Just north of Lijiang town stands the famed Black Dragon Pool Park, a scenic lake at the foot of striking Elephant Hill. Combining fascinating culture with stunning scenery, the park houses The Dongba Research Institute - as well as the Museum of Naxi Dongba Culture - in which you can spot Naxi cultural artefacts and scrolls featuring a unique pictograph script. A haven for plant, bird and water-life, there is plenty to spot on a pretty morning hike, whilst the pool is surrounded by beautiful ancient monuments - such as the Longshen Temple, the Deyue Pavilion, the Suocui Bridge and the Hanyue Stage.
Whilst the fascinating way of life in Lijiang remains traditional and archaic, you can still expect to be fully entertained in the undeniably charming Old Town - particularly at night, when subtle illumination glows across the tiny streets and sheets of colour cover the canal ways. Bar Street is especially popular for its live music, twinkling tree lights and up-beat vibe – often the locals sitting in bars opposite one another will enjoy a late-night 'sing-off' while enjoying goblets of local beer. Join in if you know the words, but it will be a mix of Naxi/Han Chinese.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The time-locked Old Town of Lijang - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - boasts vine-draped buildings that blend striking architectural elements from several cultures, which have come together over many centuries. Head to the bustling Old Market Square, the heart of the pretty Old Town, or, for a true slice of old Lijiang, Zhongyi Market is where locals sell produce, copper items and livestock – just like they did centuries ago. Similarly, surrounded by an intricate, ancient canal system and shimmering pools, you can watch the locals ancestrally washing their vegetables after purchasing them in the traditional market.
For dramatic scenery and mesmerising views, take a trip to the striking Yùlóng Xuěshān Mountain, which soars to some 5500m. Ascend the mountain by thrilling cable-car or on a challenging hike, stopping at a perfectly placed viewing point to spot the spectacular glacier near the peak – remember to wrap up warm! Take a scenic bus journey to the Blue Moon Lake and White Water River, before embarking on a picturesque walking trail that leads along the shimmering water. Alongside its natural beauty, the base of the mountain showcases the glorious Impression Lijiang show, a mega song-and-dance performance.
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