Sunday, August 08, 2021

Return trip to Muli - an armchair traveller visit via bilibili videos


As described on this blog, almost 30 years ago I did one of my first trips in Rock's footsteps to Muli monastery. Back in the 1990s there was no proper road from Lugu Lake to Muli - hell there wasn't even a map! I took a chance an followed Rock's map and found the trail was still as he described it. Much of it was dirt track and sometimes just a faint trail through the fields. I tramped over the mountains and through the forests via Yongning, Hot Springs (Wenquan), Wujiao and then up over the mountain pass and down into the Muli vally. It took me three days. Saw very few people en route, just a few wild Tibetan and Naxi locals.

Well now you can do the same trip in a few hours on a good road - as this guy shows in his video of a motorbike trip from Lugu Lake to Muli monastery. The route is much the same but now there are multiple police/militia checkpoints [to check for cigarettes or any fire-related materials - they had catastrophic forest fires in Muli]. There's also a few tourist scenic viewing points installed at places such as the Gibboh Mountain pass - in contrast to the bleak place we paused at. The biggest change of course is Muli monastery. Now a very opulent and grandiose series of buildings, not the dilapidated single building we found (it's still there but now massively overshadowed by the big monastery buildings). 

So I don't think I'll be returning to Muli. But I would still like to visit the other more remote monasteries that Rock described in the area - Kangpu and Waerdje - at some point.