The magnificently preserved ancient city of Lijiang is one of the jewels of the northwestern Yunnan Province of China. Here, you will experience a very rich culture and powerful appreciation for the past.
Not only does the name Lijiang prefer to the city, it is also in the name given to the whole county, which is blessed with high mountains, pastures and natural preserves. Lijiang is about 200 kilometers from Tibet and 150 kilometers from Myanmar.
Lijiang is the home of the Naxi people who have built rich the Dongba Culture for hundreds of years. One highlight of your visit here is undeniably the Ancient City District (central Dayan District), famous for its centuries-old buildings, bridges, cobbled streets and canals which collectively allow you to step back in time, and makes you want to stay here for a couple of blissful days.
This Old District captivates you with its marvelous Old Naxi architecture that reflects the blending of cultures over several centuries. Each house in Dayan is surrounded by willow trees and built by the stream. This is why people dubbed the town “Oriental Venice”. While in this ancient district, do not miss the chance to visit Sifang Street (Four Square), which is not only the central street but also a trading and distributing center. Another landmark in the Old Town worth your time is the famous Mu’s Palace (Mufu).
After exploring the district, you can head out to the neighboring area of Nanmen. Although it is a modern spot, this is where you can dine, shop and be entertained. Aside from the Ancient City District the Shuhe Town and the Baisha Quarter are part of the three districts of Lijiang that are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Situated on the first bend of the Yangtze River, Lijiang is also gifted with beautiful natural surroundings. This is the reason the town has become the favored gateway for attractions like Yuquan Park, Lugu Lake, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, and the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Hiking excursions are very popular and are usually organized by tour operators in Lijiang. The hordes of adventure-seeking visitors are well accommodated by the town’s wide range of inns, hostels and hotels.
Yuquan Park is a hiking haven that encompasses the scenic Black Dragon Pool and a gorgeous hill overlooking the city. Lugu Lake is home to the unique Mosuo people, who until now, observed a matriarchal society, which is why it is famously called the last “Kingdom of Women” in the world.
The (Yulong) Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, just 35 kilometers north of Lijiang is known for its very picturesque scenery. Check the postcards made for the town and region, and you will find a number that feature this spectacular mountain. During good winter weather, part of the mountain becomes a ski area ideal of beginners. This is the only ski area in the whole province of Yunnan. Take note the Jade Dragon is not a full-fledged resort but is an ideal destination for a day trip.
Just within the vicinity of the mountains, you will find the Leaping Tiger Gorge, another World Heritage Site that is worth visiting. Tourists who make their way to the Leaping Tiger Gorge area are usually in search of hiking excursions and enjoying the wonderful natural scenery this area offers.