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Top 15 Things to Do in Lijiang 2020

What to do in Lijiang? As the national famous travel destination with irreplaceable historic culture, ethnic minority spirits, and beautiful landscape, Lijiang has a lot for your discovery, including the old towns, snow mountains, impressive gorge, peaceful lakes, mysterious Dongba pictographs, wonderful shows, rare existing matriarchal society, and so on, no matter when you visit Lijiang. Here are the top 15 things to do in Lijiang to help you plan your coming Lijiang trip with more great memories! Check them at below!

No.1: Stroll at Dayan Old Town (Lijiang Old Town)

Take a stroll at Dayan Old Town (or Lijang Old Town) is the no.1 must-do for anyone traveling to Lijiang. Listed as a proud UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, Lijiang Old Town is the icon to get close to local history and ethnic culture, with more than 800 years’ long history since late Song Dynasty. Enjoy your leisure walk in this ancient maze to admire those particular old wooden house clusters linking one by one, with chanting stream floating by the stone paved paths. With merchants keeping their shops selling local specials and other interesting items, the history is well extended in vitality by the harmonious combination with local people’s modern life. During your stroll, do not miss the top iconic sites, including Mu’s Palace that is a large-scaled palace group, Sifang Street that is very jubilant as the heart of the whole old town with ethnic people’s dance gathering, Wangu Tower that is the symbolic landmark to overlook Lijiang Old Town with the background of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, etc. Learn more about Lijiang Old Town >>

Types: UNESCO World Cultural Heritage, old town, old streets, architectures

Location: Gucheng District, Lijiang

Opening Hours: 24 hours every day for old town entrance

Visiting Time: 1 day

Best Time to Visit: all year round (better avoid Labors Day Holiday in early May and National Holiday during Oct. 1st-7th)

Ticket Price: Free for entrance; Maintenance Fee is CNY 50/person; some tourist spots in Lijiang Old Town needs extra charges.

Recommended Tour Package:
3 Days Lijiang Cultural & Natural Tour with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
6 Days Best of Yunnan Tour (Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming)

Lijiang Old Town Lijiang Old Town Panorama Lijiang Old Town Lijiang Old Town Sifang Street Lijiang Old Town Lijiang Old Town Mu’s Palace

No.2: Embrace Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Landscape

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is the holy mountain for local Naxi ethnic minority people, regarded as the embodiment of the god “Sanduo”, protecting locals for centuries. This amazing snow mountain is the southernmost snow mountain in the northern hemisphere, and the 13 peaks together just form the shape like a jade dragon. Though you can appreciate Jade Dragon Snow Mountain from your window in the old town from afar, taking the cableway up to closer embrace the natural sceneries is more memorable. There you will not only take a really fresh breath at the alpine emerald meows above 3000 meters high, please your eyes with the emerald waterscape at Blue Moon Valley loved by Joseph Rock, but also have a close look at the real ice glacier, and also catch the closest appearance of the holy snow mountain. Learn more about Jade Dragon Snow Mountain >>

Types: Snow Mountain, Nature & Parks, Sights & Landmarks

Location: Yulong Naxi Autonomous County, Lijiang

Altitude: 3,100-5,596 meters

Opening Hours: 08:00-17:00 every day

Visiting Time: half to 1 day

Best Time to Visit: all year round, Nov. to May is best with beautiful snow scenery.

Ticket Price: CNY 130/person (including Ganhaizi and Blue Moon Valley)

Fitness Needed: **

Recommended Tour Package:
3 Days Lijiang Cultural & Natural Tour with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Blue Moon Valley

No.3: Trek at Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the most famous gorges in the world for its precipitous terrain. Taking a hike at the core part including the upper, middle and lower sections is really exciting with Haba Snow Mountain and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain standing on both sides, which clamp Jinsha River running roaring with flying water blooms. The Upper Tiger Leaping is commonly planned by tourists with the view of rural cultivating fields and the landmark of the leaping tiger statue. The Middle Tiger Leaping is the essence of the route with narrower river and rapid flow, where you will hear the more powerful roar and more charming landscape. While the way at Lower Tiger Leaping is flatter and village sceneries can be seen for relaxation. Learn more about Tiger Leaping Gorge >>

Types: Gorges & Canyons, Nature

Location: Hutiaoxia Town, Shangri-La County

Opening Hours: 07:30-16:30 during April - October; 08:00-16:00 during November - March

Visiting Time: half to 2 days

Best Time to Visit: spring to autumn, especially April to June and September to October

Ticket Price: CNY 65/person (Upper Tiger Leaping & Middle Tiger Leaping)

Fitness Needed: ***

Recommended Tour Package:
4 Days Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Tour with Lijiang Highlights
8 Days Classic Yunnan Tour (Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)

Tiger Leaping Gorge Upper Tiger Leaping Tiger Leaping Gorge Tiger Leaping Gorge

No.4: Enjoy Relaxing Peace at Shuhe Old Town

As part of Old Towns in Lijiang listed as the UNESCO World Heritage, Shuhe Old Town is another favored ancient town in Lijiang. Boasting the quieter atmosphere throughout the wooden-structured town, with pleasant countryside view embracing, Shuhe Old Town is quite ideal for relaxation without anything thinking in your mind. Every things going in a slower pace and the nice surrounding snow mountain and landscapes will easily help you enjoy releasing.

