Ruta 8
Lijiang Old town

6 x Things to do
in Lijiang

An ancient town located in the Yunnan province, Lijiang boasts beautiful architecture and natural landscapes. The place can be quite touristy but choosing the right time can give you some break from the big and busy cities in China.

We personally enjoyed walking through the back alleys and following the streams that cross the city.
Its relaxed feel could easily convince you to kick back for a few days.
Here we share our top things to do.
  • Take a stroll
    at Lijiang Old Town

    Lijiang is a charming town with a twisting labyrinth of cobbled streets. Walking alongside the canals and appreciating the local architecture is the best way to soak up the vibe of this photogenic place. We loved getting lost in the back alleways specially around the canals.

    For the photography lovers, dusk is probably the best time to capture the beauty of the ancient streets and waterways.
    Also, if you´re a tea aficionado there are plenty of shops to visit.

    Alleyways Lijiang China Old town Lijiang Yunnan Province
    Lijiang Old Town China Shape of the roofs from the Old town at dusk
  • Visit Mufu Palace

    Located in the southwest part of the old town, this is a must-see place. Known as the residence of the ruler of Naxi ethnic people, this ancient building was the center of politics and wealth for hundreds of years.

    Mufu Palace Lijiang

    Its layout was designed to resemble that of the Forbidden city and although it was mostly destroyed during Qing Dynasty the residence was rebuilt based on the original site.
    You can also get great views of the old town.

    Mufu Palace Lijiang
    Views to Old town from Mufu Palace Lijiang
  • Explore Zhongyi Market

    Located on the southwest edge of the old town, this market will give you a glimpse into the lives of many locals, the produce and food. It extends through paths in the back and you can find endless options of vegetables, snacks, kitchen utensils, spices, you name it.

  • Tiger Leaping Gorge

    Tiger Leaping Gorge is about 18 kilometers long and is one of the deepest gorges on the planet with some parts being popular with westerns hikers.

    In Lijiang there are many tourist agencies scattered in the old town, offering day trips to visit Tiger Leaping Rock.

    A bus will take you from Lijiang to Yangtze river. Once there, you have the option to pay extra to go on a boat trip down the river.
    We opted to go by bus which dropped us at a picturesque bamboo forest where there´s a trail up to a small museum of Naxi people.

    Crossing the bridge to get to Tiger Leaping Gorge
    Walk through bamboo forest

    Finally, we were taken to Tiger Leaping Rock which is impressive for the amount of water and its powerful rapids. Legend has it that a tiger crossed the Golden Sand river by jumping on the rock.

    Tour to Tiger leaping gorge

    We also stopped for lunch and although we´d recommend low expectations with the meal, the whole trip was definitely worthwhile.

    We initially thought of reaching the place by ourselves, but we were glad we didn´t risk it. Communication can be hard if you don´t speak mandarin and there are controls at the entrance to the complex.

    Tour price: 300¥ (includes the bus trip, lunch and insurance)
  • Try Baba

    Travelling and exploring new places always need to come with tasting some local yummy food!

    You can easily find this popular snack made by street vendors in town. Baba is a flat bread made without yeast and can be served either with savoury or sweet fillings. We mainly saw it with sweet bean paste, eggs or pork with spring onions.
    Don´t miss out.

    Walk tiger leaping gorge
  • Visit Dragon Pool Park

    This is a famous tourist attraction in Lijiang located less than 20 min walk from the Old town. The park is surrounded by a scenic area and it also includes ancient monuments such as the Dragon God Temple and Suocui Bridge.

    Dragon Pool Park Dragon Pool Park
    Entrance-fee: 80¥
TIP: If you want to try to avoid big crowds plan to visit during the week. It can get packed with tourists, especially on Sundays with day trips from neighbouring areas.

Also, there´s some confusion whether you have to pay to get in the Old town. We didn´t have to pay any entrance fee as some blogs mention.