Located on the border between Yunnan and Sichuan Province, and with an altitude of 2,685 meters, an average depth of 40 meters, and a maximum depth of 105.3 meters, Lugu Lake is the third deepest freshwater lake in China, the lake of highest altitude in Yunnan, and is dubbed as the “Pearl of the Plateau”. The Mosuo people living on one side of the lake abide by the walking marriage system of “marry no woman and marry no man”, thus Lugu Lake is called an “Oriental Matriarchal Society”.
Surrounded by 17 beaches and 14 bays, there are 5 islands, 3 peninsulas and 1 sea-wall islet scattered across Lugu Lake. Heiwawu Island, Liwubi Island and Lige Island are of the greatest scenic value and are considered the “Lugu Three Islands”.
1. The local people live on Lugu Lake, therefore you are not allowed to swim in the lake.
2. No preying on the wild geese in Lugu Lake. No collecting various animal and plant specimens in Lugu Lake.
Traveling around the lake is the best way to feel the charm of Lugu Lake. The ring road around Lugu Lake is about 76 kilometers. You can rent a bike, or electric bicycle, or charter a car to travel. You only need to pay costs for one day if you choose to charter a car, and therefore the journey is comparatively relaxing, while it takes 2 to 3 days if you choose to ride a bike or an electric bicycle. So if time is limited, you can just visit half of the ring road.
There are a lot of villages along the lake. The prosperous ones are Daluoshui Village and Lige Village, which can provide accommodation. Located in the southwest of Lugu Lake, Daluoshui is the earliest developed village near Lugu Lake where the buses go from Lijiang park. There is also the Folklore Museum of the Mosuo people, where you can learn about their culture and folk customs.
It is around 8 kilometers between Daluoshui Village and Lige Village. Situated in the northwest of the lake bank, Lige Island and Lige Village are the most popular tourism distributing areas in recent years. There is a viewing deck on the hillside of northern Lige Village and it is the best spot to look out over Lige Island and capture some pictures.
On the northern bank of Lugu Lake, is Nisai Village. There is a cable car which can take you up to the Mountain of Goddess Gemu, and the Goddess Gemu Cave in the mountain is considered to be highly efficacious for praying for a son. Xiaoluoshui Village nearby is right on the border of Yunnan and Sichuan province. Dazui Village on the other hand has fewer visitors and is comparatively quiet.
Further to the east, you will enter Sichuan province. There are a lot of scenic spots worthy of visiting on the southeastern bank of Lugu Lake, including Caohai Lake, Walking Marriage Bridge, Goddess Bay, and Former Residence of Princess.
Day1: Viewing Deck of Lining Risky Curved Road (15 minutes) → Lugu Lake Viewing Deck (15 minutes) → Daluoshui Wharf (10 minutes) → Luoke Island (Xiwa’e Island/Central Island) (2 hours) → Liige Island (2 hours)
Day2: Lige Island (30 minutes) → Nisai Village (Lise Village) (30 minutes) → Xiaoluoshui (1 hour) → Luyuan Cliff (30 minutes) → Lover’s Beach (30 minutes) → The Last Chieftain Princess Mansion (40 minutes) → Caohai Lake (2 hours) → Zhao’s Bay (Goddness Bay) (2 hours)
Day3: Lige Island (10 minutes) → Nisai Village (Lise Village) (the starting point of telphers) → Goddess Gemu Mountain (half day)