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Lijiang is a small city in Yunnan Province, China.
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Points of Interest in Lijiang
- Old Town (老镇). Walk around, watch people, shop, drink and eat. There is bonfire at around 7PM at the Si Fang Jie, the central plaza. Many local folks dance there, apparently entertain themselves. Tourists are welcomed to join. And if you get there early in the morning, you can avoid the crowds.
- Mu Palace (木府; Mùfǔ). The palace where the Mu Clan of the Naxi people ruled for over 400 years. It is a large complex that extends part way up the hill behind it. There used to be a lot of high quality paitings in the palace and finely carved wooden doors, but most were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. At the top is a Daoist temple, with a few Daoists ready to give fortunes to visitors for a donation. A taste of Mulaoye Wine (木老爷酒; Mùlǎoyejiǔ), a kind of local alcohol, is available for ¥5 (in a shot glass), and there is also a free tea tasting area. Allow at least 2 hours to walk explore this expansive complex and do wander off into the side courtyards as it will take you back to the main courtyards. If you are visiting Wangulou, exit the Lion Hill Park from the south exit which leads you right into the back entrance of Mu Palace. Entry fee is ¥60 (Oct 2011), and the non-posted student price is ¥20.
- Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙雪山; Yùlóngxuě Shān) (25km from Lijiang. Mules can be rented from the nearby Baisha Village or you can take a cable car to the top. Prices vary for the mules depending on what elevation you want to go to. ¥180 to ride to 3800 meters plus ¥5 for insurance. ¥300 to 4200 meters. ¥350 to 4600 meters. If you pay for the lowest elevation you might be able to bargain with the handlers when you reach the end and continue to the higher elevations for a lower price. Passengers over 100 kg might have to pay a surcharge. Tickets for the cable car cost ¥170 round-trip). A mountain massif (also identified as a small mountain range) visible from Lijiang and capped all year round. Its highest peak is Shanzidou (扇子陡; Shānzidǒu) at 5,596m. The view of the massif from the gardens at the Black Dragon Pool in Lijiang is noted as one of China's finest views. The far side of the mountain forms one side of Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡; Hǔtiàoxiá). You might be asked to purchase tickets for electrical car, which they call it as "Little Green frog". It's not worth it. You would miss the 20 minute walk on a wood trail which was very enjoyable. Also, renting a coat is not necessary during the late spring and summer season. You would find it a big burden later.
On you way to Yu Long Snow Mountain, you may stop by at the Dong Ba Valley culture center. They moved some families from other places to this village and let them live their normal lives. Such domestic scenes as the husband in a family counting change while the wife was comforting the baby or two young siblings baking cookies and selling them to visitors are common. There are live singers and instrumentalists performing at different corners. Some singers are actually pretty and sing well. Entrance to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain ¥190, which only seems to be collected when entering from the Lijiang end.
- Black Dragon Pool (黑龙潭; Hēilóngtán) (About 1 km from Square Street). 8AM-9PM. Quite large place with some nice natural scenery together with traditional building styles. Don't forget to take pictures on the center bridge where the Yu Long Xue Shan (The Jade Dragon Snow Mountain) can be a perfect background. Popular with locals, whom you can find dancing or playing games such as mahjongg or Chinese chess. You can also hike up Elephant Hill if you're feeling energetic. Walk north along the canals from the waterwheels just to the north of the old town. It is about 10 minutes walk up-river, and if you cross over to the left side (western pathway) you will pass the "Through the Window Cafe".. a cool place run by an affable New Zealander that serves great coffee and western food. Ask him nicely and he may even show you where is the free entrance, if you don't already have the Old Town Preservation receipt which costs ¥80. (Note: Black Dragon Pool is virtually empty as of June 11, 2012, and there is no reflection on the parched ground.) Free, IF you have a receipt of the Old Town Preservation, which costs ¥80.
