Lijiang is a famous tourist destination, known for its ancient towns, spectacular natural scenery, and leisurely lifestyle. Below is our list of the top 10 things to do in and around Lijiang.
1. Take a Stroll in Lijiang Ancient Town
Lijiang Ancient Town is famous for its traditional ethnic culture and customs, charming buildings, and the stunning natural views. The old town, the old buildings, the narrow cobbled pedestrian streets, and small waterways make Lijiang a beautiful and relaxing place.
With numerous places to eat, shop and relax, it draws huge numbers of Chinese tourists. Yet despite this, you can still walk just a street or two away from the main attractions and still find a peaceful and special atmosphere.
2. Enjoy Natural Views at Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is a holy mountain for the local Naxi people. It consists of 13 peaks covered with perpetual snow and extends for 15 kilometers (10 miles) north–south.
The scenery of the mountains and the surrounding area is fantastic. You can take the Glacier Park cable car to a valley about 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) in altitude and enjoy the scenery on the way.
You could also skip the cable cars and ascend the lofty mountain step by step to get close to its beauty and feel its awesomeness. See our recommended three hiking routes on Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
- Recommended tour: One-Day Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Hiking Tour
If you are interested in traveling to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain or any other attractions in Lijiang, contact us.
3. Enjoy a Lijiang Impression Show
Impression Lijiang is a cultural show about the traditions and lifestyles of the area's Naxi, Yi, and Bai people.
It takes place in a high outdoor theater, around 3,100 meters (10,000 feet) above sea level, on a valley pasture by the highway beside Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The unusual amphitheater is positioned so that the stunning mountains are an important part of the backdrop to the show.
Hundreds of amateur actors, singers, and dancers participate, and all are local ethnic minority people. The show uses recorded sound, unamplified singing of local folk songs, an impressive variety of traditional dress, video, horses, and drummers. The blend of folk songs, dances, and traditional rituals move many people to tears when they are watching the show.
4. Explore Shuhe Ancient Village
Shuhe is a small village, a couple of miles (3 km) north of Lijiang. It has similar old architecture to Lijiang and similar Naxi people. It was once famous for its long-developed leather working industry and education, but now it is a part of Lijiang Ancient Town.
Its major advantage over Lijiang is that it is relatively unknown, so it is more rustic and tranquil. The streets are much less crowded, and food and lodging is cheaper.
5. Admire Historic Murals in Baisha Village
The Baisha Murals, or Baisha Wall-Paintings, attract tourists with their charismatic painting styles and precious historical and cultural meanings.
They are a part of the World Cultural Heritage Site of Lijiang. The murals are intriguing, representing a mixture of several religions (local beliefs, Mahayana Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Taoism).
They are located in the town of Baisha, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) north of Lijiang. It is the birthplace and political center of the Naxi minority.
- Recommended tour: 3-Day Essence of Lijiang Tour
6. Go for a Hike along Tiger Leaping Gorge
Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia) was believed to be the deepest gorge in the world (the Yalung Gorge in Tibet is deeper), but it's still the deepest easily-accessible gorge.
It is located about 100 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of Lijiang Old Town, lying between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulong Xueshan) and Haba Snow Mountain (Haba Xueshan). It is gorgeous every single step of the way. The gorge is considered to be the best hiking trail in China.
See more hiking tours in Lijiang
- Recommended tour: Tiger Leaping Gorge and Stone Village Hiking Tour
7. Go Bar-hopping in Lijiang Ancient Town
Bars in Lijiang Old Town are a part of the leisurely local life. No matter what you like, there's a bar for everyone in Lijiang. Cocktails, brandy, whisky, vodka, rum — Lijiang bars probably have it! Sakura Bar, the biggest bar in Lijiang, is highly recommended. The DJ there is amazing. Other famous bars are 'Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles' and 'A Meter Sunshine'.
8. Pay a Visit to Lugu Lake — "the Kingdom of Women"
Lugu Lake is known as the "Plateau Pearl" and lies 200 kilometers (120 miles) from Lijiang City, which is about 6 hours' driving. It is a very beautiful and peaceful lake on the border of Yunnan Province and Sichuan Province.
There are five islands and three peninsulas, which are linked to a shore wall by a path paved with small stones. The water is very clear and its transparency reaches 12 meters (40 feet).
The mysterious Mosuo people live there, forming a matriarchal society known as "the Kingdom of Women"
9. Yuhu Village — Look for Joseph Rock's Former Residence
Located by the foothills of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Yuhu Village is a beautiful and quiet ancient village, where the locals live in distinctive stone houses. Yuhu ('Jade Lake') is beside the village, hence the name.
Yuhu Village was once named Xuesong Village (Xuesong in the Naxi language means 'at the foot of snow mountain'.).
America explorer Joseph Rock lived in this small village for 27 years during his research into Naxi culture. Now, Rock's Former Residence has been preserved as it was when he lived there, displaying photos and other vestiges of his life.
10. Laojun Mountain Exploration
Lijiang has two great mountains: snow-capped Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to the north of Lijiang City, and verdant Laojun Mountain to the west where Jinsha River (the Yangtze), Lancang River (the Mekong), and Nu River (the Salween) run in parallel.
Alpine meadows, lakes, flowers, streams, and Danxia landforms dominate Laojun Mountain's natural landscape. It is a natural forest and wildlife park.
The most fascinating thing about Laojun Mountain is its "clothes" — ancient primeval forests, which can be said to be truly inaccessible. There are three sunrises and sunsets in one day in one spot, as the sun is obscured twice a day. Under the rising Danxia cliffs, numerous valleys are scattered, thickly grassy with streams murmuring.
April to May is the best time for ecological adventure tourism on Laojun Mountain.
Get Your Ideal Lijiang Tour Here
All our tours can be customized to suit your travel needs in regard to dates/times and what you want to do. Contact us to create your own personalized tour from scratch.
Or customize one of these:
- 3-Day Essence of Ancient Lijiang Tour — including ancient towns, minority cultures, snow-capped mountains, and mysterious murals
- 7-Day Kunming, Dali, and Lijiang Winter Tour — the warm sub-tropical sunshine, clear dry-season skies, and moderate climate
- 8-Day Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La Tour — taking you to meet the amazing beauty of Yunnan