June 7, 2009
From Shangri-La we headed back south to hike the Tiger Leaping Gorge. The quickest path would have been to head back down along the main road to Qiaotou and do the hike west-to-east. But we decided instead to take a smaller road and do the hike east-to-west. The benefit is that on the way to the trailhead we stopped at this beautiful spot called Baishui Tai.
Baishui Tai is similar to Huanglong in that it also has limestone-rich water flowing downhill and creating these crater-like terraces full of bright-blue water. But Baishui Tai is much smaller, far less touristy, and far far cheaper (30 yuan instead of 200). If you’re in the area, we would definitely recommend stopping here.
From far away, the Baishui Tai pools just look like a barren, eroded stretch at the bottom of the hill:
But up-close they are much prettier, just like the pools in Huanglong:
Horses wading through some of the shallow pools:
In some places we could move close and see the water trickling slowly over the edge of the pools:
Technically you’re not supposed to go to the actual pools (some areas are roped off), but this local family did. The Baishui Tai water is considered holy to the local Naxi people: