Blue Moon Valley, Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China

This is the second in a series of posts from Lijiang in Yunnan Province in China. For this post, we head north to the base of the Yulong Snow Mountain, one of the most scenic treasures in China. When you see this scene below, it may seem unbelievable how beautiful it is and the vivid colours, but I can assure that this is actually how it looks in real life. It’s truly spectacular and a must see if you visit Lijiang.

GFX100S 48.2mm ISO-200 1/800sec f/5.6

For other posts in this series, please visit the links below:

  • Dayan Ancient Town
  • Blue Moon Valley
  • Heilongtan and Mufu Palace
  • Baisha Ancient Town
  • Dayan Ancient Town

The Blue Moon Valley is easily accessible by car from the Dayan Ancient Town. It’s part of the Yulong Snow Mountain complex so don’t be surprised if you find your driver taking you into the mountain complex. The hotel helped me arrange for a taxi that would take me there, help me buy tickets, wait for me, and then drive me back to the hotel. The cost was a surprisingly low ¥300. The ride took around 50 minutes and includes stunning scenery along the way. I wish I had asked the driver to stop in the sunflower fields!

GFX100S 44mm ISO-200 1/850sec f/5.6
GFX100S 32mm ISO-200 1/1250sec f/6.4
GFX100S 32mm ISO-200 1/800sec f/8

When you arrive at Yulong Snow Mountain, there are two options, you can visit the full park including taking a gondola to the top of the mountain and visiting the Blue Moon Valley, or you can choose to go only to the valley. Because tickets were sold out for the gondola (you need to book at least 1-2 days in advance during the low season, and several days in advance for the high season, if you can even get a ticket). I chose to visit the valley only for ¥100.

During the Corona Pandemic, you must make sure that you have a local Chinese number that can accept SMS codes so that you can scan the QR code and obtain the SMS that the system will send. This is to register that your number had visited that location in case they need to do contact tracing. You also must bring your passport which will be checked at least once, if not several times.

GFX100S 32mm ISO-200 1/340sec f/8
GFX100S 37.6mm ISO-200 1/180sec f/11

When I recently visited Xishuangbanna, I was reduced to using translation software in some places, but in Lijiang, there is a surprising amount of English, and furthermore, many of the attendants working in the tourist sites speak reasonable English. It was super convenient to visit this area because of all the multilingual signs and English speaking people around.

GFX100S 32mm ISO-200 1/320sec f/11
GFX100S 32mm ISO-200 1/320sec f/8

If you choose to visit only the Blue Moon Valley, you will buy your ticket on the first floor, and then need to go down to B1 to take the bus to the Blue Moon Valley. Please note that if you get off at the first stop, you can still reach the valley, but you’ll have to walk a while or be enticed into taking an expensive golf cart ride down. There’s no need for that, because if you stay on the bus for the second stop, you’ll arrive at the valley without any fuss.

Coming back on the bus from the valley, the lineups were super long, however they run an efficient operation and buses line up one after another so the lineup went by quickly. Don’t let the visual of the long lines concern you, you’ll be in the bus within 15 minutes, which for China with 1.4 billion people, is about as quick as you can expect!

GFX100S 32mm ISO-200 1/210sec f/8
GFX100S 43.3mm ISO-200 1/640sec f/8

I think the images speak for themselves, but the place is truly breathtaking and you should set aside a good 4-5 hours to explore the various levels and areas. There’s some drinks and food available as well so you can hang out and take in the views.

GFX100S 53.6mm ISO-200 1/125sec f/16

Next up in the series will be Heilongtan and Mufu Palace. Stay tuned.

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