How to Travel from Muli to Lugu Lake

Location: Southwest  Sichuan  & Northwest Yunnan

Attraction type:  geographic diversity & ethinic minority cultures

Best Season: from June to July, when the mountains are dotted with flowers; September to early November, when the autumn colors is intensive.

Access:Chengdu/Kunming > Xichang > Muli (see details on  Muli)

Starting: Wachang
Ending: Lige Island,Lugu Lake


This route traverses the enchanting territories of two former mountain Principalities — the Lama Kingdom of Muli(Mili), and the ancient Naxi Kingdom of Yongning, a world of isolated monasteries and shaded mountain forests, inhabited by unique communities of Yi, Lolo, Tibetan and Naxi minority people.

Trekking in this region offers a rare glimpse into the rich cultural and geographic diversity of the less visited area. Starting from Chengdu you enter the foothills of the Tibetan Plateau west of the old walled city of Xichang to proceed through high nomad country, forested woodland and remote villages to the Sichuan – Yunnan frontier. Here beneath the majestic face of Lion Mountain, the placid waters of Lugu Lake are encountered.

Joseph Rock described this natural wonder as “Without exception, the finest sheet of water…a more beautiful setting …it is difficult to imagine.”


D1: Chengdu or Kunming to Xichang

There are trains from Chengdu south and Kunming to Xichang. More than 20 trains leave Chengdu for Xichang every day, 560km / around 10 hours / Y130-200 from hard sleeper to soft. Most depart at night and arrive in the morning of next day. Kunming to Xichang trains are also in high frequency, the journey takes nearly 9 hours, Y76/Y119 for hard/soft seat, Y143/Y215 for hard/soft sleeper.

In Xichang, you can stay at the Wumao Hotel for Y20/bed in triple dorms.

D2: Xichang to Muli

Buses from Xichang to Muli leave between 6:30-7:30, Y60 / 250km / arriving 7-8 hrs later.  Overnight at Muli.

D3: Muli Qu to Wachang

There is one bus leaves Muli for Wachang at 7am(Y35-40) and arrives at around lunch time.

Wachang is the administrative centre for the Muli monastery area, 2km from Muli Dasi. It consists of a single street with a few stores, a snack restaurant, a school and a guesthouse. It is connected to the other towns in the Litang river valley by a rough road that winds several thousand feet down to the river below, and then corkscrews up the other side and follows a roller coaster switchback route down the the county town of Muli  about 150km south. It’s a wild and dangerous ride, and there are no buses.

Sitting under the limestone peaks of the 16,000 foot high Mt Mitzuga, Wachang is the only “town” in the upper part of the valley, and the base for exploring the Muli monastery. There is a track around the western side of the mountain that takes you to the Shouchu river, the village of Shuiluo and eventually to the three peaks at Yading.

D4: Wachang to Xilinshan

D5: Across Ki-Bo Shan

D6: Ki-Bo Shan Pass to Wujiao Village

D7: Wujiao Village to Yongning

D8: Yongning to Lugu Lake

See more deatails at Lugu Lake