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Baishuitai Travel Tips

Baishui Terrace, or White Water Terrace – one of the most important scenic sites in Shangri-La (Zhongdian) County, Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture – is located at the foot of Haba Snow Mountain, about a hundred kilometers southeast of the village of Shangri-La, the seat of Shangri-La County. Snugly carved into a mountain slope some 2400 meters above sea level, Baishui Terrace, from its base to its top, measures 140 meters and spans some 160 meters in width at its widest place, making Baishui Terrace the largest such set of terraces in China.

Water from the higher reaches of Haba Snow Mountain seeps down into the uppermost terraced basin (the basins themselves have been hollowed out over time by the erosive action of the formerly acidic water, which, in earlier times, drew out certain minerals from the limestone, creating weak carbonic acid), then spills over to the basin below, which it fills up before spilling over to the next basin, and so on and so forth, until the water spills over the outer rim of the last of this set of terraced basins.

Well-located on the altitude of 2380 metres, The Baishui Water Terraces, or literally translated from Chinese “White Water Terraces”, is the birthplace of the Dongba culture for the Naxi minority people. It situated in Sanba, 106 kilometres south of Shangri La (Zhongdian) Old Town.

The Baishui Water Terraces is one of the biggest limestone terraces among China. It is composed by the sediments of high Calcium Carbonate in the spring waters. Spring waters flows downwards from the mountain to every semicircular-shaped limestone steps. Year after year, it results the natural terraces look as the white marbles.

Behind its unique and breathtaking geological phenomena, there is a story to tell. It is said that the founder of Dongba culture settled there to spread his beliefs on his way back from Tibet. Since then, people regard the Baishui Water Terraces as a shrine. Till now, every year on 8th February (Chinese Lunar calendar), the locals gather there for the festival “er yue ba”, literally translated as “Eighth of February”, which is believed the day of the Dongba founder held his founding ceremony. At that day the local Naxi people sing, dance and slaughter chickens for offering sacrifices to the God of Mountain. Festival ends with smearing the chicken blood on the branches around Baishui Water Terraces to show their esteems.



How to Get There?

From Shangri-La (Zhongdian) there is a scheduled bus to the town of Sanba that will deposit the tourist at Baishui Terrace. It is a 4-hour, 100-kilometer trip, and costs 16 yuan. One can also take a taxi from Zhongdian for the princely sum of 200 yuan.  For those already in the area, there is a regular bus that departs the nearby town of Hutiaoxia at 2:00 PM every day in the direction of Baishui Terrace. It reaches Walnut Garden, part of the Baishui Terrace tourist complex, at 2:45 PM. While there, the backpacker might wish to continue on foot to Tiger Leaping Gorge (and the village by the same name) via a trek over Haba Snow Mountain.

Admission Fee:CNY 30

Opening Hours:

Recommended Time for a Visit:Two hours

More Tips:

1) Accommodations: Inns are available at the foot of Haba Snow Mountain. These are marked by signs written in Chinese characters and in Dongba script, but the tourist will have no problem in recognizing an inn for an inn! Tourists are warmly invited to participate in the local Dongba ethnic festival activities.

2) Note: There is a local road that conveniently connects Baishui Terrace with Tiger Leaping Gorge, via Haba Snow Mountain.

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