Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in an office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain. – Jack Kerouac
Visiting Vietnam back in 2013 that was like a prelude to my trip around Asia. I knew that I want to explore more of this incredible continent during a sabbatical.
My solo travels took me through 10 countries, from Japan all the way down to Indonesia. Since I managed to keep a travel diary, you can read about some of my adventures. I haven’t covered all of my extensive travels though. Maybe one day?
The Lost Horizon
One of the roads from the Tiger Leaping Gorge was leading to Shangri-La. It was not really a mystical and mythical Himalayan utopia but a city originally called Zhongdian. Since December 2011 it changed its name to the place out of James Hilton’s novel to promote tourism in the area.
Located at 3,317 meters it was one of the coldest places I visited during my trip in China. It was also the last stop before heading back to Lijiang and Kunming and later flying to much warmer Laos.
The incredible legend
Saying that hiking the in Tiger Leaping Gorge was the reason for my trip to China would be an overstatement. It was definitely at the top of the list of things I wanted to do while exploring this huge country though. The gorge is one of the deepest in the world. It’s located between Jade Dragon Snow mountain and Haba Snow mountain. It towers approximately 3,500 meters above the Jinsha River, a primary tributary of the famous Yangtze, the longest river in Asia.
Tiger Leaping Gorge
The legend of the gorge says that a tiger jumped across the river at its narrowest point, which is still a massive 25 meters, to escape a hunter. When I first read about this dramatic scenery and the story behind the name I got hooked on the idea of getting there. It seemed like a perfect place to finish my travels around China.
A city with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
Reaching Lijiang situated at the base of the Eastern Himalayas felt like reaching an important milestone during my trip in China. Firstly, I was just one step away from the Tiger Leaping Gorge. That incredible place was at the top of my bucket list and I was finally in a city with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain – a snow-capped giant looming over it and forming one side of the famous gorge. Secondly, after 16 days of intense and funny adventures with my friend our time on the road was sadly coming to an end. Marianna was going back to Poland. I still had more than a week in China before setting off for Southeast Asia.
A view of rooftops in Lijiang
Following a 20-hour train journey from Guilin to Kunming, I was excited to finally make it to Yunnan. It was the final province I had planned to visit in China. The place I was looking forward to the most as I couldn’t wait to hike and see the snow-capped mountains.
Beautiful scenery around Dali
On the way from Kunming to Dali I could finally see the blue sky and notice that the landscape was more rugged. As soon as Marianna and I made it to the Old Town, just by the Erhai Lake, I did not have to wonder why Dali is such a popular travel destination. It had it all! Breath-taking views of the Cangshan Mountains, charming small streets and most importantly a pleasant atmosphere. Continue Reading