows in the wind, spreading the scriptures and good luck everywhere. Flags are the medium of communication between the secular and divine worlds. On special days, dierent wind horse ags for dierent days are hung. At certain times, altars are set up to perform rituals, monks invited to chant prayers, and Tibetan spiral shell horns are blown, creating magnicent and unforgettable scenes. Six Words Mantra: Om Mani Padme Hum, for Tibetan language pronunciation is a Tibetan Buddha-Guanyin Bodhisattva mantra, derived from the Sanskrit, symbolizing all the Bodhisattvas’s mercy and blessing. It is a powerful and signicant mantra, containing the power of the universe, the great wisdom and compassion. Tibetan people say it when they turn the prayer wheel and pray. Recommendation for Food : When dining at Shangri-La, the Yak Meat Hotpot is a good choice. High caloric foods are the best options at high altitude as one tends to have a higher consumption of energy Day 2 Dukezong Old Town Shangri-La → Songtsam Temple → Napa Lake →Nixi Village → Benzilan→ Baima Snow Mountain Pass→ Deqin → Feilaisi Temple (175.5 km) Shangri-La → Songtsam Temple (8 km,30mins) Driving through the Shangri-La urban area, we come to the entrance of Songtsam Temple where we transfer to a sightseeing bus, Songtsam Temple is the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple in Yunnan, and is commonly referred to as the little Potala Palace. Its grace lets us experience and understand the former Tibetan Buddhism in this world. Songtsam(Songzan Lin) Temple (altitude 3300M) The full name is ‘Gedan Songzan Monastery. Gedan is the other name for Gelu Sect of Tibetan Buddhism (commonly known as the Yellow Sect). The founder of the Gelu Sect -Master Zongkeba built the Gedan Temple in Tibet. The Chinese name is Songzan Lin, and while‘Song Zan’means the place of heaven, Lin is the temple. Founded in 1679, it was granted the name by Dalai Lama the Fifth, with the Han name of ‘Guihua Temple’. Believed to be the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple in Yunnan, it also one of the thirteen monasteries in the Kang District. Songtsam Temple has played a decisive role in the religion and politics of this area in history.While visiting a Tibetan Buddhist temple, there are some rules that we have to know about and obey, such as: Visit the temple in a clockwise direction; Do not step on the doorsill of the temple; Take o your sunglasses or hat while you are in the temple; Do not talk loudly in the temple; Do not smoke; Do not take photographs without permission; Women are not allowed to enter certain areas of the temple; Do not scare the crows that are around the temple; Ask for permission before taking photographs of the monks and pilgrims. With the development of tourism, there are some activities in the temple that would require payment such as for the purchase of incense. Do practice discretion in these situations, as theoretically, Tibetan Buddhism preaches for any donation to be made only in accordance to free will. Songtsam Temple → Napa Lake (15 km, 30mins) After visiting Songtsam Temple, we will have a preliminary understanding of Tibetan Buddhism. Next, we will carry on along the 214 National Highway towards the Napa Lake Wetlands Reserve. Napa Lake (altitude 3300M) Meaning “The lake beside the forest”, this is a National-level Nature Reserve for the rare and endangered black necked cranes to hibernate, as well as the Provincial-level Nature Reserve for the protection of many rare migratory birds.