Types: UNESCO World Cultural Heritage, old town, old streets, architectures

Location: Shuhe Road, Gucheng District, Lijiang

Opening Hours: 24 hours every day

Visiting Time: 2-3 hours

Best Time to Visit: all year round, Nov. to May is best with beautiful snow scenery.

Ticket Price: CNY 40/person

Recommended Tour Package:
6 Days Best of Yunnan Tour (Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming)

Shuhe Old Town Shuhe Old Town Shuhe Old Town Shuhe Old Town Street

No.5: Appreciate Baisha Mural Painting at Baisha Village

Baisha Mural Painting is one of the most important cultural gems of Lijiang. Arrange some hours to appreciate Baisha mural paintings during your Lijiang trip, which will make your go really meaningful. No matter those religious paintings of Buddhism, Taoism, etc. or those life scenes’ paintings about hunting, rural villages, cultivating, etc., or other ethnic featured works are all excellent with high skills kept from Ming and Qing dynasties, which is more than 500 years old and is a vital part of the world cultural heritage listed by UNESCO. Baisha Village (Baisha Old Town) is the best place to admire those outstanding mural paintings.

Types: Historical Sites, old painting, cultural sites

Location: Shubai Road, Yulong Naxi Minority Autonomous County, Lijiang

Opening Hours: 08:00-17:30

Visiting Time: 1-3 hours

Best Time to Visit: all year round

Ticket Price: free for Baisha Old Town; CNY 30/person for Baisha Mural Painting

Recommended Tour Package:
6 Days Best of Yunnan Tour (Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming)

Baisha Mural Painting Baisha Mural Painting Baisha Mural Painting Baisha Mural Painting

No.6: Seek Living Pictographs at Dongba Culture Museum

Naxi ethnic minority is a mysterious group in Lijiang with the world only living pictograph system. Visit Dongba Culture Museum to have a personal look of those graphic characters on books and buildings, living tools and religious musical instruments, paintings, and more in the traditional Naxi styled quadrangle courtyard to seek the mysterious and interesting culture of Naxi group in Lijiang.

Types: Museum, Cultural Site

Location: Black Dragon Pool Park, Jiaoyu Road, Gucheng District, Lijiang

Opening Hours: 09:00-17:00

Visiting Time: 1 hour

Best Time to Visit: all year round

Ticket Price: free; Old Town Maintenance Fee of CNY 50/person is needed

Recommended Tour Package:
3 Days Lijiang Cultural & Natural Tour with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Dongba Culture Museum Dongba Culture Museum Dongba Culture Museum Dongba Culture Museum

No.7: Sightseeing at Black Dragon Pool Park

Black Dragon Pool or called Yuquan Park is a popular part of Lijiang Old Town. This large scenic park with some peculiar pagodas and pavilions with flying eaves and stone bridge and some lovely ponds is great for some leisure and fresh walk. More importantly, the best sightseeing position there enables you to take the famous photo of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain with the traditional styled building together. Learn more about Black Dragon Pool >>

Types: Park, Natural Site, Cultural Site

Location: No.1 Minzhu Road, Gucheng District, Lijiang

Opening Hours: 07:00-19:00 every day

Visiting Time: 1-3 hours

Best Time to Visit: morning and dusk hours are best to admire Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and its reflection.

Ticket Price: free; Old Town Maintenance Fee of CNY 50/person is needed

Recommended Tour Package:
3 Days Lijiang Cultural & Natural Tour with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
8 Days Classic Yunnan Tour (Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)

Black Dragon Pool Black Dragon Pool Park

No.8: Watch Impression Lijiang Show

Impression Lijiang, an outdoor performance taking place in a natural theatre at 3200 meters above sea level, uses Jade Dragon Snow Mountain as the background and showing the local folk customs, the form of song and dance drama.

Directed by the famous Chinese director Yimou Zhang, the show is divided into six parts, composing of "Tea Horse Road And Caravan", "Snow-capped Mountains Of The Wine", "Immeasurably Vast", "Playing Jump Group Song", "Drum Dance Worship Heaven", and "Blessing Ceremony". More than 500 locals of 10 ethnic groups, and about 100 horses, aim to provide an insight into the lives of the region’s ethnic groups.

