Muli is known as a county-level town in Sichuan. It is by far the most remote place I have traveled in Sichuan. Its remoteness consists of two factors, first is the road and the second is the people. And yet its beauty is obvious.
To get to Muli you will have to get to Xichang, which is a big city in Sichuan and easy to get to by flight, train and car. By car it is 7 hours from Chengdu. So from Xichang, a Yi people place to Muli, it is another 8 hour’s drive through the gorges and over the mountains. The people that live along the driving road include Chinese, Yi, Tibetans and even Mongolians. The town of Muli itself is not very big but very interesting. It stands on side of a mountain facing the river. Driving into from the mountains feels like a surprise to first time visitors.
The people are taller in Muli and it is difficult to tell weather they are Chinese, Yi or Tibetan. Their skin is more tanned probably because of the sun. And the women there are very beautiful. Everyone feels friendly and it seems they all are sharing the town of Muli and the atmosphere. There is a square in the biggest park in the town and people come here to dance every day at 7.00pm. The dancers are Tibetan, Chinese, Yi or Mongolians. I don’t think Chinese people are good dancers but here I was wrong.
Muli is probably famed, if it is, by Muli Monastery, which is a hundred-year old Buddhist monastery that Joseph Rock described in his book and had a photo of the head monk of Muli monastery on the cover of National Geography in America. Muli Monastery is however not located in the town of Muli but hours’ driving from the town.
Muli is beautiful and far. Muli is not so far if you have the time to explore it.