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 Lijiang Facts

Lijiang Facts

Written by Chris QuanUpdated Sep. 15, 2021

Name: Lijiang (丽江; Lìjiāng /lee-jang/)

Meaning: 'beautiful river'

Previous names: Dayecheng


  • 3 UNESCO World Heritage listed ancient districts
  • Near Tiger Leaping Gorge for scenery and hiking
  • Near Jade Dragon Snow Mountain for hiking and winter fun
  • Place to go for a tour of Yunnan's other nearby highlights such as Dali and Shaxi
  • Most of the large municipality is sparsely populated with wilderness or rural scenes.

Lijiang ancient town

Main Attractions


Lijiang was a Naxi people's town on the Chama Road trade route between the south and Tibet. The town has an 800 year history.

  • 1250s The town submitted to the expanding Mongol Empire.
  • 1368 The Jumin Prefectural Government Office and the Mujia complex were built during the Ming era.
  • 1601 The Wufeng Tower was built.
  • 1997 A severe earthquake damaged the the city, but Lijiang's unique architecture, heritage, and waterworks were brought to world attention.
  • 1997 Dayan Old Town, Basha Village and Shuhe Village were listed as the Old Town of Lijiang UNESCO World Heritage site.


  • Significance of the town: The town is a leading tourist city and has ancient towns and natural areas as the major attractions.
  • Nearby cities: Dali (129 km/80 mi), Kunming (323 km/201 mi)
  • Municipality terrain: The city sits in a high elevation river valley.
  • Average altitude: 2,400 meters (7,874 feet)
  • Main rivers: Jade River

Location Information

  • Municipality location: southwestern China.
  • Municipality Population: (2010) 1,245,000
  • Municipality Area: 21,219 sq km (8,192.7 sq mi)
  • Urban area: 1,124 sq km (435 sq mi)
  • Urban population: 155,540
  • Urban population density: 138/sq km (357/sq mi)
  • North to south distance of main urban area: 9 km (5.5 mi)
  • East to west distance of main urban area: 5 km (3 mi)
  • City center: The corner of Xianggeli Avenue and Xiangshan Street (26.88N, 100.21E)


  • Average high temperature in June: 24 degrees Celsius (75.2 °F)
  • Average low temperature in January: 0 degrees Celsius (32 °F)
  • Mild, subtropical high-altitude climate; annual precipitation: 970 mm (38 in) The summers are cool; and in the winter, the temperature may drop below freezing though the days are cool and often sunny.


  • Average annual income: 11,673 RMB (1,621 USD)
  • Development: developing. Lijiang was a town that was at first a foreign backpacker favorite, and now it has become very popular with Chinese tourists.
  • Industry: 43.6% tertiary industry (service, tourist industry), 38.3% secondary (industry), 18.1% primary (agriculture)
  • Shopping Streets: Square Street


  • Lijiang Airport is a domestic airport about 28 kilometers from city center.
  • 1 train station with trains to Kunming
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