Lijiang, Yunnan, China

This post recounts part of a journey of mine to Lijiang in southwestern China in 2012.

The 'Black Dragon Pool' in Lijiang

Kunming is a large city in China’s south – it’s an important city for business, being so close to the borders with Vietnam and Myanmar (Burma). It is the capital of China’s Yunnan province. The city is also a fairly important gateway to China, with a new, cavernous, seriously spectacular airport receiving flights from India, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Kunming's amazing new international airport

Delayed, I spent a few hours in the terminal sorting out my connecting China Eastern Airlines flight at no extra charge, then eventually checked in to the domestic leg to Lijiang.

Lijiang's old town 5

I arrived late into Lijiang, at about 1am. Lijiang is a medium-sized tourist city designed to recapture the old style of Chinese towns, replete with turreted roofs and tea houses. Lijiang is home to the Naxi people, a small ethnic group with their own language and traditions. Newly middle class Han Chinese flock to Lijiang in their thousands to see a piece of the “Old China” and learn about the Naxi tribes.

Lijiang's old town

Lijiang's old town 8

Lijiang's old town

Honestly, it’s all a bit contrived; Lijiang’s ‘old town’ was actually built specifically for tourists about fifteen years ago, so it’s not really old at all. However if you can put that out of your mind and just take it at face value, you can still spend an enjoyable day sipping the local tea, poking around temples and wandering the photogenic cobblestone markets. I stopped in for lunch at a small restaurant beside a canal where I ordered a vegetable noodle dish.

Lijiang's old town 3

Lijiang's old town 4

In this part of China, learning to eat with chopsticks is your only hope of getting a meal. Likewise learning a few words in Mandarin – in some small towns, even the word “Hello” is met with blank stares.

Lijiang's old town 2

Lijiang's old town 7

While in Lijiang I stayed at the very friendly, family-run Panba Guesthouse. I ate dinner with the Panba family who had cooked up a delicious vegetarian storm. (Non-vegetarian option is standard, but contains pork).

Lijiang's old town 6

Have you visited Lijiang, or China’s Yunnan province? What did you think of it?

Comments (4)

  • Agness Reply

    I’ve been to more than 50% of provinces in China, but man I’ve missed Lijiang in Yunnan province. How come? Still don’t know, but it looks amazing! 🙂

    December 17, 2015 at 5:17 am
    • Tim Blight Reply

      You’ll need to go there next time!! It’s lovely! 😀

      December 19, 2015 at 10:17 am
  • Andrew Reply

    what a gorgeous looking town. I wonder how it felt… authentic or a little ahhhh like a theme park? but it looks great!

    December 18, 2015 at 6:14 am
    • Tim Blight Reply

      Yeah, a little bit of both… it was a great place to stop though 🙂

      December 19, 2015 at 10:19 am

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