dLijiang has a rich history and the town still speaks every bit it, given the preserved look and feel of the town, partly thanks to the “UNESCO heritage site” status granted back in 1998. The town was an important waypoint during the old “tea horse” route from China to Persia and boasts of some of the world’s most scenic locales around itself.
The journey from Dali to Lijiang is actually breathtaking (though would add here that not as good as one to ).
Getting to Lijiang…
As you are traveling from Kunming to Dali, to Lijiang and finally to Shangri-La, you will see that the natural surroundings gets better, more majestic and more exotic with the distance, perhaps because this way, you’re getting more and more into the hinderlands that are less and less commercially exploited.
Picturesque scenery enroute Dali to Lijiang
As I have always maintained, the infrastructure of the expressways even in these less obvious routes is just fantastic and matches any world class highway system.
Old Town of Lijiang
Old Town of Lijiang – beautifully landscaped streets and by-lanes
Being greeted by beautiful streets lined with flowers and “overly green” trees was just the kind of invitation we wanted after a long 4-hours journey from Dali.
First things first about Old Town of Lijiang. Since it is a cultural heritage site, the outer architecture of the town is not allowed to be tempered or changed. Inside, you could have a Bose or Sennheiser powered discotheque but outside it has to be the way the ancient town used to look like.
We checked in our hotel (Sanhe Hotel) which also had a wooden finish (didn’t we tell you above) and actually, that helped keep the room warmer in the cold weather (per Asian standards).
Places worth seeing
Well, actually, the whole old town of Lijiang is worth it, just walking around the streets lined with shops, restaurants (including KFC and Pizza Hut!!!) was simply amazing. The town has a rich history being an important junction in the trading Tea and Spices route during the middle ages.
Well, by the evening, the town lights up and starts looking even better. Surely, the following pics should be appealing enough…
Night view of Old Town of Lijiang
The Mu Palace is very close to the Old Town and actually in a day, one can see both the old town (best in early morning when crowd is minimal and late evenings when it is well lit) and Mu Palace in one day (see the palace in the middle of the day).
View of Lijiang old town from the top of the Mu Palace
Jade Snow Mountain
The trip to view Jade Snow Mountain is itself quite nice, the car takes about an hour and half to go to the point from where we take the bus to the cable car point at a height (the bus takes another 1.5hours). While our day was ruined since it was super cloudy and we could not see anything, you can check other websites that showcase pictures of the mountain backdrop and the views, it is one definitely not to be missed.
We were bit disappointed that the following was all we could see, but still, the whole journey back and forth was enjoyable itself.
Animal horns carved into show pieces. Lot of shops around Lijiang town sell animal products such as gloves, warm hats, show pieces etc
Food in Lijiang
Ok, the next most important topic – about the food in the city. Intuitively, one can guess that the authentic Chinese is the best you can have in the area. The food is not only healthy (coupled with lot of walking, we actually lost some pounds during the trip), but also very light and tasty.
The not so appealing street food of Lijiang
…and some more Lijiang pics… 🙂
Finally, there were many places where we think the meaning got “Lost in Translation”
So with this, we wind up the lovely trip of Lijiang old town and move ahead to Shangri-La… but wait! The route to Shangri-La was probably the most picturesque one we had in the entire tour. So read on, on that first!
As a side note, there are several places in Lijiang where you see lovely full blooming flowers, especially if you in summers.