The city of Lijiang is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Yunnan province, China. This isn’t a coincidence regarding the city’s beauty, charm and cultural value. After traveling the ancient city of Dali, I only spent a day and a half in this beautiful place. Now, I know how to make to most out of your precious time and explore Lijiang in only 48 hours!
Here’s how to explore Lijiang in 48 hours:
Walk through Lijiang Old Town
Lijiang’s ancient city dates back to the Song Dynasty (960—1279) and is therefore a must-see when in Yunnan. It’s one of the best preserved ancient cities in the entire country. Lijiang ancient city, 丽江古城, is included on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List due to its picturesque streets , small rivers and narrow canals, cover 300 ancient stone bridges, green trees, colorful shrubs, old alleyways and antique houses.
The Square Market marks the center of Old Town where you can find useful things like ATMs or stations to recharge your cellphone prepaid card. The closer you get to the center, the touristy it gets. Therefore, I suggest starting at the middle point around Square Market and working your way further out.
- Admission: 80 Yuan/person for the maintenance fee of the ancient city
- Opening Hours: all day
- Getting there:
Take Bus No.11, No.8 of inner ring and outer ring, No.15 of inner ring and outer ring and get off at Gu Chengkou Station(古城口站).
Explore the Minority Cultures
There are 12 minority ethnic groups that live in Lijiang, the most famous of which are the Naxi. Keep your eyes open and you will probably see people of all the twelve minorities walking through town. If you like, you can even rent traditional clothes and pose for photos.
Various restaurants, guesthouses or travel agencies (which are scattered around the city) also offer entertainment like the Lijiang Impression Show (印象*丽江) or the Dayan Naxi Ancient Music Concert.
Conquer the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
While I was in Lijiang, I absolutely wanted to go and see the famous Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulong Mountain玉龙雪山). Luckily, the hotel we stayed at offered a special service and hired a driver who was able to drive us straight to the mountain for around $40 for two people.
It’s the southernmost snow mountain in the Northern Hemisphere with 13 peaks reaching over 4,000 meters. The highest peak is called Shanzidou(扇子陡).
If you dare to climb the top of the mountain, you need to wear professional hiking gear and should bring oxygen. Bottles of fresh oxygen can be bought at the main ticket station on the bottom of the hill.
Take the first shuttle bus which takes you to the picturesque bottom of the mountain with lakes and waterfalls and a beautiful view. Since I felt very sick that particular day, I was unable to hike for a long time. I had to return back to my Lijiang around 1.5 hours after arriving at the mountain area.
- Admission: 105 Yuan/person
- Getting there:
Take Snow Mountain Line Bus No.7 from Lijiang Ancient City or rent a van from Lijiang to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain at 150 Yuan for a round trip.
What Are You Waiting For?
If this doesn’t convince you to travel to Lijiang, nothing will. It’s a place I definitely want to return to and stay a little longer. However, if you only have limited time, I strongly suggest to explore the ancient city and then venture off to see the beautiful Jade Dragon Snow Mountain! It’s totally possible in 1.5 days!
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