Old Town Lijiang, Connect old and new - I gave myself a birthday present by Lijiang trip in China. Old Town Lijiang is connected between the old and the new world. Lijiang is unique, but consumer oriented (well, very commercial in term of tourism and mass production).
*** visit www.ggberry.com - HIP Travel Community in Town
*(1) Lijiang has the best preserved ancient town in China - the Old Town which has been listed in the World Cultural Heritages by UNESCO in 1997. The Old Town was once the center of Lijiang and continues to maintain the original flavor of the local lifestyle, the typical groups of buildings and the profound cultural heritage of the region.
*(2) The Old Town Lijiang has a history going back more than 800 years and was once a confluence for trade along the old tea horse road. The Old Town Lijiang is famous for its orderly system of waterways and bridges. The old town of Lijiang differs from other ancient Chinese cities in architecture, history and the culture of its traditional residents the Naxi people, therefore people there are called 胖金哥 and 胖金妹 (male and female respectively).
*Source (1): TravelChinaGuide.com
*Source (2): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lijiang_City
Go where you want. Go when you want. Do what you want.
I did not expect Old Town Lijiang this busy and commercial. My imagination was totally wrong. I thought and hoped I could take a bike along the streets in Old Town Lijiang, but it's not allowed and wow, battles of Chinese tour group blocked the ways. However, I did avoid them by not walking on the main streets, but some small streets throughout the residential areas. By doing that, I did see what I expected to see - traditional *Naxi lifestyle. I wish I could stay in Old Town Lijiang longer because I would wake up early to absorb the local culture and the way of life in the morning (without those tour groups :P).
Note: 1) Recommended Hotels in Old Town Lijiang 2) What others say about Lijiang are in the bottom of the page
(1) The Naxi elder was setting up her shop selling same mass production of Naxi stuff (to the tourists) in her old house on the street of an Old Town Lijiang
(2) I walked all the way through the very small streets till I found the fresh market where most of those tourists would not intend to look for it. People kept shouting to each other and arguing all the time. I could really not stand for long. However, it was good to see.
(3) 'Roofs', popular scene which is in Lijiang "must-take" shot among the tourists. I paid 2 Yuan for 1) taking photos 2) drinking tea. The local family set up 1) balcony for tourists to climb up and to take photos and 2) the tea tables for tourists to drink tea and absorb the atmosphere in the morning. The nicer place, the more expensive. There are many coffee shops and hotels which are also up to the hill do the same thing.
(5) Many shops and restaurants closed quite late at night (11:00 PM). Never expected this busy in the Old Town Lijiang. It is also a lot of bars no matter where we went. Tourists came out to sing, to drink and to dance even on the street, even it's late at night and even it's very cold. Tourists seemed really enjoy an Old Town Lijiang in this way.
(6) Another "Must-Take" shot of Old Town Lijiang. I thought if I didn't take this shot, I didn't arrive Lijiang. This is called "Black Dragon Pond". Background is "Jade Dragon Snow Mountain" where we already climbed up to the top. Very impressive. We took 2 cans of oxygen up there. I used both of them till they ran out whereas my friend didn't use any. Read its history "Jade Dragon Snow Mountain".
-- Good Bye Lijiang --
Recommended Hotels in Old Town Lijiang:
> Zen Garden Hotel - Considered upscale hotel with upscale price also, however, it is not considered too costly. Their decoration is nice and it is located nearby the Old Town main streets which is quite convenient.
> Swiss Snow Inn - Price is ok with more or less 160 Yuan, however you can find other clean and nice local family hostels somewhere up on the hill with 80 Yuan. Well, if you prefer staying in the Center Old Town, Swiss Snow Inn is RIGHT in there.
> Banya Tree Lijiang - I have no comment, but i wish I could stay.
> HostelWorld.Com - Try searching hostels in Lijiang from hostelworld.com, I did, most of them look ok, also they come with reviews. Those help.
**Remark**: There are many nice hostels up on the hill where you can see the whole view of Lijiang and some of those are operated by the local small families who rent their rooms out. By that reason, you'd get a good price. Their balconies are also not bad. Some could get a very nice one by walking in. Well, if you don't mind walking a bit farer up to the hill, you might consider.
Hotels in Lijiang Reviews and Booking by Hotelscombined.com
Hotels in Yunnan, China
What others say (+ photos) about Old Town of Lijiang
"So Lijiang is quite nice. Very touristy, but the Old Town is completely charming. I love the cobblestone streets, canals, and tile roofs..."
"Running from the Clouds" by SF Girl
*Recommended* "The Old Town of Lijiang, a UNESCO world heritage site since 1997, is criss-crossed by canals, bridges and a maze of narrow streets. All houses here are built according to the Naxi architectural style. The town is beautiful - actually almost too beautiful and very tourist oriented (all streets are lined with souvenir shops)..."
Lijiang Old Town Photo Gallery by Alfred Molon
Lijiang Travel Blogs and Photos
(All blogs and photos here are permited by authers to make use of)
Blog - Running from the Clouds by SF Girl
Photo - Lijiang, Yunnan, China by FabioCostarelli