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Heavenly Lugu Lake 泸沽湖

We never intended to go to Lugu Lake, way off our path and straddling the border between Yunnan and Sichuan in China’s remote southwest, but as we travelled south through Sichuan to Leshan, and then Ebian, the smog and smoke that had clung to us since Chengdu cleared and we were suddenly in the midst of glorious autumn countryside, clear blue skies and pine forests, with whitewashed Yi village houses hung with garlands of bright yellow corncobs drying in the sun. It was rural China as I had always hoped it might be, without the belching factories and ugly billboards.
我们从没打算去泸沽湖,它远离我们的路径,在中国偏远的西南部地区,处于云南和四川的边界交叉处。但当我们向南旅行,穿过四川去乐山,然后去峨边彝族自治县的时候,云雾是如此地靠近我们,自从成都渐渐明晰之后,我们突然发现置身于美好的秋日乡村之中,蔚蓝的天空,还有松林,彝族村屋白色的墙壁上挂着金黄色玉米棒子在太阳下晒着。这就是我一直期待的那种田园气息的中国,没有拥挤的工厂和丑陋的广告牌。

The air smelled of autumn leaves and fir trees and we felt uplifted and relaxed, although the roads under us were bad and getting worse – bitumen giving way to uneven concrete, then cobblestones, and finally dirt. Bits of the road had fallen into the river, and other bits were more holes than road. Driving was like a constant battling obstacle course.

空气中闻到秋天落叶和杉树的味道,这让我们振奋又放松,尽管脚下的路不怎么样而且可能更糟糕一点沥青没能掩藏这些缺憾,不均匀的填充物,鹅卵石,还有那些尘土。路的少量地段已经陷入河水中,其他路段上还有更多的洼地,行驶就像是在穿越一个持续不断的障碍训练场。

Just 200km from Lijiang and the promise of a warm bed, the dirt gave way to mud as mountain springs washed across the road and left deep mud-filled furrows. There were black pigs and water buffalo wallowing in the road, the mud was so deep in places. We tried but couldn’t get through, and had to detour around Lugu Lake, which turned out to be our luckiest break in ages – climbing up to 2600m through a stunning river valley with cliffs and high waterfalls we arrived at a vast expanse of clear, deep blue water ringed by mountains. It was stunning.
离丽江只有200公里,期待中温暖的河床,然而当山泉冲刷过道路之后,留下深深的泥土沟纹,尘土也最终败给了这些泥浆。到处都是黑猪和水牛在路上打滚,个别地方的泥浆很深,我们试过几次,但是没能成功,所以我们绕道而行去了泸沽湖,结果竟是我们最为幸运的一段时光攀登2600米的高度,穿过紧邻峭壁和瀑布的绝妙山谷,我们到达一片开阔的视野,深蓝的湖水被群山环绕。真是太惊艳了。

Local legend says the lake was once small and shallow, and in its middle lived a huge fish with his head stuck out of the water. One day a greedy man pulled the fish out of the water to eat it, inadvertently unplugging a hole in the base of the lake from which rushed a flood of underground spring water, and the lake was made.
本地传说这个湖泊曾经又小又浅,在湖中央住着一条大鱼,它的头突出在水面上。一天有个贪心的人像把这条鱼拖出来吃掉它,不小心在湖的底部拔出一个洞,从这个洞里涌出大量的地下泉水,之后这个湖就形成了。

We stopped by the lake’s edge – the deep blue water was full of mysterious underwater forests we could see clearly below us, and blooms of white water hyacinths floated on top, moored by their long, trailing stems reaching down metres to the lake floor. Villages were clustered around the shore, populated by Yi, Naxi and Mosuo peoples living in log cabins and everywhere were flowers – marigolds, geraniums, azaleas, daisies and deep purple bougainvillea.  
我们在河边停下来深蓝的水充满了神秘的水下森林,我们可以清楚地看到它们就在我们下面,还有盛开的白色凤眼兰在顶部飘摇,它们系泊于此,是因为尾随的长茎深扎于数米之下的湖底。村民聚合在岸边,大部分是彝族,纳西族和摩梭族人,居住在小木屋里。到处都是鲜花金盏花,天竺葵,杜鹃花,小雏菊还有深紫色的叶子花。

