Dongba Valley, Lijiang
English Name: Dongba Valley
Chinese Name: Dong Ba Gu
Location:at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and 15 kilometers away from Lijiang Old Town.
Traveling Hours: 2-3 hour
Traveling Seasons: all seasons
Why is Dongba Valley so special?
The Dongba Valley is home and livelihood of Naxi people. Traditional houses of Naxi and other peoples are open to visit. Dongba Valley is perched at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and about 15 kilometers southwards to the Lijiang Old Town. It is a rift valley cracked during the ancient orogenic movement period. With the total length of 9 kilometers, Dongba Valley is an uncanny workmanship by nature. It is also the only way to enter the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Scenic Area.
What to see in Dongba Valley?
Dongba Valley has turned over a mysterious page to the world. Apart form the steep cliffs and caves; it is like an insular paradise for the Naxi people. Various stalactites, dry vines, strange trees, rare birds and flying waterfalls add the Dongba Valley a lot of vitality. Being the home of Naxi people, it has strong ethnic content.
Upon entered the Dongba Valley, visitors will see a large plaza and a long and narrow street behind it. Girls and boys are dancing and singing in the plaza in order to welcome the each tourist’s coming. As the main street of Dongba Valley, Jiangren Street is an original trading land with numerous shops scattered. Jewelries, fur and medicines can be found at anywhere.
Located at the end of the Jiangren Street, Linbo Bridge is a suspension bridge beneath where runs a beautiful lake. Standing on the bridge, you are lucky to appreciate the distant mist-covered water and flickering Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
Dongba text can be seen in many scenic spots in Lijiang. Used by Naxi people, it has been rated as the only living hieroglyph in the world. Dongba scripture, made from more than 1,400 dongba words has been remained. Religion of geomantic omen, lifestyle and culture of Naxi people can be found in the Dongba scripture. It has a profound collectible value that there are less than dozen countries reserves.
Dongba culture is of long standing though it divers from Chinese culture. For Naxi people, the female is responsible to farm and do the housework while the male only needs to remain at home reading. Therefore, females own the predominate roles and men are engaged in culture and crafting, which forms the common fashion.
Trekking in Dongba Valley
The walk along the lake on the edge of the forest – another boardwalk – is worth taking and passes a cemetery with memorials for extinct species, giving the name of the animal, the date of death of the last member of the family and the cause of extinction.
The Road to Heaven
To the Jade Water Village – en route, is “The Road to Heaven”. It is a tranquil spot, its main feature is a long, colorful floor mural, showing the three realms: hell, earth and heaven, of the Naxi religion. On the right, sculptures represent good spirits and gods; evil spirits are depicted on the left.
Road and path
At the top of the road is a small hermitage and a set of temples with huge Buddha and Naxi Guides statues, but the favourite is the walk back down through the peace garden. This is a set of glades and paths filled with wind chimes. The temples and garden face the holy Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
What to buy in Dongba Valley
A stone seal, a representation of the Naxi guardian angel and a carved dragon. but the prices here are higher than haggling would achieve in the old town.
Tours Including Dongba Valley
Attractions near Dongba Valley
The Jade Dragon Snow Mountains (玉龙雪山) are a small group of peaks close to the city of Lijiang. The nearest slope is only about 30 kilometers north of the Dayan Ancient City District, and the mountain can be clearly seen from the Black Dragon Pool next to the ancient district.
The beauty of the Old City is also due to the integrity of geographical nature and harmony. In 30 km northwest to the Old City lies the unconquerable Yulong Snow Mountain of 5,596 m and the relics of glacier in the Quaternary Period. The spring is divided into three branches to flow into the Old City relatively from east, middle and west.
Black Dragon Pool (also Heilongtan), or Jade Spring(Yuquan) Park is the main headwater of the Yushui River which goes through the Old Town. People believe that the gods of the Naxi people are living in the chestnut woods, beside the mouth of springs, behind the carved doors and below the bridges. The springs come from the god-protected mountains and gather in this place and finally form the dragon pool. Then water goes down a waterfall and becomes the Yuhe River, pouring life to the Old Town.
The Dongba culture is a most inclusive term referring mainly to the language and scriptures. The Dongba language is actually composed of 1,400 picture-like characters and symbols that are still used by Dongbas, researchers and artists of the culture. It is by now the only living hieroglyph in the world and is regarded as a precious cultural relic of mankind. On August 30, 2003, the Dongba classical literature was accepted as a written world heritage by UNESCO
How to Get Dongba Valley
- By Bus: you can take the long-distance bus in Kunming West Bus Station. It costs CNY 188/217 per person and takes 7 to 9 hours. The first bus departs at 8:50 and the last departs at 20:30.
- By Train: It takes 7 to 9.5 hours from Kunming Railway Station to Lijiang Railway Station by train. The price for hard seat is CNY 90, hard sleeper is CNY 142/148/153 and soft sleeper is CNY 218/227. Then you can take the bus No.16 to get off at Qixing Street Station, or No. 18 to White Dragon Square Station. It is also convenient to spend CNY 40 to get to Lijiang Old Town by taxi.
- By Air: It takes 1 hour from Kunming Changshui Airport to Lijiang Sanyi Airport. Then you can take airport shuttle bus to reach Lantian Hotel in the downtown area, CNY 20 per person and lasting 30 minutes. And you have to walk about 1 kilometer to reach. Or you can take bus No.8/11/16 to get off at Qixing Street Station.