Types: Performance, Concert, live show

Location: Blue Moon Valley Theater, Dry Sea of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Area

Performance Time: 11:00-12:10; 14:00-15:10 (The show time is only for reference, the time may be changed sometimes)

Ticket Price: CNY 245/person for a Normal Seat; CNY 305/person for a VIP Seat

Altitude: 3,050 meters

Recommended Tour Package:
3 Days Lijiang Cultural & Natural Tour with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Impression Lijiang Impression Lijiang Show Impression Lijiang Impression Lijiang Show

No.9: Step into the Matriarchal Society at Lugu Lake

Lugu Lake is popular for the beautiful diamond-like lake, besides, the Mosuo people and their unique marriage culture are very attractive. Today, the Mosuo people still live in a matriarchal society. Men stay in the women's home as mates called “Axia” and the intimate relationship lasts as long as they like for there is no marriage safety belt. Children are brought up by women, and use the surname of their mothers. Families are composed of the members of the matrilineal kin. Women operate production and management, and hold the principal position in the society, forming a modern day “woman's kingdom”. Extend from Lijiang to discover the special culture around the charming getaway. Learn more about Lugu Lake >>

Types: Lake, Body of Water

Location: Ninglang Yi Minority Autonomous County, Lijiang

Opening Hours: 08:00-18:00

Visiting Time: 1-2 days

Best Time to Visit: all year round; March to October is particularly beautiful

Ticket Price: CNY 70/person

Recommended Tour Package:
7 Days Yunnan Paradise Tour to Lijiang, Shangri-La & Lugu Lake

Lugu Lake Mosuo Girl at Lugu Lake Lugu Lake Lugu Lake

No.10: Admire the First Bend of Yangtze River

At the foot of Shigu Town west from Lijiang City, Yangtze River makes a giant turn of a “V” shape and then flow toward the northeast, which is the famous view of First Bend of Yangtze River. Visitors usually drop by to see the scenery there on their way from Lijiang to Shangri-La, where to admire the wide river running fast but looking peaceful with the surrounding lush countryside landscape with grassland, villages, willows, mountains, and more to treat eyes well.

Types: Nature, River, Body of Water

Location: G353, Shigu Town, Shangri-La City, Diqing, Yunnan

Opening Hours: 24 hours every day

Visiting Time: less than half an hour

Ticket Price: free

Recommended Tour Package:
6 Days Best of Yunnan Tour (Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming)
8 Days Classic Yunnan Tour (Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)

Lijiang First Bend of Yangtze River

No.11: Explore Local Daily Life at Zhongyi Market

What to go deep into local Naxi people’s daily life? Go to Zhongyi Market! This market is the core of life for local people in Lijiang Old Town, where you can see lots of local ethnic minority people dressing in their traditional Naxi costumes buying fruits, vegetables, daily necessities, etc. and chatting in Naxi language. Besides look at their life scenes, you can hang to find some local special snacks to treat your curious tongue.

Types: Wet Market, Streets, Open Fair

Location: Guyou Lane, Gucheng District, Lijiang

Opening Hours: 6:00-18:00 every day

Visiting Time: half to 1 hour

Best Time to Visit: all day, especially morning hours

Ticket Price: free

Lijiang Lijiang Zhongyi Market Lijiang Lijiang Zhongyi Market

No.12: Play Golf at Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Imagine playing golf in a snow mountain! That is rightly accessible and popular in Lijiang. Lijiang Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Course located at Ganhaizi of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is designed by the world famous golf course designer - Neil Haworth. With 3,100 meters above sea level, it is the only snow mountain golf course in whole north hemisphere and is praised as one of the top best courses at high altitude in the world. Every swing in the green alpine grassland surrounded by pure white snow peaks is superb for visual and spiritual enjoyment. Besides, the traditional buildings at the foot of the mountain give you a quite particular playing experience during your holiday!

Types: Entertainment, Sports, Activity

Location: Ganhaizi, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lijiang City

Opening Hours: 8:30-18:00

Lijiang Lijiang Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Course

No.13: Appreciate Naxi Ancient Orchestral Music

When walking on the ancient street of Lijiang Old Town, you will undoubtedly hear the amazing Naxi Ancient Music, the traditional Naxi classical music that is regarded as a “living fossil of Chinese music”.

According to research, this ancient music originated in the 14th century. It originally included three parts, 'Baisha Fine Music' (Baisha Xiyue), 'Dongjing Music' (Dongjing Yinyue), and 'Huangjing Music' (Huangjing Yinyue), however, the last one has long been lost in the river of time. Played on venerable Chinese musical instruments such as flute, shawm, Chinese lute, plectrum, and zither, the special music has the power to cleanse the heart and relax the mind. The performances of the "Naxi Concert Hall" (every night) have attracted a lot of audiences from around the world.

