Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lijiang, Yunnan

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is a most famous tourist spot in Lijiang. You are not consider being at Lijiang if you do not visit this snow mountain. That's what people says but I have different opinion, I will explain further so read on. To get to here:
  1. Take a bus at Yuhe Parking Lot near the northern gate of Lijiang Old Down. You can buy the ticket in Tourist Service Center at the northern end of Lanhua Street, opposite Tianyu Hotel. The bus leaves for the Snow Mountain at 8.30am and returns at 4.30pm; the bus fare costs CNY40 per person.
  2. Take a taxi / car/ mini-van or carpool together from the downtown area. The distance is around 15 kilometers (10 miles). It takes around 40 minutes. The round-trip charter rate is around CNY 200.
  3. Or sign up with a local tour agency at Lijiang Old Town just like I did for CNY400 per pax. Make sure it is not a "shopping tour" which is easily known when they offer you much lower price than I got here. The tour includes, hotel pick up, oxygen tank, cold jacket, lunch, park entrance fee and cable car ticket fee.

Luckily we are not riding a chairlift like what I experienced at Lugu Lake. At least this is a proper cable car. The chairlift is way too dangerous to be used in this snow mountain. As there are strong wind and too high. By the way, the price to get to the top of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is ain't cheap at all if you do not sign up with a tour agency. Here are the pricing and it is not yet include the transport to get here and return:

  1. Entrance fee to the park = CNY130
  2. Sightseeing car to the ropeway = CNY20
  3. Cable car ticket fee = CNY180
  4. Insurance for the cable car = CNY2

The total journey takes about 30 minutes. The view to the top is amazing. The weather is getting colder when we get to the top. 
If you think we have reached the peak, you will be disappointed. You have to walk another 264m to get to the peak. This is just the cable car station. 

If you are planning to have a rest first before the climb, take a photo with this cool llama. It is a real llama, not a fake one. Trust me. Or else where the local traditional costume from the Naxi tribe for a photoshot. All are chargeable. 
Once you have mentally prepared, time to climb. 264m maybe is not really high but with the thinning air and the cold temperature really make you tired real quick. You will also easily get altitude sickness. Headaches are the primary symptom used to diagnose altitude sickness, although a headache is also a symptom of dehydration. A headache occurring at an altitude above 2,400 metres (7,900 ft) – a pressure of 76 kilopascals (0.75 atm) – combined with any one or more of the following symptoms, may indicate altitude sickness:
  • Gastrointestinal - Loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting, excessive flatulation[9]
  • Nervous - Fatigue or weakness, headache with or without dizziness or lightheadedness, insomnia, “pins and needles” sensation
  • Locomotory - Peripheral edema (swelling of hands, feet, and face)
  • Respiratory - Nose bleeding, shortness of breath upon exertion
  • Cardiovascular - Persistent rapid pulse
  • Other - General malaise

Ascending slowly is the best way to avoid altitude sickness. Avoiding strenuous activity such as skiing, hiking, etc. in the first 24 hours at high altitude reduces the symptoms of AMS. Alcohol and sleeping pills are respiratory depressants, and thus slow down the acclimatization process and should be avoided. Alcohol also tends to cause dehydration and exacerbates AMS. Thus, avoiding alcohol consumption in the first 24–48 hours at a higher altitude is optimal.
Finally at the top and this is what you will see with the route which I came from. It is not really high. Just take slow step and you will get there. I can hardly get a chance to get a nice shot on the peak too because the peak is too crowded with people. The people was not considerate enough and took their own sweet time taking the photos that they want as long as they wanted to be. It was really annoying.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulong Mountain) is the southernmost glacier in the Northern Hemisphere. Consisting of 13 peaks, among which Shanzidou is the highest with an altitude of 5,600 meters (18,360 feet), the mountain stretches a length of 35 kilometers (22 miles) and a width of 20 kilometers (13 miles). Looking from Lijiang Old Town in the south which is 15 kilometers (nine miles) away, the snow-covered and fog-enlaced mountain resembles a jade dragon lying in the clouds, hence the name.
According to the research of geologists, for about 400 million years the area around Jade Dragon Snow Mountain was the ocean and it was during the last 600 thousand years that the different landscapes had come into being because of the uprising of the lithosphere. Archaic legend about this mysterious and beautiful place goes like this: Once upon a time, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain were twins. They had lived on panning in Golden Sand River until one day an evil fiend usurped the river. The brothers were very brave and had a fierce fight with the fiend, Haba died in the fight and Jade Dragon drove off the fiend after wearing out 13 swords. For guarding the people and preventing the return of the fiend, Jade Dragon held the 13 swords in hands day and night. As time passed, the brothers had turned into the two snow mountains, and the 13 swords had become the 13 peaks. The mountain is a holy place for the local Naxi people not only because of the legend, but also because long time ago, it was a place for young lovers to sacrifice their young lives in honor of true love and to escape from the arranged marriages and feudal ethics.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is a sanctuary for rare animals and wild plants. In fact, one fourth of all plant species in China can be found here and 20 primeval forest communities shelter a big family of 400 types of trees and 30 kinds of animals which are protected by the state. These species live in different temperature levels and create different kinds of views. The 13 peaks, which have the altitudes of at least 4,000 meters, are covered by snow all year round; the mountain is also called the "Natural Glacier Museum" for it has all types of glacier. 
Move down from the mountaintop and you can see rivers and pools, which are formed by the thawed snow water running along the valley and through the forests. The plants and the animals are different according to the altitude, so are the views. Every sight brings you a surprise and every step takes you to a new scene.  Each of the meadows on Jade Dragon Snow Mountain has its own special character due to their different landscape and height. For instance, Spruce Plateau (Yunshan Plateau) is grassland with gigantic spruces whilst Ganhaizi (Dry Sea Meadow) used to be a highland lake as its name tells, the meadow was formed after the water had dried up. Besides, the Glacier Park in Jade Dragon Snow Mountain consists of the Stone Caves formed by glacial erosion.
If you think this is a big achievement for you, you should buy yourself a medal. They can carve your name on the spot. It costs CNY40 each.
Alright, time to walk down which is way easier than climbing up. You just have to be careful with the slippery stairs because of the snow.
No luck to see snow during our trip. The snow only happened at the midnight. Anyway, we just pick up and feel the snow and we let you to enjoy the panoramic view of the mountain.

We were trying to get a hot latte here but it turns cold in just slightly more than a minute. We should just get back down and have a proper hot coffee instead. It is just too cold to stay here. We had two layers of winter jacket and it still can't keep us warm. The cold wind was stinging us like a bee. For your information, there are 3 ropeways and only 1 ropeway will get you to the top to see the snow mountain and it is known as the Glacier Park or Shanzidou Peak. The other two ropeways are to get you to Spruce Meadow and Yak Meadow. So make sure it is clear where you go before you signed up for a local tour package.
Overall, too crowded and too expensive. So I did not have a great experience here at Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Luckily I signed up for the tour which has reduce my cost and a more amazing tourist spot which is the Blue Moon Valley. That covers my disappointment...a little. 
Total Cost: CNY400 (tour) / CNY332 (without land transfer, lunch, oxygen and winter jacket)
Operating Hours: 7.00am - 4.30pm (daily)
Recommended?: 2/5


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