2008: Jinghong - Shangri-la
My first full trip in China, all the way through the Yunnan province to the foothills of the Himalayas and the border with Tibet. Not the China of the new economic world power, but the China of our dreams, with colorful minorities, extensive tea plantations and centuries-old fortified towns. And yet, sometimes I see that here too, in the southernmost province of this vast country, progress is creeping in.First I cycle along the tea plantations of Pu'er. When tea makes way for tobacco, I approach the historical town of Weishan. After a pass of 2500 m, I descend to the walled Dali, wedged between the Changsan mountains and the Er Hai lake. From there I drive to Lijiang in two days, perhaps the most beautiful authentic ancient town in China.I descend 1000 meters to the Yantze River which I follow in the breathtaking Tiger Leaping Gorge until I find a guesthouse. The next day I cycle in two days, and over several mountain passes - the last 4000 meters above sea level - to my final destination, the to the imagination speaking town of Shangri-la.