Travel Routes and Tips for Three Parallel Rivers Adventure in Yunnan

Location: Northwest Yunnan

About : Three Parallel Rivers

Attractions: Three amazing rivers of Asia – the Yangtze (Jinsha), Mekong (Lanchang) and Salween (Nujiang).Three Parallel Rivers Trek Map

Best time to go:  Apr.~Jun, Oct. ~ Nov.


Option A – the Yangtze and Mekong(public transport):
Kunming > Lijiang > Tiger Leaping Gorge > Zhongdian > Deqin – Meili Snow Mountain (return to Kunming from the same way).

Option B – Salween (public transport):
Kunming > Fugong > Gongshan > Bingzhongluo (and back to Kunming).

Option C- three rivers: 
Kunming > Liuku> Gongshan> Dimaluo> Biluo Snow Mt.> Meili Snow Mt. > Deqin > Zhongdian> Baishuitai > Tiger Leaping Gorge > Lijiang> Kunming

Itinerary of Route C

D1 Kunming -> Liuku
Arrive in Kunming and take the late afternoon sleeper bus to Liuku. 580km, express and sleeper buses leaving from Kunming daily from 8am till 6pm(Y110-160, 13-16hrs ride).

D2 Liuku to Gongshan
200km.Buses depart for Gongshan at 6:30am and 12:00noon, along the spectacular gorge. Chartering a jeep from Liuke to Gongshan is aroung Y300, which is convenient for making stops at anywhere you like.

There are more than enough accommodation options in Gongshan such as the Bus Station Hotel, Gongshan Hotel and Bayi Zhaodaisuo, Y15-20/dorm bed, Y60/std. rm

D3 Gongshan to Dimaluo
Take a bus or chartered minivan north along the Nu river to Dimaluo village,which is used as a base for travellers trekking to and from the Mekong river valley to the east, but is also notable as one of Nujiang’s numerous Catholic communities – the legacy of nineteeth century French missionaries.

The established base for out-of-towner accommodation is Alou’s Tibetan Lodge and Adventures, a backpacker hostel run by a cluey local with a penchant for environmental conservation. They can also provide guides and porters for trekking.

D4 Start trekking up the Biluo Snow Moutain(4652m) which is between the Nu river and the Mekong river, you will pass a village(Baihanluo) and a catholic church. Camping or stay in local villager’s house.
D5 Continue trekking up the mountain, you will pass a village(Layatong) and the mountain pass of 4000m, reach the village(Diwazhachong). Camping or stay in local villager’s house.
D6 Trekking down the mountain to Cizhong town by the side of Mekong river, finished your 3 days trekking,(total trekking distance is about 50 km), visit the 100-year-old catholic church built by a french missionery, which is also the best-preserved church in Yunnan. Stay in a local guesthouse.
D7 Travel north along the Mekong river for half a day from Cizhong to Meili Snow Mountain(6740m),view the Minyong Glacier up the mountain. Stay in a guesthouse in Minyong village.
D8 Trekking to Yubeng village and the Holy Waterfall, then trek down the mountain and take a ride to Deqin, stay in Deqin for overnight.
D9 Deqin to Zhongdian
By bus. On the way, you will cross Mekong river at about 2000m, then climb up the White Horse Snow Mountain(5430m) and cross the 4200m mountain pass, then down to Yangtze river area at about 1900m, and up again to reach Zhongdian(3200m). You can visit the Dongzhulin Monastery en route, which is a very important monastery in Kham area. 
D10 Explore Zhongdian
Visit the Songzanlin Monastery, the Tibetan market and the Bitahai Nature Reserve, etc.  Link of Zhongdian
D11 Zhongdian to Kunming
By coach, 13-15hrs. Exit from Kunming.


D11 Zhongdian to Baishuitai
From the main bus terminal in Zhongdian, a bus leaves daily to Sanba at 8:30am, the trip takes 4.5hrs for Y30. From Sanba, Baishuitai is only half an hour’s walk.

The Baishui Terraces (baishui tai)is located in the foothills of the Haba Snow Mountains, 100km southeast of Zhongdian, known as the birthplace of Dongba culture of the Naxi Minority Group. It’s one of the most attractive destinations in mysterious Shangri-La. The variegated landform of the tableland is a continual deposition of calcium carbonate that is contained in the spring water. Every year, the surface of the land is covered by the deposition and finally transformed into the terraced structure as we see today.

D12-14 Baishuitai to Tiger Leaping Gorge
A difficult yet amazing trek in one of the world’s deepest and most marvelous gorges. It passes through some of the most naturally  stunning and diverse landscapes China-if not the world-has to offer, making this once adventurous trek a popular choice for off-the-beaten track travellers. More…

D15-16 Lijiang
Built at the base of a hill and beside streams, Lijiang Old Town is noted for its simplistic style and has the beauty of both water-side towns and mountainous towns with water running through the courtyards and trees planted in front of every household. All the streets and lanes in the old town are paved with cobble stones, which are neither dusty in dry seasons nor muddy in rainy seasons.

Lijiang Old Town is unique in terms of site selection, layout, urban construction and utilization of water system. It occupies an important positioning architectural history, both in China and abroad. Unlike other cities in China, the strong traditional customs and habits of Naxi are still kept in the town up to the present.People in the Old Town have been continuously creating the history of civilization. Lijiang is neither a mere curio nor a simple museum, but a fresh town filled with the vigorous life-force of the ethnic culture, which has kept its historical authenticity.