The First Bend of Yangtze River, Lijiang

Why Is the The First Bend of Yangtze River So Special?

The Yangtze River Bend, as its name denotes, is the spot where the south running river suddenly turns northward due to changes in the shape of the nearby mountain ranges which form a mammoth V shape at this spot.

With the gradual deposit of fertile soil at this spot, a village slowly came into being, now called Shigu Town, meaning “stone drum” in Chinese. Since ancient times, this town has been important, linking Tibet with the outside world. Here Tibetan people bring their quality fell, hide and herbal medicine and take home tea, salt, cloth and other necessities. When market day comes, the town is incredibly crowded and noisy. In Shigu Town, gold sands of the first gulf in Yangtze River which is located in the west Lijiang City turn the direction 180 degree here, hurtle to open the mountain layer after layer to obstruct, turn around to go up north again and then the east go to. This gorgeous scene had become famous as the First Bend of the Yangtze River.

The river is broadened at the bend and flows slowly. The famous historical event, such as “Zhuge Liang’s Crossing the Lushni River in the Fifth Month”, Kublai Khan’s “Crossing the River on Leather Rafts” all chose this place as a ferry. In May 1936, the Red Army to leaders He Long, Ren Bishi and Guan Xianying led the Second Route Red Army to march north, crossing the river also at this place. At present, a splendid memorial tablet marking the victorious crossing is erected here.

Where Is The First Bend of Yangtze River?

The First Bend of the Yangtze River is located on the north side of the highway leading from Dali to Lijiang, about 70 km. from lijiang Town. The upper reaches of the Yangtze River is named the Jinsha River, which originates from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The Jinsha River flowed southward along the Hengduan Mountain ranges and was forced to the turn to north because of the Alpine movements which caused changes in the earth’s physiognomy. 

 First Bend of the Yangtze River in Lijiang

On the hill as the river bends stands the small Shigu (stone drum) Township. It is so called because of the existence of a drum-like stone tablet. It is 1.5 m. in diametre, 70 mm. in thickness, being the memorial tablet marking the victory of territorial expansion of Lijiangs local ruler Baichuan, surnamed Mu, in the 27th to 40th year of the Jiaqing era of the Ming Dynasty (1548-1561). It is one of the earliest stone tablets hitherto found at Lijiang.

What Features Are in The First Bend of Yangtze River?

1. Interesting scenery and historic site.
2. Visit the Naxi town of Shiguzhen and shop.
3. Watch the local people shop, trade and work.
4. Hike around and go on the river in boats.
5. Visit the memorial and see the stone monument that is about 450 years old.

History of The First Bend of Yangtze River

The surface of river of Shigu ferry crossing is broad, the river flows gently which is suitable for the ferry, has always been a place of great military importance. It is said that during the Three Kingdoms period, Zhuge Liang pacified Nam Trung, “cross the Lushui in May” (Jinsha river called Lushui Water in ancient time); In A.D. 1253, Kublai Khan led his army to cross exposure and raft through the Jinsha River, unified Yunnan. The Second Army of the Chinese Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army led by He Long, Ren Bishi and Xiao Ke was crossing from here in April 1936 and proceeded northward to anti-Japanese. After the liberation, in the hillside behind the Shigu tablet, there built the 8.1 meters high monument “the red army long march ferry monument”, standing in the hillside, imposing and solemn. It is one of Yunnan province key cultural relics protection units. Pailou (decorated archway) in the front of monument is Memorial Room of the Red Army River Crossing, where display of the legacy during red army long march, will make you know more vividly about the great army more than half a century ago.

Legend of The First Bend of Yangtze River

About the origin of estuary, there is folklore: went outing together, on the halfway they had dispute, eldest sister and elder sister, stubbornly headed south, Jinsha determined to go east where the sun rises to look for a light and love, when she got to Shigu, she said goodbye to the two sisters, resolutely turned eastward. The place where Jinsha turned back became the Yangtze River First Bend.

Another version is that: three sisters of Nujiang River, Lancang River and Jinsha River who don’t want to marry the person in the west so they held out on their parents, secretly run from home. Beautiful clever Jinsha invited two elder sisters to the east China sea. Parents learned after three girls run away, very angry, so they sent two brothers Yulong and Haba hold up on their way to the east China sea. Nujiang and Lancang saw two elder brothers blocked their way in Shasongbi village, they thought that their brothers were too strong for them so they dared not go forward, then change their mind that did not go to the east China sea. They chose the south road but could not persuade Jinsha, they had to rush angrily. Jinsha saw two sisters gone, but her determination to the east China sea still remained in the heart so that she resolutely turned straight at her brother’s way, eventually broke through the obstacles and went into the east China sea. Where she turned formed the famous “the Yangtze River First Bend” landscape.
First Bend of the Yangtze River

What to See in The First Bend of Yangtze River?

