A grand hello to all and once again welcome to this week’s edition of “Bajan, Chinese Style!” Due to the constraints of the season, we took a four week hiatus from our expedition of China’s grandest example of natural and ethnic beauty. In lieu of mentally traversing the captivating Yunnan Province, we explored various autumnal travel gems( Re: Guan Men Mountain, Re: Zhi NanVillage) as well as taking a look at China’s largest shopping holiday (Re: Double Eleven).
However, it’s time to get back on the road-figuratively of course- and I can think of no more suitable a locale to do so than the breathtaking Yu Long Snowy Mountain of Lijiang.
As mentioned before (Re: Regions of Yunnan Province) Lijiang and by association the Yu Long Snowy Mountain are located in North-Western Yunnan and due to that geographical positioning, they share stark similarities with the roof of the world Tibet. In today’s issue, as you may already have guessed, we’re going to be delving into one of the more wondrous of these natural incarnations, which is none other than snow covered mountain ranges and all they entail.
First of all,logistics…how to get there, when to go there, what to wear, what you should pack in terms of hydration and nourishment and amenities.
There are a plethora of ways to organise a trip to the Yu Long Snowy Mountain which include taking the public bus, renting a personal driver, driving your own car ( Did I hear road trip?), booking a daily expedition with one of the myriad travel agents located in Lijiang or booking a similar daily expedition with an online travel agent. All of these ways are fine, but personally I believe booking your trip to the Mountain online, as it is by far the most hassle-free and comparatively safe option. When booking online, there is decreased chance of being conned as frequently happens with the walk in travel agents which are located in Lijiang Ancient City.
I booked my trip with the reputable “Tmall Travel” and I truly found no reason to complain about the services rendered.
This is of course, taking into consideration that you are able to speak at least some Mandarin due to the fact that these are local agencies which usually provide service for largely Chinese consumers and thus, interpreters and their ilk are non-existent. If you enjoy a challenge or if you are able to speak Mandarin, then most certainly, have at it.
Having booked your trip, which usually costs anything between 180 to 400 RNB,( as will be discussed in part 2) you will be instructed as to the meeting location and time of departure and return. Most trips to the mountain usually depart from the Main gate of Lijiang Ancient Town and leave at just around 6 am.
N.B: The price of an online trip may seem more costly than a walk-in travel agents’,as they may boast prices of 60,70, or 80 RNB for what at first glance appears to be largely the same package. However, it is paramount that you are not deceived.
There have many instances where the unsuspecting tourist, both local and foreign, have fallen into this trap of reduced prices, only to be ferried to; one: locations they did not pay for; Two: shopping districts where they were forced to purchase expensive -counterfeit- merchandise; Three: did not get to spend anytime at the pre-agreed destination.
Next, we come to what to wear and pack. As we know, Lijiang is thousands of feet above sea level and Yu Long Snowy Mountain is even higher. Whether it is summer and especially winter, it is important to wear warm, wind resistant clothing such as parkas, thermals or heavy sweaters. Depending on your booked package, the tour guide will provide thick winter down jackets when you reach the mountain but be forewarned, those come at an extra-price.
In terms of food wand water, I recommend that you take Power bars, Snickers, Crackers etc, as well as an at least 2 litre bottle of water. It may not need to be said, but the Mountain is very high, extremely extensive and oxygen sickness is a very real danger. Remaining hydrated and satisfied -note I said satisfied and NOT full– are key ways to avoid debilitating oxygen sickness.
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Next week, we continue with our Yu Long adventure, as we take a closer look at our travel packages and take our first steps into a veritable Ivory snow-capped mountain wonderland.