I had read conflicting reviews of Lijiang. Some believed it to be tourist infested while others thought it was not authentic as most of Lijiang was rebuilt after the 7.0 Richter Scale earthquake of 1996. However, no one seems to deny the beauty of this old town and home to the Naxi minority.
I found Lijiang to be pristine and atmospheric- like a period scene in a movie. It is true that the main streets could be a bit crowded and are lined with souvenir shops. But on the upside, there are no cars on most streets in the Old Town and by taking one of the many little side streets and alleys; you can find instant peace and tranquility. Small canals meander about Lijiang’s Old Town and add to its charm.
The street food stalls are lively and way too interesting to be passed by quickly. Even if you are not of the spirit to taste any food; linger around and watch how different dishes are made on the spot near the speed of light.
If you only visit one site in Lijiang, let it be Mu’s Residence or Mu Fu. There is an old saying that in the North there is the Forbidden City, and in the South, there is Mu Fu. The series of harmoniously designed courtyard and the beautiful building showcasing ornate decorations are set one after another on a picturesque hill overlooking the Old Town.
And of course, the main square is not to be missed. It is quite large and a great spot for people watching. There are also native Naxi dance and singing performances in regular intervals taking place here.
- Naxi Traditional Music and Dance
At night, Lijiang’s streets are quiet and mostly empty. However, there are many restaurants and bars to pass the time in. Some even offer live local music and dance.
Lijiang can be seen in a day. Stay longer to see the famous attractions outside the town such as the Dragon mountain or do hiking or biking around the beautiful countryside. The perfectly located Crown Plaza right in the Old Town is a fabulous choice for lodging. The staff are super helpful, rooms are spacious, beds are comfortable and the spa is a great treat.
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