Top 10 Things to Do in Lijiang

Lijiang is a famous tourist city in Yunnan, a multiethnic place in southwest of China. It’s an old heritage place with flagged alleys, old ethnic houses, unique customs, amazing natural landscapes, etc. It’s the place to find the harmonious relationship between man and the nature. Then what to do in Lijiang when you get there? Here are the top things to do in Lijiang for reference.

Lijiang Ancient Town
Lijiang Old Town, as an important station on ancient tea-horse trading route, attracts a large number of visitors all the time. It is a must among the “Lijiang to dos” list, otherwise you could not say you have visited Lijiang. You may stroll through the alleys in the town, to see the old residential houses in Naxi ethnic style, appreciate Jade Dragon Snow Mountain at a close distance, and enjoy the Lijiang murals and Naxi music leisurely. What to do in Lijiang Old Town in addition? You can also get on Wangu Tower, to enjoy a grand view of the old town; visit Dongba Culture Museum, to know more about the local ethnic folks; or hang out on Square Street, to select some souvenirs. Mu's Residence should not be missed either, which is the house of hereditary headman at local in ancient times.

 Recommended Tour:  5 Days Private Tour to Lijiang, Shaxi & Dali
Shuhe Ancient Town
Shuhe Ancient Town, to the northwest of Lijiang Old Town, is at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Compared with Lijiang Old Town, Shuhe Ancient Town is a quieter place to enjoy the natural beauties and experience local traditions. At Dragon Pool, you can see the reflections of the mountains and the fishes playing insides. Qinglong Bridge is the best old stone bridge in Lijiang, still beautiful with willows by sides. Although Longquan Temple is small, it’s a treasury of Lijiang murals themed on Buddhism. The houses in the temple are also splendid. On Sifang Street, you can taste palatable snacks, see the Naxi dances in the early morning, and watch the performances on the campfire party at night. These are only a few of the reasons why Shuhe Ancient Town is listed as one of top Lijiang things to do and the rest are waiting for you to discover.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
When you ask anyone who have been to Lijiang “what to do”, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain must be one of the answers. It’s a holy mountain in locals’ heart, as well as the snow mountain nearest to the equator. You can see the snow-covered land, glaciers, alpine meadows and original forests in winter. When the spring comes, the azalea flowers bloom from the mountain foot to the higher places successively. Wearing or taking warm clothes and climbing gears, you may follow other mountaineers to go up, or take the cable car halfway to the major scenic spots. The glacier park, Ganhaizi and Blue Moon Valley are the best sites.

 Recommended Tour:  3 Days Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Hiking Tour
Lugu Lake
Lugu Lake is a high-altitude clear and peaceful lake. On the holy Gemu Mountain, you can get a bird’s eye view of the waterscape and the islands dotted in. Apart from the magnificent natural landscapes, the unique customs of Mosuo people living nearby also draw tourists’ attention. They are still in the atrilineal society, so remaining as one of the a few “ladies’ kingdom” in modern days. For these and more, Lugu Lake become one of the best things to do in Lijiang China appearing in many tourists’ list. You can tour around the lake by sightseeing vehicle or bicycle. The circle lake trip would take you one day; if you want to walk around Lugu Lake, two more days are needed. Besides, you can go boating on the lake from the Luoshui Village to Liwubi Island.

 Recommended Tour:  2 Days Private Lugu Lake Tour from Lijiang from $519

Hike through Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge
Tiger Leaping Gorge, about 80km (50mi) north to Lijiang downtown, is the gorge with the largest drop on the earth. Yangtze River in this section is so turbulent that the sound of water flowing could be heard a mile away. An adventurous hiking through the gorge is one of popular Lijiang activities, especially among international travelers. Usually the hiking tour would last for 2 to 3 days from Upper Section of Tiger Leaping Gorge to the end of the Middle Section. At the beginning, you would walk along the rugged mountain trails, see the winding river and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the distance. Later you may trek though the craggy section to the bottom of the gorge. For outdoor enthusiasts, it is challenging and exciting to hike Tiger Leaping Gorge.

 Recommended Tour:  2 Days Private Hiking Tour of Tiger Leaping Gorge from $319

See Murals at Baisha Village

Murals at Baisha Village
Baisha Village is the oldest settlement of Naxi people in Lijiang, and it has been well persevered at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. It’s a countryside place with beautiful green fields and old traditional houses. It is the quietest historical sites among the ancient towns in Lijiang. Baish Village houses the best and most murals in Lijiang, another reason why it is one of the worthy things to do in Lijiang. Delicate Baisha murals were painted on the walls of multiple temples from the early years of Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 AD) to early Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911 AD), mainly describing the natural sceneries and religious figures of Buddhism, Taoism and Lamaism.

 Recommended Tour:  5 Days Private Lijiang & Shangri-La Tour with Baisha Murals from $669
Jade Spring Park
Jade Spring Park, aka Black Dragon Pool Park, is to the north of Lijiang Old Town. The park is not large, but it is always the best site to see and capture the reflection of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. And the best time for photographing the snow mountain is early morning and dusk. You may get there along the stream against the flow from Lijiang Old Town. Around the pool, there are also many historical buildings worth visiting.

 Recommended Tour:  3 Days Lijiang Private Package with Jade Spring Park from $349
Lashi Lake
What to do in Lijiang China? Lashi Lake is a top choice except for the attractions mentioned above. This is the largest lake in Lijiang and the wetland reserve is winter resort to a large number of migrant birds. From December to February, tens of thousands of fowls overwinter at Lashi Lake. You can take a kayak, an iron boat or a bamboo raft on the lake, to see the landscapes in the surroundings and the migrant fowls. The southern banks gather most of the birds. The old tea-trading route is just by side of the lake, and you may take a horse ride as the ancient businessmen did, to see the vast sea of flowers, or go to nearby Zhiyun Temple for blessings. A few Naxi villages settle around Lashi Lake, where you can rent a horse easily.

 Recommended Tour:  6 Days Lijiang Classic Hiking Route via Lashi Lake

Watch the Ethnic Performance – Impression Lijiang

“Impression Lijiang” is a large-scale singing and dancing performance and one of the must things to do in Lijiang. The open-air theater is near Ganhaizi on Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the one with the highest altitude worldwide. About 500 performers are engaged in the grand show and most of them are local villagers. There are 2-3 performances each day, from which you will get to know the ancient horse caravans on tea-trading road, the wine culture of local Naxi people, the local love legend, ethnic dances, and religious rituals of worshiping the heaven and praying for blessings.

 Recommended Tour:  One Day Exploration on Jade Dragon Snow Mountain from $224

Guanyin Canyon

Guanyin Canyon
Guanyin Canyon, 17km (11mi) southeast of Lijiang downtown, was the gate to enter Lijiang and the first vital pass on Yunnan-Tibet tea-trading route in ancient times. Stepping into the canyon, you would firstly see the historical sites on ancient trails. It’s like a small town with the toll house, kinds of shops, inns and pubs. In addition to the cultural things, you can also take the old-timey trains passing through the tunnels, see the waterfall and the standing statue of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva beneath. The natural sceneries, like the rocks and peaks in various shapes, make the canyon more charming. You can return to the entrance of Guanyin Canyon by the sightseeing boat at last. At the same time, you may see some folk shows there, and some adventurers would go for rock climbing there.

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- Last updated on Apr. 26, 2021 -
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