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Nujiang Guide: travel info, best routes, and images

Nujiang Guide – Until recently, Nujiang Valley was undoubtedly the last frontier of tourism in Yunnan.

Nujiang Guide - nujiang rope bridge
Sliding across the River by Cable —– a Bridge over the Nujiang Canyon 溜索过江——怒江峡谷上的“桥”. Nujiang is the “second largest canyon of the world”. Historically, people on the banks visit each other by taking the very dangerous sliding cable, which is a thick rope made of tangled rattans fixed on the trees or posts on both banks. In order to pass the river, a passenger should use a kind of sliding tool to link himself with the cable.

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The valley created by the waters of the Nu River winds for about two hundred kilometers and is stretched between inaccessible mountain walls covered by intricate forests. Once, the only road built along the slopes was often obstructed by landslides that could interrupt the flow of traffic even for a few days.

Today things have finally changed, and the valley is crossed by a new and safer road. The area is populated predominantly by Lisu and Nuzu. The Dulong live mainly in the Dulongjiang xiang county.

Nujiang county map

The three main towns are Gongshan, Fugong, and Bingzhongluo, located at the northern tip of the Valley. These places themselves do not offer much to the casual visitor but can serve as a base for excursions to the surrounding areas. Apart from the exotic vegetation that grows along the steep slopes of the mountains (different climates are represented, as the climate is tropical downstream, and Alpine at the top of the mountains), it is worth visiting the characteristic local villages.

Nujiang River
The Great Nujiang Canyon (怒江大峡谷) is located in western Yunnan, on the upper reaches of the Nujiang River. Stretching out from the juncture of Yunnan Province and Tibetan Autonomous Region, the Canyon measures 316 kilometers in total length and 2,000-3,000 meters in valley depth. There are dangerous shoals on the river course, which is flanked by precipitous cliffs and sky-piercing snowy mountains. Nujiang Great Canyon is one of the famous grand canyons in the world.

The Great Oriental Canyon

Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture is on the south extension of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in the longitudinal valleys of transverse Mountains in northwest Yunnan, bordering on Myanmar in the west, Tibet in the north, Diqing, Lijiang, Dali, and Baoshan in the southeast. The boundary line exceeds 44,967 kilometers in length. Nujiang is surrounded by mountains and rivers, with the west-east Dulong River, Nujiang, Lancang River, and the north-south Dandanglika Mountain, Gaoligong Mountain, Biluo Snowy Mountain and other Yunnan mountains, which cut into three deep and mysterious canyons called the Great Nujiang Canyon or the Great Oriental Canyon.

The Stone Moon 石月亮 – On the 3,300 meters high summit of the middle part of the Gaoligong Mountains, there is a huge hole 100 m deep, 40 m wide, and 60 m high, formed by the corrosion of marble. Traveling along the Nujiang River for a hundred km, you would see white clouds and blue sky through the stone hole, shaped like a moon. The formation cause of this hole is the geological location of the Nujiang Canyon between the Euro-Asian plate and the Indian plate. Due to the great geological stress and the rapidly ascending earth crust, a special geological structure and splendid natural views are constructed.

Traditions and religions of Nujiang Valley

The place is inhabited by the Nu, Tibetan, Dulong, Lisu, Naxi people, who respectively worship primitive religions, Lamaism, Catholicism, or Christianity which is the major religion. The different religions co-exist in harmony. It is unique that each person believes in his/her own religion in some families. Natural worship is the common characteristic of the Lisus and the Nus. But the Nu People have more complicated religions because they worship primitive religion, and keep the influence of Tibetan Buddhism, Christianity, and Catholicism. Churches and religious services are reserved in most areas. Their four parts harmony choir is base on the authentic multi-parts chorus of the Lisus, featuring the foreign Christian culture and without accompaniment.


Best Tour Time:

Around the Spring Festival every year

Attention: Dangerous and complicated as the road to Nujiang is, it is unfit to travel in the rainy season of every year.

On Tour

Transport: 580 kilometers from Kunming to Liuku.

Kunming-Nujiang, regular bus every day, departure: 18:00, arrival: 7:00 a.m of the next day, about 13 hours.

Local Food: black edible fungus, yellow edible fungus, a dish of a tree’s flowers, ginseng, lacquer oil.

Local Products: bow, arrow, the bowl of a pipe, gunnysack, Dulong carpet, ethnic clothes, and bags.


Travel Information:

Tourism Bureau of Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture
Address: inside the workers’ recreation clubhouse of Liuku in Lushui county of Nujiang prefecture
Tel: 86 886 3624247       Fax: 86 886 3627005
Tour Inquiring Tel: 0866-3624247

What to see in Nujiang

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Images: Oliver Huang

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