The ancient town of Lijiang, which has been classified as a "National Town of History and Culture", is a beautiful shining jewel on the Northwest Yunnan Plateau. Its architecture is noteworthy for the blending of elements from several cultures that have come together over many centuries. Lijiang also possesses an ancient water-supply system of great complexity and ingenuity that still functions effectively today." At last, please don't forget to save some time to walk in Lijiang. Along your way, you must visit some of the souvenir shops and taste some local dishes and snacks. At night, the famous bar street in the Old Town is really worth a visit. No matter where you go, you will find a harmonious combination of tradition and fashion in Lijiang City.
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 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.
Lijiang has extremely rich hydropower reserves. Meandering for 447 kilometer within Lijiang, the Jinsha River has a volume of annual flow of 49.12 billion cubic meters, enough for running 5 large hydropower stations, each having an installed capacity of 3 million kilowatts. Within the territory of Lijiang County, there are rich biological resources, and the County is known as the "Kingdom of Highland Plants". The County is dotted with more than 20 well-preserved virgin forests in which there flourish over 800 kinds of rare and precious medicinal herbs and over 3,000 species of seed plants. Apart from all these, Lijiang has abundant mineral and land resources, and the County shows remarkable perspectives of economic development.
In October 1994, the Party Committee and People's Government of Yunnan Province drafted the strategic plan to develop the scenic resort of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and put it as the "fist" product into the international tourism market, and to build Lijiang into an important tourism base of Yunnan Province. When taking his investigation tour in Lijiang on October 9, 1995, Vice Premier Zhu Rongji instructed that "If Lijiang is to become well-off, energetic efforts must be made in developing tourism and relevant industries apart from taking agriculture as the key link." All those have not only clearly set the strategic targets for the development of Lijiang that tourism must be taken as the pioneering industry, but also strengthened the confidence of Lijiang people to go all out in developing tourism and take it as the backbone industry so as to promote the all-round social and economic development.
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.
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The history of Lijiang dates back to the South Song period (1127-1279AD). In 1253, Kublai, in his expedition to conquer the state of Dali, came to what is now Lijiang after his troops crossed the Jinsha River by using inflated bags of animal hide. That explains why many names of places in the Naxi languages are transliterations of 'army camps,' 'drilling grounds,' etc. for the Mongolian language. In the early years of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368AD), there were about 1,000 families in Lijiang, which constantly grew in size during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Since the Qing Dynasty, Lijiang has been the distribution center for goods produced in northwest of Yunnan province. Tibetans send their woolen textiles and medicinal herbs here for shipment to other parts of China, and tea and articles for daily use from Xishuang Banna, Fengqing and Xiaguan of Yunnan province are sold to Tibetan areas via the town. During the Second World War, the Flying Tigers (a group of American pilots voluntarily helping China in fighting the Japanese invaders) built the Baisha Airport in the Lijiang area to implement what is known to historians as the 'Hump Operation.
The city of Lijiang has a long history. The residents in the Ancient Lijiang City are Naxi Nationality whose ancestor was one of the ancient minorities. Since they have been making a living by herding the yaks, they make the yak as their totem.
The ancestor of Mushi in Lijiang submitted to the authority of Kublai, the fifth emperor of the Yuan Dynasty in 1254 A.D.. The Yuan Dynasty was put out by the Ming Dynasty in 1368. The construction of the Ancient Lijiang City developed fast in the Ming Dynasty, especially the Ming Dynasty made a large number of people in Anhui Province to migrate into Lijiang in order to station the military troops and common people in the boundary areas, so the buildings of the ancient city were affected much by the inland building style in Anhui Province. The real buildings of Naxi nationality can only be found in the rural areas surrounding Lijiang City.
Naxi Nationality is a nationality good at absorbing the culture of other nationalities. Since Lijiang was a port in the Southern Silk Road and tea and horse trading road, it was a market between Yunnan and Tibet. Kublai stationed its military troops in Lijiang in 1253. He brought the foreign culture, and then Lijiang was affected by the culture of the Central Plain, such as the Tibetan Buddhism and Taoism, and then affected by the Christianism culture in the early 1900s and the ancient Dongba Church of Naxi nationality. Naxi Nationality can assimilate all these cultures and coexist and develop with other cultures. All these cultures increase the Ancient Lijiang City's meaning.