- The Baisha Naxi Embroidery Institute (12 kms north of Lijiang), ☎ 13095230290. The Baisha Naxi Embroidery Institute. It is in the Baisha Village 12kms away from Lijiang City. It is a typical Naxi courtyard with a very nice surroundings. The mission of the institute is to save, protect, inherit and promote the Naxi traditional hand-made embroidery. It occupies 800 square meters, there are many embroidery masters and students, also many hand-made embroideries there. You can try how to do hand-made embroidery there if you have time. Also you can buy some very nice embroideries there if you like.
- Baisha Mural Baisha village was once Lijiang's political, economic and cultural center. The existing55Baisha murals here, Baisha murals due to absorption of Han Chinese painting fine brushwork, succinct, fusion of Tibetan Buddhist painting in the smooth beautiful style, and there is no lack of Naxi nationality character in the wild, it became the mural art treasures.
- Dragon Bridge. Dragon bridge also known as that in Jiangqiao, located in Southeast Lijiang today seven River countryside village and Yongsheng County Anxiang Jin'an falls village between Jinsha River, from Lijiang county about80.
Popular events in Lijiang in the near future
The city has an 800 year history from as early as the late Song Dynasty. It is built where the Jade River divides into three and its streams form the canals and waterways which flow along the old town streets. Lijiang became known in the west through a book written by an American commissioner who traveled in and out of Yunnan province in late 19th century. Particularly after China started to admit foreign tourists in the 1980s, Lijiang began to attract visitors. To fulfill their needs, local people started restaurants and cafes. It was the earthquake in 1996 that brought Lijiang to the world's attention. Chinese people also long for the lifestyle and the excellent environment in Lijiang and started pour in. This started the new era of Lijiang.
- Naxi Concert Hall. 8PM-10PM. Enjoy the traditional Naxi music Culture Show performed by the Naxi Orchestra, which includes some 70-90 year old men. The music itself is a combination of traditional Chinese music dating back to the Tang dynasty and local instruments and flavours. The music is well performed, however be prepared for long explanations of its musical history in Mandarin between each piece and the sometimes self-serving comments of Xuan Ke the Director. While the Naxi Ancient Music group of Lijiang is famous and well promoted, there are other excellent classical Chinese music groups playing in Lijiang's parks (for ¥10) or at weddings or house-warmings all over Yunnan. ¥120-160.
- Float styrofoam boats. Along the main streams are girls selling candles that float on delicate flower-shaped styrofoam boats. Tourists can purchase one, make a wish, and send their candle down the waterways. Late in the evening after groups have had significant amounts of alcohol you can see many floating candles sailing down the waterways. If you are environmentally conscious and have reservations about sending styrofoam downstream do not worry. There is a net, far down the waterway, that catches the boats. The girls just go down, pick the boats up, and re-sell them the next night. ¥10 (September 2010).
- Biking. Rent a bike downtown, eg at Ali Baba's near Mao Zedong's statue, and see the sights. Ali Baba's will give you a handmade map of smaller surrounding towns that capture the quaint styles of Lijiang without the heavy tourism and the tacky souvenir shops. There are at least three towns, ranging from converted hippy communes to remote farming villages. There is a beautiful remote Buddhist monastery at Puji Mountain which is worth the 30 minute hike. There is also a Tibetan village labeled on the map but is hard to find, so ask Ali Baba for directions. Most of the terrain around Lijiang is level and the roads have only light traffic. These small, non-touristy towns and other sightseeing destinations can be reached within a 20 minute ride. About ¥15 per day including a bottle of water and a lock.
- Walk the canal path. To get to the Black Dragon Pool you can walk the canal path north near the main water wheel. It will take you to the south entrance of the park. The north part of the park is free and you can get there by walking around the south entrance and keep heading north. You should reach a street with the main entrance to the park. Keep going north and you will see a small bridge that leads to a large white building. The white building is the Dongba Museum, everything north of that is free. If the guards bother you at the gate, just walk back to the street and keep walking north and there will be another path to get in to the free part with no gates or guards to bother you. Further north of the park is a local college, and northwest of that is a small reservoir. The reservoir is a good place to take photos of the snow mountain when it is visible. On hot sunny days in the summer there will be lots of locals swimming there in the afternoon. At the local college you can find students to help you. The English building is the large pink one just right after you enter the south entrance. There is a student run café that is open in the evening from 6:30PM-10PM in the "butterfly" building, which is opposite of the English building. As of 2007 the school has an English corner every Thursday after lunch (~1PM), and after dinner at ~5:40PM. The English corner is so-so, but it is a great chance to ask students about where to go, and cheap transportation. Many of them are from other places in Yunnan.
