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Best Spots in Lijiang (China’s Biggest Tourist Trap!)

Lijiang, in Yunnan Province, is the closest thing you will get to a real wonderland. Well, that’s how it would seem without the crowds of tourists.
Along with the Badaling Great Wall section, it is one of the most notorious tourist traps in China.

The Old Town of Lijiang (the new town is like any other Chinese city) is a well-preserved old city of ethnic minorities. It is closed for cars and motorbikes; the local Naxi Minority Culture on display.

Even though it has become an extremely popular place for tourists, Lijiang is a great place to kick back for a few days. My first visit to Lijiang was in 2008.

Although tourists were plentiful back then, it is nothing like what it became in 2016. Once a place of the only family-owned restaurants; Old Town now features a Starbucks and a Burger King.

Prices in restaurants and bars in Lijiang are heavily influenced by a large number of visitors and can be quite expensive.

When it comes to accommodation, however, the Lijiang area does offer some of the cheapest International Hostels in China. You are required to pay a ticket price of  80 RMB even to enter Old Town of Lijiang.

You can still get in for free by skipping the main entrance and opting for a side street.

But don’t let the tourist trap scare you away from visiting. It´s definitely a worthwhile destination if you are travelling through the Yunnan Province in Southwestern China.

Your itinerary should include a visit to the Wangu Pavillion. Its located on a hill overlooking the Old Town and offers great views.

The Wangu Temple that over looks Lijiang

The Wangu Temple that overlooks Lijiang.

Lijiang old town as seen from Wangu Temple

Lijiang old town as seen from Wangu Temple

Mu Palace on Lijiang

Mu Palace, The palace where the Mu Clan of the Naxi people ruled for over 400 years.

Besides the obvious attractions, I found it most enjoyable to explore the labyrinth of back alleys.  If you happen to get lost, there are streams that run all over the city. Just follow a stream North, and you will end up at the water wheel near the main entrance.

streams on Lijiang

Just follow the streams

Gold fish swimming around the streams of Lijiang

Goldfish swims throughout the streams Lijiang.

Romantic back allyes

Romantic back allies.

If you follow the streams will you allways end up back at the main waterwheel in old town, here late in the eveening when its lighted up.

If you follow the streams will you always end up back at the main waterwheel in Old Town, here late in the evening when it’s lighted up?

Just outside of Old Town of Lijiang, you can find the Mao Zedong statue. It is easily accessible by foot.

The Mao Zedong Statue in Lijiang

The Mao Zedong Statue in Lijiang

Also, be sure to check out Jade Spring Park (Black Dragon Pool Park). Its located about 1km from the main water wheel.

Jade Spring Park on Lijiang

Jade Spring Park (Black Dragon Pool Park) with the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the back.

Additional information about Lijiang.

Lijiang, in Yunnan Province, is the closest thing you will get to a true wonderland. Well, that's how it would seem without the crowds of tourists. Along with the Badaling Great Wall section, it is one of the most notorious tourist traps in China.

Lijiang, in Yunnan Province, is the closest thing you will get to a true wonderland. Well, that’s how it would seem without the crowds of tourists. Along with the Badaling Great Wall section, it is one of the most notorious tourist traps in China.

Travel guide to Lijiang in Yunnan province in China

Lijiang, in Yunnan Province, is the closest thing you will get to a true wonderland. Well, that’s how it would seem without the crowds of tourists. Along with the Badaling Great Wall section, it is one of the most notorious tourist traps in China.

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Bob Meewis

Tuesday 13th of August 2019

Yesterday, someone told me that the old town didnot exist no more! I am happy to see that this is not true. But a lot of fourist now. What a difference with the situation of 1987, the year when I visited the town.

Christian L.

Friday 27th of September 2019

Hello. There was a big fire in Lijiang old town in 2013. But everything is rebuilt to the original style

Kim

Wednesday 7th of August 2019

Hi Could i have information or detail about skiing and snowboarding in Lijiang Please Thank you so much

Christian L.

Friday 27th of September 2019

Hello.

There are ski resort and slope around the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

turistinfo

Friday 27th of July 2018

Appreciate the recommendation. Let me try it out. - Stormy

michathecook

Saturday 5th of August 2017

i am lucky to work and reside in lijiang. Yes the tourist areas are crowded during the public and school holidays yet there are 35 to 40 weeks left with a quite laid back atmosphere in a truely amazing setting. there are many hidden gems and walk of the main streets will display them esay to you. Come and enjoy. Lijiang is definitely worth a visit.

Fabio Nodari

Monday 19th of December 2016

I love Lijiang, no matter how touristy is today...