The beauty of this ancient city also lies its nature and harmony with its surrounding geological environment. The Yulongxueshan Mountain with the altitude of 5596 meters and the 4th generation of glacier relic lies in the place where is 30km away in the northwest of the ancient city. The human being has not climbed to the top of the mountain. The Ancient Lijiang City has no city walls, which is one of the features of this ancient city and different with other China's ancient cities. The Yuquanshui River includes three mainstreams, which flow towards the west, east and in the middle. The river running into the ancient city includes many branch canals, so the network of rivers mixed with the roads of the five-flowered stones. You can get the beautiful picture that " every house is surrounded by the rivers and the drooping poplars", so it is highly spoken by the architects of China and abroad. It is called "the Gusu in the Plateau" and "the Oriental Venice". Attracted by the ancient city and the Xueshan Mountains, millions of tourists come here and enjoy themselves in the ancient city of primitive simplicity, naturalness, tranquility and elegance.
Naxi people like planting trees and flowers. What is different from the Bai Nationality in Dali is that Naxi people in Lijiang like the noble and elegant flowers such as the plum, the sweet-scented osmanthus, the chrysanthemum and the orchid.
The residents in Dayanzhen Town also have the tradition to evaluate flowers. When the flowers are in the best time, the hosts of a household often invite their relatives or friends to come and evaluate the flowers. When they are evaluating the flowers, they often create poems or paintings. The men in Dayanzheng Town take it as an honor to be good at reading, paintings and performance of music.
You can hear the beautiful music from the dwelling houses in Dayanzhen Town at festival time or having a rest in the evenings. The performers are mainly the old folk musicians or the young fans, they carry their musical instruments to take part in a party in a household. The hosts of the household often prepare some tables, tea and burn incense. The musicians perform the folk music of Naxi Nationality in the happy atmosphere.
The ancient city has an altitude of 2,400 meters and covers 3.8km. At present, there are 280,000 people in the city, of whom 66.7% are Naxi people, 30% are engaging with the traditional national handicraft.
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Lijiang is located at the foot of the snow-capped Yulong Mountains, which is in the southeastern part of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, known as the 'roof of the world' and the northwestern part of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. There are two snow-capped Mountains, namely Yulong Mountain and Laojun Mountain. Besides, there are Jinsha and Lancang Rivers flowing though this area. There is the subtropical monsoon climate with the annual temperature of 12.6 Co and precipitation of 900 to 1,200 mm.
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There are 306,000 people in Lijiang. It is home to people of more than 20 minority ethnic groups, the bulk of whom are the Naxi. Each of these ethnic groups has a unique culture and history, which match into the beauty of the land, setting an example of a harmonious relationship between man and nature. China's languages are classified into four major linguistic families, and the Naxi belong to the Sino-Tibetan group. It is not uncommon to find those among the Naxi who can fluently speak two or three languages.
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For several hundred years, Sifang Street Square has been the major market here. Today, the Square is still the best place for buying exotic local specialties, the most famous being bronze ware. The small streets in the ancient town are also clustered with all kinds of shops and boutiques. Most of the shops here are tourist-oriented and sell nice art crafts as souvenirs.
Loads of tourist shops available in old town. Probably overpriced, but Lijiang does not have as many cases of the Westerner price being too much higher than the Chinese price as in many other parts of China.
Burned wood carvings - One of the popular local specialties. Quality varies greatly by the individual artist, and prices vary by shops. Some shops do custom etchings of your face (near photo-realism) with Lijiang in the background. Expect to have your picture taken, then come back in a few hours.
Yak horn combs - Also popular, with some combs also carved from the yak hoof (the ones with the rougher edge on the handle).
Naxi clothing - For ¥5 you can get your picture taken in them without having to buy them. Any shop that has local skirts that includes some with Ancient Egyptian designs is not recommended.
Art and writing samples (东巴; Dōngbā) - The Naxi have the only living hierographic language in the world, and shops with samples of it, or of the unique Naxi style art, are abundant.
Yunnan Coffee - Coffee ground to a fine powder then added to water, although most contain milk and sugar powder already.
Warm Clothing - In the Old Town warm clothing is quite expensive if you are just looking for something cheap to keep the chill out. The road just outside the town by the waterwheel has very cheap hats, mitts, and even long johns. Just turn left at the first intersection.