- Visit Naxi villages. If you would like to visit some of the Naxi villages in the hills surrounding Lijiang, you can rent a small van to take you around for ¥100-300, depending on the driver and how much Chinese you speak. There are regular minivans on Shangrila Road, the main road on the west side of town, which take locals to and from the villages. Sometimes it can be difficult to find a mini-van to go back to Lijiang after 5PM if you do not make arrangements with the driver who took you there. The regular one way mini-van fee is ¥2 to Shuhe, and ¥3-5 for villages farther north (2007). It is highly recommended to ask a student at the local college on where to find the mini-buses and the prices of the village you want to go. Many drivers will try to rip you off if you do not speak Chinese, and the buses are not always easy to find as they look the same as the private "3-8" buses that travel inside the city.
- Impression Lijiang. A cultural show demonstrating the traditions and lifestyles of the Naxi, Yi and Bai peoples of the area. The show takes place inside Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Park at 3500m in an outdoor theater specifically designed to showcase the mountain which is used as a backdrop. The production itself was designed by Zhang Yimou (director of Hero, House of Flying Daggers), Fan Yue and Wang Chaoge, a cast of over 500 people, and a number of horses. However, the show does not have a plot. Tickets cost ¥190 and can be bought from the ticket booth in the Old Town (make a right at the water wheels and walk down the main street, the booth will be on your left). The ticket price does not include transportation to and from the theater (approx 1 hour drive) or the entrance fee for the park (¥80). There is also an Old Town Preservation fee that the park tries to charge as well, however, this can be avoided by claiming to have already paid at you hotel (and showing your hotel key). Bus 7 will take you to the theater for ¥10 and can be caught across from the Mao Zedong statue, but be sure to find out what time the last bus leaves the park.
- Dry Sea Meadow (Ganhaizi). The closest chair lift up the mountain to Lijiang. It transports visitors to a large meadow located at 3050 meters. ¥160 return.
- Cloud Fir Meadow (Yunshanping). From the reception centre which is located adjacent to Impression Lijiang on the Lijiang-Daju road a fleet of buses transports visitors to a cable car. Both bus transfer and cable car costs a total of ¥110 for a return trip. From the upper terminus of the cable car a vehicel takes you to the Cloud Fir Meadow for ¥50. The view is not very spectacular which makes this trip highly overprized.
- Yak Meadow (Máoniúpíng). The furtherest from Lijiang at a distance of 60km, this cable car, costs ¥60 for a round-trip. At an elevation of 3,500 metres and the least-visited of the three chair lifts this area offers grazing yaks, a Tibetan temple and a number of hiking possibilities. On the way to the chairlift’s lower terminus the road drips down and crosses a river. A number of yaks are located here where for a fee you can sit on one. Their owners seem to have no objection to visitors taking photos for no fee of the yaks standing in the river with awesome Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the background. You can also access Yak Meadow by hopping aboard bus 7 across from the Mao Zedong statue which will take you to the Impression Lijiang Theater for ¥10. At the theater there is a ticket booth to the left of the show entrance which sells tickets to both Spruce Meadow and Yak Meadow (¥80) and provides a tour bus to and from the cable cars and a cable car ticket. Be sure to find out what time the last bus passes the Impression Lijiang theater or you may find yourself calling a taxi which could be expensive. Also see "Impression Lijiang" info for entrance fees to the park itself.
