Things to Do in Lijiang
Wonder about what to do in Lijiang? Lijiang, listed as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO, with ancient streets, mountains, gorges, museums, temples and ethnic minorities, will certainly give you a fantastic natural and cultural experience.
Must-sees & Must-dos in Lijiang:
(a) capture the panoramic view of Lijiang Old Town;
(b) explore Naxi people’s art, architecture and their lifestyle;
(c) get close into the Baisha Village and Watch the Baisha Murals;
(d) visit the holy mountain - Jade Dragon Snow Mountain;
(e) hike along the Tiger Leaping Gorge;
A Lijiang trip is incomplete without visiting these Lijiang attractions. Just come and discover now!
No.1: Lijiang Old Town (Lijiang Ancient Town)
Type: Historic Sites
Lijiang Old Town is a well-preserved old city of ethnic minorities with brilliant culture. Located on the plateau of 2,400 meters above sea level, the old town looks like a big ink slab, therefore is also named as the Town of Big Ink Slab (Da Yan Zhen). Besides, Lijiang Old Town featured in:
1. Listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997;
2. First Built in the late Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) with more than 800 years’history;
3. Home to Naxi Minority where you could appreciate the old Naxi architecture, experience their primitive and pure lifestyle, appreciateNaxiDongba Ancient Orchestral Music and more;
4. No city walls – due to a superstitious belief of the local ruler whose family name is Mu when encircled by walls, would be Kun (besieged).
Set in picturesque valley with stunning mountain backdrop, Lijiang Ancient Town, is a labyrinth of colored alleys lined with wooden houses, cafes, and the workshops of traditional craftsmen. It is highly recommended to visit its top attractions like Black Dragon Pond, NaxiDongbaXulture Museum, Mufu Palace, and Lion Hill etc.
No.2: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
Type: Mountains, Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Ballets
Distance from Lijiang: 30 km
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain or Yulong Snow Mountain, the sacred mountain for local Naxi People, is the southern section of the Hengduan Mountains, as well the southernmost glacier in the northern Hemisphere.
Jade Snow Mountain has 13 peaks covered with perpetual snow and extends for 15 kilometers. Looking from Lijiang Ancient Town, the snow-covered and fog-enlaced mountain resembles a jade dragon laying in the clouds, hence, giving the name of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Fan Peak (Shanzidou in Chinese), the main peak, is about 5,596 meters above sea level. The scenery of the mountains and the surrounding areas is fantastic. It is a good choice to take the cable car when visiting the mountain. There are three cable car lines, the first is to the Glacier Park (4,500m), the second is to Spruce Meadow (3,200 m), and the third is to Yak Meadow (3,700m).
No.3: Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia)
Distance from Lijiang: 60 km
Tiger Leaping Gorge, best known canyon on the Yangtze River, is lying between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain. It is one of the deepest and most spectacular river canyons in the world whichdivided into the Upper Tiger Leaping, the Middle Tiger Leaping and the Lower Tiger Leaping three parts.Now, it becomes part of the Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas World Heritage Site.
Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the finest treks through some of the most naturally beautiful and diverse landscapes China has to offer. The trail runs high on the northern side of the gorge passing through quiet villages, shady forest, blustery precipice and verdant terraced farmland. Here is the recommended hiking route for 2 days: on day 1 hike from Qiaotou to halfway Guesthouse, and on day 2 hike from Halfway Guesthouse to Lower Tiger Leaping Gorge.
No.4: Lugu Lake
Type: Historic Sites, Bodies of Water
Distance from Lijiang: 230 km, about 8-10 hours'driving
Lugu Lake, known as the Pearl of the Plateau, is a nice lake between Yunnan and Sichuan to relax one or two days. In the lake there are five islands, three peninsulas and a sea-wall islet. The mysterious Mosuo people live on the bank of Lugu Lake, forming a matriarchal society known as the “Kingdom of Women”.
Here everything looks as if it has not been disturbed by human beings at all and still remains in its primitive state. Boating in the lake, you can feel that the surface of the water is as smooth as a mirror and the water as blue as the sky. The slow-canoe in the blue lake, the beautiful Mosuo girls in their ethnic clothes and the Mosuo folk songs will show you something of primitive simplicity and peace.
No.5: First Bend of Yangtze River
Type: Bodies of Water
Distance from Lijiang: 50 km
First Bend of Yangtze River, also Yangtze River First Bay, is one of the top attractions of Lijiang. The great Yangtze flows down from the world's roof - Tibet Plateau and enter into the Yunnan province from Batang (one Tibet County), the river mixes two other great rivers, Lancang River (Lantsang) and Nu River (the Angry River) here, and then the Three Parallel Rivers landscape is formed.The river suddenly topped by Hailou Mountain Cliff and takes a sudden turn to the northeast in the Shangri-la County, therefore the peculiar 'V' shape valley appears, and the world famous Tiger Leaping Gorge was created.
But where to see the First Bend of the Yangtze River? The answer is at Shigu Town (Stone Drum Town). Due to there are a drum-shaped white marble sculpture stone tablet in the town, it named as Stone Drum Town. After sightseeing the First Bend of Yangtze River, the Iron Rainbow Bridge is also recommended to visit in Shigu Town.
No.6: Baisha Mural in Baisha Village
Type: Landmarks/ Points of Interest, Historic Sites
Distance from Lijiang: 16 km
Baisha Mural or Baisha Wall Painting is located in Baibai Village (A small village in Lijiang, well-known for its Jade Dragon Snow Mountain range; and it is the birthplace and political center of the Naxi minority). The famous “Lijiang Mural” is great opening product of Naxi society in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the prosperous heyday in 17th century.
Baisha Mural is unique, attracting visitors with their characteristic painting style and precious historical and cultural meaning. The murals are intriguing, with a mixture of several religions (local, Mahayana Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Taoism). It is an integral part of world cultural heritage and as well as the manifestation of Lijiang Dongba culture. In 1996, the Maharatnakuta Palace mural was announced as the fourth installment of the country key cultural relics protection units by China State Cultural Relics Bureau.
No.7: Shuhe Ancient Town
Type: Historic Sites
Distance from Lijiang: 6 km
At the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain lies the Shuhe Ancient Town. This old town is similar to Lijiang Ancient Town - similar old architecture & Naxi people. It is relatively unknown, so the streets are much less crowded and food and lodging are cheaper.
In 1997, UNESCO has listed it as an important component of Lijiang as it is a well-preserved example of a town along the ancient tea route and one of the earliest settlements of the ancestors of Naxi people. Shuhe was built along the mountainside and faces the river. Rivers, channels and roads make a dense web and link the town in a tight structure just like a honeycomb. It is also called “the hometown of springs”. Wandering along the streets, you’ll feel time slowly flowing backwards, experience the minority customs and find the peace in your inner heart…
No.8: Laojun Mountain
Distance from Lijiang: 120 km
Mount Laojun is a natural forest and wildlife park, a showcase for the biological and cultural diversity of the Three Parallel Rivers Areas. It is home to 168 endangered plant and animal species including the Yunnan Golden Monkey. It also boasts 10 percent of the world's rhododendron (mushrooms) species.
The ninety nine Dragon Ponds is another main landscape in Laojun Mountain except the azaleas. It is understood by the Laojun people that the number of lakes is indeed 99 in Laojun Mountain, and each lake is showing different color and gesture. When compared with fairy-tale "Jiuzhaigou", there are more generous, and less affectionately unconventional. Particularly in May and June annually, the flow opens up under the almost transparent pure sky, viewing from afar, it just like a colorful meadow.
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