I saw some photos of this region recently and it looks absolutely stunning so I've decided I have to go! Does anyone know the best way to go about walking in the area - is it easy to do independently or is it best to go as part of a guided tour? Where's the best place to stay for exploring this area? Most of the tours I've seen of China only seem to go to the obvious places of Beijing and Shanghai etc. Any information would be great, thanks!
you can do the walk independently. It takes about two days (you can it in one day too, but thats quite a lot), with plenty of guesthouses along the way. Makes a good addition to any trip Kunming - Dali - Lijiang. You will meet plenty of other people on the way who will do the same trek, no need for an organized tour.
I agree with watercarrier. China's not the easiest place to travel independently because of the language barrier. But it's a fun challenge, and if you are willing to be patient, then it's perfectly safe and accessible, and you can get around no problem on your own, and it's good fun.
When I went to TLG, I stayed in Lijiang beforehand. I hopped on a public bus and headed North and got dropped off at village (Qiaotou) where the trail starts. I didn't book anything, just walked until I felt like it was time to stop and found a guesthouse. I stayed another night at the end, and if I remember correctly, took a shuttle of some sort back to the main road at the start. Then on flagged down a public bus heading North and went to Zhongdian. I feel like it might be even easier now with more access roads.
Many of the hostels/inns in Lijiang and Dali offered tours to TLG, which we didn't do (because we had very small children with us) but seemed to be reasonably priced and offered some assistance. There's also the option to leave some of your stuff at a hostel in Lijiang and only take what you need for the hike. It truly is a beautiful spot, and we would love to go back now the kids are older!!
Thanks everyone for the useful info.