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Lijiang Travel Guide

"Lijiang is rarely known to the outside world. It is the ancient Naxi Kingdom in south China which is almost forgotten..." Peter Ku, a Russian who had lived in Lijiang for over 9 years, described Lijiang in his book 'the forgotten kindom'.

This is an ancient, picturesque land. This is a land everyone admires.

Nature the Great Creator showed extreme affection in his ancient piece of land. Apart from its abundant land, biological and mineral resources, Lijiang has huge reserve of tourism and hydropower resources. In Lijiang, there is the contemporary glacier which is the southernmost one on the north hemisphere. The Yulong (Jade Dragon) Snow Mountain is praised as the "Museum of Glaciers" and the "Kingdom of Plants". The ancient Dayan Town of Lijiang has a history of over 800 years. The Town is well-known to the world because "each of the household is built by the stream and surrounded by willow trees". Therefore, Dayan Town is praised as the "Oriental Venice" and "Suzhou on the Plateau". Dongba sculptures of Lijiang were written in pictographs which are the only living written language of its kind in the world. Baisha Murals in Baisha village have been listed for national-level protection of historic relics. The "Dongjing Music of the Naxi" bearing the melody and rhythm inherited from the Tang and Song Dynasties is known as the "Living Fossils of Music"... The natural and humanistic scenes of Lijiang have drawn many keen-sighted personages.

Lijiang of today is no longer the "forgotten realm". The warm-hearted and hospitable Lijiang people of different ethnic nationalities cordially welcome friends from both home and abroad, and the magnificent and mysterious Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is opening its arms to the world.

Major Attractions

Yulong (Jade Dragon) Snow Mountain

Picture of Yulong Snow Mountain

Yulong (Jade Dragon) Snow Mountain, located 15 kilometers north of the county seat of Lijiang, is a national-level scenic area. Yulong Mountain is the southern section of the Hengduan Mountains. It has 13 peaks, stretching 35 kilometers from north to south. Shanzidou, the main peak, is 5,596 meters above sea level.

It is a snow-capped mountain and the southernmost mountain with snow capped all year round in the Northern Hemisphere. Yulong Snow Mountain has rich vegetation coverage, featuring distinct and complete alpine vertical ecosystem from subtropical zone to frigid zone.

Dayan Town

Picture of Dayan Town

Lijiang is really two towns. The Old Town was founded some 800 years ago and is an architectural gem, which we called it Dayan town. The Old Town suffered serious damage in a 1996 earthquake, but is undergoing serious restoration.

With Sifang Street at the core of Dayan, the town spreads out in all directions and is crisscrossed by a labyrinth of streets and alleyways. Most of the dwellings are brick-and-tile structures with carved doors and painted windows. Although Dayan is a compact community, there is always space for a garden.

Dongba culture

Picture of Naxi Dancing

The Naxi ethnic group has a long history and splendid culture. More than 1,000 years ago they created the Dongba pictographic scripts, Dongba pictures and Dongba Dongjing music.

The pictographic scripts are consisted of Pictographic symbols, phonetic symbols and auxiliary marks. It is one of very few ancient pictographic scripts in the world still in use. Books written in Dongba scripts are called the "Dongba scriptures." Dongba Music originated in the Fang Dynasty, and is still popular among the local people. The ancient music is melodious.

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Picture of Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge extends for 10 miles from the Yulong Xueshan Mountain in Lijiang to the Haba Xueshan Mountain in Zhongdian (Shangrila). It is one the longest, deepest, and narrowest gorges in the world.

The Tiger Leaping Gorge could be sub-divided into the upper, middle and lower sections. The 17-kilometer-long Gorge is dotted with 12 dangerous shoals, over which the river rushes along in roaring torrents. The narrowest river channel is only 30 meters across, in which huge rocks lie under the river surface, stirring up sky-piercing columns of waves. The heart-stirring scene is rarely seen elsewhere in the world.

How to Get in?

By Plane

Lijiang airport built in 1995 is one of the nine airports in Yunnan province in the southwest of China. It enjoys a picturesque surrounding providing flights to Kunming, Xishuangbanna almost daily. There are also daily flights from Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou to Lijiang. From Chongqing, Chengdu, there are also flights directly to Lijiang, but is not daily.

By Train

Before Sep. 28 of 2009, Lijiang did not have any connection to railroad network. If trying with trains to Lijiang, arrival to the following three destinations, Kunming, Dali and Pan Zhi Hua (in Sichuan Province), were the most accessible way.

On Sep. 28, 2009, Dali-Lijiang railway went into operation. It will cost you 3hrs 46min. to arrive by train L9016/7 (09:26-13:12).

By car

Freeway shoulders the main transportation into Lijiang. Lijiang could be reached by freeway mainly from the three cities, Kunming, Dali, Pan Zhi Hua. The road from Pan Zhi Hua to Lijiang remains to be at a very low class with bumpy surface in many places. National Freeway extends from Kunming to Lijiang enjoying better conditions among the three cities.

Best Time to Come

Lijiang is suitable for traveling for the whole year. Different season, it has different beauty. But for the month July and August, they're rainy season. If you come here just for snow mountains, may it will take a risk.


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What Our Customers Say

"I wanted to thank you most sincerely for all your help with our trip -- my wife and I have lived and travelled extensively around the world, but we think this was our best trip ever! Thanks for all your tour arrangements! The Meili Snow Mountains are surely the most beautiful mountains on earth!"

Owen Willis

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