Archive for the ‘Travel In and Around Lijiang’ Category

thePULL: Quentin Roosevelt II & Lijiang at the Rubin Museum of Art   Leave a comment

Hey a Roosevelt was here in Lijiang.

I did a little post earlier on Quentin Roosevelt II (29 years, 47 days; November 4, 1919-December 21, 1948), and here’s a little reminder if you’re in the New York area to get an introduction of the exclusive Dongba, half a ways around the World from the home of the Dongba : Lijiang.

 (above) Photo taken by Q. Roosevelt II in 1939, early 1940s. via The Library of Congress.

See the original article written by Mr Roosevelt “Quentin Roosevelt – In the Land of the Devil Priests pg196-209” (pdf).

New York’s the Observer Maika Pollack explores the rare Dongba history by the first exhibit of the Naxi outside of China via the Quentin Roosevelt collection, according to Pollack, describing the heaven to hell scrolls of the Dongba and the history of Q. Roosevelt.

But continue reading to the Cindy Ho comment, co-curator of the exhibit, in which corrects mislead information from Pollack, defying the journalist regarding “leaving China was tricky” and “Quentin Roosevelt’s loot” and “Roosevelt’s Collection is the most complete”.

Exhibit ends September 19th 2011 at Rubin Museum of Art…
… or just visit Lijiang, as much of Joseph Rock’s collections are located in Lijiang.  The modern dtomba (Dongba) will always pale in comparison to the true mystique of the Dongba – pre-industrial revolution… as with much of the world’s artifacts.
Experience the past.

Pullman Lijiang Resort & Spa

thePULL: the Pumi   Leave a comment

If you are looking for a place to go for culture, see the Pumi.

The Pumi, Chinese: 普米族, are an ethnic minority group of approximately 30000 people largely spread across northwest Yunnan, west of Lijiang and enroute towards Lugu Lake where the Mosuo 摩梭族 reside.  A colleague of Pullman Lijiang is of Pumi origin, and say that a difference between Mosuo and Pumi are that the Mosuo put a lot more flowerly items in their hair. The woman on the far right of the above photo looks a little Naxi 纳西族, but is the dress of an honoured woman.

Lanping is approx 110 km away while Ninglang is about 85 km away, the two main areas of existence. Mind you, the roads leading to the Pumi twist and wind and up and down through many hills and villages. It will not be a ‘clean’ straight drive out there, but will take some time.

The article from People Daily gives a detailed description of the Pumi from their nomadic origins away from the Tibetan plateau to the settlement in the southern, field rich valleys of Yunnan and pre-/post-1949. Something to learn about the people of this small world.



Pullman Lijiang Resort & Spa

thePULL: Winter in Lijiang – Jade Dragon and Lashi Lake Cranes   Leave a comment

 A snowy March atop Jade Dragon Snow Mountain… Come from Autumn to early April for some powder, intense clouds and altitude sickness (2500m to over 4800m in a few minutes by cablecar!)

Here’s a little from WikiTravel about altitude sickness however:

“A minority of people, about 20%, have some symptoms of altitude sickness if they ascend to about 2500 meters (8000 feet) above sea level and sleep there. However, most people will acclimatize to 3000 meters (10,000 feet) with relative ease, perhaps having symptoms after the first night.

Acclimatizing to heights of 3000–5000 meters (10,000–16,000 feet) is much more difficult, and it is here that it is absolutely necessary to ascend slowly and return to a lower altitude to sleep if you have been travelling around at a higher altitude during the day. Over 50% of people will become ill if they ascend rapidly from sea level to 3500 meters (11,000 feet) without acclimatization, and everyone will if they ascend rapidly to 5000 meters (16,000 feet).”

I have seen many people get sick from those who directly fly from Shanghai, Hong Kong and many southern coastal cities, but some are more lively, like my uncle from Guangzhou:

Or perhaps a warm June at Lashi Lake… Although come in the winter for rare wintering birds like the sacred Tibetan Cranes (that’s what I’m waiting for too!) These special avians winter away from the chills of the Himalayans between early November to early March.

Here’s a report from WWF China and another with scientific details at NPWRC: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Centre.

Loving the cold,


thePULL: Lijiang’s new train station 丽江站 opens Today!   Leave a comment


Out with the old, and in with the new. Looks similar to the new airport.
Lijiang has a brand new passenger train station 丽江站, as the previous one will only receive cargo, opening TODAY.
This new station is stationed near Wenbi Mountain 文笔山 and is a lead towards Shangri-la (ETA 2014?) and will handle about 9 million passengers per year.

See images below for references!

Other notes:

Vehicle: About 18 minutes from Lijiang. About 25 minutes away from Pullman Lijiang. Blue or Green Taxi may charge extra RMB30-40 per person.
Bus: from/to Lijiang Station, take #4, #16 or #18.
See the map image below for the reference of your next departure, train hoppers!
It has room for a fast food area, a ‘supermarket’ and 16 windows to buy train tickets.





