Lijiang attractions are dominated by the awesome scenery of places like Tiger Leaping Gorge and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, but the ancient town of Lijiang itself is a window into China's past. With museums, temples, and ethnic minorities the tourist spots will certainly give you a cultural experience.
Lijiang is a great area for trekking, with mountains, lakes (like Lugu Lake), and the Yangtze in its thunderously gushing upper course. Our Lijiang tours take you to the ancient town surrounded by towering mountains and ensure you see the highlights.
1. Old Town of Lijiang
The most famous attraction in Lijiang is the Old Town of Lijiang. Unlike other ancient cities, the Old Town of Lijiang has no surrounding walls. Small bridges, flowing water, white walls, blue tiles, shops, and visitors are the elements that make it come alive. To know more, see Old Town of Lijiang.
2. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
Jade Dragon (Yulong) Snow Mountain is in the closest snow-capped mountain range to the equator outside the Andes. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is sacred in the hearts of Naxi people.
Glaciers, canyons, waterfalls, and colorful azaleas blooming at different elevations, not to mention its snowy summits, make up the most beautiful scenery of the mountain. Its main peak, Shanzidou, 5,596 meters (18,359 feet) above sea level, has not yet been conquered.
Check out more information on Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
- Recommended tour: 1-Day Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Hiking Tour
3. Impression Lijiang
Impression Lijiang is a magnificent outdoor singing and dancing performance demonstrating the traditions and lifestyle of the local ethnic people. The show is staged at 3,100 meters (10,100 feet) above sea level with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain as the breathtaking backdrop. To know more, see Impression Lijiang.
4. Tiger Leaping Gorge
After turning a corner (its "first bend") in Stone Drum (Shigu) Town, the Jinsha River is still, wide, and gentle. Then it encounters the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain ranges looming in front of it. However, it does not retreat, but breaks through a narrow channel and continues running north, thus forming the breathtaking Tiger Leaping Gorge.
April, September, and October are the best times to hike in Tiger Leaping Gorge. See more on Tiger Leaping Gorge — One of China's Best Hikes.
- Recommended tour: Lijiang and Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Tour
5. Lugu Lake
Enjoying stunning scenery, Lugu Lake is known as "the mysterious oriental Kingdom of Women" for its unique Mosuo culture — Mosuo people have sometimes been described as the last matriarchal society in the world.
Check out more information on Lugu Lake.
6. The Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Area
The Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Area refers to the area where the Jinsha River (the Yangtze), Lancang River (the Mekong), and Nu River (the Salween) flow in parallel from north to south for more than 170 kilometers in Yunnan Province spanning 9 nature reserves and 10 scenic spots in Lijiang, Diqing, and Nujiang. To know more, see Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Area.
- Recommended tour: 8-Day Yunnan Tour of the Nu River and Tengchong
7. Baisha Village
Baisha Village is the most primitive Naxi village. It is the earliest settlement of the Naxi people and the birthplace of Tusi, chief of the Mu clan.
The 55 Baisha fresco pieces, drawn in the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1912) dynasties, are the highlight. See more on Baisha Village.
- Recommended tour: 3-Day Essence of Lijiang Tour
8. Shuhe Ancient Town
Shuhe Ancient Town is one of the earliest settlements of the Naxi ancestors in Lijiang and also an important, well-preserved town on the Ancient Tea Horse Road, showing the Naxi's transition from agricultural civilization to commercial civilization. It is similar to Lijiang Ancient Town, but quieter.
Check out more information on Shuhe Ancient Town.
9. First Bend of the Yangtze River
The Yangtze River surges down from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, enters Yunnan from Deqin County through Tibet, and then turned to the northeast due to the obstruction of the cliff in Stone Drum (Shigu) Town, forming a huge V-shaped turn for dozens of kilometers long. This is the "First Bend of the Yangtze River".
Check more information for the First Bend of the Yangtze River.
10. The Mufu (The Mu Clan's Mansion)
The Mu clan of the Naxi ruled Lijiang as vassals of the Ming Empire (1368–1644) and then as vassals of the Manchus of the Qing Empire (1644–1912). The Mufu was their "Forbidden City" in Lijiang Ancient Town. Today's Mufu Palace is rebuilt on the original site. See more on Mufu Mansion.
More Lijiang Attractions
- Dongba Museum is the best place to learn about Dongba ('wise man') culture, the ancient culture of the Naxi.
- Jade Spring Park, also known as Black Dragon Pool Park, is beautiful with a large crystal pool, luxuriant trees, a tall mountain, and historic buildings.
- Lashi Lake is the largest alpine lake in Lijiang and the best for flowers and birds watching.
- Baoshan Stone Village: Houses in the village are all made of natural stones by its Naxi inhabitants. Hike there for quaint architecture, rice terraces, and a remote ethnic village on a rock by the Yangtze.
- Baishui River: It is a river formed by the melting ice of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. See its elegant cascades on white stone terraces.
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