Along the Shigu there are not only gathering talents but also owns beautiful scenery and rich products, known as the plateau “small regions south of the Yangtze River“. Here river flows gently, river valley is open, and terraces are layer upon layer. In the spring, wheat fields turn green, rape flowers turn golden, in the autumn paddy has bumper harvest, melon and fruit is full of garden. Along the river osier is like belt, and every willow is tall and straight, the crown of willow is as thick as canopy, and the beach under the tree is particularly cool. It was that the red army camp, now become an ideal place for summer resort. And along the river of 3 kilometers is Shimen Pass (Stone Gate Pass) which is known for strategically located and difficult of access, it is said that during the Sui dynasty general Shi Wansui went on a expedition to Yunnan and opened the pass, Yuan, Ming and Qing three dynasties are garrisoned in this pass, which has been a place of great military importance.

Yangtze River First Bend is 50 kilometers away from Lijiang county town, is not only an important scenic spot of Lijiang, and links to scenic spots such as Tiger Leaping Gorge, Laojun Mountain, and Meili Snow Mountain. In addition, Shigu is rich in talc and granite, and it has got a lot of development then is exported to all over the place. Every three days in Shigu Town there is the street market, pedestrians are bustling, very lively.

The best place to see the attraction

‘Where to see the First Bend of the Yangtze River?’, Almost every tourist to Lijiang ask the same question. Be sure to keep in mind the follow travel tips and to understand your tour to see the First Bend before booking.

1. There are two places to see the First Bend of the Yangtze, one is in Shigu Village and another is on the way from Lijiang to Shigu Village (about 34 kilometers after leaving Lijiang for the village), the awesome landscapes can be seen along the No.308 provincial road, and a special viewing deck is built there and helps guest to enjoy the grand scene of the Yangtze River.

2. Usually the tour group will only see the First Bend in Shigu Village, it will be only a glance from far away and with poor direction. People need to climb the hill at the entrance of Shigu Village to see the panorama of the sight with the help of local people (maybe at an extra fee of RMB5 or 10 yuan to pass their home to the hill’s peak)

3. Don’t forget taking your wide-angle lens with you because the common cameras can not keep the whole scenery down.

Travel Tips of First Bends of Yangtze River

From LiJiang Passenger Terminal tourists can take bus to Shigu Town, Lijiang is 45 km from Shigu Town, about 2 hours drive. Tourists can also charter car to there, and the prices should be negotiated. To visit the Yangtze River First Bend and Shigu Town, people can take tourism special line bus in all bus stations and the main hotels in Lijiang city. Or people can choose package of Tiger Leaping Gorge and Yangtze River First Bend.

The best travel season to Yangtze River First Bend: the first recommended visiting season is fall, followed by summer. Autumn has pleasant climate, which is suitable to visit. During hot summer to enjoy the tree shade is also very comfortable. Lijiang spring flowers are in full bloom, and the winter sunshine is sufficient, all season is a good choice to travel Yangtze River First Bend, warm in winter and cool in summer, the four seasons are all appropriate.

1、Travel Agencies in Lijiang City also offer the one-day travel including the First Bay of the Yangtze and Hutiao Gorge, which generally cost 150RMB per person, including the fare, admission fee and lunch charge.

2、Shigu Town just stands on the mountain besides the First Bay of the Yangtze. And the high mountain behind the town is the best place to view the latter.

3、Besides, as the traffic main artery of tourism in Lijang, Shigu Town leads to Liming, Liguang, Judian and Tacheng to the north, Laojun Mountain Scenic Spot to the west and Hutiao Gorge along Jinsha River.

How to Get to First Bends of Yangtze River

Self-help tourists can only charter a car or take the long-distance bus in Lijiang Passenger Bus Station or county bus in the Long-Distance Bus Station in new street to Shigu Town.

Shigu Town is on the hill near the Yangtze River First Bend. The high mountain behind the Shigu Town is also the perfect place see “Yangtze River First Bend”. In addition, Shigu Town is one of the important traffic arteries in Lijiang tourism. Going to the north can reach Liming, Liguang, Judian, Tacheng; Going to the west can reach the Laojun Mountain scenic area, along the Jinsha River can reach the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

By shuttle bus: Take the shuttle bus at the center bus station of Lijiang to Shigu Village, it is about 2 hours. Guest can take the common tourism bus (RMB15 yuan) at Lijiang or rent a coach after bargaining with the drivers.