Tiger Leaping Gorge Travel Tips
Tiger Leaping Gorge is located between Haba Snow Mountain in Shangri-La and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in Lijiang, at a maximum depth of approximately 3,790 meters from river to mountain peak, It is part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas-World Heritage Site and one of the top hiking route in the world, consisted with three parts: the upper section, the middle section and the lower section. For giving you a better travel experience, we offer you some useful Tiger Leaping Gorge Travel Tips.
How to get to Tiger Leaping Gorge
Taking a shuttle car from Shangri-La or Lijiang to the Tiger Leaping Gorge in Shangri-La costs 300-500RMB. Travellers can firstly take a bus to Qiaotou Town(桥头镇) and then transfer to the Upper Section of Tiger Leaping Gorge in Shangri-La with a car rental for the fee of 60RMB.
Shangri-La-the Upper Section of Tiger Leaping Gorge
There is a bus departing from Zhongxia International Youth Hostel(中峡国际青年旅舍) at 8:00am in Shangri-La for Tina’s Guest House（中峡客栈） via Qiaotou Town(桥头镇) with the fee for 50RMB per person. Hikers can get off the bus at the park lot in the Upper Section of the Tiger Leaping Gorge. The buses depart from Tina’s at 3:00pm for Shangri-La with the fee for 50RMB per person.
Lijiang- the Upper Section of Tiger Leaping Gorge
The buses depart from Lijiang Ancient Town for the Middle Section of Tiger Leaping Gorge via Qiaotou Town(桥头镇) and the upper section. Hikers can get off the bus at park lot in the Upper Section of the Tiger Leaping Gorge. The buses depart from Tina’s at 3:00pm for Lijiang with the fee for 50RMB per person.
For many bike enthusiasts, riding a bike from Lijiang to the park pot in the Tiger Leaping Gorge would be a good option. You can stay at locals’ home for the night and catch the view of the upper section in Lijiang on the second day, then back to the Tiger Leaping Gorge Town and move towards the upper section in Shangri-La or the Middle Section of Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Best Time to Visit
Tiger Leaping Gorge is suitable for visiting in all year around. But if you want to hike in the gorge, the rainy season from June to September is the most dangerous time to hike. The best time to hike may be in the months of October, November and May.
Visiting The Upper Gorge
If you get dropped off in the town of Qiaotao, you are right near the starting point for the Upper Trail. When you enter town the driver will stop off at the ticket booth, where you will be charged 65RMB for entrance to Tiger Leaping Gorge.
This is valid throughout the duration of your stay in the area. It is possible to avoid this fee if you arrive early in the morning or late afternoon.
Another option would be to get dropped off before town and then walk around the main street. Located about 4km from town along the river road, the Upper Gorge has a series of boardwalks that lead you right down to the mighty Jinsha River. The view you get here is well worth the extra journey.
Leaving Your Luggage And Finding The Trail Head
If you have a large backpack that you don’t want to take on the trek with you, Jane’s Guest House will happily store it for the one-off cost of 5RMB, no matter how long for.
The guest house is about 100m past the ticket booth in the town of Qiaotao, and is a great place to stay either before or after the trek.
For the start of the Upper Trail, continue walking down the hill past Jane’s Guest House past a large school. A bit further on, you will see a road leading uphill to your left and a sign saying, “Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking High Way Thus Into”.
Continue up that road (don’t turn off it) for about 45 minutes and you will see a trail heading up a steep hill with another sign. There is the start of the Upper Trail.
How Many Days To Complete The Trek?
Some people do it in 1.5 days, others have done it in one long day. If you are short on time, then this amount of time might be your only option.
But if you really want to take your time and appreciate every moment of the trek, we recommend doing it over 3 days – especially if you want to check out the Upper Gorge and Walnut Grove at the end of your Tiger Leaping Gorge trek.
There is also a lower trail which follows the other side of the river. This is NOT the trek you are looking for, although the views are meant to be quite nice as well.
Other Tips For Tiger Leaping Gorge
- Bring snacks with you if you tend to get hungry during treks. We took some dried fruits and nuts bought from a supermarket in Lijiang, and this was enough for us. Food can be bought at all the guest houses along the route.
- Have at least 2 litres of water with you at all times. More is recommended. Again, you buy water at all the guest houses (5-10RMB per bottle). We carry a SteriPen, which allows us to sterilise tap and creek water, just to be safe.
- Make sure you have wet weather gear, as it can change very quickly in Tiger Leaping Gorge.
- If trekking in winter (October to March), the temperature can, and will, plummet. Wear layers and gloves.
- It is almost impossible to get lost along the way. Red and yellow arrows pointing to various guest houses are painted on stones periodically along the trail, as well as blue sign posts.
- We met a guy on the trail who hitchhiked from Tina’s with no problem. This is another option if you don’t want to pay for the bus.
- If you do take the bus from Tina’s, they will stop at Jane’s Guest House so you can grab your other backpack.