Tiger Leaping Gorge Trek


This trek had been on my wish list for a while now so I was rather excited when it was finally time to put on the backpack.

I had planned to do this trek with Joe, a French-Canadian who moved to Lijiang from Montreal about a year ago. Because of the flu, I had to tell him to go ahead without me. I didn’t want to do the trek alone, but I also didn’t want to plan or join a group so I thought I’d just wing it and see. As I was waiting for the bus, I started chatting to Michel from France and Saskia from Holland, and ended up spending three lovely days trekking with them.

It’s a two-hour bus ride to the start of the trek in a village called Qiaotou. Collectively, we decided to take it slow and do the trek in three days instead of two. That would give us plenty of time to enjoy the scenery, and since none of us was on a schedule, it worked out really well.

Michel and Saskia

Talkative Michel is from Marseilles and has been travelling on and off for a few years now, predominantly in Southeast Asia and India. He left France seven years ago wanting a different lifestyle and to get away from the 9-5 routine. He occasionally spends chunks of time in Bali, where he has built two houses and sometimes he has to go back and make sure everything is under control.

Saskia is a soft-spoken architect who studied and lived in Delft but now lives and works in Beijing. She has been in Beijing for seven years now, and if it weren’t for the crisis in Europe, she’d probably be back but at the same time, she enjoys China and the job opportunities that are available. She speaks Mandarin and can certainly get around and make herself understood. She also recognises a few hundred Chinese characters which I find pretty impressive! She said she doesn’t really miss Holland that much. She said when she goes home she misses Chinese food and the convenience of not having to cook or clean! Hmmm, I think she has definitely adopted the Asian lifestyle! πŸ™‚

The gorge

One of the deepest gorges in the world, it measures 16km long and almost 4000m from the waters of the Yangtse River to the snowcapped mountains of Haba Mountains to the west and Yulong Mountains to the east. The peaks are all over 5000m high and absolutely stunning!

There are small inns along the trek so there is no need to lug tents, sleeping bags or such things which is great news. The inns also provide meals and drinks so really, it’s pretty cushy. Accommodation is basic, and sometimes they have hot water, but usually only when the sun shines. Solar panels are used extensively throughout this part of China. The inns do remind me of the teahouses in Nepal, but unlike Nepal, you won’t see porters on this trek as it’s short, but if you are feeling lazy or tired, there is always the horse. The owners will find you.