Getting to the gorge was hard enough. Bus stations in Lijiang were hard to deal with and there was just no easy way to do it. Finally we jumped in a taxi with two other girls after bargaining for a cheap price. The taxi guy let us off at a bridge just outside the gorge and took off. We left and realized we had no idea which side of the river to walk on. We started down the side we were on and got to a ticket booth. It looked ok but there was something strange about it. One thing was for sure.. we don't dish out money very easily (especially 30 RMB (3 USD) yes I am cheap).
Good thing it was so early in the morning and the ticket booth guy was asleep. We snuck past him and walked quite a distance before he popped up and saw us. He ran up to us and then we played dumb – pretending we didn't know you had to pay for it. He stood there and blocked our path so we took a right into a small restaurant to have breakfast. He let us go in but we could see him waiting outside for us. We ate and just as we were finishing, we noticed that some people were at his booth wanting to pay. As he went back to deal with them, we took off down the path without him noticing (hearts racing). We walked for about half an hour and started to notice that we were on some stupid tourist pathway because old ladies were whizzing by us on man-powered carriages. Also the path was all pavement.
Just then our friend from the ticket booth caught up with us on a bike and… here we go again. After playing dumb for half an hour we finally coughed up the 30 RMB each (we were wasting time). We continued on our way and then it happened. We reached the end of the path only to realize we were walking on the wrong side of the stupid gorge. AHHHHH!! We finally walked back a little bit and payed some farmer to take us across the river on his raft. Fortunately when we got to the other side we were on the right side of the river and past the ticket booth of the real entrance to the gorge. From then it was all about conquering.