I had sort of forgotten that in some places flowers are grown just because they’re lovely, after living in a country where every last bit of land is dedicated to food production and even the pots on people’s inner city windowsills are used for growing vegetables.
生活在这样一个国家中,最后一点土地都被用来粮食生产,甚至是城市里的窗台都被用来种植植物,我都有点忘记这样的地方了,鲜花自由生长,仅仅是因为它们如此可爱。

In the far distance was a little temple on a hill, and below us a man rowed a dugout canoe across the lake, gathering wild plants from the water’s edge. 
相对较远的一个地方的山坡上有座小庙,在我们下面是一个划着独木舟过湖的人,船上载着从水边采集来的野生植物。在我们知道这个之前,我们取消了在丽江(毫无疑问是很美丽的地方,但是我们之前去过)三天的停留,在闲适的达祖村预定了家庭旅店,沐浴在阳光里的阳台,非常适合阅读。要是能来上一杯冰镇的啤酒就更完美了,如果我们手边有的话。

Before we knew it we had cancelled our three day stay in Lijiang (beautiful, for sure, but we’d been there before) and booked ourselves into a guesthouse in sleepy Dazu village, with a sun-drenched balcony perfect for reading. It would have been even more perfect for drinking a glass of chilled wine, had we been able to get our hands on some.
There’s not really very much to do at Lugu Lake except look at the water, and the sky, and read a few more chapters of your book. If you have a surfeit of energy you can cycle around the lake shores to see other gorgeous villages, or take a dugout canoe trip to one of the small islands while the Mosuo women sing canoeing songs to you. I’ve heard the Mosuo women live in the world’s last fiunctioning matriarchal society, where children take their mother’s name.
在泸沽湖除了看湖水,蓝天,阅读几页你带的书以外,没有太多的事可做。如果你精力旺盛,你可以骑行环湖看看其他美丽的村庄,或是划一叶孤舟到众多小岛中的一个,途中还能听到摩梭族女人向你唱着划舟的小曲儿。我听说摩梭族是世界上最后一个母系氏族社会,孩子们跟随母亲的姓氏。

We spent three long lazy days swimming, canoeing, cycling and eating, just enjoying the chance to do very little for once. Our guesthouse cooked us farmer food when we were hungry – a whole chicken braised with pickles and potatoes, fried slices of gourd, mountains of rice – or we walked to one of the little restaurants around the shore and ate char-grilled chicken cooked on a spit, or charcoal lake fish sprinkled with spice and salt. 
Sitting together in the sun, my daughter said to me ‘Travelling is great, but it’s not exactly a holiday, is it?’ a distinction I’d never made myself, but the more I thought about it the more I realized she was right. 
Travelling and holidaying are not the same thing. Travelling is often difficult, and tiring, and sometimes just wears you down. Holidaying implies a much more relaxed state of mind and much less attention needed to the issues of roads and maps and food supplies and drinkable water. 
I resolved there and then, when possible, to try and spend more of this last third of our long, long travels holidaying more. Roads and drinkable water permitting. 
我们度过了三天慵懒的时光,游泳,划舟,骑行还有品尝美食,尽情享受,什么都不做,饿了,我们的家庭旅馆为我们烹饪农家菜用咸菜和土豆炖的一整只鸡,炒西葫芦片,还有盛得像小山一样的米饭或者我们漫步到湖边的其他小餐馆吃口水鸡,或是撒着香料和盐巴的碳烤鱼。
就像我女儿说的旅行太棒了,但她不仅是一个假日,不是吗?我自己从未明确区分过,但我越多地考虑这一点,就越觉得她是对的。旅行和假日不是一件事。旅行通常很艰辛疲惫,有时候会让你筋疲力尽。假日更是一种精神状态的放松,不需要太多关注道路,地图,食物和水等等这些琐事。
我决定了,只要有可能,将会用超过最后旅行的三分之一的时间来享受更多的假日。只要道路和饮用水这些条件允许。



Nature Inn, Dazu Village

Lugu Lake 泸沽湖
Entry 80 yuan per person from either Sichuan or Yunnan side, valid for whole lake
从四川或是云南进都是每人八十元,环湖期间一直有效


Nature Inn 本色客栈
Dazu Village, Lugu Lake, Sichuan
Doubles from 168 yuan/night
+86 18280617758
四川省泸沽湖达祖村本色客栈
两人 168/
四川省泸沽湖达祖村本色客栈


The trip so far….