  9. 9. 10 11 Mini Potala Palace – Songzan Temple The World's Largest Prayer Wheel at Shangri-La Non-tangible Cultural Heritage – Nixi Black Pottery Tibetan White Stupas Napa lake is a seasonal alpine lake, with a vast body of water in summer, but dries up winter, and is the most famous ranch in Shangri-La. The blue sky, white clouds, snow mountains, lakes, grasslands, forests and villages combine to create a breathtakingly stunning alpine wetland landscape. Each year in November to the end of April the following year, we can see all kinds of rare migratory birds in the Napa Lake. According to statistics, there are at least 50 dierent kinds of rare birds that inhabit the wetlands here, in addition to the well-known black necked cranes. Some people also believe that it is possible to chance upon a mystical kind of beast called Ern at Napa Lake. Napa Lake is full of surprises if we explore it carefully during this time! Napa Lake → Nixi Tangdui Village (17 km, 30mins) Bidding the beautiful Napa Lake goodbye, we continue our journey, along the way we can see dozens of white Tibetan houses of the village on the left side of the road. This is a place ignored by many commercial tour groups. What awaits us in this village? Let us explore it! Tang Dui Village (altitude 2900M) In the sixth episode The Secret Of Kitchen of the very popular 2012 documentary A Bite of China, seven minutes were dedicated to introducing a unique and little known handmade black ceramic cooking utensil found only in Tibetan areas. Tang Dui town is the place which has been producing the traditional handmade black ceramic for over 3000 years. As we descend by road, we can see that the ancient village is located in a peaceful valley, where barely a hundred families have settled on the gentle slopes, seemingly in their own version of paradise. We will visit the home and workshop of Nixi ceramic Master Sunnuo Qilin, who recently passed away.. Making black ceramic is a complicated and slow process, but it is also a romantic and artistic creation process. The entire process, from preparation; shaping, carving, shade to ring etc takes all of 10 days. A national-level senior folk artist in Yunnan province and one of the most famous contemporary ceramic artists, who had contributed 50 years of his life to black ceramic production, Master Sun treated the black ceramic production as an art creation. Today, his son Luosang En has inherited this ancient craft under the inuence of his father.
  10. 10. 12 13 We come here not only to witness the process of making black ceramic, but also to visit the Tibetan houses to see the internal structures of these dwellings and to taste the unique butter tea, tsampa and cheese. And what better gift to bring home for our friends and families than these handmade black ceramic gifts. After all, many ancient crafts are being lost in these modern times. Nixi → Benzilan (45 km, 1 hours) Benzilan town (altitude 1900M) As the altitude begins to fall, we gradually enter the area of Rehe Valley where Benzilan Town is located. Benzilan means Beautiful Sandbank, and was an important stop for horse caravans during the times of the Ancient Tea Horse Road. The next place after this stop is Baima Snow Mountain pass, which is over 4000 meters above the sea level. This is a junction between two provinces (Yunnan, Sichuan) and three counties (Shangri-La, De Rong, and Deqin), and the Jinsha River ows around this old town. According to history, this is where the Red Army crossed Jinsha River from here to the north on an abandoned bridge over the river known as the He Long bridge, which was built specially for the Red Army. Benzilan→ White Horse Snow Mountain Pass (55 km, 2 hours) Leaving Benzilan town, we drive up along to the 214 National Highway, where we can gain a deep understanding of the Chinese saying‘To Have Four Seasons In One Mountain’. The change in vegetation is very obvious. During 2 hours across 5 dierent forest vertical zone spectrum (from the Rehe valley shrub forests with tropical cactus plants to temperate broadleaf mixed forest of white birch and George Spruces cold temperate coniferous forest to the Alpine Rhododendrons and alpine shrubs), this is a new driving experience for most tourists. Then we will reach the highest point of the trip at an elevation of 4292 meters of the Baima Snow Mountain pass. Baima Snow Mountain (altitude 5640M) Baima Snow Mountain is a National-level Natural Reserve and the name means “holy lotus” Baima Snow Mountain is one of the most important sections of the