Lijiang Map - Lijiang Travel GuideBelonging to Yunan Province, Lijiang is a famous tourist destination that contains everything you need for a trip to China: rustic old towns, snow-capped mountain ranges, romantic lakes and colorful ethnic culture. Lijiang is the home to the Naxi people who have been preserving their culture from generation to generation. You can have a chance to visit their traditional Han-styled houses and listen to their 500-year-old folk music performances.

Lijiang Ancient Town is the most sought-after attraction of this city. It used to be China’s important goods distribution.

Best Time to Travel to Lijiang

Due to its geographical position, Lijiang has cooler summers and warmer winters than the North of China. This city receives a higher amount of rainfall in summers and it may rain heavily. Thus, the best times to visit this city are spring (March – May) and autumn (late September – November), but if you desire to see the snow-capped Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, come to Lijiang in winter.

Lijiang Travel Tips

  • If you have altitude sickness, prepare a portable oxygen can when visiting Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Pack some warm clothes as the temperature will decrease significantly at a higher elevation.
  • There is no foreign bank in Lijiang, you can use some local banks such as Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, etc. Prepare some cash before your trip.
  • Respect local customs; ask for permission if you want to take photos of local people.

What to See in Lijiang

1. Lijiang Old Town

Lijiang Old Town - Lijiang Travel Guide
Lijiang Old Town

Lijiang Old Town is the main attraction of this rustic city. Lijiang Old Town is located at the elevation of 2400 meters above the sea level. It was first built during Song Dynasty (960 – 1279) and became the ancient trading center between Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibet. It was also the economic, culture and communication exchange route between Naxi, Tibetan, Bai and Han ethnic groups. The religious architecture which is the combination of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism is the highlight of this ancient town.

This town is divided into three parts: Dayan Old Town, Baisha Quarter and Shuhe Ancient Town. Dayan Old Town is well-known for its unique architecture which combines northern and southern styles. Shuhe Ancient Town is the birthplace of Naxi ethnic group.

2. Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge - Lijiang Travel Guide
Tiger Leaping Gorge

100 kilometers from Lijiang Old Town, Tiger Leaping Gorge is a canyon on Yangtze River, the most famous place for cruising in China. It is one of the deepest gorges in the world with the vertical elevation of 3790 meters. Tiger Leaping Gorge is surrounded by Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to the east and Haba Snow Mountain to the west. This place can be divided into three sections: Upper Gorge, Middle Gorge and Lower Gorge. The whole valley’s length is around 18 kilometers and it is a popular hiking trail in Lijiang. It is not a crowded trail, so you can take time to take some photos of imposing landscapes and discover ethnic life.

3. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulong Mountain)

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain - Lijiang Travel Guide
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is a sacred mountain of Naxi people. Containing 13 peaks, this mountain is 35 kilometers long and covers an area of more than 520 kilometers square. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is the home to about 6,000 species of plants and 30 species of animals. This mountain is a popular hiking trail in winters. If you are not into hiking and trekking, you can get a panoramic view from a cable car here. The best time to visit Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is from November to April when the peaks are covered with fog and snow.

4. Lugu Lake

Lugu Lake - Lijiang Travel Guide
Lugu Lake

About 200 kilometers from the center of Lijiang, Lugu Lake is an alpine lake with romantic scenery. Lugu Lake is atmospheric with green hills, clean water, and rustic stilted houses. The lake is the home to Mosuo society, which is the last matriarchal society in the world. In this lake, there are five islands among which Heiwawu Island, Liwubi Island, and Lige Island are the most frequently visited ones. Taking a boat ride along Lugu Lake is the best way to appreciate its beauty.

5. Jade Spring Park

Jade Spring Park - Lijiang Travel Guide
Jade Spring Park

Built in 1737, Jade Spring Park, also known as Heilongtan Park (means ‘Black Dragon Pool Park’ in English), is famous for its large crystal pool. In summer and autumn, the pool is really romantic with milky flowers on the water. Jade Spring Park is only 1 kilometer from Lijiang Old Town, you can walk there or take a bus.

