The journey starting from Dali in Yunnan towards the north of the region turns out to be quite convenient by now. The roads are mainly build well and lead along splendid gorges and majestic Mountains. Until about Lijiang a new highway accelerates the trip. The milestones of this 7 to 8 hour lasting voyage are the Tiger-Leaping-Gorge, which is slightly away the main road, Shangri-La (中甸县) at around 3200m, Benzila (奔子栏) at 2000m, then Deqen (德钦县) again at over 3000m, before you descend to 2000m again, at which level the small remote village Jiabe is located. This route leads along the upper reaches of the Yangtze, past small villages, whose architectural unified style changes ever 10km, and close to the magnificent Meili Xue Shan (梅里雪山).
Up until few months ago the crossing of the pass (4292m) with the miraculous view upon the mentioned 6200m high mountain range was indispensable. Now a tunnel, few hundreds of meters below the pass, saves about one hour traveling time. The strain of pressure of the middle ear because of the constant up and down is in view of the craggy eastern Himalaya not really worth mentioning. Anyway along the course of the rivers you can catch every now and then some verdant terraces, which in comparison to the moonlike barren mountain range provide quite some contrast. Though when you arrive after the descent from the dismal brown city of Deqen at the small village Jiabe, you begin to think to get closer to the answer to the question about heaven on earth. Actually enclosed by mountains on all four sides, you mainly are able to access Jiabe over a small fissure at the south of the village. From there the small winding road leads past the first houses and fields, which let you imagine the variety growing possibilities. Conspicuous is the amount of walnut trees at the wayside.
By the way, we also offer you to get an insight view in our tibetan homestay
Tenzin, the wife of the courier of Tibetmoto Hendrik, grew up in this today 150 inhabitants counting village. Her family possesses a spacious two storeys high dwelling house plus warehouse. In addition you find a stable, cowshed, coop and hutch all in one below the house and several fields in the garden. Two terraces allow a view towards the south and sun and with some luck the snow-covered Meili Xue Shan. The pleasure of dining in the extensive living room of the family turns out to be a highlight. The typical tibetan form including woodcarvings on the wall, a wide buddhist shrine and a constant flaming stove present an authentic sincere atmosphere. After dinner, mostly with their own grown vegetables, the home-made ara (a barley liquor) in the warm parlour is obligatory and winning. If the weather is sufficient you gain a view into the unpolluted starry sky and the calm nights provide a deep sleep.
Breakfast and lunch are routinely varied but Baba, a traditional tibetan bread and butter tea in the morning is being handed every time. The everyday life of the family and the village community is during the day about the animals, of which some are allowed to go up the mountains, the cultivation of the fields and further building and maintenance projects, often times in cooperation. Especially the slaughtering of a pig needs the help of neighbors. The fully grown animals are being captured by three to four persons, then kept still and finally slaughtered. Kids can help milking the cows or go on an exploring adventure with the kids of the village.
The sunny afternoons are suitable for relaxing hikes in the surrounding mountain range. In the northern hillside many villagers run a shack, which in the summer serve as a accommodation for shepherds. From there an ascent along the water supplying stream is recommendable. At the ridge in the southeast of the village a tremendous view upon the Mekongvalley unfolds. A view upon the 8km away city of Dunlin presents itself to you, as well as houses with terraces in between, upon the elegance meandering Mekong and back upon the small village of Jiabe as a green oasis surrounded by brown mountain range.
For all those interested in experiencing this authentic way of live, we recommend a booking via Tibetmoto. Either a motorbike tour, a family trip or a simple excursion are possible. Also the journey from Dali to Jiabe plus even more offered in the South of the clouds tour.