Photo Essay – White Water Terraces of Baishuitai

16 Dec

From Lijiang, we did numerous day trips and one of them was to Bai Shui Tai meaning “White Water Place”. It one of the world’s largest tuff-spring terraces and located at Baidi village that is 105 kilometers to the South East of Shangri-La.

The limestone terraces of Baishatui, Yunnan, China

The limestone terraces of Baishatui, Yunnan, China

As a quick background, these terraces were formed by calcium bicarbonate depositions in the spring water in prolonged photosynthesis processes, where the chemical gradually deposited to make the 200 – plus mus of tuff-spring terraces. According to the local tales, these terraces naturally arranged themselves into the following 5 scenes: silvery bubbles threading up the water, water mirroring the skies, celestial being left over fields, fairy comes to the human world and dragon frolicking in the limpid water. Legendary tales say that Dingbashiluo, the first ancestor who founded the Dongba religion had practiced and preached his religious doctrine there, therefore the place is believed to be the origin of the Dongba religion. Owing to this reason people say those who have not gone pilgrimage to Baishuitai cannot be deemed as true Dongba Buddhists. Till now, every year on 8th February (Chinese Lunar calendar) when the surrounding mountains are festooned with flower bossoms, the locals gather here 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. There was no guide around hence we couldn’t ask for more information on this place.

A short hike along broken stairs and rough paths to the terraces –

Broken stairs to terraces

Broken stairs to terraces

And along merrily flowing cool streams –

Walking along a cool and merry stream

Walking along a cool and merry stream

For that first glimpse of the terraces –

First glimpse of the terraces

First glimpse of the terraces

And the stunning terraces –

Stunning terraces

Stunning terraces

Crystal clear water with the silver bubbles threading up the water –

Crystal clear water in the terraces

Crystal clear water in the terraces

Water mirroring the clouds in small pools that have collected above the terraces –

Water mirroring the clouds in the pools

Water mirroring the clouds in the pools

Actually looks like celestial being left over fields –

Stunning views with shadow of the clouds

Stunning views with shadow of the clouds

For views like this, fairies could actually come to the human world –

Meandering Pools and gorgeous hills beyond

Meandering Pools and gorgeous hills beyond

And this is my take on the dragon frolicking in the limpid water –

Multi-colored pools of water

Multi-colored pools of water

And other smaller pools and general paths for walking and exploring around –

Pools and magnificent hills beyond

Pools and magnificent hills beyond

Gorgeous small pools and shadows that invite you to dip your feet in –

Green pools that invite you to dip your feet in

Green pools that invite you to dip your feet in

And to top it all, are such stunning vistas all around –

And the stunning vistas all around

And the stunning vistas all around

Tips for the trip –

  1. This can be done as a day trip from Shangri-La as well as Lijiang. Since it’s quite a long drive from both these places, it is normally quite empty.
  2. There is a ticket that can be bought from the ticketing counter at the Tiger Leaping Gorge.
  3. There is a short hike and hence the appropriate footwear. Ponies are also available but they drop you just halfway up the climb.
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40 Responses to “Photo Essay – White Water Terraces of Baishuitai”

  1. Tom Schultz December 16, 2014 at 21:07 #

    Gorgeous colors in the pools of water! 🙂

    Like

    • getsetandgo December 17, 2014 at 18:14 #

      Thanks and I loved them too… The water was colorless and just reflecting the color of its surrounding….

      Like

    • getsetandgo December 17, 2014 at 18:14 #

      Thanks and I loved them too… The water was colorless and just reflecting the color of its surrounding….

      Like

  2. Say Cheese December 17, 2014 at 02:12 #

    Lovely!

    Like

  3. Bella Remy Photography December 17, 2014 at 05:04 #

    What a beautiful and natural terraces these are. But those stairs that you travelled are a little scary. Thanks for sharing this beautiful part of your world.

    Like

    • getsetandgo December 17, 2014 at 18:15 #

      Thanks and the stairs were scary but still manageable… In fact many children were climbing it too…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Manu December 17, 2014 at 10:39 #

    Such an amazing location!!