Small red coconut - DO NOT BUY a small red fruit shaped like a coconut. Actually, it is just a coconut painted red and sold for a very high price. This is a scam.
There is never a shortage of restaurants and hotels in both the new and the old towns. You can find cheaper food in the new town, but most of the cafes are in the Old Town where they serve Western and Chinese food. The local specialties are Lijiang Baba and Ji Dou Liang Fen. Lijiang Baba is a round pancake made of wheat flour, ham and scallion or sugar. Ji Dou Liang Fen is made of beans grown locally and jelly-like. Although it does not have attractive color, it is the most popular food in Lijiang. Tibetan tea, also known as yak butter tea is served in local restaurants.
Lijiang cuisine is a blend of Han Chinese and Tibetan styles. Charming hole-in-the street outlets offer delicious baba any time of the day. Best eaten in the mornings, this thick flatbread of wheat, served plain or stuffed with vegetables, meat, lard, extracted ham cubes or condiments such as sugar mixed with pure mountain water, cooked on a flat frying pan with slow fire is a Lijiang specialty. For local fare, a "Naxi sandwich" will have goat cheese, tomato slices between baba slices. For the more adventurous, deep-fried grasshoppers, dragonflies and other insects are also offered. Gulp them down with a selection of wine. Lijiang is also known for its three-river ham. Butter tea is a common drink in the area and a favorite of the ethnic Naxi and Tibetan.
There are three primary types of restaurants in Lijiang: Naxi, Tibetan, and Sichuan. Some restaurants offer more than one type of food. Much Western food is also available, but more expensive. Local specialties include:
Pali - Delicious bread that is reminiscent of the Indian Naan.
Naxi style fried white cheese - A soft white cheese cut into slices then fried in a non-greasy batter. Served with sugar sprinkled on top and very delicious!
Yak's milk yogurt - Has a bit of a different flavor than cow's milk yogurt, but very good. Commonly served with honey, muesli, and/or fruit. Can also be made into fruit shakes.
There are a couple of local drinks worthy of special mention. Lijiang Yinjiu and Sulima (both commonly available in Lijiang) are modern renditions of ancient beer types of the Naxi and Mosuo people and far more enjoyable than the typical bland Chinese lager. Yunnan is famous for tea, as well (though Pu Ehr itself is way down south on the road to Xishuanbanna) and every fourth shop is a tea shop specializing in the length and breadth of Chinese tea, the likes of which you will not find in your average Western Chinatown.
Unlike the rest of China, Lijiang's cafes and restaurants shut down around 11PM. Several of the bars along bar street face each other across the narrow canal. From here singing erupts across the water by opposing teams of (usually) girls. In order to keep the singing going small donations are normally requested from the patrons.
Several western bars are beginning to spring up, notably:
Stone The Crows, (In the heart of the old town). Can be found serving at all hours of the night. Irish run bar.
Frosty Mornings, (In the new town). Larger western-run Mexican restaurant.
New Amsterdam, Yuhe Corridor C-44, 丽江市玉河走廊南片区-C区44号 (Close to the old town car park, next to Frosty Morning), New Amsterdam is a bar/restaurant run by Jack and his wife Xiaoli, where you can watch live football and other sports! They do excellent burgers, shepherd's pie, and sandwiches. Free WiFi and lots of good info on the area.
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Naxi Concert Hall. 8PM-10PM. Enjoy the traditional Naxi music Culture Show performed by the Naxi Orchestra, which includes some 70-90 year old men. The music itself is a combination of traditional Chinese music dating back to the Tang dynasty and local instruments and flavours. The music is well performed, however be prepared for long explanations of its musical history in Mandarin between each piece and the sometimes self-serving comments of Xuan Ke the Director. While the Naxi Ancient Music group of Lijiang is famous and well promoted, there are other excellent classical Chinese music groups playing in Lijiang's parks or at weddings or house-warmings all over Yunnan.
Float tyrofoam boats. Along the main streams are girls selling candles that float on delicate flower-shaped styrofoam boats. Tourists can purchase one, make a wish, and send their candle down the waterways. Late in the evening after groups have had significant amounts of alcohol you can see many floating candles sailing down the waterways. If you are environmentally conscious and have reservations about sending styrofoam downstream do not worry. There is a net, far down the waterway, that catches the boats. The girls just go down, pick the boats up, and re-sell them the next night.
