This page is under construction. More info coming soon.
The following is a list of worthwhile places which are within half a day's travel of the Stone Drum House, with transport information and links to some useful websites.
Tiger Leaping Gorge - Hu Tiao Xia 虎跳峡
Widely considered to be one of the best treks in China. It offers incredible mountain views, is easily accessed can be tackled by most people of average fitness.
The cheapest option is to get a shared minivan in the direction of Lijiang (20RMB). They will leave you by the side of the road in Xiong Gu 雄古 where you can catch the Shang-ri-la bus to Qiao Tou 桥头. This is the town at the start of the gorge. If you leave Stone Drum House around 8 or 9 am, you will arrive in QiaoTou with enough time to do the walk to the mid point of the gorge and the Half Way House.
From the end of the gorge catch the bus back to Qiaotou and follow the directions in reverse. You take either the Lijaing, Dali or Kunming bus and asked to be dropped off at XiongGu. Then flag down a passing minivan ans ask to be taken to Shigu.
A private taxi can also be arranged. This will cost 200 to the start of the gorge, or 300 to the middle of the gorge or to Tea Horse Guesthouse (that way you can miss the boring uphill section at the start).
Roughly half way between Dali and Lijiang lies the small town of Shaxi, one of the best preserved towns on the old Tea Horse Road. It is just out of the way enough to have escaped mass tourism, feeling both quiet and charming, but with just enough visitors to mean that there is good variety of food and places to stay. There are a number of worthwhile sites of interest and even some decent bouldering on red sandstone.
To reach Shaxi you must first get to JianChuan 剑川, which is half way between Dali and Shigu. From Shigu you can catch the Dali bus around 9am, and from Dali there are buses running regularly throughout the day. From JianChuan you can take a shared minvan.
There are lots of guest houses scattered around the old town, all reasonably priced.
If you want somewhere with English speaking staff then Horse Pen 46 is the place to stay. They can give you advice on places to visit, hiking routes and directions to the bouldering.
Liming is best known for its huge red sandstone walls and the world class crack climbing. A lot of recent development has aimed at putting Liming on the map as a place for sports climbing too, and there are now more than 60 bolted routes.
There is also a via-feratta route made to a very high standard which is usually unwatched and can be climbed for free if you have a harness and slings (just don't fall if you don't have the proper slings for it).
It's also worth a visit for a few days even if you don't plan on climbing. It offers some amazing scenery and boarded walk ways up to the top of Thousand Turtle Mountain 千龟山，and up the valley beyond the pillars climbing area.
From Stone Drum House the best option is getting a private car for 200RMB which takes around 1.5 hours. We can arrange it to arrive after 18:30 in the evening when the ticket gate closes, and so you can avoid the 105RMB park entry.
It is also possible to hitch hike there or you can wait in Shigu for a shared minivan. However, it might take a long time to find a car.
There is also one bus a day which leaves Lijiang around 1pm.
The best options for budget accommodation are the Faraway Inn 千里之外 and the Time Inn 时光. These are the two places most of the climbers stay. The Faraway has a nice communal area and lots of arty decorations and the only dorm beds in Liming. It is close to the river though, and some people find the sound annoying. Also, it doesn't get direct sun until after 11 am in the winter.
However, The Faraway owner has been supportive of climbing in the area since the beginning and can arrange a taxi service to the further away climbing areas such as The Guardian Valley, and The Eldorado Crag.
The town of Shigu doesn't have much to offer but it's still worth a visit, especially on market day which occurs on the morning of the 3rd, 6th, 9th, 13th, 16th, 19th, 23rd, 26th and 29th of every month. See the old bridge and Stone Drum. Check out some local art work in the small gallery close to the bridge, and walk up the hill at the south of the town for the best view of the First Bend of the Yangtze.