Lugu Lake is a deep lake dotted with some islets and surrounded by high mountains. It is at a high elevation of 2,685 meters or 8,809 feet in the high mountains that are on the borders of Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibet. The Mosuo people have been isolated in the valley and retain more ancient traditions and customs than the other people around them. Travel up to their valley was difficult, and it still is comparatively difficult. There are not yet paved roads to their territory. The 30,000 or so Mosuo people are ethnically distinct from the Naxi who live around Lijiang, but are similar to the Naxi in some ways. The Naxi people lived on a part of the Southern Silk Road (the Chama Road), and for hundreds of years they were affected by traders and merchants from other regions who traveled through and stayed in their towns. The Mosuo people have had less contact with modern people. In the past before the modern era, many Mosuo men left home to travel as caravan traders, but the women and children remained at home. The Mosuo people retain a lot of unique customs. Lugu Lake is beautiful and is said to be worth the comparatively difficult journey to go see the region. There is good hiking around the lake area and up in the mountains, and the Mosuo people's exotic culture and traditions may interest you.
Most people go to Lugu Lake from Lijiang. There is a six or eight hour bus ride up and down mountains on narrow dirt roads. The scenery is interesting. Buses pass the Jinsha River. The Jinsha River is the upper part of the Yangtze River. It is a small river that passes through green canyons. The bus passes through the villages of several minority groups with various styles of architecture and clothing. The big lake is often deep blue, and it is framed by forests and the sharp peaks of the mountains.
1. Some good hiking areas in the surrounding mountains.
2. Go boating or canoeing on the lake.
3. Plenty of hotels.
4. On the northern side of the lake there are many hotels for backpackers.
5. Chairlift to the top of a mountain with stairs that goes to a big cave and monkeys.
To experience more of the ancient traditions and culture, visit the higher-altitude Mosuo villages. You can hike out of the valley to other destinations like Yading Nature Reserve. Be careful, because these paths are not usually hiked by tourists. If you get injured, it may be difficult to find medical attention or people who speak your language. Nearby to the south, the area of Tiger Leaping Gorge is a good hiking trail with comfortable inns all along the High Trail. Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest gorges on earth. The High Trail goes the whole distance.
The Naxi who live around Lijiang and the Tiger Leaping Gorge area are a people similar to the Mosuo and are less primitive. They have an interesting hieroglyphic writing system. To the south of the Naxi region live the Bai people around the Dali valley and the valley of Shaxi. More than a thousand years ago, the powerful empire of the Nanzhao left behind cave grottoes and temple sites in Shaxi and a tall, well-preserved pagoda in the Ancient City of Dali. The old Chama or Southern Silk Road areas in both Shaxi and Lijiang are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
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