Biking. Rent a bike downtown, eg at Ali Baba's near Mao Zedong's statue, and see the sights. Ali Baba's will give you a handmade map of smaller surrounding towns that capture the quaint styles of Lijiang without the heavy tourism and the tacky souvenir shops. There are at least three towns, ranging from converted hippy communes to remote farming villages. There is a beautiful remote Buddhist monastery at Puji Mountain which is worth the 30 minute hike. Most of the terrain around Lijiang is level and the roads have only light traffic. These small, non-touristy towns and other sightseeing destinations can be reached within a 20 minute ride.
Walk the canal path. To get to the Black Dragon Pool you can walk the canal path north near the main water wheel. It will take you to the south entrance of the park. The north part of the park is free and you can get there by walking around the south entrance and keep heading north. You should reach a street with the main entrance to the park. Keep going north and you will see a small bridge that leads to a large white building. The white building is the Dongba Museum, everything north of that is free. Further north of the park is a local college, and northwest of that is a small reservoir. The reservoir is a good place to take photos of the snow mountain when it is visible. On hot sunny days in the summer there will be lots of locals swimming there in the afternoon.
Visit Naxi villages. If you would like to visit some of the Naxi villages in the hills surrounding Lijiang, you can rent a small van to take you around for ¥100-300, depending on the driver and how much Chinese you speak. There are regular minivans on Shangrila Road, the main road on the west side of town, wich take locals to and from the villages.
Impression Lijiang. A cultural show demonstrating the traditions and lifestyles of the Naxi, Yi and Bai peoples of the area. The show takes place inside Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Park at 3500m in an outdoor theater specifically designed to showcase the mountain which is used as a backdrop. The production itself was designed by Zhang Yimou (director of Hero, House of Flying Daggers), Fan Yue and Wang Chaoge, a cast of over 500 people, and a number of horses.
Dry Sea Meadow (Ganhaizi). The closest chair lift up the mountain to Lijiang. It transports visitors to a large meadow located at 3050 meters.
Cloud Fir Meadow (Yunshanping). From the reception centre which is located adjacent to Impression Lijiang on the Lijiang-Daju road a fleet of buses transports visitors to a cable car which then takes visitors to 4506 metres. From the upper terminus of the cable car a walkway allows visitors to climb past a glacier to 4680 metres.
Yak Meadow (Máoniúpíng). The furtherest from Lijiang at a distance of 60km, this cable car. At an elevation of 3,500 metres and the least-visited of the three chair lifts this area offers grazing yaks, a Tibetan temple and a number of hiking possibilities. On the way to the chairlift’s lower terminus the road drips down and crosses a river. A number of yaks are located here where for a fee you can sit on one. Their owners seem to have no objection to visitors taking photos for no fee of the yaks standing in the river with awesome Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the background. You can also access Yak Meadow by hopping aboard bus 7 across from the Mao Zedong statue which will take you to the Impression Lijiang Theater . At the theater there is a ticket booth to the left of the show entrance which sells tickets to both Spruce Meadow and Yak Meadow and provides a tour bus to and from the cable cars and a cable car ticket. Be sure to find out what time the last bus passes the Impression Lijiang theater or you may find yourself calling a taxi which could be expensive. Also see "Impression Lijiang" info for entrance fees to the park itself.
Baisha Village (白沙村). A small village in Yulong Naxi Autonomous County, part of Lijiang city, well-known for its Jade Dragon Snow Mountain range. It is the original settlement of the Naxi people who came to the greater Lijiang Valley over a thousand years ago. Made up of at least 12 smaller villages, the main village is Sanyuan (三元村), which has one main stone street called of course, Baisha Street. It has a typical Chinese "old-town" tourist setup, consisting of a stone paved street with a mixture of Chinese trinket sellers-shops and several quaint cafes to stop at relax, have a drink some Yunnan coffee eat a Naxi Pie and avoid the crowded Lijiang. A great escape from Lijiang Old-town tourist trap, only 12 km north of town, you can rent a bike and get there in about 40 minutes. You should consider staying a few nights, in a Naxi family’s courtyard, no "hotel-Hostels" here. Even though almost everything costs you a ticket price to do in China these days you can do many things here for free! Like hike the local mountains threw the high alpine botanical garden and search for herbs on your way to the Jade Dragon Lake, the backside of Snow Jade Dragon Mountain. Visit some of the temples or traditional Naxi houses of the area before they are gone.
