Yulong Xue Shan (Jade Dragon Snow Mountain)

Lijiang, China

A visit to Yunnan’s Lijiang is made way more memorable if you cross the 20 kms and go on a trip to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, with its 13 peaks. It is a fairytale land with glaciers and meadows, with easy access to the highest peak through cable cars. There are so many options for getting a diverse range of views, from mountains shrouded in mist and snow to crystal lakes surrounded by lush greenery. It makes the romantic within come alive.

There are buses and mini vans going from Lijiang Old Town to the mountain area daily (try the minivan at Red Sun Square at a cost of about RMB30/ person). You just need to book in advance (both bus tickets and mountain area entry tickets; limited people allowed, and they sell out quick some days) and start early in the day as there are long lines at the cable cars as the day moves on. The winter is the best time to enjoy the full glory of this place, especially late winter when there’s snow everywhere combined with spectacular visibility. The entry ticket for the mountain area is RMB100 (timings 07:00 to 18:00) and prices for the three cable cars, round trip, ranges from RMB55 – RMB120 (children under 3.3 ft ride free and those between 3.3 and 3.9 ft enjoy half off). The tourist transport inside the park is mandatory at a cost of RMB20.

Most people underestimate the cold based on their experience in Lijiang. However, on and elevation of 18,000 feet, it gets extremely chilly. There are down jackets available for rent (RMB50 + deposit of RMB250) at the base of the mountain, as are oxygen cylinders, but these are several times more expensive then those at Lijiang. It is hard to acclimatize as the cable cars normally just zip you to the top, so it is best to buy 2 cannisters per person from town along with snacks!

Once there, you can enjoy hiking, skiing and the wonderful flora and fauna. There are four spots worth noting; Yak Meadow, White River or Blue Moon Valley, Spruce Meadow and Glacier Park. The last is the highest reach possible through cable car with a set of steps that will take you even further up. The views are dazzling there. From the Yak Meadow, one can see all 13 peaks of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and if you’re lucky, even yaks grazing around. At Blue Moon Valley, there are white pools in the river, with water so clear you can see the fish swimming in it. Spruce Meadow, a sacred land for the Naxi people, offers a good dose of natural beauty along with the place where the Impression Lijiang live show is hosted. Concocted by the same man who directed the 2008 opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, it is worth a watch (though, at RMB280 it is a bit pricey).

No matter which spots you choose to visit, it will be a day well spent!

Other Attractions In Lijiang