Unlike most travelers, we trekked in the reverse direction in 2 days, starting from Tina's (55 RMB bus ride from old town hotel). We went down to the "Tiger Leaping Rock" in Mid Gorge (took about 2.5 hours very very steep climb). It's really amazing down there by the water. Then we went up the hills and ended up at Half Way Guest House around 6pm. We took some wrong turns due to the lack of signs in the reverse direction. Slept there for a night and left the GH in the Bridge Head direction. We hiked from 10:30am until 5:15pm including short breaks and one lunch break at the Naxi Guest House. Because we missed the small bus back to LiJiang Old town at 4pm, we hopped on one of the large buses commuting from Shangrila to Lijiang. Same fee of 35 RMB and got us back to the bus depot 10 min walk away from the South Western side of old town Lijiang. The journey took about 2 hours.
The highlights of the hike for me were (1). Mid Gorge Tiger Leaping Rock. Breath-taking view and only in non-rainy season. In the rainy season, the river rises 20+ meters and turn completely muddy. Now it's green and clear. There is a 10 RMB charge for using the "sky ladder" and 10 RMB charge for the bridge to the rock. The locals built and maintain them, well worth your money for the experience these facilities provide.(2). Village right before Half Way, coming from Tina's. We experienced the daily routine of locals there, goat and horse herders. Fantastic experience sharing the trail with a pack of horses all the back to the village. Gorgeous.
(1). talk to the locals and ask about their lives if you are ok with speaking Mandarin, trust me it'll add to your experience of the region
(2). bring sun screen!!! or cover up with hats (don't forget your neck)
(3). you'll have to do laundry after the trip, very dusty in the dry season
(4). travel light, for inexperienced hikers like myself (i'm healthy but do not hike normally) hiking 2 days with large backpacks will really make it taxing physically.
Garden Inn: north side of old town. Everything is perfect here. Also met many friends here. The energy is fantastic.
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