Even though Yunnan is one of Chinese most interesting and warmest ones, I decided to only spend another ten or so days here and then finally wrap it up and move on to China. After all I had planned to stayed in China for a month and now was here for nearly three. I split from Jacqueline in Kunming because she has more time and wanted to keep it a bit slower.
I took an overnight bus to Lijiang, what people call a 'Chinese disneyland' and in fact it feels you are in a themepark for old China. However most of the buildings here are real and actually old and there are many parts of the old town where the hords of Chinese tour groups are not going to. There was a major earthquake in town in 1996 which destroyed most of the buildings in the new town, but the old part withstood this test of nature. I found nice Youth hostel and explored the town for a day. Since we had arrived in Yunnan it was much warmer and for six days there were no clouds in the sky. Even at night it didn't get really cold and I never needed gloves or my warm hat as during the week before. Around the town are various mountains with the Jade Dragon snow mountain being the most impressive one.
I then took a two day trip to the Tiger leaping gorge, one of the deepest gorges in the world. At this point my camera finally stopped working at all and if I have any photos up here, then they have been taken by Harry a guy from Beijing I met on the bus to the gorge area. One can hike on the mountains on the west side of the gorge for several days but we took a minibus to the middle and most amazing part of the gorge and then just hiked down from the road to the river. On the way up we had to climb several latters because the there are just cliffs and there is no other way to get up there except for proper mountain climbing. I stayed at Sean's guesthouse in a place called Waltnut Garden, it's just beautiful out there. Behind and in from of the house are steep mountains. The rocks preserve the warmth of the sun from the day for most of the evening and we could even sit outside until after 10. Another great spot to watch skies. In the morning however the sun doesn't come up from behind the mountains until after 11 and without it is pretty cold.
Back in Lijiang I met up with Jacqueline for a last time and even met Marco the funny Italian guy from Xiahe and Langmusi. They stayed at a great guest house called Mama nuxi where at 6p.m. a 10 dishes dinner was served to everybody for just 8 Yuan. Lijiang also has lots of bars to get drunk at night and for a tourist place it wasn't even that expensive. I also visited Dali which is another old Chinese town with loads of shops and loads of tourists. A bit like Yangshuo with many backpacker hostels and restaurants. Back in Kunming the weather had changed and it wasn't nice and warm anymore. I only had to wait two days for my Vietnamese visa so didn't do too much. The 10 hour day bus from Kunming to the border town Hekou was quite interesting, especially the last few hours where we drove along a nice river in a valley with thousands of banana trees on both sides. The first signs of the south east asian jungle. I stayed in a cheap hotel and had my last Chinese dinner, which was paid for by a guy at my table.