Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 94 Wed 29/09 - Lijiang 麗江 to Tiger Leaping Gorge 虎跳峡镇

Today Distance :79.7 km              Total : 4865.1 km
Today Weather : 18-34C              Sunny blue sky
Time On Bike   : 4 hr  45 min
Ave Speed       : 16.7 kmh             Max : 60.5 kmh
Ave Climb        : 3 %                     Max : 11 %
Trip Altitude     : 708 m                  Max : 2561 m
Today Spend   : 82 rmb                Total : 1912.5 rmb

Time to say goodbye to this beautiful and romantic town of Lijiang. We had to take the same way back to the main road of G214 which is 35 km, the difference this time is Downhill 9 km. Same scenery but we still had a good stopover at the old temple for the 2nd time, also taking the time for the rims to cool down a bit before we continued to roll down to the junction. Had our lunch there and continue riding along the valley where the Jinsha River flow 金沙江( same river as Changjiang river ). The scenery is pretty much the same, with the Jinsha river and Yulong Snow mountain on our right. On both sides of the road where lots of wild colourful flowers grown,absolute beauty with the blowing wind. The weather is good and the road is excellent, so both of us were in high spirits to end the day in yet another tourist spot of Hutiaxiazhen or Tiger Leaping Gorge town. Surprisingly the hotel here is cheap and clean for 50rmb, of course we avoided the pricey grand looking tourist hotel at the entrance of the town.
                  Baked roti naan 2 flavors either sweet or salted meat inside
                                                   Siaw Jin and me in high spirit

                                            Good weather and excellent road
                           2nd time stopover at the old temple. This time downhill
                                       Looking out from the inside at the entrance
                                                          The valley down
                                                          Siaw Jin taking the downhill
                                     Closer look down at the village houses
                                                  One of the bends down
                                     Short pine trees grown over the mountain
                                            Siaw Jin taking photos at one of the bends

                                          Tourist view point at the Jinsha River

                            Gateway to the Tiger Leaping Gorge still 21km away
                                  Entrance to the Haba Snow mountain 5396m
                                                    Bridge over the Jinsha River
                                                       Deqen province welcome gate

    Blowing road side flowers with the snow capped Yulong Snow mountain backdrop
                                     The signboard read - Blue moon valley
                                            Another species of decorative flower
                                            Siaw Jin - a great admirer for flower

  At this junction where the Jinsha river flows into the Gorge at the far end near the building
                             Our night stopover. Tomorrow plan to explore the Gorge
                             Grand tourist Hotel , certainly not for tour cyclists
                        These sort of accomodation is what the cyclist look for
                                              Double bedroom with tv and hot shower (50rmb)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 93 Tue 28/09 - Half Day Visit to the Ancient city of Lijiang 丽江古镇

Today Weather : 17 - 28C      Sunny with cool breeze
Today Spend : 413 rmb             Total : 1830.5 rmb

Today we went to look for a recommended bike shop in town. What i need is to replace the worn out derailleur which has been bordering me since Luangprabang in Laos. This time i am lucky the shop has a similar spare to replace for 200 rmb,cheap! For Siaw Jin, he bought a pair of front pannier with rack, so that he can distribute his luggage more evenly. I also bought a bottle of chain lubricant ( white lightning ). Thru the friendly owner of the shop , he recommended a cushion shop to repair my battled seat where many of the stitches and staplers came off , for free ( refuse to let me pay ). We hanged around at the bike shop until 5 pm and went back to the hotel for a short rest. There is nothing much you can do in the town centre except rows of eatery shops and restaurants. So we took a cab to where the tourists go - The ancient city of Lijiang, about 5-6km away. A truely fantastic old town decorated by lots of real flowers with its very old tiny wooden shop lots, pilling on both sides of the cobblestone walkway. At night, the romantic light of many red lanterns were hanging just about every corners. We had a great dinner in one of the restaurant and later went up to the highest point to have a birdeye view of the night scenery. Thanks to my ride partner Siaw Jin.

                                           Happy to had my worn out deraileur replaced
                                                           Dahon folding bikes
                                                            Wide selection of mtbs
                                          Giant stone scuplture at the entrance
                     UNESCO site officiated by the then Chinese premier Jiangzeming
                                          A place to visit for lovers, cyclists also no problem

                                          Cobblestone walkway to the top
                                Traditional Naxi cultural dance in Four-corners square
                                                       Tourists join in the fun

                              It is the Naxi lettering on top row that caught my attention
                                 Siew Jin taught me how to take this shot at the night scene

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 92 Mon 27/09 - Jian Chuan 剑川 to Lijiang 丽江

Today Distance : 78.8 km        Total : 4785.4 km
Today Weather : 17 - 26C      Sunny with cool breeze
Time On Bike : 5 hr  44min
Ave Speed : 13.7 kmh             Max :58.0 kmh
Ave Climb : 3%                       Max : 12%
Trip Altitude : 953 m                Max : 2600 m
Today Spend : 88 rmb             Total : 1417.5 rmb

We started riding at 8.30am, still on the main G214 road. The early morning weather is getting cooler and cooler as we slowly gained in altitude. At the Baihanchang 白漢場junction, there is a road sign to Lijiang on our right. but advice from the locals is to avoid taking this old road to Lijiang, as not only the road is steep but also lack maintenance, moreover many construction trucks are piling up and down. They told us to take the newly built road which is about 500m further down. Lijiang is situated up in the mountainous plateau of over 2500-3000m and 9 km sidetrack from the G214 road ,we have to use the same road after visiting Lijiang. There is no road out from here as it is too expensive to cut across the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain 玉龙雪山 5600m and Haba Snow Mountain 哈巴雪山5396m. I hope to climb these 2 mountains on my next visit as now the weather is just too cold to make an attempt. The 9km climb was quite smooth on a new tarmac with beautiful view,we stopped several times, not because we were tired but we wanted to enjoy the great scenery and took pictures.We saw many road side fruit stalls selling fruits like peaches,apple etc.. We stop at one to really enjoy a fruit fiesta,not only cheap but taste very sweat and juicy. After the climb, we reached the flat with big trees planted neatly on both sides of the road, Lunch at one of the Muslim restaurant , here i was approached by one Malaysian man in his 50'es who was from Malacca on a tour package, obviously he must had noticed the Malaysian flag. It's always nice to meet someone familiar. He was complaining about how bad the foods here and how he missed our Malaysian roti canai,teh tarik and noodles. I shared the same sentiment with him . The food here is very spicy and oily but lack in aroma, you will find lots of chili in most dishes,as though the chefs here can't cook a proper dish without chili. By 5 pm we arrived in Lijing and stay in a pre-arrange Thai Xin Hotel booked earlier by Jin's fren who worked in a toru agency here . Low season price for 60 rmb ( peak season could reach 200-300rmb)

                                                              Welcome to Lijiang
Baihanchang junction right turn to Lijiang
Big bilboard at the Baihanchang Junction
Think of it,if kids hands get caught by the turning drive belt
                                       The way up on the new road to Lijiang
                                                                         9 km climb
                                             An old temple in the middle of the vally
                           The view at the bottom美丽金沙江风光(Beautiful Jinshajiang )
The gate to the old temple
                                                               Deserving rest stop
                                              Mouth watering peach and apple stall
                                                  Don't forget to try this on your next visit
Approach Lijiang
                              哈巴雪山上风景 ( picture from panaromio)
玉龙雪山4600米处山坡( picture from panaromio)

Thai Xin Hotel in Lijiang 60 rmb