Three Parallel Rivers Area. It is also an important habitat for the national-level protected animal- the Yunnan Snub-Nosed Monkey. The main peak is called ‘Zala Queni’ which means God of war. The mountain rhododendron forest of Baima Snow Mountain has been given the title of Top Ten Beautiful Forest In China by the Chinese National Geographic Magazine. Baima Snow Mountain pass→ Deqin (46 km, 1 hour and 30mins) After crossing the pass, the road begins its gradual descent. After 20 kilometers of driving, if the weather is ne, we can begin to see the lofty Meili Snow Mountain on the left side of the road. Meili Snow Mountain (altitude 6740M) The peak of Meili Snow Mountain is called Kawa Gebo, which means “The Sacred Snow God of The Valley”. It is generally regarded as the best peak in Yunnan, and is also one of the eight sacred mountains of the Tibetan area. Tibetans gave the lucky number ‘13’ to name the snow peaks which are over 6000meters, and these peaks are collectively called ‘The Prince of Thirteen Peaks. Because the two best vantage points are on the 214 National Highway, of late, this area has become an increasingly popular for photographers to take photos. Mishap of Meili Snow Mountain In 1991, the second biggest mishap in the world of mountaineering happened at Meili Snow Mountain. 18 members of the China-Japan Joint Mountaineering team died when they climbed to a height of 6470 meters and met an avalanche caused by a snowstorm. In 1998, a nomadic Tibetan found their bodies at an ice plate which is on the other side of the main peak of the Mingyong Glacier. After this tragedy, Meili Snow Mountain became the rst snow mountain forbidden by law to be climbed. The documentary Kawa Gebo kept a precious record of this incident, The Tibetans believe that sacred mountains are not meant to be conquered, so once humans climb to the top of it, the gods will depart from them. Deqin - Feilai Temple (10 km, 20mins) Deqin County (the elevation of 3500M) Deqin County located in northwest Yunnan, is the highest county in the province. It is located on a gentle slope surrounded by three soaring mountains. Geologists suggest that people moved out of this area because they think Deqin is in the same danger as Zhouqu, which is the risk of debris ow. However, the local Tibetans do not take it seriously and are still living here peacefully as they believe the gods are on their side all the time with their blessings.
  11. 11. 14 15 Feilai Temple (altitude 3600M) Feilai temple is actually the name of the village, and is also the name of the local temple also by the same name, which is the landmark of this village . It is one of the best locations to see the Meili Snow Mountain (aka Kawa Gebo) .The small village is located on the 214 National Highway which is lined with all kinds of hotels, guesthouse, bars, restaurants, even some ve star hotels. On a clear morning, when you open the curtains of the room, you can enjoy the magnicent sacred sight known as ‘Sun Shining on Golden Mountain'. Explanation of Ethnic Phrases Kora: This is a solemn and sacred religious ceremony. Tibetans believe that walking a complete round clockwise around the divine mountain on foot can remove sin from oneself and help one to gain divine mountain blessings and best wishes. The koras around Meili Snow Mountain are divided into Little Kora and Big Kora . The popular Yubeng trekking route is part of the Little Kora and can be completed in three days. The Big Kora requires between 7 days to half a month. The base of Meili Snow Mountain extends to the boundary with Tibet. Polygamy: In Deqin today, polyandry and polygamy still exist as part of society's culture The existence of this phenomenon is strongly related to the harsh natural environment and shortage of labor in this area , but at the same time,is also a traditional custom , involving religion and history reasons. Such a family is conducive to production, is good for keeping together family property, and encourages family members to be responsible, and to share work. If you have a chance to meet such a family at Deqin, do not feel too surprised or probe too deeply into the lives of the local people, nor judge this tradition according to the prejudices of modern civilization . Recommendation for Lunch: Do not to miss the taste of Matsutake (Pine mushrooms) with chicken, cooked in black Nixi ceramic; Recommendation for Dinner : Restaurants in Feilai Temple are mostly of the Sichuan avor, and hot pot is a good choice Day 3 Feilai Temple→Deqin→Cizhong→Tongle→Kangpu→ Baijixun→Weixi (215 km) Feilai temple→Deqin →Cizhong (91km, 2 hours) After getting up early to see the ‘Sun Shining on Golden Mountain' ‘Sunshine on Jinshan’, we nish our breakfast, before returning to Deqin County. We then depart from the 214 National Highway along the road between Deqin and Weixi, following the Lancang River. Lancang River: The Lancang river is the name for the upper reach of the Mekong River, located within the vicinity of China. The ninth longest river in the world, and the fourth longest river in Asia, it is the longest river in Southeast Asia. The Lancang river ows through Qinghai, Tibet and Yunnan provinces, before exit China from Mengla County, in Xishuangbanna of Yunnan province, becoming Mekong River at the intersection with Laos and Myanmar (Burma) . The Mekong River ows through Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, before owing into the South China Sea in Ho Chi Ming City in Vietnam. Meili Canyon of Lancang River: Meili Canyon located in Deqin County of Yunnan China, has a length of 150 kilometers, and is known for having the greatest elevation dierence within Yunnan province. The valley is famous for its depth and length, and the rapid ow of the river. Standing at the bottom of the valley towards the Meili mountain range, the sky appears as a thin sliver and you can feel the sheer magnicence of the nature and insignicance of human life. It is a scene that is beyond description and can only be felt through personal experience . Meili Canyon of Lancang river has been selected by the Chinese National Geographic Magazine as one of the Top Ten Most Beautiful Grand Canyons in China,. Walking in the canyon, you will have chance to see to the other bank of the river afew houses built on the clis. It is hard to imagine how people can live at that kind of perilous enviroment for generations! We begin to enter an open plain , where the sharp-eyed will spot a house on the other side of the river that looks distinctively dierent from other domestic dwellings. That is the famous Cizong Catholic Church.
  12. 12. 16 17 Cizhong Catholic Church Tongle Lisu Village Lisu Non-tangible Cultural Heritage - Acimugua One may begin to wonder how is it possible that there is a Western church in an area where the population is largely Tibetan Buddhists Here is an area that is almost totally isolated from the rest of the world and only a visit across the Lancang River can reveal the answer. Cizhong Village and Cizhong Church (altitude 2200M) Cizhong village was built on a gentle bank of the Lancang River. It is a multi-ethnic village where it is said that there are 7 ethnic groups with dierent religious beliefs living here together. The road into the village is quite dangerous, until you suddenly begin to see a lot of vineyards.Grapes in reality are not native to the area, having been introduced to Cizhong when French missionaries came here, because the Catholic Church has a very important religious ceremony-Mass, in which grapes are needed to make wine, and together with bread they represent Jesus' blood and body in sacrice to God (Mass is a Latin phrase meaning the Dissolution and Departure ,, also known as the Eucharist). The missionaries brought the grape seeds and technique of winemaking here, and under a similar growing environment as their home country, vineyards were built at this isolated village where the rose honey variant of wine making grapes ourished. A visit to Cizhong oers us the opportunity to encounter this romantic French tradition passed down over centuries . With many doubts still in our minds, we open the mysterious and tranquil church door, to unveil a hidden history In the middle of the eighteenth Century, the Western Christian missionaries came to Diqing and attempted to develop Christianity in Northwest Yunnan and even extended it to Tibet. They built the church, managed to get only a few believers and lived a very hard life in the area of strongly Tibetan Buddhists , They gradually became the source of hatred of the Buddhist believers. Locals who could not tolerate the Catholic missionary activities and this eventually led to the Adun Zi and Weixi tragedies. In 1905 in the Weixi tragedy, angry locals burned 10 churches on the side of the Lancang River and Nu River, killed some French missionaries . At that time, the Qing government under the western government forces, sent a large number of troops to suppress the Buddhist monks and local people. Buddhist believers fought for three months but failed eventually. For the loss of the church, the Qing goverment gave them a huge compensation, and allowed them to build the church at Cizhong in about 1/10 of the Cizhong land. During the Cultural Revolution period in China, because the church was used as a primary school classroom, it was spared from much destruction. Father Yao Fei