- Baisha Village (白沙村) (bus 6 (1y / ~30min; one problem, it's seem it's a recent service at oct 2011 and it is not labelled on all/some bus stop, one is near north entrance of black dragon pool)). A small village in Yulong Naxi Autonomous County, part of Lijiang city, well-known for its Jade Dragon Snow Mountain range. It is the original settlement of the Naxi people who came to the greater Lijiang Valley over a thousand years ago. Made up of at least 12 smaller villages, the main village is Sanyuan (三元村), which has one main stone street called of course, Baisha Street. It has a typical Chinese "old-town" tourist setup, consisting of a stone paved street with a mixture of Chinese trinket sellers-shops and several quaint cafés to stop at relax, have a drink some Yunnan coffee eat a Naxi Pie and avoid the crowded Lijiang. A great escape from Lijiang Old-town tourist trap, only 12 km north of town, you can rent a bike and get there in about 40 minutes. You should consider staying a few nights, in a Naxi family’s courtyard, no "hotel-Hostels" here. Even though almost everything costs you a ticket price to do in China these days you can do many things here for free! Like hike the local mountains through the high alpine botanical garden and search for herbs on your way to the Jade Dragon Lake, the backside of Snow Jade Dragon Mountain. Visit some of the temples or traditional Naxi houses of the area before they are gone.
- Go hiking to local Naxi villages, Old Town Lijiang (Start in old town), ☎ 13769001439. Get out of Lijiang and discover the real place, by hiking in the Lijiang valley or in the hills to temples, lakes, villages and scenic lookouts. Agencies like Lijiang Guides can arrange trips to remote villages, as well as Tiger Leaping Gorge, Lugu Lake and Baoshan stone village.
- The Baisha Naxi Emboidery Institute, Baisha village (12 kms north of Lijiang), ☎ 13095230065. The Baisha Naxi Embroidery Institute. The mission of this institute is to protect, save, inherit. develop and promote the Naxi traditional hand-made embroidery.This institute is located in the Baisha Village, 12 kms away from the Lijiang city.There are many local embroiderers and many nice hand-made embroideries there.It is a typical Naxi style courtyard witht a very nice surroundings .It is a very beautiful place,you have to go there.
There are three primary types of restaurants in Lijiang: Naxi, Tibetan, and Sichuan. Some restaurants offer more than one type of food. Much Western food is also available, but more expensive. Lots of local snack-type foods available from street vendors, including:
- Baba - a flat wheatbread available; a savory version sometimes served with chili sauce and a sweeter version that tastes honey-flavored.
- Naxi style fried white cheese - A soft white cheese cut into slices then fried in a non-greasy batter. Served with sugar sprinkled on top and very delicious (only seen in restaurants).
- Yak's milk yogurt - Has a bit of a different flavor than cow's milk yogurt, but very good. Commonly served with honey, muesli, and/or fruit. Can also be made into fruit shakes.
- Fried yak meat - served on skewers.
If you are in the old town, it's probably better to get out to maintain cheap prices.
- Restaurant Papillon Rouge (Diagonally opposite the North Gate of the Old Town, If at waterwheels head towards carpark then turn left through the North New section of the old town until you hit the road Yu Yuan Lu, it's on the oppisite side of the road at left end), ☎ 0888-5171719. 8am-11pm. French Restaurant and Bakery opened by French chef and longtime Lijiang resident Alex Maier. Bread, Pastries, Homemade Icecream, Great french food, fresh and widely sourced ingredients, Breakfast, Lunch Dinner v reasonable to the skies the limit.
- Prague Café (From main square take Easterly road, over a bridge, on the left(?)). The food is good and fairly reasonably priced (given the touristy area it is in) and it has a friendly atmosphere, but the drinks are expensive. Especially green tea at ¥15/cup!
- LMC - Lijiang Millionaire's Club (From old town square, go down Qi Yi street and take the first left to Bai Sui bridge. Or from old town square, go down Wu Yi street to the Big Stone Bridge, then follow the water downstream, cross a bridge and go to the next bridge, called 100 year old Bridge. The cafe is inside Water Nymph cafe, upstairs.), ☎ 13769001439. 9am-11pm. Great location, with view of the mountain and below the canal and bridge. Run by two foreigners, who roast their own coffee, make their own fresh cheese and cakes, and use organic produce. Has Italian pizza and pasta, as well as Indian meals. Also good source of travel information, cycle routes, etc. Currently closed pending a move to another location in old town. reasonable.