(Photos taken yesterday, the day before opening to the masses.)

Definitely a much better station to arrive to than the old station or at Dali or Kunming.

(UPDATE: Beat out other English-version news updates! Woohoo!)

thePULL: Shuhe and Shwowo   Leave a comment

【To 石莲寺 ShiLianSi Lamasery, west of Shuhe Ancient Town, in Lijiang, Yunnan, China / Darwin Ma】

Peter Goullart adventured to many places in his time in Lijiang for 8 years, from 1942 to 1949 ( fled by the time of the Cultural Revolution). One of his many photos was recorded and preserved in his vastly interesting outlook on the Nahki (Naxi 纳西族) people in the worthy read ‘The Forgotten Kingdom”. See the following:

A view of Likiang plain (Lijiang) and Shwowo village (Shuhe) from a lamasery by Peter Goullart

But that photo was taken over 60 years ago. This is a modern adaptation of his view, on a beautiful summer’s day 2011, from the ShiLianSi Lamasery that he had ventured to …

The town of Shuhe has extended it’s arms quite a bit, but much of the northern plains (North is leftwards) and the hills have not changed much. Peter’s picture is approximately in the middle of the second above image (based on the contours of the mountain range), and apologies for the distortion.

His love of Lijiang was unmatched to any other place in the Orient…

 The fields were green with winter wheat, and between them ran deep, crystal-clear streams of icy water. Dark water plants waved in them like strands of hair. The water from glaciers divided and subdivided into innumerable streams and canals, and made the Likiang plain one of the best irrigated areas in the world. The gurgling of these swift brooks, the singing of larks and other birds was like the music of gods. [The Forgotten Kingdom, Approx Page 21, 1957]

A great read indeed, if you are into culture and the problems of the Nahki people.

Send me an email if you want to find this small and hidden lamasery and the back hike of Shuhe, that few travelers find. (It’s definitely not a secret, but the route is well hidden!)

Shuhe Ancient Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a 7 minute walk adjacent to Pullman Lijiang Resort and Spa.
Read the Forgotten Kingdom via Pratyeka.
Read the Forgotten Kingdom review by Chris Horton @ Go Kunming.
A Pullman Lijiang review coming soon …

Darwin Ma at

Success! – Yak Poutine!   Leave a comment

Success! I have done it. Yak Poutine.

With the first trial of the yak poutine, it was definitely something along the normal frites, gravy and cheesecurds of Montreal.

To introduce, la poutine originates in a small county town somewhere in Quebec Canada (specific location argued), and is a staple in many restaurants in eastern Canada.

The basic components of the poutine are french fries, cheese curds and a gravy or salty sauce. Available in many chains, the likes of KFC

and McDonald’s will never compare to St. Hubert’s or other small Quebec shops. It’s true that the platter is loaded with oils and fats, but if you have the right ingredients and the right chef, it’s an amazing mixture that ignores being scientific and enjoys the life of eating. I prefer my fries crunchy, not soft, with the cheese soft but supple, warm and aromatic, and the gravy spiced and salty and hot, not warm.  Some prefer an entire soft mass, like mashed potatoes with toppings. But that’s not poutine then.


Scroll to China.

It is by far a long stretch away to get anything remotely related to poutine, especially good cheese.

So I improvise.

In a quaint little hidden secret alley of  Lijiang is a grungy but homey Tibetan restaurant. I first came to have a great meal of Tibetan cuisine, and a large variety of dishes were all exceptional. I was served a dish with sweet, fried yak cheese, put some in my mouth and finished it, licking the plate clean and all.

A ‘Reminder Revelation’ occurs. Cravings, deep cravings for poutine emerge. Eyes open wide .O_O.  A soft, low, heavenly voice, whisper-to-the-ear chill came: …~ Poutine ~…  it chimed so sweet, tastebuds rejoicing in the memories of Montreal …~ Poutine ~
And I was determined to have some the next time I was here. I hope I am credited with bringing the style of poutine the mountain regions of China ..!

From the image at top, it was trial 1. Clearly something awkward and confusing to the chefs, waitresses and customers of the restaurant, but I persisted. A small crowd formed. I continued the request …

Details of the yak poutine:

1 / Fresh local potatoes sliced and deep-fried to a crisp, with a bit of chili for taste. No salt added.
Individual result: Absolutely amazing on it’s own, requiring no salt to taste. It had a natural potato aroma, sort of yam-like, and not the empty starch taste you get in your local fast food chain. Crunchy. The ‘nacho’ chips were one thing, but fries will be next.

2 / Fresh yak cheese fried cut to small chunks and sweetened.
Individual result: Again, another amazing thing to have. A light cheese aroma, a bit oily, but sweeten quite a bit. Great with bread, dry roast baba (a type of local cake), rice and crackers. Soft and delectable. Perhaps less sugar for the next platter. Great with the chips.