 Father Yao Fei is a short and plump middle-aged man from Inner Mongolia, people will often mistake him to be a normal local villager if he doesn't speak. He stayed at the Church of Beijing and accepted the mission to came Yunnan as the bishop of Cizhong church from 2008 till now. When there are religious activities, he will wear a robe and help the believers to hold baptism ceremonies, confessions, funerals and weddings. Miancimu Jiwarenan (Five-Crown) Kawa Karpo (KawageboMiancimu Peak Qianaduojie
  13. 13. 18 19 Normally, he is just like a local working on the vineyards and farmlands. We can feel the spirit of the ancient French missionaries still living within him, he loves the Catholic Church and the land he lives on and willingly lives in this small village. Today , dierent nationalities with dierent beliefs live on in this pure land in harmoney, perhaps this man has already treated this place as his own hometown. Cizhong→Tongle (61 km, 1 hours and 30 mins)

 Bidding farewell to Father Yao Fei, we drive back to the Deqin-Weixi Road, after passing the treachery of Meili Grand Canyon, the landscape begins to atten out, and soon enough, the Lancang river begins gently owing . On the both side of the valley are farmland and villages Tong Le Lisu Ethnic Nationality Village (altitude 2400M)

 At a nondescript turn lies a secluded road that leads us to the mountainous village. We will pass through a valley with a rivulet . On the far distant hillsides are the occasional Zhuang minority houses used for storing dried feed , which look like ancient lookout towers. As we arrive at the village, we will nd that all the meandering roads we had driven through were in reality all under our foot , These kinds of road were easy to protect but hard to attack in ancient times.
 Tongle is the largest and oldest Lisu ethnic village in China, with more than one hundred Lisu wooden houses built on the mountains. Tongle is the Lisu word for “The Place where Chabu Hunts”, as legend has it, Chabu was a man who became a very famous hunter in this place. The Lisu People live very simple and peaceful lives here. There is a museum for the history of Lisu nationality, and you can get a better understand for the history of Lisu costumes, farming and hunting etc. Tongle →Weixi (82 km, 3 hours)  Driving down the road that follows the Lancang River, we will arrive in Weixi county before returning to Jinsha River. We will arrive at Tacheng before nightfall. Few people know that Weixi county is the only autonomous county for Lisu nationality, especially in this multiracial land- Yunnan. Explanation of Ethnic Phrases: Worship of Cizhong Church The main contents of the worship are prayer, hymns, choir singing, reading, preaching and blessing. Each Sunday morning, local believers get together in the church to worship and you can join them if you happen to be here on that day. Dance of A Chi Mu Gua This is a traditional folk song and dance of the Lisu. It is a group entertainment dance which means “Song and Dance of the Mountain Goat”, its characteristic is that no instruments are used to play music but instead there is singing by the people, and the singing is melodious like the sounds of goats. There are more than 10 kinds of movements for the dance of A Chi Mu Gua, which are the reections of the life of goats and of nomadism. It's natural way of dance and singing to represent the development history of the Lisu ethnic nationality, to expresse the Lisu's love of nature and their simple but happy life. A Chi Mu Gua is rated on the national level intangible cultural heritage list. Recommendation for Lunch: Adjacent to the church is a  guest house that provides   dishes cooked with organic  ingredients, worth a try.   Also, do not miss the opportunity to  try a glass of French wine at the Cizhong church; Recommendation for Dinner:  Shen Chuan Hotel in  Tacheng provides good food, and occasionally  there will be  seasonal foods and river fish available for consumption
