Safety and Difficulty

A lot of information sources make the trek out to be much more challenging than it really is. People you talk to will often carry on about the difficulty of the 28 Bends, but it’s really not that big a deal. Young and fit people won’t even break a sweat. Less fit people will need to stop regularly to catch their breath.

Another myth is that the path is precariously narrow in parts. Again, there is nothing that would really cause concern. The scariest part of the trek is having to cross a waterfall where your shoes might get a bit wet. Probably the biggest danger in doing the trek is that you become distracted by the amazing scenery and take a wrong step.

There are a couple of things that need mentioning though. If you’re doing the trek within a day or so of flying into Lijiang, then you could be suffering from mild altitude sickness and the exertion of the trek could make you quite ill (headaches and nausea). However, most people do not suffer altitude sickness at Lijiang’s elevation (around 2500m). Also, during periods of heavy rain there is a danger of the path being blocked by landslides. Seek advice before setting off at these times. Note that this is only after prolonged heavy rain – light rain shouldn’t cause any problems.