Tiger Leaping Gorge
Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest canyons in the world with a height of 3900m and 17 km long. The water drops about 300 meters in series of 21 rapids. The legend sais that once a tiger jumped across the river to escape from a hunter. Distance to Lijiang is about 100km.
When we visited Lijiang in August 2007, we booked a 2-day trip to Shangri-La and the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Our group was Chinese. The bus was middle-sized with about 25 seats. We went to the upper side of the Tiger Leaping Gorge passing a large guesthouse along the river. Here all buses had to wait for their turn to enter the park. The reason is that all tourists in those buses were transported to the place where the gorge is the smallest. These hundreds of steps downhill to the gorge were steep, narrow and crowded. To limit the visitors, buses could only drive to the stairs downhill when other buses returned.
We booked our trip in one of the travel agencies in downtown Lijiang. We paid 600 Yuan p.p including bus, entrance fees,(national park in Shangri-la was 200 Yuan, 50 Yuan for the Tiger Leaping Gorge) meals and a 4 star hotel. Two star accommodation is considerable cheaper. Because we had bad experiences with our 3-star hotels in Jiuzhaigou, we booked this time a 4-star hotel which was the right choice. About half of our group went to this 4-star hotel.
Hiking in the gorge is also possible and by far more interesting than the (crowded) tour we did. Accommodation along the trail (20km) are budget guesthouses. Transportation is with the public bus from Lijiang to Qiaotou. I guess that the tourist agencies in Lijiang also organize 1/2-day hiking tours to the trail.