- Country Sky, Hongye Street, Shuhe Ancient Village (Just outside of Lijiang), ☎ +86 888 5178132. Serves both lunch and dinner and offers both vegetarian and traditional dishes at fair prices.
- Lamu (On Xin Yi Jie (新义街) Just southeast of the water wheels). Serves Tibetan and Yunnan food (check the pages of the menu that aren't in English for this), along with some Western stuff that we didn't try. Nicely prepared and reasonable prices. Try the fried yak cheese balls - not at all greasy; actually quite light and sweet, like ricotta.
- N's Kitchen, 2/F, 17 Jishan Alley, Xinyi Street (Find your way to a small square in the old town some people call the grass selling square. The place is easy to miss because it is on the second floor. The entrance is by the southern entrance to the square, right across SUSAN'S NAXI), ☎ +86 888 5120060. Serves western breakfast, tasty sandwiches, monster burgers, and pizzas. Free Internet and WiFi. And they have very nice bikes for hire. You could also get lots of informations of biking and hiking here. the view from the balcony is nice and you can chill out a while.
- Qiuyuege Restaurant, 32 Cunwen Sect, Xinhua Street, ☎ +86 888 5125671, 8885211. Serves Naxi foods. Free live music and free Internet and WiFi.
- Lijiang Gulou Restaurant (丽江古楼; Lìjiānggǔlóu), 49 Yellow Hill Lower Section, Xinhua Street, ☎ +86 888 5186923. Serves Naxi and Sichuan food. The best ma-po tofu!
- Adam Restaurant. A unique restaurant inside the old town. There is no menu in this restaurant. Adam, the owner will only cook when the visitors come in. You only need to enjoy the food he cooks and pay the food as your convenient. It is worth trying for the food adventure.
- Nordic Delight (along the river path to the Black Dragon Pool). A bakery and café with very good cheese cake and coffee. Seems closed. ￥25 for a slice of Oreo cheesecake.
There are a couple of local drinks worthy of special mention. Lijiang Yinjiu and Sulima (both commonly available in Lijiang) are modern renditions of ancient beer types of the Naxi and Mosuo people and far more enjoyable than the typical bland Chinese lager. Yunnan is famous for tea, as well (though Pu Ehr itself is way down south on the road to Xishuanbanna) and every fourth shop is a tea shop specializing in the length and breadth of Chinese tea, the likes of which you will not find in your average Western Chinatown.
Unlike the rest of China, Lijiang's cafés and restaurants shut down around 11PM. Several of the bars along bar street face each other across the narrow canal. From here singing erupts across the water by opposing teams of (usually) girls. In order to keep the singing going small donations are normally requested from the patrons.
Several western bars are beginning to spring up, notably:
- Freshnam Cafe (68 WangJiaZhang Alley WuYi Street Lijiang, right beside Mama Naxi Guest house (5 minutes walk from si fang jie)), ☎ 13578383745. 10am to midnight. Western/Korean bar, newly opened in 2010. Easily accessible, just 5 minutes walk from old town center. In the day, it is a quiet cafe, ideal for some hot tea or smoothies. Live music starts from 8.30pm every night, perfectly located away from the tourist crowds. Refreshing cocktails served at reasonable prices, definitely worth a visit. Free wifi available and even a shelf of books for your reading pleasure.
- Through the Window Cafe (Black Dragon Pool,100 meters from the south entrance - 7 minutes walk up-river from the big water wheel in Old Town - beside the western pathway & next to the smaller river.), ☎ 187-8767-5524, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 10am-10pm or later. In a lovely tranquil location, run by an affable New Zealander. Great coffee, pizzas, pastas, burgers, great all-day "Big English breakfast" plus stir-fry's and deserts. If you are biking, you can also leave your bike there while you visit Black Dragon Pool. If you're into Salsa, or like to learn, call in on Wed or Saturday nights at 8-9 for a free lesson, although any night is a good night for dancing Salsa. so ask the boss to . They also hold a free 'Travel Chinese' class on Tuesday nights (5-6pm) to help travelers learn some useful language to enhance their travel experience. Free WIFI too of course. NOW CLOSED!!
