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Overview

The heart of Lijiang is its Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back eight centuries. This labyrinth of cobbled streets, waterwheels, stone bridges, canals, cafes, bars, and shops in historic wooden buildings takes hours to stroll. Devastated by a 1996 earthquake, Old Town retains much of its Naxi ethnic appearance, although it has been spruced up and is something of a tourist trap. Less crowded and touristy Old Towns can be found in surrounding minority villages such as Baisha and Shuhe. Shuhe is also the site of an exquisite Banyan Tree resort. Aside from Old Town, where the bars, guesthouses, and Naxi Concert Hall fill up ...

The heart of Lijiang is its Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back eight centuries. This labyrinth of cobbled streets, waterwheels, stone bridges, canals, cafes, bars, and shops in historic wooden buildings takes hours to stroll. Devastated by a 1996 earthquake, Old Town retains much of its Naxi ethnic appearance, although it has been spruced up and is something of a tourist trap. Less crowded and touristy Old Towns can be found in surrounding minority villages such as Baisha and Shuhe. Shuhe is also the site of an exquisite Banyan Tree resort. Aside from Old Town, where the bars, guesthouses, and Naxi Concert Hall fill up nightly with legions of tourists, including throngs of newly-wealthy Chinese, there is a 400-year-old complex of halls and temples, Mu Palace, and a park, Black Dragon Pool, with a quirky museum. Everything is within strolling distance. Lijiang is also the gateway to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, a national park with stunning, snow-capped peaks to the north, an exceptional region for hiking and horseback riding, as well as home to the world's longest and highest golf course.

J.D. Brown
About the Expert

J.D. Brown is a contributor to Frommer's China and Frommer's Beijing, coauthor of Frommer's China: The 50 Most Memorable Trips, Berlitz Shanghai, Berlitz Singapore, and other books.

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J.D. Brown for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Yunnan Province, Southern China
  • Language: Mandarin, Naxi
  • Currency: Chinese Yuan
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    With mild weather except in mid-winter, Lijiang can be visited comfortably most of the year, but it is especially crowded throughout the summer months.