Dulongjiang River Valley, Nujiang

Why is Dulong River Valley So Special?

Dulong River Canyon is a mysterious and remote canyon with an altitude from 1000 to 4936 meters. The canyon preserves intact sustainable landscape and contains rich natural resources. However, due to the snowy and frozen climate, Dulong River Canyon is isolated from the world. Dulong River is considered as ‘the Natural Museum of Wild Plants’ and is the part of the most intact sustainable landscape. An ancient ethnic group, Dulong nationality, live here. Because of the unique geographic position of Dulong River, few travelers come while the beautiful scenery and special humanistic culture bring much charm.

Where is Dulong River Valley – Location

Dulongjiang river valley, located in the northwest of Yunnan province, Gongshan Dulong Nu Autonomous County of Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture. It originated from the southeast of Tibet, meanders from north to south for 150 kilometers in Yunnan and then runs into Myanmar in Gongshan County. It is the first order affluent of Irrawaddy River, stretch across China and Myanmar. The average width of the river is about 40 meters. The local Dulong villagers on both sides can hear each other when talking while they need to walk about three days to meet each other.


Due to the remote location of the Dulong river valley and the fact that almost no one goes into it for tourism, the ecological environment here is preserved completely. It is almost an isolated place, where people are few and puer. Just because sparsely populated, the scenery there is unique in the world. Every October to May, the snow blocks the road, making it in a state of isolation. As one of the core areas of the “three parallel rivers”, the Dulong river is the westernmost one, which also makes it known as the “fourth river”.

Facial Tattoo Women of Dulong People

Dulongjiang River Valley, Nujiang

Dulong nationality is an ancient ethnic minority that live in Dulong River Canyon. Facial tattoo of women is a special costom of Dulong people. As for the reason, there are different versions. Some said that it is the coming-of-age ceremony of Dulong girls in 12 or 13 ages or it shows the totemism of Dulong people. Some said that it is a unique method to prevent from the robbery of Tibetan Tusi. Whatever the ture reason is, the traditon of facial tattoo women is dying out gradually.

Dulong nationality is one of the minority ethnic groups in China which has preserved the characteristics of the patriarchal clan commune in the late primitive society. They believe in primitive religion and believe that all things have spirits. They regard all natural disasters, human disasters, diseases as the action of a god. Therefore, mountains, rivers, trees, boulders have become objects of worship. Some of the Dulong people believe in Christianity.

How to Get there

There is no direct long-distance bus to Gongshan from Kunming and Dali. Tourists can only transfer to at Liuku. There is direct night bus from Kunming to Fugong. Almost all the tourists will rent a car to due to the inconvenience of transportation. Yunnan Exploration Travel can provide the car-rental service with good vehicle and skilled driver.

Main Attractions in Dulong River Valley

▪Maku Zhanggu Nature Barrier
Dulong River becomes roaring and gusting in Maku Village. Along the river are cliffs, great mountains and thick forests with abundant rare animals and plants. Crystal clear streams and waterfalls dot the region. 

▪Moon Waterfall
It also called Hapang Waterfall, which means the shiny water from the heaven in Dulong language. The waterfall got its name of moon because water shines brightly in the moonlight whenever it is the 15th of the month of the lunar calendar when the moon is round. And it is quite enjoyable to watch the waterfall in the moonlight then. 

▪The Rattan Strips Bridges on Dulong River
The 150 branches of Dulong River flow in Gaoligong Mountain and Dandanglika Mountain and form numerous deep gullies. To cross the gullies, Dulong people have built many bridges from rattan strips. The rattan bridges look very simple. People fasten the two ends of two parallel thick rattan strips at the river banks, weave a net of thin rattan strips between the two thicker ones, then put some long wood boards or wide bamboo strips on the net. A V-shape bridge is made then.

▪Dulong River Post Road
Dulong River Post Road is the only post road leading to Dulong River Canyon. Along the road are numerous waterfalls and other beautiful sceneries. There also live many rare animals and plants along the road. It takes about three days to reach the Dulong River by the post road on foot. Dulong nationality entered socialist society directly from primitive society in the 1950s. The folk customs, as well as the pure natural sceneries, make the place a perfect attraction for tourists.

Recommended Trekking Routes in Dulong River Valley

Route A:Kongdang‣Xiangjiudang‣Kongdang
This is the easiest north route, a round walk takes about 3 days. Xianjiudang is where leeches attack trekkers. Leg wrapping and salt should be brought to keep leeches away.
Route B:Kongdang‣Xiangjiudang‣Longyuan‣Dizhengdang‣Xiongdang
Route C:Gongshan‣Qiqi‣Dongshaofang‣Bapo‣Kongdang‣Gongshan
Route D:Gongshan‣Qiqi‣Dongshaofang‣Bapo‣Houmu‣Xianjiudang‣Longyuan‣Dizhengdang‣Nandai‣Kongdang‣Gongshan

Dulongjiang River Valley, Nujiang

Best Time to Go

September is the best time to tour Dulongjiang Valley when the rainy season just ends, but with less water, lush plant, clear water and no snow.  At this time a variety of venomous snakes, leeches, venomous worms will not be many, beneficial to the hiking people. Every November, the Dulong valley loses almost all contact with the outside world. The snow covers ten meters thick, keeping all the houses away from the snow mountain. Only to the next August when the snow and ice melted the valley area returns its vitality. 

Accommodate at Dulong River Valley

Most of the hotels in Dulongjiang are concentrated in the township government seat of Kongdang. Besides, there are inns in Bapo, Xiongdang, Qinlandang and Dizheng, which can meet the needs of some tourists. It is better to stay in these places to have a deep experience of the folk customs and culture of the Dulong people.

Attractions Nearby

Nujiang Grand Canyon
Nujiang Grand Canyon is the longest and most mysterious, precipitous and unsophisticated canyon in the world, which goes southeast from Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon in south-north trend. The spectacular Nujiang Grand Canyon and the roaring Nujiang River thrill and shock the travelers. 

Bingzhongluo Scenic Area
Bingzhongluo, which is called ‘A Heaven of Peace and Happiness’, is the most beautiful place in Nujiang Grand Canyon. When you walk on the Tea Horse Road of millennium, see the roaring Nujiang River running among the steep cliff and deep valley, splendid church and temple, tranquil villages, thick forest and towering snow mountain, you may lose yourself in the wonderful landscape.

Useful Travel Tips

 Take relevant documents with you for inspection due to Nujiang Prefecture located in the border area.

 Respect the customs of ethnic minorities and avoid disturbing the lives of local people. 

 Prepare anti-high drugs and sunscreen. 

 From May to August is the rainy season and the road conditions are some dangerous.

 The weather is changeable in the mountains. Bring warm clothes.

Tours including Dulong River Valley

9 Days Nujiang Grand Canyon Tour with Dulongjiang River Valley Hiking Adventure

15 Days Three Parallel Rivers Overland Adventure with Dulongjiang River Valley and Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking