Next stop was the Lugu Lake (泸沽湖). Stradling the remote Yunnan-Sichuan border, Lugu Lake is an absolute idyllic place. The ascent to the lake, which sits at 2690m, is via spectacular switchback Roane and the first sight of the 50km² body of water, surrounded by lushly forested slopes, will take your breath away.
I arrived late at night and took a photo, only powered by the moonlight. No filter used.
I rented a bike to ride a circle around the lake, which takes around 60km.
The special thing about the see is the ethnic minority, that lives there. The super interesting Mosuo minority (摩梭族) lives her and keeps up its traditions.
There is not that much known about the history/origins of the Mosuo culture. The Mosuo don’t have a written language, so their entire history is an oral history, passed down from generation to generation, mostly through local priests called “Daba”.
Three aspects of the Mosuo culture that tend to attract the most attention are their practice of a system that is similar to matriarchal systems; their practice of “walking marriages”, an alternative system whereby women can choose/change partners as they wish, and couples do not live together or get married; and their integration of Tibetan Buddhism and their own religion, “Daba”. Traditionally, a Mosuo woman who is interested in a particular man will invite him to come and spend the night with her in her room. Such pairings are generally conducted secretly, so the man will walk to her house after dark (thus the description of “walking marriage”), spend the night with her, and return home early the next morning. Even when a pairing may be long term, however, the man will never go to live with the woman’s family, or vice versa. He will continue to live with and be responsible to his family; she will continue to live with and be responsible to her family. There will be no sharing of property.
There’s one legend about the lake, that there was once a woman that saved her son and herself and escaped from a horrible flood by using a pig trough as a boat. Referring to that legend, there are still pig trough-look alike boats used to cross the lake.
That’s it for now Yunnan Province. It was my second stay in that beautiful province and it won’t be my last time! The next stop was the biggest waterfall in China. I changed the province and entered Guizhou. Stay tuned!