Lugu Lake

Lugu Lake (Lugu Hu) Travel Guide, Yunnan


OverviewLugu Lake

Located between Ninglang of Yunnan and Yanyuan of Sichuan, 280km north Lijiang, Lugu Lake (Lugu Hu) is known for its peculiar natural scenery and the unique, mysterious culture of the Mosuo people.The place has become something of a legend because of the matriarchal system that it still upholds even today.

This is the only place in China that still abides by this system. Women are the top leaders of the community's extensive families, and all family members are descendants of the same woman.

There are no husbands and fathers here - lovers meet at night but live separately with their own mother's families by day.

Children are under the care of and supported by their maternal families and adopt the surname of the mothers.  All families are composed of the members of the matrilineal kin. Women operate production and management, and hold the principal position in the society, forming a modern day 'woman's kingdom', which adds mystique to this place.

This unique wedlock values affection and gives more freedom to men and women in their relationships. They may choose to unite or separate at will. It has been considered as the living fossil as a basis for a study of social patterns and matriarchal marriage customs.

The lakeside trek / Mosuo customs and lifestyle

Best time to go
Spring and summer, when the hills are emerald green, the flowers are in bloom and the lives are active.

Getting there & away

Most visitors access Lugu Lake from Lijiang, although it's also accessible from Panzhihua or Yanjing of Sichuan(the route is more complicated).

Wherever you are from, Ninglang, a town 70km and 3hrs away from the lake, is a must stop on route(at least passing by). From Ninglang to the lake, not matter regular bus or minibus, the fare is around Y30.

  • Option 1(half direct) - Take a Lijiang-Lugu Lake mini bus at Lijiang Red Sun Square 8:00am each morning. Y160/head for a round trip, 6hrs incl. a stop for lunch at Ninglang. When you get on the bus, the busman will check your returning date. If you are not sure by that moment, jus leave it and call them to confirm one day ahead of your returning before 10:00am .
  • Option 3 (transfer route)- Take a bus from Lijiang to Ninglang first, then jump onto a bus heading for Yongning and get off at Lige Island.
  • Option 4 (transfer route)- take a sleeper bus from Kungming to Ninglang then catch a Yongning bus and get off at Lige.

Getting Around
by local minibuses, trucks, motorcycles or tractors


Mainly in Lige and Luoshui Island. Lige is 10km further down, where most independent travelers choose to stay. While tour group usually stay at Luoshui.

Legions of choice at the lakeside. Y80~Y220/std. dbl. Some hostels offer foods but the taste is really so so.

Things to do

  • Trekking along the lakeside
  • Boating in the lake to enjoy the leisure
  • Visit traditional Mosuo families to explore the matriarchal society
  • Participate in the Mosuo youths' campfire party to witness how they express love to the beloved ones.

Admission Fee:  Y100

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