3 / The sauce. Made of a previous Tibetan beef stew and boiled with added corn starch to thicken.
Individual result: Was not warm enough, was watered-down (from the less content) and had too much starch. But individually, it had a slight hint of the stew and the peppers and light spices that made it a great stew. Again, the starch was a bit much, as it quickly cooled into a gelatin. Next time add more salts and chili powder, less starch, no added water.

Combination: High potential to be a great dish! A few modifications and it’ll be a huge culinary wave across China and the Himalayan countries! … at least with Canadians.

“Which restaurant is it? I want some!”  Said earlier, it’s a little hidden restaurant in Lijiang, off the main road of 七星街 (Literal translation: 7 Stars Road) and the following is their plaque… Care for a try? Drop me an email as you wish.

Zang Ba Bao Butter Tea Museum (Tibetan Restaurant) : 藏八宝酥油茶馆 (ZhanBaBaoSuYouChaGuan)


…~ Poutine ~
Darwin Ma
Pullman Lijiang Resort and Spa team 

thePULL : 17 and A-Dan, the Craftsman of Lashi Lake   2 comments

by Darwin Ma / Pullman Lijiang Resort and Spa Exclusive / 2011-08-03

Short Intro to A Dan, 阿丹, and a few things you can visit while in Lashi Lake, Lijiang

1 / custom request any wooden furniture, copperwares and household-design items you would like from A-Dan …
2 / visit his “Monthly Open Vacation Home”, also by Lashi Lake, occuring every 17th of every month, where there are creatures and friendly faces enjoying each other over a bonfire and friends. (More details below …)
3 / visit his home and have a tea, view his own personal museums and not-for-sale antiques (with his permission)


A special interview and tour was made in mid April with Pullman Lijiang Resort and Spa … his blog is at

A-Dan, 阿丹, (above) is a Taiwanese entrepreneur, artist and packrat out near Lashi Lake 拉市海, west of Lijiang. A craftsman for over 20 years and living in Lijiang for over 10, A Dan left business in Taiwan and opened several antique and woodcraft shops and displays around Lashi Lake. He is one of the many ‘foreigners’ who enjoys, founds, and now creates the beautiful, natural atmosphere in Lijiang’s lakeside suburbia.  A Dan has his own private collection of antiques from Lijiang and the area, all a few decades old,  all an interesting story between each item.  He turned a hobby into a collection and into inspiration, forming his craftsmen handiwork for the masses. A-Dan took a retired wooden boat, the kind that was made from ONE TREE CARVED OUT, and turned it into desks and chairs …


His Children

There is a common modern concept that children should attend schools and get a strong basis of education for the world.  His two daughters, Pipi 皮皮 and Dandan 蛋蛋, 10-13 years old, do not. “I do not believe in the public school system, in any country, as it’s the same idea of the same concept. Children are burdened with schoolwork and are not playing around and not enjoying childhood. That’s not how it should be … My girls are playing away and making a memory that will last forever, in the living and breathing beauty of Lijiang … and just … enjoying . Why do we [parents, adults] need squeeze their time away from schoolwork and preparation for moneycollecting, and forget about just living?”


The ‘Monthly Open Vacation House’ happens every 17th of every month. It is open to everyone, everywhere, filled with pigs, ducks, hares, a monkey, chickens, a farm, small dogs, large dogs, and several grandmas playing card games. It is one of the first things you will notice when going to Lashi Lake … and at no admission fee …
‘Why not?’ asks would-be capitalists …  “Every year, there are only a few days to celebrate because of holidays, birthdays, national days, religious days, whatever.  Why can’t we celebrate life more, and more regularly?  So I made this wooden getaway for everyone to get away more often, rather than a ‘once in awhile’ … no admission fee, free drinks, dancing, music and just to have an overall good time … my treat to have your company to celebrate!”

“Why the 17th, you ask? Look at my business card.  my phone number ends in xxxxxxx1717 [I lost this phone number!].


You may contact us at Pullman Lijiang to take you to A-Dan’s house at or +86-1362-888-5532,
or email him directly (in Chinese) at or call 1338-8884548.

Get Closer … to the people and places around Lijiang …

ADan’s ‘Monthly Open Vacation Home’ [above] in Lijiang, open to all guests to visit.
A small get together party is held every nigh of the 17th of every month …

A child rests against the wood. Roots cut away into what looks like three different mythical creatures …

One of the antiques, an old fashioned iron – don’t see those around anymore!

Lazy Pigs and Happy Dogs

classic motorcycle and a skulled marked by the Tibetans

… the following are some pictures from his blog, showing the ’17th’ celebration days!  Let’s chill out

by Darwin Ma & Pullman Lijiang Resort and Spa  / 2011-08-03
will update more later, here or there, as the 17th passes …

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