My Trip to Yunnan Province: Lijiang – getting lost in the ancient city

2010-10-18China travel Guide

As a beautiful city full of tourists; the old Lijiang city is certainly a beautiful sight, particularly of an evening the Black Dragon Palace, the Snow Mountain and the Mu Castle are the pick of the sights. We travelled from Dali to Lijiang by bus and it proved to be a beautiful and amazing journey higher up into the plateaus of northern Yunnan, the amazing twists and turns revealed the landscape as well as a large Chinese army base! My brother and father had an interesting toilet experience which left them nothing short of revolted; I revealed that I had seen worse but that served little to comfort them. Many of the toilets on the road from Dali to Lijiang are pay per use, which guarantee at least a basic level of hygiene.

The drive from Dali to Lijiang is around 3 hours, when we arrived in Lijiang we were all thoroughly exhausted, fortunately we had arrived at the most comfortable hotel in Lijiang, the Crown Plaza, a beautiful and superbly constructed Hotel that feels as comfortable as any 5 star hotel but fits perfectly with the local aesthetic, lots of large wooden doors, water wheels the hotel is simply gracefully elegant and a perfect place to stay because of its location right next to the Lijiang Ancient Town

My family were content to stay in the hotel; it was up to me to drag them out and team up with the guide to show them around beautiful Lijiang, in my book there is no such thing as too much travel! My family didn't regret it; they were amazed at the beauty of the Black Dragon Lake and Palace which leads into Lijiang Ancient Town, however the highlight was a delicious pizza which for my brother even eclipsed the beauty Lijiang. Western food in Lijiang is the best in Yunnan, in my opinion.

The next day for me was the highlight of the whole trip; the day on the Snow Mountain, which is rather misnamed as it rarely has any snow on it, maybe it was not the right time to see snow, ha. There are two main areas that tourists visit; the best of the two is defiantly the Buffalo Field, as it's higher and bigger than the other ones. The journey up the Snow Mountain consists of a stomach-turning journey in a coach that lasts an hour, followed by a much more serene and relaxing chairlift up to the peak. The top of the peak is amazing; a boundless empty plateau which the huge open sky hanging above, the temperature is refreshingly crisp and the endless boardwalk invited you to explore as long or as little as you like, we explored for around 40 minutes before we ran into a group of happy Chinese men who were all very enthused about meeting an Australian family, my father even showed them what a kangaroo looked like by way of hopping around somewhat farcically.

That night my father, my brother and I hit the ancient town for what I promised would be a delicious Chinese barbeque, and it was. Choosing one of hundreds of local restaurants in the ancient town was easy and the chef quickly whipped up a mountain of grilled up chicken wings, meat skewers, and the nicest eggplant I've ever eaten, all washed down with the local beer, which isn't actually particularly nice.

The next day we left Lijiang, on to Shangri-la. The highlights of Lijiang were spending an evening getting lost in the Ancient Town, visiting the incredible Snow Mountain and the amazing accommodation. Lijiang is a must visit for anyone in Yunnan, despite it seems like a tourist trap beneath the surface a world of wonder and excitement awaits.

--- By Brett Hartley-Wilson (VisitOurChina



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