China Photos Trips & Travels Yunnan

I thought I was born on a mountain

The Tiger Leaping Gorge was my first time doing a long multiple-day climb with a heavy pack. Despite the challenges, there’s something exhilarating, humbling, and calming about upland travel.

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We started the hike late afternoon, so we raced the sun up the mountain and arrived at the Naxi Guesthouse just in time for a sunset dinner.

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The local Naxi people’s homes and rice terraces

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The small family-run guesthouse

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A simple dinner for two: sauteed eggplants, stir-fried shredded pumpkins, salted peanuts, Dali beer, and hot mint tea

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After a good night of rest, we woke up bright and early to continue our journey. The new day started with the most strenuous part of the trail, named 28 bends for its steep twists and turns. After few hours of climbing, we were rewarded with a beautiful view. And the rest of the hike almost felt like breeze, in comparison.

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On this narrow path, the horse and I were both very weary about falling off the mountain..

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Taurin!

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We saw so many mountain goats along the way.

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I slipped and stepped into the water!

We caught a mini-bus out of town and stopped by Lijiang. Since over 800 years ago, the Naxi people have resided in Lijiang’s old town. Unfortunately, once the town was declared a UNESCO Heritage Site, the tourism industry caused a huge displacement of its original residents and replaced homes with overpriced souvenir shops. Nonetheless, I was grateful for the break before the trip back to Kunming.


Can’t complain about cold beer: Tibetan barley beer and Lijiang’s own “Happy Hours”


A Mongolian throat-singer + ensemble

“When you ride your bike, you’re working your legs, but your mind is on a treadmill. When you play chess, your mind is clicking along, but your body is stagnating. Climbing brings it together in a beautiful, magical way. The adrenaline is flowing, and it’s flowing all the time.” – A quote by Pat Ament

33 Comments

  • Reply
    Re Lim
    October 15, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Stunnning! Pat’s quote about the adrenalin flow depicts the stimulating quality of exercise so vividly!

    • Reply
      Sewon
      October 16, 2011 at 5:42 am

      I’m glad we got to climb up Cangshan together, as well! I’m definitely planning on hiking some more mountains this year.

  • Reply
    Koey
    October 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    The scenery of your climbing journey is so beautiful. I really would like to have a trip like this.
    Sometimes, I feel disappointed about the mainland China. When a place is famed for something, people would then put a lot of money to overdo something unsuited to that originally beautiful place…

    • Reply
      Sewon
      October 16, 2011 at 5:44 am

      Ah, I think that’s definitely what’s happened to Lijiang. And in a way, I feel like UNESCO didn’t help, either (though their intentions were good).

  • Reply
    rzy
    October 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Those mountains are breathtaking! You take lovely photographs.

    I especially liked the last one, of the cat :)

    • Reply
      Sewon
      October 16, 2011 at 5:45 am

      Thank you. The cat and I had a moment of connection! 😀

  • Reply
    geneviève bjargardóttir
    October 15, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    this is wonderful ♥

    • Reply
      Sewon
      October 16, 2011 at 5:46 am

      Thank you. ♥

  • Reply
    szening
    October 15, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Hello! Your posts on Yunnan is bringing back such good memories. I remember sitting for hours in the yard of a guesthouse nearing the end of the Tiger Leaping Gorge hike, facing a giant cliff face on that seemed to take up the entire sky… You take beautiful pictures!

  • Reply
    Kailey
    October 16, 2011 at 4:14 am

    Guh – what stunning photographs! Thank you for sharing <3

  • Reply
    Estelle
    October 16, 2011 at 7:07 am

    You are so lucky to travel! I miss this freedom way of life. Thanks for sharing with us…

    • Reply
      Sewon
      October 17, 2011 at 9:22 am

      :) You should go on a hiking trip! It was a great weekend adventure for me.

  • Reply
    Amelia
    October 16, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Goodness, the photos are gorgeous. They must have been breathtaking in reality.

    • Reply
      Sewon
      October 17, 2011 at 9:35 am

      Thank you. <3

  • Reply
    Annie
    October 16, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Sewon, I have to say that photo of the tiger leaping gorge actually made my heart skip a beat. i am serious. Absolutely took my breath away and i’m still staring at it. Thankyou for sharing your talent at capturing such beauty :)

    annie | WEMAKEPLANS

    • Reply
      Sewon
      October 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm

      Thank you, Annie. It’s a beautiful place, and I hope it doesn’t get spoiled with overdevelopment..

  • Reply
    anastasia
    October 16, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Amazing!! Yeah that horse looks pooped he’s like “where’s the field ;-;”

    I love the throat singer, I have a friend who taught himself how to do that and ever since I’ve been really intrigued. Those men are really talented!

    anastasia

    • Reply
      Sewon
      October 19, 2011 at 3:15 pm

      Oh wow, I’m impressed your friend taught himself to throat sing. I always feel inclined to try myself, but I’ve never really seen women do it. :)

  • Reply
    Anabella
    October 16, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    wow wow wow!!! daayyuumm! lol what a magnificent hiking trail! i am so jealous. i went on a hike last week too and it is nothing close to how awesome your is! those views are amazing. and the guest house up top?! i need to go there!!

    • Reply
      Sewon
      October 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm

      Ah, where have you been (online) lately? I miss seeing your photos! Come visit Yunnan! xx

  • Reply
    Jenny
    October 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Whoa!! Such an intense challenge with huge pay off! The photos are amazing and really tell the tale of the excursion wonderfully.

    • Reply
      Sewon
      October 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm

      Ah, I was so exhausted during the climb but it felt so good to stare up at this huge mountain after we finished the hike.

  • Reply
    Omar
    October 17, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    great video! i really dug that. also, i was chatting with stephen kane and tom macwright about our shared love for your blog this past saturday night! buena suerte!

    • Reply
      Sewon
      October 19, 2011 at 2:42 pm

      Ah, thanks, Omar. :) Let’s hangout when I get back into town!

  • Reply
    Kelly
    October 18, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Fabulous photos as always Sewon looks like a fabulous trip you are having stay safe and enjoy!!

    • Reply
      Sewon
      October 19, 2011 at 2:31 pm

      Thank you! I came back from the mountains in one piece. 😛

  • Reply
    3lin
    October 18, 2011 at 9:27 am

    another amazing journey! this reminds me of oldies drama. (^.^)

    • Reply
      Sewon
      October 19, 2011 at 2:30 pm

      Haha, thank you!

  • Reply
    rhya
    October 18, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    so so beautiful! what a trip! working on mail for you right now…maybe it should involve mountains!

    • Reply
      Sewon
      October 19, 2011 at 2:29 pm

      Ohh, mountains! That’s such a good idea. I’m working on something for you, too. :)

  • Reply
    Yereth
    October 20, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Some [gorge]ous shots there Sewon! Nice work… I was just there 2 weeks ago and it’s breathtaking on every visit.

    • Reply
      Sewon
      October 22, 2011 at 2:12 am

      Nice pun there, Yereth! :)

  • Reply
    Crystal
    November 5, 2011 at 4:36 am

    I love the photos in this post! They’re all so beautiful! Especially the view after the good night of rest!

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