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Lugu Lake


Chinese name:
泸沽湖 (Lu Gu Hu)
Location: Lugu Lake is located 280 kilometers in the north of Lijiang city (Yunnan province, China), tourists may pass by an important county before arriving Lugu Lake - the Ninglang county, it is only 73 kilometers to the lake. The lake is located on the borderline of Sichuan province and Yunnan province.
Admission fee: RMB80/p.p (2011).
Best Season to see Lugu Lake: All year round but it is suggested to visit the lake between March and October.
Recommended time for a visit: it is recommended to spend at least two nights to better enjoy the lake.

Lugu Lake,the most beautiful lake in Yunnan province, is also the highest lake in Yunnan,China.

How to get there:

By shuttle bus: Tourist can easily get the ticket from Lijiang to Lugu Lake (no need to get to Ninglang county firstly). The round-way ticket between Lijiang and Lugu Lake is available at only RMB140 yuan, the car departs at 9:30 am every morning. Usually the bus will stop at Luoshui village, the most popular village is Lige, it still has about 11 kilometers from the Big Luoshui Village to Lige Island, you can hire car at Luoshui or tell the driver your destination is Lige village before the boarding.

Hiring cars: If you have a group or can find some people with same itineraries as yours, you can hire cars to Lugu Lake, the price is about RMB400-600 per car (based on the type of the car, tourist car, off-road car, etc.). If you are traveling along, ask for it at the hotels and get help.

If you are going to visit the Lake from Sichuan province, you may need to get to Xichang first, (there are trains, flights available from Chengdu to Xichang). The bus ticket from Xichang to Lugu Lake is about RMB70 yuan.

The water of Lugu Lake is extremely clean, you may see at least 7 meters under the water from the water surface.

Introduction of Lugu Lake:

Lugu Lake is over 50 square kilometers, it is of an elevation of 2690 meters and an average water depth of 45 meters, the lake is the highest lake of Yunnan province and one of the deepest freshwater lakes in China.  

The lake includes 5 islands, 3 peninsulas and 1 seawall island, the Heiwawu Island, Liwubi Island and Lige Island are renewed as the "the three islands from the fabled abode of immortals", the three islands are also the most popular place worth to see at Lugu Lake.

There are about 1,300,0 people living along the bank of the lake, 45% of them are Mosuo minority people, other nationality are Yi, Han, Naxi, Tibetean, Bai, Zhuang and Pumi. Mosuo people is an ancient minority, it keeps the matriarchal society way of living, the people and minority is regarded as the ‘living fossil of matriarchal society of human’, unique and quite interesting.

Highlight attractions and things:

- Dwellings at Lugu Lake: Most of the folk houses here are built by lumps of wood and planks, every piece of the wood was has slots, and people built the house without nails and bricks. The houses are warm in winter and cool in summer and they are shock resistant, the dwellings are the symbol of Lugu Lake.

- Culture: The Mosuo minority has its own language and culture, the most special one is their 'walking marriages'. The concept for marriage, love, women, man and family is quite different from the traditional ones in other parts of China; people only hold a simple and fast ceremony with the presentation of the couples and one witness, after marriage, most of them do not live together, they will stay living in their homes. The men here are usually called ' A Zhu' and the wowen are called 'A Xia' , they work and live as usual and the men only come out to the home of 'A Xia', and the doors will only be opened for their lover 'A Zhu' after confirming their own secret signals, and then they date and have private time.

The simple ceremony for a walking marriage only contains the couples and one wintness.

The local Mosuo people believe that men and women are equal, so the 'third people between a couple', the 'marry someone under the pressure of parents or relatives' and 'women should be tolerant to her husband's living habits' doesn't exist here! Men have their home, so does the women, you don't live by me and I don't live by your money, men are everywhere, and women are everywhere. So people finally know why there are no problems like divorces, widows, children with no parents, inheritance of property and waifs. People have their own ideas for love, sex, and morality, much different from ours.

Changing husband (A Zhu) before having a baby is allowed by Mosuo people, but it doesn't mean sexual chaos, people get to know each other from daily working, learning, and other social activities, they will only hold a 'walking marriage' together with time passing by and the level of love increasing. The matriarchal family is the sanctuary for everybody here so it lasts year after year.

- Lugu Lake Trekking: The lake is so beautiful, therefore the best way to enjoy it is by trekking or cycling, and it is cheap. It is only 76 kilometers circle around the lake, it is suggested to start your walking or biking before 7:00am because the morning of Lugu Lake is amazing, do a clockwise trip from Lige island, then pass by Nicai Village, Small Luoshui Village, Big Mouth Village, the Princess mansion, the Lama's Temple, the Ocean of Grass, the Big Luoshui Village, then back to Lige island. Hiring a bicycle here is easy so don't forget to try it, the feeling cycling there is much better than the one when biking at the country road of Yangshuo (Guilin, Guangxi province, China).

- Boating and horse riding at Lugu Lake: Tourist can reach all the 18 natural villages at Lugu Lake by boat; the price is from RMB10 to 60 yuan per person based on your destination. The horse riding here is also cheap at only RMB30 to 60 per time.

Other main attractions in or near Lugu Lake include the Yongning Hot Spring, the Zhamei Temple, the Gemu Hill (also called the Godness Hill or the Lion Hill, representing a 'Ladies Kingdom').

The ocean of grass is located south-west of Lugu Lake.

Lugu Lake travel tips:

1. The average temperature here is only 17 degree centigrade, although there is no chilly winter here, don't forget to take more cloth as the temperature differences between morning and night is huge. Bring your umbrella and rain coat as it rains sometime (most of the time it has no rain at the Lake, it stops soon even when it rains). Take care of your skins as the sunlight and ultraviolet rays here is sufficient due to the high elevation.

2. Please respect the local culture, religions and living habit there. Don't swimming in the lake as the water is cold and dangerous. Never hunt the wild animals here or collect the herbariums. Bring some common medicines and try best not getting ill there as the medical condition there is poor.

3. Lugu Lake is of fantastic scenery but touring there is not easy, a driving between Lijiang and Lugu Lake requires time and skillful driving skill; a good health is required to visit the Lake, both physically and mentally. Make sure your car is a safe and with high chassis.

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