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Lijiang Travel Guide and Tips

Lijiang Tours Map

Lijiang is located in the northwest of Yunnan Province, at an altitude of 2418m. It is in a region where the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau coverage. Lied between Dali and Shangri-La, Lijiang is the must-visit city that you can put either Shangri-La or Dali into your travel list or cover three of them.

Lijiang is a perfect combination of historical sites, snow-capped mountains, lakes, and ethnic minority cultures. It is famed worldwide for its UNESCO Heritage Site, the Old Town of Lijiang, which dates back to over 800 years ago.

Where Lijiang Is

Lijiang is located in the northwest of Yunnan Province, Southwest China. It is about 500 km (300 mi) northwest of the capital city Kunming, one hour away by air.

Lijiang Night

Old Town of Lijiang. Listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, Old Town of Lijiang is comprised of three towns – Dayan Old Town, Shuhe Ancient Town and Baisha Ancient Town. Lose yourselves to explore in the romantic streets.

Time-locked Destination in Naxi Style. Lijiang has been the base of the 286,000-strong Naxi minority for about the last 1400 years. You can find Naxi architecture everywhere, hear local Naxi people speaking Naxi language, enjoy singing and dance held by the Naxi minority, and Naxi script and Dongba writings shown everywhere in the time-locked ancient towns.

Trade City on Ancient Tea-Horse Road. Southwest China linked with India via Tibet. It headed north through Lijiang and into the thin air of the Himalayan mountains on the way to the Tibetan capital Lhasa, before turning south to India and Burma. Travelers can trace back the Tea-horse road by visiting Shuhe Ancient Town, Lashi Lake, etc.

Breathtaking Natural Views Everywhere. No matter you stroll in the maze of cobbled streets of the old towns or travel out of time-honored towns, you can see the high and continuous mountains before you. Feel intoxicated by the amazing wonders – The First Bend of Yangtze River and Tiger Leaping Gorge.

The Highlights of Lijiang

In Lijiang, there are a lot of things to see and do. Once you are stepping on the dreamland, you’ll visit Lijiang Old Town, including Mu’s Residence, Wangu Tower, Black Dragon Pool and Dongba Culture Museum; out of Lijiang Old Town, you can explore Baisha Mural Paintings and Former Residence of Joseph Rock, etc. To go a little further, transfer to see First Bend of Yangtze River and Tiger Leaping Gorge. In Lijiang, leisure stroll and tight exploration are for you!

Lijiang Night

Old Town of Lijiang is China's best-preserved minority ancient town, and the only one among China’s ancient towns without city walls. It is famous for its ancient architecture and orderly system of waterways.

Baisha Village: This is the earliest settlement of the Naxi people. It is a must-see if you love murals, which combine the cultures of the Han, Tibetan, and Naxi people.

Shuhe Ancient Town, a well-preserved example of a town along the Ancient Tea Horse Road, is more rustic and quiet than Lijiang Old Town.

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is the most southerly snow-capped mountain in the Northern Hemisphere outside of the Andes, soaring to about 5,500 meters (18,000 ft). Those who climb to the top will be rewarded by an amazing panoramic view (in good weather).

Tiger Leaping Gorge, the deepest and most beautiful gorge east of the Tibetan Plateau, and the most acclaimed hiking route in China, is a place that hikers around the world dream of.

The Best Times to Visit Lijiang

What’s your picture of Lijiang? The white cloud under the blue sky, continuous mountains stood afar, smiling Naxi people and tourists sitting leisurely to enjoy the gentle sunshine, yes, this is a normal scene in Lijiang. Lijiang has a mild subtropical highland climate with an average temperature of 12.7°C. Summer is warm and wet and winter is mild, dry and sunny. The rainy months are from June to September and the weather during these days changes a lot. The best times to visit Lijiang are Spring and Autumn.

Generally speaking, the weather in Lijiang is mild, warm in winter and cool in summer. It is suitable for travelling all year round.

Try to avoid Chinese public holidays, such as Labor Day (May 1 to 7) and National Day (October 1 to 7), and school summer vacations in July and August, when Lijiang is full of Chinese tourists.

Transportation in Lijiang

Lijiang Sanyi International Airport

Transfer to Lijiang

Lijiang Sanyi International Airport is located 30km from Lijiang downtown, with 40-45 minutes’ transfer. It has flights from/to Kunming, Xishuangbanna, Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Lhasa, Chongqing, Guiyang, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Hangzhou and more cities in China.

Lijiang Railway Station

Lijiang Railway Station is about 10 km from Lijiang downtown area. Travelers can take train to Dali and Kunming. It needs 2 hours and 10 minutes running between Lijiang and Dali and about 9 hours between Lijiang and Kunming.

At present, long-distance buses are available between Lijiang and many other destinations, like Shangri-La (3.5 hours), Tiger Leaping Gorge (2 hours), Dali (3 hours), and Kunming (8 hours).

Transfer within Lijiang

In Lijiang city, travelers can travel around by taxi or bus. To go further, it is suggested to hire a private car (China Discovery offers private service with experienced guide and driver to take you to all the attractions in Lijiang).

Most Popular Lijiang Tours

Lijiang is a heaven for backpackers. But if you would like to learn about its unique culture and enjoy a more in-depth and hassle-free experience, a private tour is recommended. Here are some of our popular Lijiang tours for your inspiration:

3-Day Essence of Ancient Lijiang Tour

6-Day Yunnan Ethnic Minorities Tour

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