First Bend of Yangtze River


Located near Shigu town, 55km west of Lijiang, the first Bend of Yangtze River is the where the upper reaches of the southern running Yangtze River encounters a geological barrier, which forces it to make an abrupt U-turn.

First Bend of Yangtze River
First Bend

Thechange in direction allows the Yangtze to cut across vast China and empty into the East China Sea just north of Shanghai. Where it not for the first-bend obstruction, the Yangtze River (locally named the Chang Jingsha) would keep heading south. In that case, it would likely eventually merge with the Mekong River, which passes through Vietnam on its way to the South China Sea. This spot has immense geographical significance.

With the gradual deposit of fertile soil here, a village slowly came into being, now called Shigu Town, meaning "stone drum" in Chinese. Since ancient times, this town has been important of connecting Tibet with the outside world. Here Tibetan people bring their quality fell, hide and herbal medicine and take home tea, salt, cloth and other necessities. When market day comes, the town is incredibly crowded and noisy.

The spectacular view of the bend

Getting there & away

The Bend is usually seen in conjunction with Tiger Leaping Gorge as part of a one day tour. In Lijiang,numerous travel agents sell this trip, at around RMB160 including admission fee, bus fares and lunch.

If you are going on your own, take a Shigu-bound bus from the Lijiang main bus terminal for about Y15, 2 hours ride.
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