Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tiger Leaping Gorge

We head north to Tiger Leaping Gorge on the River Yangtze. It's only 60km north of Lijiang as the crow flies but because we're not crows, we have a 3hr drive round the mountains. Finally we arrive and pick up our new Tibetan guide, the strangely named Wanda. It's one of the deepest gorges in the world, between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (5,596m) on the south side and Haba Xueshan (5,396m) on the north, and so-called because at its narrowest point (25m) a tiger was said to have, er, leapt across to escape a hunter. The Yangtze rages below and suffice it to say, I wouldn't want to canoe down it.

Continuing north we climb into more mountains, heading for the once-prosaically named Zhongdian, now formerly re-named Shangri-la. Back in 2001, some bright spark decided the location of James Hilton's fictitious garden of eden was indeed Zhongdian. Brilliant. It's now a major tourist destination. Sadly, our hotel was about as far removed from paradise as you could imagine, so we moved to another one called... Paradise Hotel.

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