Impression Lijiang

Impression Lijiang

By Chris QuanUpdated Nov. 26, 2021

Impression Lijiang is a magnificent outdoor singing and dancing performance demonstrating the traditions and lifestyle of the local ethnic people. It is another creation of famous Chinese director Zhang Yimou.

The show is innovatively staged in the morning and afternoon, at 3,100 meters (10,100 feet) above sea level with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain as the breathtaking backdrop.

  • Director: Zhang Yimou
  • Type: vibrant open-air ethnic song and dance show in an awesome natural setting
  • Location: outdoor theater at Ganhaizi, 3,100 meters (10,100 feet) above sea level, 30 km (20 miles) north of Lijiang
  • Length: 1 hour
  • Show times: 9am (peak season only), 11am, 2pm
  • Tickets: CN¥190–248/person.

Note: Show times and prices are for reference only. For updated information, please contact us.

Impression LijiangIMPRESSION LIJIANG

A Cultural Show Performed by Local People

Impression Lijiang lasts for about one hour, consisting of two parts: 'Impression of the Snow Mountain' and 'Impression of the Ancient City'. The show opens with the story of the Ancient Tea Horse Road and goes on to tell of the customs of the people who have inhabited the land of Lijiang.

Around 500 local ethnic Naxi, Bai, and Yi people were selected from nearby towns and villages to participate in the performance. They dress up in their ethnic costumes and accessories to perform the singing and dancing, horse riding, and drumming, giving a real ethnic atmosphere to the show.

While the entire show is in Mandarin with no foreign language voice-over, the emotion conveyed in the acting, music, and singing helps non-Chinese-speaking visitors grasp the general gist of the story.

A Spectacular Show with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain as the Backdrop

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is located 15 kilometers (10 miles) north of Lijiang City, with a height of 5,596 meters (18,360 feet). Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is famous for its varied and beautiful natural scenes, and is considered a sacred mountain among local Naxi ethnic people. It is also a popular hiking destination.

The bluish snowy peak serves as a magnificent backdrop for the gorgeous sprawling red stage and open-air theater.

6 Acts Sweep You into Lijiang's Soul

Impression Lijiang has six parts, displaying local people's passion for their land, their sacred mountain, for heaven, and for humankind.

Act 1) The Ancient Tea Horse Road

The first act tells of the Ancient Tea Horse Road. Impression Lijiang's "Ancient Tea Horse Road" is built from red sand and stone, which is symbolic of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. Actors and actresses ride horses down the road while other performers dance.

Act 2) Toast to the Snow Mountain

The theme of the second act is "drinking to the snow mountain". Lijiang's ethnic minorities are said to be born to drink, just as they are born to sing and dance, which is an expression of their hot-blooded, forthright, and open-minded character.

Act 3) Love's Ideal World

The third act tells of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, which Naxi people worship as representing their protector — War God Sanduo. In the Naxi legend, young lovers who die in love at Spruce Meadow (on the eastern slopes of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, 5 km north of the show) will enter an ideal world, filled with flowers, no worries, and eternal happiness.

Act 4) Naxi Datiao Dance

The fourth act shows a unique Naxi dance — Datiao ('Hit Jump'). People join hands and dance happily in circles. They welcomed guests from all over the world with their traditional songs and dances, which show enthusiasm for their way of life.

Act 5) Worshiping Heaven

The fifth act is about 'worshiping heaven with drums and dances'. Worship of heaven and kindness to nature have been advocated by Naxi people since times immemorial. Through the stirring drumming and chanting, you will feel the eternal spirit of the Naxi people.

Act 6) A Blessing for You

You will learn about the blessing ceremony of the Naxi people in the last act. Standing in front of mystical Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the Naxi sincerely pray for you. Join in praying to heaven to realize your wishes and for happiness.

Things to Know about the Show

1. The show may be cancelled if there is heavy rain, or you may need to wear a rain coat while enjoying the show in lighter rain.

2. The show is during daytime, outdoors, at a high altitude, so it is recommended to wear sun protection such as sun block and hats.

3. The entire show is in Mandarin, but there are English subtitles. You are suggested to learn a bit about the history and culture of the region to better appreciate the performance.

Getting to Impression Lijiang

1. Take a tourist bus from Hongtaiyang Square (红太阳广场, 150 meters north of Lijiang Old Town on Minzhu Road) to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙雪山) and get off at Ganhaizi (甘海子).

2. You can take a chartered car from Lijiang at a cost of around 200 yuan for a round trip. It takes about 40 minutes for the 30-km journey from the old town.

It is much more convenient to book a private tour with us. You will enjoy hassle-free transport with your own private driver and local guide, who could help you appreciate the show better with his/her cultural insights. 

Touring Lijiang with Us

Look at the following sample Lijiang tours for inspiration. All our tours can be customized. If these are not close to what you are looking for, contact us. We will create a trip based on your group size, time, preferences, must-dos, interests, and other requirements.

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