Lijiang is a prefecture-level city in the northwest of Yunnan Province, China. It is the main center of the Naxi people, though it is by no means a Naxi-only town: at least half a dozen other ethnic groups are represented. The Naxi population is under a million. They have their own language with its own hieroglyphic-style writing system, and their own religion, clothing, art, architecture, music and dance.There is also a Naxi orchestra: old men that play traditional Chinese music on antique instruments, unique in China.
Lijiang Old Town
The Old Town of Lijiang represents a fusion of indigenous Naxi architecture and culture with external influences. Lijiang has an ingenious ancient network of waterways that is supplied by the mountain springs. Via canals the houses in town are connected to this network. The cobbled streets, bridges and houses add to the picturesque picture of this ancient town.
The Old Town of Lijiang was listed as the World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in the year 1997.
Although the authenticity of Lijiang is maybe lost forever as many parts of the town are already changed, the ancient buildings become souvenir shops, boutique hotels, restaurants, clubs and bars with Naxi cultural show for tourists, the town still has some place to admire especially in the suburbs of the old town.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
The Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is 25km from Lijiang City. It is visible from Lijiang and snow-capped all year round. Its highest peak is Shanzidou at 5,596m. The view of the massif from the gardens at the Black Dragon Pool in Lijiang is noted as one of China's finest views. Youcan take a cable car to the top. Move down from the mountaintop and you can see rivers and pools, which are formed by the thawed snow water running along the valley and through the forests. The plants and the animals are different according to the altitude, so are the views.
Black Dragon Pool
It is a small village of Lijiang city. It is the original settlement of the Naxi people who came to the greater Lijiang Valley over a thousand years ago. Made up of at least 12 smaller villages, the main village is Sanyuan, which has one main stone street, called of course, Baisha Street. It has a typical Chinese "old-town" tourist setup, consisting of a stone paved street with a mixture of Chinese trinket sellers-shops and several quaint cafés to stop and relax. A great escape from Lijiang Old-town tourist trap, only 12 km north of town, you can rent a bike and get there in about 40 minutes. You can do many things here for free. Like hike the local mountains through the high alpine botanical garden and search for herbs on your way to the Jade Dragon Lake, the backside of Snow Jade Dragon Mountain. Visit some of the temples or traditional Naxi houses of the area before they are gone.
Lashi Lake (Lashihai)
Tiger Leaping Gorge
The Tiger Leaping Gorge is a canyon on the Yangtze River – locally called the Golden Sands River – located 60 km north of Lijiang City. It is part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas World Heritage Site.Around 15 km in length, the gorge is located where the river passes between 5,596-metre Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and 5,396-meter Haba Snow Mountain in a series of rapids under steep 2000 meter cliffs. Legend says that in order to escape from a hunter, a tiger jumped across the river at the narrowest point (still 25 meters wide), hence the name.
Wenhai is a village located on the southern slope of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and it is a part of the Lashihai provincial level Alpine Wetlands Nature Reserve. The elevation at Wenhai is 3,100 meters.
The Wenhai Lake is a seasonal alpine lake and wetland throughout the spring and summer. During every July and August when the rain season arrives, water begins to rise in Wenhai, and the lake is usually filled up by October. Then during the winter season, Wenhai water level lowers again until March of the next year. Then, the entire lake is emptied of water, when the basin turns into grassland again.
The Naxi people, the main ethnic group in Lijiang, have lived in Wenhai for over 300 years. North of the Wenhai village is the Xuehua village where there lives a group of Yi people, who still maintain their traditional lifestyle.”
Naxi Ancient Music
Naxi Concert Hall is in the old city. Enjoy the traditional Naxi music Culture Show performed by the Naxi Orchestra, which comprises of some 70-90 year old men. The music itself is a combination of traditional Chinese music dating back to the Tang dynasty and local instruments and flavors. It combines Taoist rites, Confucian ceremony, and literary lyrics, poetic topics and musical tones of the Tang, Song and Yuan Dynasties.