Types: Concerts, Musical Performances

Location: No.86 Mishi Lane, Xinyi Street, Lijiang Old Town, Gucheng District, Lijiang

Performance Time: 20:00-21:30 every day

Best Time to Visit: all year round

Ticket Price: CNY 120-160/person based on types of tickets

Lijiang Naxi Ancient Orchestral Music

No.14: Hit the Bars in Lijiang Ancient Town

In Lijiang Ancient Town, a large number of bars which are decorated in different styles will be another highlight in Lijiang. No matter what you like, there is one for you. Different from noisy bars in modern cities, these bars have an atmosphere of tranquil and tender, which can be found only in beautiful places like Lijiang. Listening to soft music in the hazy light, tasting plateful wine, murmuring with your girlfriend and appreciating the night scene of Lijiang, you will find an eternal peace and beauty in your heart.

Types: Entertainment, Nightlife

Location: along streets of Lijiang Old Town

Opening Hours: morning till late night

Best Time to Visit: afternoon to night

Consumption: CNY 50 per capita and above

Lijiang Bar Bars in Lijiang Ancient Town

No.15: Ride a Horse in Lijiang

In Lijiang, it is a great enjoyment to do the horse riding adventure. You could ride a horse leisurely around Lashihai Lake or Wenhai Lake. The most popular route is the Horse Tea Trail. This is the classic path which tourists could take. The steep, weathered path still is luring with the dense forest, lake and waterfalls, serene temple as well as the local Naxi farming life in the little village. The groups of horse riders, tinkle of horse bells and the wild singing of the horse man may give you an illusion of the ancient traders' horsing journey.

Types: Entertainment, Activity

Location: Lashihai Lake; Wenhai Lake

Visiting Time: 1-5 hours

Price: CNY 100-500/person according to different routes and horses (for your reference)

Recommended Tour Package:
3 Days Lijiang Tour with Horse Riding Experience

Lijiang Horse Riding at Horse Tea Trail

How to Plan a Lijiang Tour

Travelers usually enjoy 2-3 days in Lijiang to discover Lijiang Old Town (Mufu Palace), Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Shuhe Old Town, Dongba mural paintings, Black Dragon Pool, etc. for a classic savory of this romantic ancient city. Besides, if you are fond of the emerald alpine lake and mysterious matriarchal society culture of Mosuo ethnic culture, you can plan another 2-3 days at Lugu Lake to enjoy more peaceful holiday time!

3 Days Romantic Lijiang Tour with Visits to Naxi Kingdom

3 Days Lijiang Cultural & Natural Tour with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Besides, quite a lot of visitors prefer travel Lijiang with Shangri-La where to seek the pure holy sceneries and Tibetan belief to catch the best essence of Yunnan province, which usually needs 5-6 days with best visits to Tiger Leaping Gorge with a memorable trekking experience, Sumtseling Monastery, Pudacuo National Forest Park, and more.

Recommended Lijiang Shangri-La Tour Packages:

5 Days Lijiang & Shangri-La Highlights Tour

Furthermore, actually most travelers arrange Lijiang city as a part of their Yunnan travel to visit more top destinations in one go, such as Kunming famous as Spring City and convenient province capital, Dali with profound Dali Old Town and splendid Erhai Lake, Yuanyang with terrific rice terraces, Xishuangbanna with exciting tropical flavor and Dai ethnic dances, etc., which usually needs 6-15 days based on your exploration depth! Moreover, if you have any idea of more interested destinations in China to travel with Dali together, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Guilin, Guiyang, Lhasa, etc., please feel free to contact us and our experienced travel expert will help you to plan you coming tour with sincerity!

Recommended Lijiang Yunnan Tour Packages:

6 Days Best of Yunnan Tour (Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming)

8 Days Classic Yunnan Tour (Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)

11 Days Amazing Yunnan Tour (Kunming / Yuanyang / Jianshui / Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)

Travel Lijiang Yunnan with China Discovery

To help you enjoy a worry-free Lijiang trip in Yunnan, we highly recommend you travel with us China Discovery. Our local experienced drivers will escort you to the attractions with comfortable car directly with speed and safety. And our English-speaking tour guide will accompany you all the way, showing you the best travelling route, share interesting stories and introduce all highlights, so you can focus all your attention on the highlights. Our experienced travel expert will help arrange your accommodation and plan your trip sincerely. The tour can be tailor-made according to your group size, time, physical condition, plan, interest, budget and every special need. Please feel free to contact us if you need any help!

Recommended Tours

Top 3 tours chosen by most customers to explore in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Lijiang Old Town Full View from Wangu Tower
6 Days Best of Yunnan Tour (Lijiang, Shangri-La, Kunming)

Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming

Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Monastery
8 Days Classic Yunnan Tour

Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La

Black Dragon Pool Park
11 Days Amazing Yunnan Tour

Kunming / Stone Forest / Yuanyang / Jianshui / Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La

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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >