Blue Moon Valley and Baishuihe River in Lijiang

Why is Blue Moon Valley so special?

Blue Moon Valley is a popular spot inside the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Scenic Area, nine miles (15 kilometers) away from Lijiang Old Town. Located besides the Spruce Plateau (Yunshanping云杉坪),the east side of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lijiang , the Blue Valley looks just like a hanging waterfall from the heaven. It is fed by the melting snow and ice running down from the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The water is freezing. Even in summer, visitors cannot bear the piercing cold when they dabble in the river. Seen from a distance, it resembles a blue crescent moon inlaid at the foot of the mountain.

However, blue is not the only color of the river. The river is extremely clear and clean without any pollution. The river bed consists from the white marbles and limestone gravels. If it rains, the white mud and limestone rubble at the riverbed will be swirled up, making the water as white as milk. Therefore, local Naxi people name it White Water River (Baishuihe River).

Where is Blue Moon Valley?

Blue Moon Valley, or Baishui River, is located nearby Yunshanping (cable car) and Ganhaizi, at the eastern foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, approximately 30km (18.6 miles) north of Lijiang Ancient Town. The river was formed by the streams melted from the glaciers and snow of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The riverbed is made up of off-white crushed limestone and marbles, making the water look white, hence the name.

How to get to Blue Moon Valley

Step 1, visitors can take a taxi, or the regular bus or city bus No.7 to get to Jade Dragon Mountain Scenic Area
Step 2, walk or take a battery car to the White Water River area.

Blue Moon Valley is a popular spot inside the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Scenic Area, 15 kilometers (9 miles) away from Lijiang Old Town. You can either take a through bus or charter a minibus to get to the Snow Mountain first.

Take a through bus at Yuhe Parking Lot near the northern gate of Lijiang Old Down. You can buy the ticket in Tourist Service Center at the northern end of Lanhua Street, opposite Tianyu Hotel. The bus leaves for the Snow Mountain at 8:30 and returns at 16:30; the bus fare costs CNY40 per person.

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is 22 kilometers (14 miles) away from Lijiang Old Town. You can charter a minibus at a charge of CNY200~300 for a round-trip; a one-way trip should take around 40 minutes.

Upon arrival, take a sightseeing bus at the visitors’ center near the gate of the scenic area to the valley; the fare is CNY20. Other spots inside like Spruce Plateau, Yak Plateau, and Glacier Park Cable Car Terminus can also be accessed by sightseeing bus.

Blue Moon Valley and Baishuihe River in Lijiang

What to See in Blue Moon Valley?

It is said that the water in Baishuihe River is a sacred place of love. When two Naxi teenagers fall in love with each other, the boy will stand barefoot in the cold river in winter to test his love to the girl. It is believed that their love will be tested and last forever in the holy mountain.

There are four lakes divided by small waterfalls or giant rocks along the river, namely Jade-Like Lake, Mirror Pond, Blue Moon Lake, and Wave-Listening Lake. The lakes form a natural mirror reflecting the grand snow mountain, surrounding cliffs, and lush plants. There are small shoals dotted among the water, breaking the smooth surface of the lakes. Travelers can take good pictures anywhere along the river. But the best point is the White Water Terrace on the upstream. It is made up of fan-shaped stairs with the river running down from each step, looking like shining shells under the sunlight.

The White River Terraced Waterfall

White Water River (local people also call it Milk River) is clean, pure and sacred for the local Naxi people. It flows eastward and finally meets the Black Water River, forming the White and Black River in Lijiang. The ancient Dongba scriptures describe that the black and white reinforce each other creating the harmonious, peaceful world. Here visitors can also explore the mysterious caves, waterfalls, lakes, wild flowers…

The White River terraced waterfall is not 100% natural but partly man-made. Still it is really beautiful in white color and unique in crescent shape. Many travelers consider it a smaller version of Pamukale in Turkey. If you visit it in the off-peak season, you can enjoy the delightful serenity and get great shots of the waterfall terraces with the majestic snow mountain as the backdrop, without tourist crowds.

Blue Moon Valley

Blue Moon Valley and Baishuihe River in Lijiang

What attract people most are the beautiful sceneries and breathtaking landscapes of the Blue Moon Valley, the magical and mysterious fairy water, the deep limestone caves, countless of azaleas, and the natural Longkou Waterfalls(龙口水瀑布). American botanist Joseph Rock once made a lot of travelogue here, and left a lot of documents and pictures. The words and pictures inspired the British writer James Hilton so the word Shangri-La can be found in his work, Lost Horizon.

Traveling to the Blue Moon Valley, tourists can not only enjoy the beautiful scenery, but also its unique charm as one of the birthplaces of the Naxi culture.

Attraction Travel Tips

Blue Moon Valley and Baishuihe River in Lijiang

Traveling hours: One day
Traveling seasons: Summer
Ticket price: 
Free of charge, the entrance ticket to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain has included the visit to White Water River and Blue Moon Valley.
If taking a battery car around for sightseeing, an additional charge of RMB40 will be applied.
Activities: car sightseeing, walking around
Best time to visit: summer from June to September, when the weather is mild and the various kinds of flowers are in full blossom.
What to Pack: Travel light when strolling in the vally. Bring a camera with you that you can take photos along the way. Sunlight is very strong in Lijiang, wear sun protection such as hats, sunglasses and use sun block, etc.
Photography Tips: To shoot some amazing photos of Blue Moon Valley, photographers should not miss Jade-Like Lake, Mirror Pond, Blue Moon Lake, The White River Terraced Waterfall, Longkou Waterfalls and Wave-Listening Lake. It is better shoot in the early morning and late afternoon.

Others Scenic Area:

• Lijiang Old Town

Lijiang old Town is officially called “Dayan Town”, “Dayan” literally means a “great ink stab”, a graphic description of the town’s location on a piece of rich flatland fed by a river and surrounded by green mountains. It is a well-preserved Naxi ancient town, listed as UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. It is one of the four best-preserved ancient cities in China. The unique geographical location, historical background and multiracial inhabitants make it one of the most popular travel destination in China.

• Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Located in Yulong Naxi Autonomous County, Lijiang City, Yunnan Province, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is 15 kilometers north of the downtown, which has a highest altitude of 5596 meters and an area of 455 square kilometers. With thirteen perennial snow peak, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain resembles a jade dragon lying in the clouds, hence the name. Featured by its magnificence, precipitousness, uniqueness and beauty, the scenery of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain changes in accordance with seasons and weathers.

• Shuhe Old Town

Nestled at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, 6 km northwest of Lijiang old town, Shuhe Old Town was once a staging post at ancient Tea & Horse Road. With an altitude of 2440 meters above sea level, it is a tranquil town with a population of about 3000 people. Along with its sister town Lijiang, it is also part of the UNESCO Heritage site. Shuhe is the earliest settlement of Naxi people in Lijiang when their ancestors first moved to this region.

• Baisha Ancient Town

Baisha Old Town is one of the oldest towns in Lijiang City. It got its name “Baisha” meaning “white sand” from the natural white sand in the area. It was the cradle-land of the Tusi Dynasty evolved from the Mu Clan. It was also the earliest settlement of the Naxi people. In ancient times, Baisha was a center of silk embroidery in southwest China and an important place on the Ancient Tea and Horse Road.