Located in the northwest of Yunnan Province in Southwest China, Lijiang is an ideal travel destination with 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.
The Features of Lijiang
- Lijiang is an important transit point on the Ancient Tea Horse Road. It was a center for economic and cultural communication between various ethnic groups such as the Naxi, Han, Tibetans, and Bai.
- Lijiang boasts spectacular natural scenery, including snowy mountains, highland glacial lakes, and majestic canyons, making it a great place for outdoor activity lovers.
- It is a healthy place to escape city stress, with an excellent environment and leisurely lifestyle, which draws a large number of visitors from bustling metropolises.
See our 6-Day Yunnan Ethnic Minorities Tour — Enjoy the elegant scenery, history and minorities’ unique customs in Kunming, Dali and Lijiang.
Top Attractions in Lijiang
- The 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 quieter 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, it is a place that hikers around the world dream of.
- Lugu Lake is like a pearl inlaid in the bosom of the mountains. The rippling surface, the ancient natural canoes, the moving and pleasant fishing songs, and Mosuo culture make Lugu Lake full of mysterious charm.
Top Things to Do in and around Lijiang
- Stroll along narrow cobblestone streets in Lijiang Old Town or Shuhe Old Town to step back in time.
- Pay a visit to the nearby village of Baisha, which offers a glimpse into the lifestyles and traditional ways of the Naxi community.
- Take a cable car to the peak of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and enjoy beautiful scenery.
- Enjoy Impression Lijiang, a spectacular Zhang Yimou production with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain as the magnificent backdrop.
- Go for a hike along Tiger Leaping Gorge for exhilarating natural scenery.
Learn more on Top 8 Things to Do in Lijiang.
The Best Times to Visit Lijiang
The best times to travel to Lijiang are from late March to May and mid-October to November.
Generally speaking, the weather in Lijiang is mild, warm in winter, and cool in summer. It is suitable for travelling all year round.
- Spring (March to May) is a comfortable season with clear weather, blue sky, mild weather, and flower blossoms. Lijiang is at its most beautiful at this time.
- Summer (June to September) is the rainy season, but it has a cooler temperature than many other cities in China.
- Autumn (October to November) in Lijiang is the season of harvest. You will see farmers busy in the fields.
- Winter (December to February) is clear and cool. It is the best time to travel to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
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.
Lijiang has an airport — Lijiang Sanyi International Airport. It is about 1 hour’s drive from Lijiang Old Town.
Domestic cities such as Beijing (4 hours), Shanghai (4 hours), Hangzhou (4 hours), Nanjing (3½ hours), Guangzhou (3 hours), Shenzhen (3 hours), Kunming (1 hour), Guilin (2 hours), Chengdu (2 hours), and Chongqing (2 hours) have direct flights to Lijiang.
From Kunming to Lijiang, besides flights, you could also take a high-speed train — a 3½ hours’ journey, which is more recommended.
From Dali to Lijiang, as there are no high-speed trains yet, there are only normal trains taking about 2 or 2½ hours. We suggest booking private transport, which would enable you to visit scenic spots along the way, such as Zhoucheng and Shaxi Town.
Plan a Trip to Lijiang
A typical trip to Lijiang takes about 3 days. Must-see attractions include Lijiang Old Town, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, and a Naxi-culture experience. See our 3-day Lijiang travel itinerary for inspiration:
- Day 1: Arrival + Lijiang Old Town + Black Dragon Pool Park
- Day 2: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (by cable car) + Baisha Village (an ancient Naxi village)
- Day 3: Departure
If you are an outdoor lover, we can arrange a one-day Jade Dragon Snow Mountain hiking trip with professional local mountain guides for you... or a Tiger Leaping Gorge Hike. See How to Plan a Trip to Lijiang.
Just tell us your requirements, and our travel specialist will customize the itinerary according to your needs and interests.
Our 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, comfortable, 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
- 7-Day Lijiang, Kunming and Dali Tour
- 6-Day Yunnan Ethnic Minorities Tour