Lijiang 丽江市 Travel Guide
Lijiang is a stunning old UNESCO World Heritage recognised city of cobbled streets and tiled roofs set against the magnificent backdrop of the 5,596m thirteen peaked Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. All this wrapped up in one destination means Lijiang is crowded with visitors year round but it still has what it takes with quiet streets off the main tourist paths and continues to be an unmissable part of any Yunnan itinerary.
Best Months to Visit Lijiang
Best Reason to Visit Lijiang
Lijiang has a great climate all year round and is surrounded by some beautiful countryside. Chances are if your coming here then it’s to see the Old Town which is a well preserved set of cobbled alleyways with countless shops, hotels and restaurants all set in the traditional style of the area. Lijiang is the reason to visit Yunnan province, the area of China that contains more of China’s different ethnic minorities than any other. This is reflected in the area essentially feeling more multicultural than perhaps anywhere else in China.
Lijiang’s popularity has led to it becoming quite crowded, especially during the peak seasons, so many are now turning to nearby Shuhe to get a more “Lijiang a decade ago” feeling.
Top Attractions in Lijiang
The Town itself is the top attraction for Lijiang. A UNESCO recognised ancient city of cobbled streets that harks back to a quite different time. This is all set to the dramatic background that is the Jade Snow Dragon Mountain that rises 5,596m over the town.
This are also places to hire bikes and get out into the countryside. Not only is their some stunning scenery around the mountain itself that well worth taking in as well as a stunning cable car journey up the mountain but also great wooded areas when you get up there.
The Tiger Leaping Gorge, a contender for the world’s deepest river canyon is within distance of Lijiang as well and is a sight of stunning beauty.
If this all sounds a bit much then just settle down in one of Lijiang’s wonderful cafes and watch the world go by.
Weather Averages for Lijiang
Our Top Lijiang Travel Tip
Combine a trip to the Tiger Leaping Gorge with a transfer up to the mountain town of Zhongdian (Shangri-la) and spend a night or two there. The gorge can be done as part of the transfer from Lijiang and you get the added bonus of seeing much of the stunning countryside, not least that after the gorge as you rise up into the mountains on your way to the Tibetan town in the clouds.
If you aren’t after the madding crowds then try staying in Shuhe near to Lijiang. They have some wonderful guesthouses there and you are still near enough to Lijiang to take it in but enjoy a bit of peace and quiet as well.
Hand Picked Lijiang Hotels
The stand out hotel here is the Crowne Plaza in the Old Town. An absolute beauty of a hotel constructed to fit in with the style but with all the trimmings to boot. It is actually run to the standard of it’s big brother brand Inter Continental and is almost like being in a mini Lijiang inside Lijiang.
For those on a more considered budget we’d recommend the Zen Garden (Wuyi branch). Very intimate and run by a true gentleman who goes out of his way to make you feel comfortable and at home, this is an amazing slice of Lijiang past and is in one of the few areas of the Old town that don’t suffer any noise pollution later in the evening.
By Phil Stanley & Headseast – TCTC Destination Expert.