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The ancient Shigu Town is named after a drum-shaped marble plaque. Here, the Yangtze River is wide and the water flows in a gentle, slow pace. Large willow trees grow alongside the river that is banked on both sides with lush, fertile deep green vegetation and immense, steep mountains that rise up from the river to touch the clouds in the blue sky above. The whole sight is like a wonderful landscape painting that never ends. Built during the Jiaqing era (1548-1561) of the Ming Dynasty, the stone drum is a monument commemorating the victory of Naxi ruler in Lijiang over an invading Tibetan army. It is 1.5 meters in diameter and 0.5 meters in thickness. Throughout time, Stone Drum Town was always a significant and vitally strategic military area where many famous historical events have been taken place.
Baisha Mural Painting
The Baisha Mural Painting consists of 53 groups of mural paintings in different temples with fine and smooth lines, bright colors, vivid pattern and harmonious composition. Painted from the early days of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), these mural paintings are an artistic representation of the different religious cultures such as Buddhism, Lamaism, Daoism and the Naxi Dongba religion. This rich fusion had resulted in a tremendously powerful art, heavy in spirit and awe-inspiring in its presentation of the mystical world. Dominated by black, silver, dark green, gold and red colours, the murals in the back hall, overlaid with centuries of brown soot, are doom laden and bizarre, the scenes and figures, some still vivid in detail, are largely taken from Tibetan Buddhist iconography and include the wheel of life, judges of the underworld, the damned, titans and gods, Buddha and bodhisattvas.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
The Jade Dragon Snow Mountains are located where the Qinghai-Tibet and Yunnan-Guizhou plateaus interlock, and together they form the peak of the Yunling Mountains-- the southern-most section of the Himalaya Mountain range. The mountain is 5,600 meters (18,400 ft) in altitude and the best-known massif in the province. Harboring a string of marine glaciers, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain range, with snow accumulated over ages, extends unbroken for 35 kilometers, forming the "Jade Dragon" dancing in clouds. Its silvery "scales" shining bright, the "dragon" has a proudly erect "head" in the far north, while the other parts, rolling south, look like the back of the "dragon." Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is home to half of Yunnan's 13,000 plants species, 400 kinds of trees, dozens of flowers types, and one-third of China's known species of medicinal herbs and plants. Its many ravines, creeks, cliffs, and meadows all have Naxi names and are settings for the myths and legends of these people, who have made the plain their homeland for a thousand years. Still heavily forested, the mountain bursts into bloom every spring when the camellias, rhododendrons, and azaleas start flowering. Herders take their cattle, goats, and yaks to graze on its slopes.
Tiger Leaping Gorge
Tiger Leaping Gorge is a canyon on the Yangtze River, locally called the Golden Sands River. The gorge is located 60 km north of Lijiang City, Yunnan in southwestern China. Around 15 km in length, the gorge is located where the river passes between 5,596 metre Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Face to 5,396 metre Haba Xueshan Face in a series of rapids under steep 2000 metre cliffs. Legend says that in order to escape from a hunter, a tiger jumped across the river at the narrowest point (still 25 metres wide), hence the name. Tiger Leaping Gorge is a contender for the world's deepest river canyon, depending on the exact definition used. The inhabitants of the gorge are primarily the indigenous Naxi people, who live in a handful of small hamlets.
Lijiang Old Town
The Old Town of Lijiang, a UNESCO Heritage Site, has a history going back more than 800 years. The Town was once a confluence for trade along the old tea horse road. It is perfectly adapted to the uneven topography of this key commercial and strategic site, has retained a historic townscape of high quality and authenticity. Its architecture is noteworthy for the blending of elements from several cultures that have come together over many centuries. Lijiang also possesses an ancient water-supply system of great complexity and ingenuity that still functions effectively today. The Lijiang old town is famous for its orderly system of waterways and bridges. The old town of Lijiang differs from other ancient Chinese cities in architecture, history and the culture of its traditional residents the Naxi people.
First Bend of Yangtze River
The First Bend of Yangtze River is located at Shigu (Stone Drum) Town, 44 miles outside of Lijiang. When the Yangtze River reaches at the town, it takes almost a 180-degree turn from the south to the north, forming a bent- like structure. This bent is considered very significant because it keeps the Yangtze River flowing through the mid eastern part of China. This mid eastern part of China has been an economical center since its ancient times and is still today. This first bend forms part of a spectacular view of Yangtze River. This whole area abounds with attractive stories and dazzling visions.
