Sunday, March 1, 2009

Luoping & Nine Dragon Waterfall (罗平和九龙瀑布

Nearing the end of my time in the Yunnan province,we took a three hour train ride from Kunming to the farming town of Luoping. I was excited for this place because it contained the reason I wanted to go to Yunnan in the first place. Last year National Geographic magazine came out with a special issue featuring China. There was a picture inside with vast grasslands with sharp mountains poking out randomly. I had never seen anything like this in America and immediately wanted to visit the place in the caption.

The city of Luoping itself was not so accomidating. It was definitely a farming town, as we saw abandoned shops converted to grain and feed storage. Finding a decent hotel was the next almost impossible task. After holding our breath in the first few places we found a newly remodeled hotel for the bargain price of 80元/night. The next morning, after a breakfast of ersi we boarded a bus going to the rumoured natural spot. One vehicle change, endless potholed roads and a couple hours later, we were dropped off at what seemed like the exact spot where they took the photos for National Geographic. Unfortunately, this time of year the fog hangs in the valley until the afternoon, so my pictures didn't turn out so great. Still, the fields with limestone peaks jutting out were something you can only find here. We paid a couple 9 year old guids one rmb each to lead us to one of the peaks to get a better look. It was even more cloudy at the top of the small mountain, but the view of the patchwork farmlands was still very beautiful.

Our next stop on the Luoping tour was the Nine-Dragon Waterfall. By this time (around 12pm) the sun was out and starting to warm up. The area was a national park and it seemed this time of year most people had gone back to work as it was barren of tourists. The Nine-Dragon Waterfall got it's name from the nine different falls. However, as explained to us by the bamboo raft operator, there are actually ten now (due to natural causes). I found this place interesting because after the Nine Dragons, you can keep following a path to numerous falls behind it. If you get hungry along the way, you can find vendor selling local foods along the paths. I tried the pickled radish and local noodles; not bad. Luoping and the Nine-Dragon Waterfall are definitely a must see if travelling to the Yunnan province.

Stay tuned as we're off to Shenzhen and Hong Kong for the last leg of my journies.

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