Lijiang is another old town in Yunnan Province and the second stop of my trip. It is a little more than 3 hours drive from Dali (check my other story).

Lijiang is another old town in Yunnan Province and the second stop of my trip. It is a little more than 3 hours drive from Dali (check my other story).

With its well-preserved architecture with unique Chinese style, Lijiang old town (including Dayan, Baisha and Shuhe) was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List in December 4, 1997. Since then, local tourism has boomed. In recent years, renowned Chinese film director Zhang Yimou made a movie (Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles) with the background set in Lijiang and an outdoor production (Impression Lijiang) dedicated to promoting the town. These moves make Lijiang even hotter as a tourist destination.

Just as Dali, Lijiang was warm in winter and cool in summer without substantial change in temperature throughout the year, thanks to its low latitude and high altitude. (But remember there is indeed substantial change in temperature throughout the day!)

It was the high season when I was there and the town was overwhelmed with huge crowds of tourists (many of whom were French and Italian). I was sad to find the majority of the town had been transformed into hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops to accommodate these tourists. This means it has become quite commercial, but the other side of the coin is that you can expect plenty of great yet inexpensive accommodation. There are even two Youth Hostels in this tiny place. If you are a night animal, there are a large number of bars and pubs for you explore during night time. Luckily, I met a number of wonderful people there, including an old Italian gentlemen who’s a true comedian and brought us a lot of laughter. The French guy and I spent 4 days together wandering in Lijiang and its surrounding areas and getting a taste of its scenery, ethnic culture and delicious food.

Despite the incredible crowdedness, Lijiang’s architecture and food were just amazing. I am talking about the old town, not the new town which is adjacent to the old one. The new town is incredibly ugly compared with the old town. So once you get off your bus in the new town, don’t be disappointed and just walk or take a taxi to the old town immediately! Lijiang is not accessible by train. However, the expressway system is very much developed in Yunnan. You can either take an overnight sleeper bus (9 hours) or fly (45 minutes) to Lijiang from Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan Province. A trip from Dali to Lijiang by bus takes 3-4 hours.

written by saviorjosh on 2008-04-27 #places #culture #food #location #architecture

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