    Like

  5. darwinontherocks December 17, 2014 at 17:59 #

    It looks like mammoth spring in Yellowstone. It is beautiful, I love these terraces !

    Like

  6. Lucy December 17, 2014 at 18:19 #

    I’d love to see the terraces myself. Looks like a beautiful spot!

    Like

    • getsetandgo December 17, 2014 at 18:23 #

      It is and the general quiet and calm around added to its charm… I understand Turkey has such terraces too…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lucy December 17, 2014 at 18:24 #

        I know about the ones in Turkey. They are on my to visit list 🙂

        Like

      • getsetandgo December 17, 2014 at 18:25 #

        Mine too 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  7. buildingmybento December 18, 2014 at 00:05 #

    If you’re still in China, you might want to check out Zhangye.

    Also, I visited the Turkish “equivalent” of Baishuitui (http://buildingmybento.com/2012/04/11/pamukkale-turkey/) in the off-season a couple of years ago. There’s too much too see in both countries!

    Like

    • getsetandgo December 27, 2014 at 19:17 #

      wow, Zhangye see,s gorgeous…. Though I am back now, I will definitely return soon to see these landscapes… Have you been there yet?

      I havent been to Turkey yet, but hope to be there soon… So many places to visit and so little time 🙂

      Like

  8. Jatin Adlakha December 18, 2014 at 14:36 #

    What amazing pictures!!

    Like

  9. maverickbird December 18, 2014 at 16:29 #

    Hi I have nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Thank you and keep inspiring. http://maverickbird.com/2014/12/18/i-am-touched/

    Like

  10. vothikhanhhoa December 19, 2014 at 06:42 #

    I am in love with the meandering pools because of its emerald water reflecting the gorgeous landscape around likes a magical mirror ❤ ❤

    Like

    • getsetandgo December 27, 2014 at 19:49 #

      You have expressed it so beautifully 🙂 It does look like magical mirrors 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Suyash Chopra December 20, 2014 at 09:50 #

    Such vivid colors in your beautifully shot photos. Very interesting travel blog 🙂

    Like

  12. simongoesplaces December 20, 2014 at 14:53 #

    This is an absolutely beautiful piece of the world.

    Like

  13. 3weeksandashoestring December 21, 2014 at 22:12 #

    I’ve been to the ‘white terraces’ in Pamukkale, Turkey last year – good to find out about travertines in other parts of the world too through your blog. Pamukkale’s terraces are a bit bigger I think but you’ll have a hard time avoiding getting other tourists out of your picture frames, even in the shoulder season. 🙂 Though I remember the first time I saw pictures of Pamukkale – I couldn’t believe this place was for real!

    Like

    • getsetandgo December 27, 2014 at 19:42 #

      Hey, before my China trip even I had just heard about these terraces being only in Pamukkale, Turkey… Though unlike in Turkey, in China they didn’t allow us to enter the waters in these terraces… And this place is so remote that there are few tourists around… Guess thats why the picture frames 🙂

      Like

  14. harmonioustew December 24, 2014 at 16:27 #

    I can see why the place is called Shangri-La (I hadn’t realized it was an actual place–I thought it was made up!). Beautiful photos and lovely descriptions. Thanks also for liking my blog post.

    Like

    • getsetandgo December 27, 2014 at 19:22 #

      Thanks so much for the kind words… And the Chinese tourism authorities named this city Shangri-La to boost local tourism 🙂

      Like

  15. psychologistmimi December 24, 2014 at 19:51 #

    how very cool. happy 2015

    Like

    • getsetandgo December 27, 2014 at 19:20 #

      Thanks and wishing you a very happy 2015 too 🙂

      Like

  16. c_in_b December 29, 2014 at 19:29 #

    Very interesting reading. Thanks for the like of my Feeling Safe. We are still up in the air on our destination after Istanbul. Your photos from various parts of China are enchanting. cheers.

    Like

    • getsetandgo January 5, 2015 at 20:57 #

      Thanks for visiting my blog and the kind words 🙂

      Like

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