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Best things to do in Lijiang

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Where in the world: Asia  /  China  /  Yunnan  /  Lijiang

Top 15 things to do in Lijiang

1. Old Town of Lijiang - China

Step back 800 years into history at Old Town of Lijiang - China, a historic village and designated World Heritage Site built at the end of the Song dynasty. The town retains a hybrid of traditions of the Han and Nakhi people, two Chinese ethnic minorities who settled there centuries ago. Many of the houses are constructed of mud and timber along canals and streams that wind through the town. Wander the narrow lanes to browse many shops geared towards visiting tourists and witness street performances of traditional music and circle dances.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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2. Black Dragon Pond Park

Enjoy a scenic walk at Black Dragon Pond Park, part of Lijiang's World Heritage Site. Nestled at the foot of Elephant Hill and with a dramatic mountain backdrop, this 18th-century park encompasses a peaceful, jade-colored pond, picturesque Qing-period pavilions, and a white-marble bridge leading into a cultural museum. Well-maintained hikes and cobbled lanes offer you an opportunity to enjoy the scenery, with luxuriant chestnut trees a sanctuary for birds.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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3. Shuhe Ancient Town

Listed as a World Heritage Site, Shuhe Ancient Town remains known for its historic houses, waterways, and stone bridges constructed by combining architectural styles of the native Naxi people and the Ming dynasty. Located at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the town stands on a historic tea route, hidden away from other urban areas and modern city bustle. You can purchase many inexpensive souvenirs here, as well as a range of spices used in the local cuisine.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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4. Lugu Lake

Explore a serene aquatic ambience amid picturesque hills and plateaus at Lugu Lake. Shaped like a horse's hoof, the lake shelters many subalpine animal and plant species. When the morning mist mixes with sunlight, the lake becomes hauntingly orange and glows like a pearl, but when the surrounding hills cast their shadow, they turn the fiery water green. Local villagers gladly offer their guiding services for a reasonable fee and welcome all guests who want to learn about the community's lifestyle and traditions.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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5. Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia), Shangri-La County

One of the deepest gorges in the world, Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia) separates two ranges and ranks as a top choice for independent hikers in China. Walk a narrow, winding trail tenaciously clinging to the Haba Xue range, listening to the roar of the Jinsha River as it cuts even deeper into the steep slopes of the Yulong Xue range across the way. View awe-inspiring peaks with a height of 4,000-6,000 m (13,123-19,685 ft) from the gorge, which makes up part of a larger World Heritage Site noted for its ecological diversity. Walk across a sky bridge at its narrowest 30 m (66 ft) width. There is a well-marked high trail and a paved low road that can accommodate vehicles. Options include following a trail on horseback, hiking a smaller section, or trekking from one end to another (which takes two days).
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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6. Yulong (Jade Dragon) Mountain, Yulong County

Explore Yulong (Jade Dragon) Mountain, a snow-covered massif which looks like a jade-colored dragon lying amidst the clouds. Geologists say that hundreds of millions years ago this landmass sat beneath an ocean and in time it started to rise gradually, reaching the current heights of 5,600 m (18,360 ft). The holy and serene mountain shelters many rare animals, wild plant life, and primeval forests, as well as glaciers surrounding its peak. Hike through the chilled landscape, where nature flourishes and also adapts to altitude difference. Besides mountaineering, sightseeing, and exploring, you can also visit the Naxi ethnic minority to learn about their widespread legends and customs.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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8. Mufu Palace

A miniature version of the Forbidden City, Mufu Palace served as a home to many generations of the Mu clan, which peaked during the late Ming Dynasty. The palace, destroyed by an earthquake and rebuilt in the 1990s, features an elegant meeting hall surrounded by white marble balustrades. The tower behind the hall houses rolls of centuries-old scriptures, paintings, and calligraphy works.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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9. Blue Moon Valley

Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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10. Square Street (Sifangjie)

With four main streets radiating from an open-air market core of old Lijiang, Square Street (Sifangjie) served as an important hub on the ancient Tea Horse Road. Skillfully laid-out canals with clean water run through this area paved with square gray stones with many side alleys packed with shops and bars. Enjoy a cup of tea and watch locals dip their feet (or beer) in the cold canal water. Traditional brick and wood houses and structures with carved gates and painted windows preserve the traditional look of the street. Pick up some famous bronze pieces or knitted shawls for souvenirs. Only bicycles and carts are allowed inside.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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11. Baisha Ancient Town, Yulong County

Visit the cradle of the ancient Mu clan, Baisha Ancient Town. The family was known for its architectural brilliance and the ancient city stands as a testament to that. See buildings dating back to the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) that are still in use to this day, and admire the murals that decorate the town and give it a feeling of authenticity. As you wander the area, you can escape the rush of urban life for the day and experience the lifestyle of the Naxi population. Take a break at the local restaurants or cafes for a traditional local meal, or go shopping for handmade items at the local workshops.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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14. Beiyue Temple of Lijiang

Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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