Travel Update: Most destinations are open — check the official websites and read our crucial BEST TIME tips below to help you AVOID CROWDS (Travel with at least 15% off | booking.com)
Late March or early April : Chinese people head home for an important festival to honour their ancestors. This is the best time to visit as the crowds will be significantly less.
At around 8400 feet above sea level, this lake nestled between the mountains lies on the border of the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. The blue colour of the water is going to be unlike any other blue that you have seen before in a lake. The circumference of the lake is 70 kilometres in length which is a challenge to bicycle it in one day. Dotted with small villages all around it is still one of those places which the crowds may have missed but then again maybe because it was early April they were still at home. Lugu lake is home to the Mosuo people, one of China's numerous ethnic minority and the only one with a matriarchal social order. Try to stay in one of the small hostels other the than main island where the bus from Lijiang will drop you off after a six hour ride through beautiful mountainous roads. I stayed in the YHA hostel and the young inn-keeper who knew English very well offered us a level of hospitality that charmed us from the very beginning. He even took us in his van to a place where they cooked the special Lugu lake carp, totally fresh and very delicious. We had planned to stay there for one night but ended up staying for five nights - such was the charm of Lugu Lake. We cycled around the lake and it took us almost ten hours to complete the route and arrive back at the hostel (but then again I stopped at every bend to absorb the calmness and to feast my eyes on the shimmering blue waters that lay before me). There is however an option to take the electric scooters instead of the bicycle and you could complete the entire route in about a little more than two hours but then again its more fun for me on a bicycle. The absence of air pollution is so marked that the colour of the sky, leaves and water overwhelms you with their vividness and makes you want to never leave. There are buses to and from Lijiang, Xichang and Chengdu. We arrived from Lijiang but left for Xichang from where to took the overnight train to Chengdu leaving a part of me in the still waters of Lugu Lake.
PS. There are no lights on that road so be sure to start very early ( 6 AM maybe) and finish your journey before the sun sets.