“Is Lijiang worth travelling to?”
Online I read how everyone thought Lijiang was tacky and the Disneyland of China, I really didn’t understand what they meant. I get it, when tourism hits a city places can become a tourist trap but after spending two months in China, I’m happy to say Lijiang was a pleasant surprise. A couple of travellers had told me Lijiang wasn’t worth seeing and I have to disagree. Having just come from Kunming and Chengdu I couldn’t help but wonder if Lijiang had been hyped up. I mean Kumning and Chengdu are great, but they are really just cities with a couple things to do.
When I was planning the trip to China I really wanted that old world feel. I wanted to be transported back in time, like you are in Kyoto. I’m one of those weird people who are fascinated by ruins and history (which is odd because I hated history class). But I was really happy to see Lijiang had kept it’s old world feel to it, even if it was a small area.
I mean how gorgeous is this? We arrived by train which was pretty easy from Kunming. We had a driver from the hotel come pick us up and I’m so glad we did. The train station was chaos. I’ve never seen a place so crazy. It’s like everyone just broke out of jail lol.
After being rescued by our driver we got to the hotel (which was terrible so I won’t recommend) and were just outside of Old Town! Old Town is definitely where you want to stay because it’s really well preserved and there are plenty of things to see around there. Yes, it was busy, but I think tourists forget that cities aren’t theirs and it’s okay if places start to cater to tourists.
Old town is full of beautiful canals, shops, restaurants, book stores and I even found a vegetarian hot pot! You seriously can’t imagine how happy I was to find that place. I ate everything. There are also a few hidden rooftops as well where you can climb up and see the gorgeous stars. Aaron and I saw a shooting one. Lijiang isn’t polluted like the bigger Chinese cities so you get plenty of fresh mountain air and you are so close to Tibet. Pretty tempting right?
Some sights are Old Town of Lijiang (as mentioned) and the Black Dragon Pool which is a very pretty park. These two things alone were really interesting experiences because I hadn’t seen anything like it in China. You have to go into Old Town and in the park you will need to buy a pass but you just ask the man at the gate. It was less than $5 and it lasts a few days! They use the money to keep Old Town preserved so it’s money well spent! Blue Moon Valley is supposed to be a spectacular trip from Lijiang but we didn’t have time! Here’s a photo on Pinterest – how amazing does it look??
If you are feeling adventurous then head to the Tiger Leaping Gorge because this was why we decided to stop in Lijiang. It was one of the most incredible things I have ever done in my life. It was so challenging and every time I think life is hard I think back to that hike and it’s a real eye opener. It is completely doable, though a bit scary at times, but doable. It’s a two hour drive from Lijiang and you can take the morning bus!
Because of the hike (we spent the night on the mountain!) we only had a day to explore Lijiang but it was so pretty and a great experience. I would have liked to spend more time exploring the mountains and lakes in the area but next time! If you are heading to Lijiang I say don’t spend a lot of time there, a couple days will suffice. If you are in the area then the Tiger Leaping Gorge, Dali and Shaxi are great visits.
Something I should warn you about is in Lijiang you might get swindled into see this “beautiful lake.” It’s a lie. It’s a big pond where you canoe. It’s extremely expensive and supposed to get a “great experience” but please skip it. It’s not worth your money. I got to the lake where I saw some very sad horses and an attempt of a “tour” and immediately asked the driver to take us back into town. So if you ever go you are prepared! 🙂
Have you ever heard of Lijiang? Would you ever travel to China? Share in the comments!
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