Lijiang attractions are a combination of natural and man-made wonders. This town in the shadow of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is home to just over one million people and a host of interesting places to discover. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to connect with the heritage and history of the Naxi People of China who have called this region home for generations—a region tht has long been the crossroads of cultures and a stop along the Ancient Tea-Horse Road, one of the Silk Routes.
The center of life in Lijiang, Old Town has been a popular destination for 800 years—and it remains one of the most popular Lijiang attractions. Because of its rich cultural heritage, Old Town has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the cultural arm of the United Nations. City leaders have worked hard in the last years to ensure the site is preserved for future generations, and a small fee is collected from tourists to help with this effort. As you step into Old Town Lijiang, you’ll find an old village with a system of canals, whose source is the Black Dragon Pool, and orderly bridges. The Naxi People who still call the village home are eager to welcome visitors to their village, once a stopping point on the Silk Road of southern China.
When looking for things to do in Lijiang China, a visit to Baisha Village is a great option. Also a long-time home of the Naxi, this village is a popular place for cycling tours. Some of the earliest examples of Naxi architecture are found here—as is a series of murals. The Baisha murals date primarily from the Ming Dynasty (between the 14th and 17th centuries), and 55 murals remain to this day. Many of the murals display religious stories and legends, working together to tell an overarching story. The largest mural is found at the Dabaoji Hall, a Baisha Village landmark.
Of all of the Lijiang attractions, the Wangu Tower may be one of the best places to soak in the views. Perched atop Lion Hill in Old Town, this five-story tower is recently constructed using traditional designs. Here, you’ll find art exhibits and an observation floor to overlooks Old Town, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain peaks, the Tiger Leaping Gorge and acres of lush farmland. The surrounding park is especially lovely in the the spring with the fruit trees are in bloom.
Lijiang has long been at the crossroads of trade, and shopping remains one of the most popular things to do in Lijiang China. Naxi-made handicrafts are readily available at Lijiang’s locally owned shops, which specialize in items such as bracelets, necklaces and murals. Knitted shawls are especially popular with Lijiang tourists, and will be treasured mementos of any Chinese vacations. The bustling Zhong Yi Market attracts visitors as well as farmers and restaurant proprietors who gather for the fresh food that is abundant in southern China.
During the Ming Dynasty, the Mu Clan ruled Lijiang. Their ancestral seat of power remains one of the Lijiang attractions with a deep connection to history. This exquisitely decorated wooden palace is a modern reconstruction of the historical structure and is filled with ornate works of Naxi art surrounded by lovely gardens and courtyards. The original was an exact copy of the Forbidden City in Beijing; the Emperor Mu wanted a palace every bit as splendid as the one to the north.
Lijiang New City
Lijiang New City
Close to Old Town and yet a world away, Lijiang New City showcases the city’s contemporary side. After an earthquake leveled much of the town in 1996, the city was rebuilt and made new. Many of the Lijiang hotels are located here, as are restaurants serving Western cuisines, including French, Mexican, and Italian food. This also is one of the best places in Lijiang to do some shopping.
The list of things to do in Lijiang China includes ample opportunities to eat well. The local cuisine reflects the influence of many different cultures, like everything else in Lijiang. Thanks for a relatively mild climate, fresh fruit and vegetables are available throughout the year. Don’t miss the chance to try Guo Qiao rice noodles, a locally specialty, often served in soup. Other favorites are duck from Dianshi Lake and Yunnan ham.