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I don't know when you went to Luguhu but the road between Lijiang and Lugu has improved enormously over the last few years and the new road between Lugu lake and Ninglang has been completed and is now one of the best roads in Yunnan. From there the road is the old road to Lijiang and a bit congested at certain spots. Indeed just outside Lijiang the road is a total mess because of road-works. The old road is completely destroyed by heavy trucks here going between the cement works and Lijiang (A common problem in China; modern trucks can carry more load then the road have been designed and build for and therefore destroy the roads).
I travelled this road earlier this month and it took me 5 hours to cover the Lugu Lake / Lijiang distance. Once the road works have been completed it might take 4 hours. That is half the time it took me in 2009.
Travelling from Xichang in Sichuan still takes a full day and from Chengdu I would do it in two days. (Many road improvement works here as well.).
Your statement that "the Sichuan side was much less developed than the opposite shore" I cannot agree with. On the contrary: Apart from Luoshui (The only village at the lake) the Yunnan side has hardly been touched by tourism while the Sichuan side has seen rapid touristic development.
One of the nice things of Lugu lake is/was that it is less over-run by tourists. Something that spoiled it for me in Lijiang and Shangri-La. A new airport will hasten the process of it becoming one more of the "shopping mall" tourist towns like Lijiang. Already now I noticed that more and more local business women (The local Mosuo culture is matrilineal and this mend that most shops, restaurants and hotels were owned and run by women) have been replaced by outsiders (Mostly Sichuan businessmen) and that part of the atmosphere has gone.
Note as well that the area has an access fee of 80 RMB per person.

Sorry two more points.

The article states that 600 Km in China has been finished. However 156 Km still has to be done. It took 12 years to build the 265 Km stretch from Dali to near Longling. This with plenty of money from the Go West development program. It would be another 1000 Km to Bangladesh.

At this moment there is not a single road between Myanmar and Bangladesh. One reason for this being the dispute between the two countries and the Rohringya ethnic group issue in the area.

I is amazing that these stories keep popping up. The statements are pure political and have no relation to real life.

Any road or rail-link would have to go through Myanmar and anybody who has ever travelled through the north of Myanmar knows that the whole thing is utopic.

There are simply no proper roads in the north of Myanmar. The roads that are there are built more than half a century ago and in appalling condition. Elephants are used to pull vehicles through the worst spots. The reason why these roads are bad is because this is what the local powers that be want it. Better roads would facilitate the movement of the government army and the local 'rebel groups', for their own safety, don't want that.

The government of India don't want it either and well for three reasons: 1. Better roads, or roads at all, in Nagaland would make it possible for the Naga who are in opposition to the central government to easily flee into Myanmar (Nagaland is on both sides of the border.)(Be aware that all the border provinces in India in this area are so instable that foreigners are not even allowed to go there) 2. The road leads from the border through Assam through an area where local opposition groups close of the existing roads for more than a hundred days per year. To put pressure on the central government they declare "ban's" which are general strikes and anybody moving on these days is likely to get his vehicle burned down. More traffic on the road gives the opposition more power and the government of India would have to allocate more force to control the area. 3. A direct trade link with China would swarm India with Chinese products (Chinese products are cheap and high quality compared with Indian products). This thus leads to big opposition from the local industry and trade.

Optimist will make a point that there is a pipeline (Still under construction) from the Bay of Bengal in Myanmar to China so it is possible. Well indeed in this case but the main reason is that Myanmar exports it natural gas from their off-shore fields in the Bay of Bengal to China through this pipe. This forms the single highest export and source of income for the Myanmar government and therefore they are willing to put the extra security in place. What helps as well is that the pipeline is much further south and passes through less instable area.
In short "don't keep your breath".

I just cycled along the lake for a bit on the West side. There is a new road more or less hugging the lake side which is great for cycling. The road is reached from the road leading from Dali (Old town) to Caicun Warf. 3/4th of the way down you find the road there crossing the fields. The road is surprisingly well sign posted Erhai lake round road (also the cut off to Xizhou is not indicated). Where the road leads south I don't know but it would be nice if it started in XiaGuan.

Cycling from XiaGuan to Dali on Road#221 I stayed on the cycle part which is separated by the car part by a crash-barrier. This might save you from cars but on the other side there is a several meter straight drop into the paddy fields. Near Dali that track was suddenly blocked by two truck-loads of fresh dung blocking the way so a proper cycling track into Dali would be great.


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