- LMC - Lijiang Millionaire's Club, Bai Sui Qiao (From old town square, either down Qi Yi Street and first left to Bai Sui Qiao, or go along Wu Yi street to the Big Stone Bridge, and go downstream to next stone bridge, Bai Sui Qiao. LMC is on your left, upstairs in Water Nymph cafe), ☎ +86 13769001439. after sunrise til late. LMC is a new cafe/bar in old town, the only one in the old town run by foreigners, and a good meeting place for travelers. Has free wi-fi, live music every night, film nights on Tuesdays, local and imported beers, wines from all over the world, as well as pizza, pasta and Indian meals. reasonable.
- New Amsterdam, Yuhe Corridor C-44, 丽江市玉河走廊南片区-C区44号 (200 meters East of the water wheels, behind Buon Appetito), ☎ +86 888 5111698, e-mail: email@example.com. Open from noon till late. New Amsterdam is a bar/restaurant run by Jack and his wife Xiaoli, where you can watch live football and other sports! They do excellent burgers, shepherd's pie, and sandwiches. All beers are served in ice-cold glasses. Free WiFi and lots of good info on the area.
- 10 Yuan Bar, No.87,Wenzhi,Wuyi,Dayan,Lijiang,YunNan (Near Mama Naxi), ☎ 15008790730. All beer at ￥10/bottle，Tequila/Vodka/Gin/Rum￥10/oz，Whisky￥10-15/oz，Cocktails￥20-30/cup. Playing foosball and pocket gal is free. The bar is quite near Mama Naxi. ￥10-30.
- Stone the Crows, 134-2 Wenzhi Alley, Wuyi St, Lijiang old town (Half way along the shortcut between Wuyi st and Wen Hua Alley), ☎ 13368881832, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 6pm - late. Down to earth Irish run pub with a fine selection of drinks, pool table and big movie playing TV. Located down a small quiet alley, this is a great place to escape the busy main streets and guarantees absolutely no karaoke. Bar snacks, pizza and Steak and Guinness pies are available for the hungry.
Loads of tourist shops available in old town. Probably overpriced, but Lijiang does not have as many cases of the Westerner price being too much higher than the Chinese price as in many other parts of China.
- Burned wood carvings - One of the popular local specialties. Quality varies greatly by the individual artist, and prices vary by shops. Some shops do custom etchings of your face (near photo-realism) with Lijiang in the background. Expect to have your picture taken, then come back in a few hours.
- Yak horn combs - Also popular, with some combs also carved from the yak hoof (the ones with the rougher edge on the handle).
- Naxi clothing - For ¥5 you can get your picture taken in them without having to buy them.
Local skirts that include designs that appear Ancient Egyptian may actually be based on pictographs that preceded Chinese characters.
- Art and writing samples (东巴; Dōngbā) - The Naxi have the only living hieroglyphic language in the world, and shops with samples of it, or of the unique Naxi style art, are abundant.
- Yunnan Coffee - Coffee ground to a fine powder then added to water, although most contain milk and sugar powder already.
- Warm Clothing - In the Old Town warm clothing is quite expensive if you are just looking for something cheap to keep the chill out. The road just outside the town by the waterwheel has very cheap hats, mitts, and even long johns. Just turn left at the first intersection.
- Small red coconut - DO NOT BUY a small red fruit shaped like a coconut. Actually, it is just a coconut painted red and sold for a very high price. This is a scam.
- Naxi hand-made Embroidery, Baisha Village (12km north of Lijiang City), ☎ 13095230290. You can find many nice Naxi hand-made embroideries in the Baisha Naxi Embroidery Institute. Some of them are arts , very unbelievable, made by the famous Naxi masters.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Lijiang on Wikivoyage.