If you are seeking a destination that boasts breath-taking scenery (snow-capped mountains, and bubbling streams), along with crisp, clean air and welcoming residents (the Naxi people), then you must visit Lijiang. Situated in the Northwest part of China’s Yunnan Province, Lijiang is known as the “Venice of China,” due to its canals and agreeable climate. Lijiang offers an ambience of seclusion, but also plenty to see and do.
The Old Town
More than a thousand years of history permeates from The Old Town of Lijiang, harking back to an era when the Old Tea Caravan Trail was the place to trade.
Visit central market square with its vibrant shops and restaurants, walk along the cobblestones streets, view the waterways, cross the bridges and take in the elaborate timber houses with their intricate bird and floral carvings. Lijiang enjoys a rich blend of Naxi culture paired happily with the influence of Han Chinese traders, who visited Lijiang and made it their home.
The Old Town is open from 07:00 to 18:00 and visitors pay a “maintenance fee” of CNY 80 (approx. $12) to enter.
Keen to find out more about Naxi culture and the Dongba religion (an eclectic mix of Shamanistic ideologies, Tibetan religion, Taoistic teachings and Buddhist beliefs)?
Then a visit to the Lijiang Dongba Naxi Museum is a must. The museum is a 10-minute walk from the old town and just to the North of Black Dragon Pool Park. You will find a diverse mix of cultural artefacts.
The museum is open from 08:00~17:00, it’s free to enter but can only be accessed from the Old Town – which costs CNY 80 ($12) to enter.
Black Dragon Pool Park
A short walk North of the Old Town will bring you to Elephant Hill and the picturesque Jade Spring Park. Here you will find the famous Black Dragon Pool, which was built during the Qing Dynasty back in 1737. This is certainly a place of beauty, cross the marble bridge and stop for a magnificent photo opportunity as you take in the majestic sight of the tallest mountain in the area – Jade Dragon Snow
The Black Dragon Pool Park is open from 07:00 to 19:30 and it costs CNY 80 ($12) to enter.
Original home of the Naxi people and one of the oldest towns in Lijiang, this is the perfect place to experience ancient buildings such as Dabaji Palace, Dading Pavillion, Liuli Temple and Wenchang Palace. Sample the delights of Baisha Village on an organized tour, such as the Jade Dragon Mountain Glacier Park Tour.
- Explore the sights and sounds of the Old Town by joining a Full day tour in Lijiang.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
The 5596-meter-high Jade Dragon Snow Mountain has an astounding 13 peaks which tower above Lijiang. It is located around 20 kilometers north from the center of Lijiang and is a haven for wildlife, flora and fauna. There are around 400 species of tree growing on the mountainside, such as Dragon Spruce and Fir. Add to this numerous plant species and rare animals and it’s easy to see why Jade Dragon Snow Mountain really is a nature-lover’s paradise.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is Open: 07:00 to 18:00 and costs CNY 130 ($20) to enter.
There are three cableways that service Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. There’s the Cableway to to Yak Meadow, which is in a quieter spot and reaches 3650m.
The Yak Meadow Cableway costs CNY 60 ($9) for a round trip.
Alternatively, there’s the Cableway to Glacier Park, this one gets quite busy as it has the heady title of being one of the highest elevation cableways in China (4680m). When you alight your car at the top you can keep on going (there are steps which take you even higher), it’s a tiring climb, but very much worth it to sample the wondrous view.
The Glacier Park Cableway is pricier at CY 180 ($27) for a round trip.
Finally, head 3205m up on the Cableway to Spruce Meadow. If the idea of tranquility, peace, and pretty woodland floats your boat you will like this one.
The Spruce Meadow Cableway is CY 55 ($8) for a round trip.
You can hike Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and enjoy the spectacular scenery, remember to wear warm clothing – it’s cold up there! It’s a good idea to book onto a tour, the Jade Dragon Mountain Glacier Park Tour and the Jade Dragon Mountain & Blue Moon Valley Tour both offer the chance to witness the delights of the mountain.
Tiger Leaping Gorge
60 KM North of Lijiang lies Tiger Leaping Gorge, an attractive canyon on the Jinsha River. As canyon’s go this is a big one – in fact it’s the largest in the world – and has the deepest drop. Hiking is the thing to do here and you’re not short of options with ten fantastic trails to choose from.
Tiger Leaping Gorge is open from 9:00 – 16:30 and costs CY 50 ($8) to enter.
- Try The Tiger Leaping Gorge 2 Days Hiking Tour offers the perfect opportunity to experience the grandeur of the gorge.
Yunnan Impression Show
Also known as the Dynamic Yunnan, the Yunnan Impression Show is a majestic musical that portrays the richly diverse culture of the Yunnan Province. The show brings to life original rural songs and classical folk dance, be prepared to be dazzled by the vibrant and colorful costumes, beguiling ancient tunes and fluid dances.
You can witness this spectacle for yourself at the Yunnan Art Theatre, which is based in the Wuhua District, Yunnan Province.
The show runs every Monday to Saturday and starts at 20:00. Ticket prices vary by area, ranging from $38 for a “C” class, $50 for a “B” class, $63 for an “A” class and $78 for a VIP ticket.
Ready to Experience the Delights of Lijiang For Yourself?
There’s so much to see and do in Lijiang, and while you’re there you could always visit other nearby locations such as Shaxi village, Dali old town, white terraces, Shangri-la or even take a trip to Kunming via a flight or night train.
We are also on Wechat! Download the app and follow ClickGo account for insider’s tips about China.