  14. 14. 20 21 Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Tibetan man in the field Tibetan Child Mani Stones with carvings Day 4 Weixi→Xiang Gu Qing →Tacheng →Qizong  →Shigu →Lijiang(196 km) Weixi→Xiang Gu Qing Snub-nosed Monkey National Conservation Park→Tacheng (64 km,1hours) The Yunnan Snub-Nosed Monkey is an adorable creature, with an upturned nose and sexy luscious red lips being its trademark features. Following closely behind the Giant Panda in terms of its value, it is a Level 1 National Protected Species. In recent years, the local community has expanded the scope of protection for the natural home of the monkeys, with specialist forestry sta periodically monitoring the environment and dispersion of the various herds, as well as educating the local community of the importance of wildlife protection. When visiting these monkeys up close, remember not to feed them, and avoid intruding into their activity area. We will watch a documentary called Dream of the Baima Snow Mountain in the Yunnan Snub-nosed Monkey National Conservation Park, to review what we see and hear during the trip. Tacheng→Qizong (17 km, 30 mins) Qizong →Shigu (108 km,  2 hours) Jinsha River Jinsha River (Chin-sha River) is the upper reach of the Yangtze river in China,The source of the Yangtze river is at the Yushu county, Qinghai, and once it enters the Hengduan Mountains area, it is known as the Jinsha River Because it ows through deep valleys from the towering Hengduan Mountain Range , the water ows rapidly and straight down to the southeast. Shigu (Stone Drum) Town (altitude 1800M) Shigu is a town on the side of Jinsha River, about 50 km from Lijiang. Its name comes from a giant white marble stone carved into a drum shape . According to sayings, the stone was built by Zhu Geliang at the Three Kingdoms period, it was built at May Dulu near to Shigu. The original one has no inscriptions, but during the Ming dynasty, people wrote a eulogistic poem for the Lijiang soldiers who were defeated at Tufan. Since ancient times,
  15. 15. 22 23 Shigu has been the granary of Lijiang, because of its lower elevation and perfect water resource of Jinsha river, which makes it suitable for the growing of crops. The famous local lentil jelly is more authentic than in Lijiang old town! The First Bend of the Yangtze River As the Jinsha River ows from the Northwest, it turns towards to Northeast after ow into Shigu (Stone Drum) town, forming a giant V- shaped bend, creating a unique geographical landscape. Although there are three rivers in the Three Parallel Rivers UNESCO World Natural Heritage area , only the Jinsha river bends back to stay in China because of this signicant turning. Shigu (Stone Drum Town) →  Lijiang (53 km, 1 hours) Once again returning to the Dali-Lijiang highway, which indicates this unforgettable journey is about to come to an end. During these 4 days,, we have driven around the Northwest of Yunnan, experiencing and understanding this region from dierent angles, from stunning natural landscape , to local customs, religions and history . Yet, compared to the sheer scale of the area, this is but a glimpse of what this place holds. A good trip is never an escape from life. These people that we met along the way, they have given us inspirations with their simple words and actions: Be in awe and keep the faith, did not complain even in the harsh environment, love our ordinary work, try to bring smiles and happiness to other people. It is a rule for a simple but happy life. Hopefully, when we return to the city, the joy and emotions which we felt on the journey can remain with us, and we wish for the gods to bring us good fortune and joy. . Explanation of Ethinic Phrases Jie Zi Tian (Street Day): In Yunnan, market is referred to as Jie Zi, or street. There are specic market days in dierent places, for Shigu town, any day with three, six and nine will be a market day. Shigu has always been at the center of the Ancient Tea Horse Trade Route with Tibetans exchanging their leather and cordyceps goods for tea leaves, salt and cloths A market day is a bustling day indeed! Recommendation for Lunch:  Qizong farmhouse for lunch,the choice is local pollution-free food, cooked in the most traditional way to retain the original taste of the ingredients , so that you can enjoy these true gifts of nature. Here are some recommended books, music, and movies so you can know more about this route. Books:  Joseph Rock Ancient Nakhi Kingdom of Southwest China  Alexandra David-Néel, My Journey to Lhasa  James Hilton, Lost Horizon Fan Wen, Shuiru Dadi (A Land Of Milk And Honey) Huang Doumi, Chao Sheng Meili Xue Shan (Worshipping  Meili Snow Mountain) Movies:  Himalaya Kawa Gebo Delamu Music:  Himalaya Soundtrack Dadawa Sister Drum Kelsang Chukie Tethong Where The Heart Blossoms