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How to Plan a Trip to Lijiang

How to Plan a Trip to Lijiang

Written by Chris QuanUpdated Nov. 6, 2023

Lijiang is an ideal destination for holidays owing to its relaxed atmosphere and wonderful scenery. We hope this article will give you some inspiration and helpful guidance if you are planning a trip to Lijiang. Alternatively, contact us if you have any questions or would like us to create a Lijiang trip based on your requirements.


What You Should Know before Going to Lijiang

  • The altitude is about 2,400 meters or about 7,800 feet. Some people may get some altitude sickness. So, take it easy the first day or two.
  • The English service in Lijiang is not as developed as in Beijing and Shanghai. Basic English service at most of Lijiang's attractions and hotels is available though.
  • Lijiang is very popular among domestic tourists which means crowds are expected during China's public holidays.

What Are the Must-Sees?


It may be difficult for you to choose what to see in your coming Lijiang trip with over 20 great attractions in Lijiang, especially if you are first-time visitors.

Attractions Typical Visit Time Suitable For
Lijiang Old Town Half a day All
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Up to a day All, especially hikers
Baisha Village Half a day All, especially ethnic culture lovers
Tiger Leaping Gorge Two days Hikers
Lugu Lake Two days All, especially nature and ethnic culture lovers

Therefore, we have listed the most popular five attractions suitable for all kinds of visitors. These are the Lijiang "must-sees".

Find out more about them and more on our Top 10 Attractions in Lijiang or The Ultimate 10 Things to Do in Lijiang.

How Many Days for a Lijiang Trip?

Usually, it takes 3 days for an "essence of Lijiang" trip. Here is our suggested itinerary:

  • Day 1: Lijiang arrival + Lijiang Old Town sightseeing
  • Day 2: Naxi culture experience in Baisha Village + Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (by cable car)
  • Day 3: Departure

If that looks good to you, check out more details of our 3-Day Essence of Ancient Lijiang Tour.

Lijiang is known as "the backpackers' paradise". Leisurely and carefree, backpacks are more at home in Lijiang than suitcases, not least because it has China's best hikes. If you are fond of hiking, you could refer to our 5-Day Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Tour — in brief:

  • Day 1: Lijiang arrival + Lijiang Old Town
  • Day 2: Baisha Village + Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (by cable car)
  • Day 3: 7-hour Tiger Leaping Gorge hike
  • Day 4: Continue the Tiger Leaping Gorge hike (4–5 hours' hiking)
  • Day 5: Departure

All our itineraries are flexible. If you have any ideas or requirements, contact us. We will make any adjustments you need based on your group size, time, budgets, interests, preferences, and other requirements.

Extending Your Lijiang Tour


Most travelers connect Lijiang with Kunming and Dali. You will need 6 days to visit the essential attractions in these three most famous cities of Yunnan.

  • Day 1: Kunming arrival
  • Day 2: See the Stone Forest and Stone Village, then transfer to Dali by bullet train.
  • Day 3: Enjoy Dali Ancient Town, and bike around Erhai Lake.
  • Day 4: Transfer to Lijiang, and explore Lijiang Old Town.
  • Day 5: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
  • Day 6: Lijiang departure

See more details of our 6-Day Yunnan Ethnic Minorities Tour if you are interested in this itinerary.

Many travelers will also put Shangri-La in their list. If you have the same idea, look at our 8-Day Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La Tour to meet the highest amazing beauty of Yunnan.

Best Times to Go


Lijiang's average daily temperature range is 8–19°C (46–66°F), which happens to be the middle seasons' too, when it is best to travel.

Although Lijiang is suitable for traveling all year round, the best times to visit Lijiang are from late March to May and mid-October to November.

The high altitude and low latitude results in cooler summers and milder winters in Lijiang. Thus, Lijiang is often a top destination for summer and winter vacations in China too.

Top Weather Tips:

  • Due to its high altitude, sun protection is necessary.
  • Temperatures differ greatly between day and night. Convenient and comfortable layers are practical for taking on and off.
  • Rainy season is from June to September. Cloud is more likely to spoil views and raingear is recommended, especially on hikes.

Check out Lijiang Weather to discover the best places to go in each season in Lijiang and more top tips.

How to Get to Lijiang

Lijiang has an airport and a railway station to connect with other cities in China and Yunnan.

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.

Driving and taking a bullet train are the two main ways to get to Lijiang from other cities in Yunnan.

From Kunming to Lijiang, it's a 3½ hours' journey by a bullet train.

From Dali to Lijiang, driving is recommended (2½ hours) or a 2 or 2½ hours' journey by normal train.

From Shangri-La to Lijiang, driving is the only way (3 or 4 hours).

Where to Stay in Lijiang

Hotels in the best places to stay with a convenient location, regional features, and good reviews are recommended here for your reference:

Lijiang Old Town Area — Top Choice

  • Luxury and special: Indigo® Lijiang Ancient Town
  • Boutique: Blossom Hill Inn Lijiang, Ivy Garden Resort Hotel
  • Economical: Manxin Lijiang Holiday Hotel

Shuhe Old Town — Quieter Relaxation

  • Luxury and special: Banyan Tree Lijiang
  • Boutique and economical: The Bivou Lijiang

Tiger Leaping Gorge — Hikers' Stopovers

The hotel facilities and services in Tiger Leaping Gorge are relatively lower than those in the city areas.

  • Inns: Halfway Guesthouse, Tina's Guesthouse

Recommended tour: 5-Day Lijiang and Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking

Lugu Lake — Scenic Accommodation

  • Luxury and special: Lugu Lake Shui Mo Lake View Hotel
  • Boutique and economical: Shilily Hotel

Find Your Ideal Lijiang Tour Here

All our tours can be customized. Feel free to contact us and we will create a trip based on your requirements, or see our popular Lijiang tours for inspiration:

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