Lijiang is a wonderfully picturesque, historic city, found in the northwest part of China’s Yunnan district and along the famous trade route known as the Ancient Tea Horse Road.
Here the Old Town – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and historical centre of Lijiang – comprises narrow cobbled streets and wonderful examples of both Han and Zang architecture in the form of countless two-storey wooden-framed tile-roofed houses. Wander under the arched gateways, into courtyards and under carved roof beams representative of the Nasi culture.
The Old Town is made up of three areas: Dayan Old Town, established in the Ming dynasty and where you’ll find the tranquil Black Dragon Pond Park; Baisha village where you can visit a traditional Nasi community; and finally, the picture-perfect Shuhe ancient town, in which the Qinglong Bridge that dates back to the Ming dynasty, sits.
Lijiang also boasts awe-inspiring natural landscapes, ranging from snow-capped mountains like Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and glacial lakes such as Blue Moon Valley in the highlands, to endless canyons such as the Tiger Leaping Gorge making it an idyllic place for anyone looking to escape the bustling cities and explore the beauty of the great outdoors.
I have especially fond memories of my time in Lijiang, particularly hiking through a forest up to a small working monastery just outside the town, where there were no other tourists and we were greeted warmly by the resident monks.
What to do
- Wander the narrow cobbled streets of Lijiang's Old Town
- Discover wonderful examples of both Han and Zang architecture
- Walk over Qinglong Bridge in Shuhe
- Visit the tranquil Black Dragon Pond Park
- Visit a traditional Nasi community in Baisha village
When to Go
The weather is generally mild all year round in Lijiang, so you can visit at any time. Keep in mind that during the summer months, particularly in July and August, Lijiang can become overrun with domestic tourists.