Lijiang

Our overnight train arrived at 7am. After dropping our bags at the hotel, we set off to explore the city.

If you haven’t been to many old style Chinese cities, you’ll find Lijiang very charming. If you have visited other traditional Chinese towns you won’t be impressed by the city itself, as it’s very touristy now. That’s not saying that it’s not pretty and well preserved, though.

There’s a ticket to enter the old town, it’s ¥80. In theory, other entry tickets are included in this one too but we tried to go to Wangulou and they asked us to pay ¥50 extra. Not sure if there was some misunderstanding here. If you only want the view from the rooftops and not to go up the pagoda, you can just have a drink on one of the bars next door.

While in the city, do not miss the beautiful Black Dragon Pool park, it has striking views of the Snow Jade mountain.

If you want a glimpse of what Lijiang looked like before becoming a busy tourist city, take a walk around Zhongyi Market, just outside the old town. Be prepared for the smell of stinky tofu though!

At night, the streets around Market Square get very lively. There’s a bar with live music almost on the first floor of every shop in the area.

Around here you will also find a big food court with communal tables in the middle and different stands selling all kinds of Chinese food, from dumplings to BBQ ribs and fish. 

One of the dishes we tried during our stay was boiled yak meat (spicy, of course) washed down with a nice bottle of Tibetan beer. A good end of a long day of walking!

Lijiang is also a great base to explore the region and go to places like the Snow Jade mountain or the Tiger Leaping Gorge. From here, you can also explore smaller villages like Baisha or Shuhe ancient town.

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