The First Bend of Yangtze River

As the longest river in China, the Yangtze River, runs from the roof of the world, the- Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and then into Yunnan Province, converging with the Lancang River and the Nu River in the mountain ranges. The First Bend of Yangtze River is the Jinshajiang section of the Yangtze River, with an elevation of over 1800 meters. It is located in the Stone Drum Town of the Yulong Naxi Autonomous County, Lijiang City, and 130 kilometers away from Shangri La County. This attraction is a scenic and hiking area which is situated 1,850 meters above sea level. 

the panoramic view of the first bend of Yangtze River

The First Bend of Yangtze River Facts

-Chinese Name: 长江第一湾

-Location: Shigu Town, Yulong Naxi Autonomous County, Lijiang

-Time Needed: 1 hour

-Opening Hours: 08:00-18:00

-Best Seasons: Summer and autumn

-Entrance Fee: Free 

Legend about the First Bend of Yangtze River

According to a folk legend, there are three sisters went on a tour together, they are Nujiang River, Lancang River and Jinsha River. The three sisters came into conflict on the way, the elder sister Nujiang and her second sister Lancang River went to the south angrily, while Jinsha was determined to go to the east where the sun rose to find her love. After arriving at Shigu town, she said goodbye with her two sisters and turned to the east resolutely. Jinsha girl turned around and formed the First Bend of Yangtze River. 

Another version about this legend is that three sisters do not want to marry with the man in the west, so they run out of their home without telling their parents and going to the east sea. Their parents were very angry when they learned about this, and ask Yulong and Haba brothers to block their way to the east sea. The Nujiang River and Lancang River finally compromised, while Jinsha girl turn straight to her brother’s block and finally broke it and joined into the east sea, The place where she turned around formed the famous landscape of the First Bend of Yangtze River. 

shigu village at the first bend of Yangtze River

What to See at The First Bend of Yangtze River

The most famous attraction of The First Bend of Yangtze River is the Tiger Leaping Gorge. When coming to the Stone Drum in Yulong County, the river suddenly topped by Hailou Mountain Cliff and takes a sudden 100 degree turn to the northeast in the Shangri-la County, therefore the peculiar 'V' shape valley appears, and the world famous Tiger Leaping Gorge was created. The water of the First Bend of Yangtze and the Tiger Leaping Gorge is so treacherous, fast and deep that only few ferries can be used to cross the river, it is called the wondrous spectacle. If you have enough time for Lijiang tour, it is highly suggested to see the First Bend of Yangtze River and the Tiger Leaping Gorge. 

There are two best places offering the best view of the First Bend of the Yangtze. One is in Shigu Village and another is on the way from Lijiang to Shigu Village (about 34 kilometers after leaving Lijiang for the village), the awesome landscapes can be seen along the No.308 provincial road, and a special viewing deck is built there and helps guest to enjoy the grand scene of the Yangtze River. The best visiting time is May and early fall, in order to avoid the rainy season extending from June to September. 

Shigu Town is a small in the upper reached of the Yangtze River, about 70 kilometers away from Lijiang City. The town is named after a drum shaped stele carved with white marble. The stone tablet is 1.5 meters in diameter and 0.7 meters in thickness, and it was protected by a stele pavilion. Shigu ferry in the First Bend of Yangtze River is easy to ride, and it has always been a strategic position. It is said during the period of the Three Kingdoms, Zhuge Liang led his army to the south and successfully crossed the Jinsha River at Shigu. In 1253, Kublai Khan led the Mongolian army to the West Bank of Jinsha. With the leather pouches and sheep skin rafts, the Mongolian army arrived at Lijiang county on the other side unconsciously. In April 1936, General He Long led the Red Army to cross the river and head north from here. At present, there are Monument to Red Army Long March, cultural relics exhibition room and Red Army crossing river sculpture in Shigu Town. They were listed as Yunnan provincial cultural relics protection units and patriotism education base.

The First Bend of Yangtze River is about 50 kilometers away from Lijiang county, it is not only an important scenic spot in Lijiang, but also a hub connecting Tiger Leaping Gorge, Laojun Mountain, Meili Snow Mountain and other scenic spots. In addition, if it happens to be the market day, you can also see the local people go the market, what a lively scene!

the stone tablet at the first bend of Yangtze River

How to Get to the First Bend of Yangtze River

1. By Bus: Travelers can take bus from Lijiang Bus Station which will take about 2 hours bus ride, the ticket cost is RMB15/person.

2. Private car: Easy Tour China can arrange private Lijiang trip to the First Bend of Yangtze River which will be more comfortable and convenient.

More Attractions in Lijiang

  • White Water River
  • Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
  • Tiger Leaping Gorge
  • Baisha Village