Picture of Tea and Horse Caravan
Tea and Horse Caravan Road (Chamagudao) is an ancient trade route connecting Tibet, Yunnan and Sichuan. It had been the important path along which tea, horse and traditional Chinese medicine were transported and traded, known as also known as the Silk Road of southwest China. It originates from Xishuangbanna in southern Yunnan, passing through Pu Er town of Dali, Lijiang, Zhongdian (Shangri-la), Deqin & enters into Tibet till reaching Lhasa. The entire route stretches about 4000 km all the way to Myanmar, India & Nepal. The route has passed through some of the most dangerous mountain ranges and high-passes in Tibet and Himalayas.
The Old Town of Lijiang was filled with harmonious fusion of different cultural traditions. Owing to its special characteristics of ethnic culture, urban layout and historical authenticity, Lijiang Old Town of China was enlisted to be one of the World Cultural Heritage Cities by UNESCO on Dec. 4th, 1997, thus becoming the first cultural heritage city in China. Thus, Lijiang has a precious wealth shared, treasured and possessed by the entire world. The Naxi-minority descends from Tibetan nomads. They have a matriarchal family tradition and an over 1000 years old script. This script consists of pictograms, and is kept alive by some individuals. There is also a Naxi-orchestra: old men that play traditional Chinese music on antique instruments, unique for China. Lijiang has an ingenious ancient network of waterways that is supplied by the mountain springs. Via canals the houses in town are connected to this network. The cobbled streets, bridges and houses add to the picturesque picture of this ancient town.
Lugu Lake, a high mountain plateau lake at the altitude of 2,685 meters, is located on the border of Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. Inhibited by the Mosuo people who still live in the matriarchal society, Lugu Lake has become a hot tourist attraction with its unique culture and beautiful scenery.
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Due to the popularity of Lijiang as a base by local Chinese tourists, there are many flights into Lijiang. The popular route from Kunming costs ¥150-450 one way. The airport is located about 37km (about 40 minutes by car) from the city. After exiting the arrivals area take the ¥15 bus to the Blue Sky Hotel and from there take a taxi to your final destination into town. The return bus leaves from the same hotel 90 minutes before scheduled flights depart. Taxis are also available for about ¥60 into the old town.
The bus station is located south of the old city. Regular services to/from Shangrila and overnight service from Kunming stop here. You can take the bus 11 in front of the bus station to the old town (get off at Baixin Supermarket), or take a taxi.
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Walking is the only option in the old town, while taxis are often the easiest way around the rest of town for ¥7 (June 2008).
Fracture alert: watch where you are walking. It is easy to trip on the cobblestones or fall into the canals from the walkways or bridges, many of which do not have handrails. The cobblestones can be very slippery when wet.
To see the sights outside of the old town the options are walking, biking, public bus, private mini-bus, or taxi. The public bus mainly stays within the city and stops 8PM-PM. The mini-busses are the same price as the public bus within the city. They will have the number of the bus on the front windshield.
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Kunming-Dali-Lijiang Highway was built in 1998, cutting the traveling time from 15 hours to 8 hours. There are plenty of buses running back and forth between Kunming and Lijiang via Dali. Dali-Lijiang Railway is now being built, scheduled to be finished by 2008.
Lijiang-Shangri-la/Zhongdian Highway was built in 2005. It is a comfortable to have a ride with good views on the way.
Lijiang-Lugu Lake The road has been improved recently, so the drive is about 5 hours from Lijiang to Lugu Lake, passing by the Yi villages.
Lijiang Airport (LJG); Lijiang Airport is located in the south of Lijiang city, 28 km away from downtown. There is an airport shuttle bus service in downtown Lijiang. The airport was opened in July 1995 and has flights to Kunming, Chengdu, Xishuangbanna, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Guiyang. It also offers chartered airplane service. There are flights from Kunming to Lijiang every day and is about 30 minutes flight time.
Taxi is the most convenient way to have a ride around the town. There are over 800 taxies in Lijiang with clear signs to recognize. It cost about 10 RMB to go to most places around the new and old town.
There are bus services to, amongst others, Kunming City (8 hrs), Dali City (3 hrs), the Tiger Leaping Gorge and Shangri-La.
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