6. Enjoy Impression Lijiang

Impression Lijiang - Lijiang Travel Guide
Impression Lijiang

Impression Lijiang, exactly what the name suggests, is the superb outdoor art performance with the imposing Jade Dragon Snow Mountain as the backdrop. The performance includes singing, dancing, playing musical instruments and horse riding, which represents the daily life of Naxi people. The show times are 9 am, 11 am and 2 pm during the peak season; 11 am and 2 pm during the low season.

What to Eat in Lijiang

Lijiang Food is the perfect fusion of Han culture and Tibetan cuisine. With abundant sources agricultural products, Naxi people in Lijiang have developed their own local cuisine. Sanwen Fish, Chickpeas Bean Jelly, Lijiang Stuffed Bun and Naxi Hot Pot are must-try dishes on your Lijiang trip.

1. Naxi Hotpot

Hotpot is the favorite dish of local people in winter. It is spicy and spicy yet highly nutritious. Naxi hot pot is rich in calorie, protein and vitamin which will keep you warm all day long. You can have a variety of options for meat in this dish: mutton, goat meat, pork or beef. Moreover, a lot of fresh green vegetables, mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and tofu are featured in the hot pot. Besides, ginger is a must-have ingredient.

Naxi hotpot - Lijiang Travel Guide
Naxi hotpot

Black Goat Hot Pot and Salted Pork Ribs Hot Pot are the two most popular hot pot dishes in Lijiang. Black Goat Hot Pot used local black goats which are raised in the mountains, thus the meat is lean, juicy and contains less fat. The broth of this food features many kinds of herbals and spices, which will feast your taste buds.

2. Sanwen fish

Sanwen fish - Lijiang Travel Guide
Sanwen fish

Raised in the glacial meltwater from snow-capped mountain ranges, Sanwen fish is the local specialty of Yunnan. This is a cold-water fish which is lean, tender and savory.

3. Lijiang Stuffed Bun (Ba Ba)

Lijiang Stuffed Bun - Lijiang Travel Guide
Lijiang Stuffed Bun

Lijiang Stuffed Bun is a famous local traditional snack. There are two kinds of Stuffed Bun: salty and sweet bun. This food has an appealing golden color, crispy taste and fragrant smell. It is a perfect gift for your friends and relatives as Lijiang Stuffed Bun can be preserved for a long time. You just have to steam or fry it slightly when returning home. This food is widely available in local stores around Lijiang.

Local wheat is the main ingredient in this food. The wheat flour is mixed with water, added some plant oil and rolled into cylinder-shape pieces. Sesame, walnut kernel and other seasonings are added, and then the buns are baked to create a golden-yellow color.

4. Chickpeas Bean Jelly (Ji Dou Liang Fen)

Chickpeas Bean Jelly - Lijiang Travel Guide
Chickpeas Bean Jelly

Chickpea is the local special kind of soybean. It looks like the eyes of the chicken, hence the name. Chickpeas are ground into powder, boiled until it turns white and then poured in different containers. Chickpeas Bean Jelly is served either hot or cold. It can be mixed with mustard, red pepper, vinegar, green onions, and other seasonings to create a cold dish. If you prefer something hot, the fried jelly will satisfy you.

Most famous restaurants in Lijiang

  • Amayi Naxi Meishi: near Stone Bridge, Wuyi Street, Gucheng District
  • Laodao Fang Sifang Cai: inside the lane near Great Stone Bridge, Gucheng District
  • Longji Banyu Zhuang: 12-15 middle section of Huama Street, Gucheng District
  • Qiuyue Ge Canba: 1 Jishan Lane, Xinyu Street, Gucheng District
  • Yi Canting: Near Great Stone Bridge, Shuhe Ancient Town
  • Yongxia Xiaochi: 108 Zhongyi Wholesale Market, Gucheng District
  • Yuerong Zhuang Xi Canting: Yuerong Road, Shuhe Ancient Town