I spent some time in the ancient town of Lijiang (or Lijang as some people spell it).
I want to go back and spend more time there!
There is so much to see such as the famous Tiger Leaping Gorge.
And if you like skiing, visit the magnificent Snow Mountain, the highest ski resort in China.
This historical ancient town is in Yunnan Province next to Sichuan.
It is about an hour by plane from Chengdu or Chongqing.
It certainly is worth visiting!
Visit, live, eat, drink in the old city.
You'll have a wail of a time.
The old city of Lijang is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Old Lijiang is a maze of cobble stoned alleyways and roads, old wooden houses, and lots of shops and restaurants.
Old style hotels are also located in the old city.
There is water everywhere in canals - both above and below the ground.
One of the many minority groups of China live in and around this ancient town. They are the Naxi people who originally came from Tibet.
You will see many of them in Lijang.
They are a unique society in that women are superior and run the show.
They have a strange manner of co-habitation between a man and woman.
The man will spend the night with the woman but then return home everyday to their own mother and live in that house.
All the running of the household is left to the woman.
Along the main canal (which is not that big) is a street full of bars and eating places.
It is an amazing place - it really rocks at night in a way you you may not seen before.
Bars and restaurants line either side of the canal.
In the bars are Naxi girls dressed in traditional Naxi costumes jiving away to modern recorded music to entice customers inside.
It was quite surreal watching a traditionally dressed Chinese minority group dancing to modern Western pop music.
It is the noisiest place I have been to.
The bars are full of Chinese (local Naxi and tourists) drinking away and shouting at each other across the canal and down the road.
They are just having a really great, great time!
The local Chinese had a particular noisy game.
A whole group standing on the balcony of a bar would loudly chorus a saying to a similar group on the balcony of the bar across the canal.
It was like a challenge!
That group would respond similarly by shouting and trying to make a louder noise.
This continued all night. In fact, your could hear the noise from quite a distance away.
There are many places to visit within a short distance.
The best thing to do is to hire a local guide and let them show you around.
This picture was taken at a small rural town a very short distance from Lijiang.
This area was populated mainly by Naxi people.
The bridge itself was made in the 16th century and much of the area has retained its old ways.
It did cater for tourists though - there were shops selling Gucci scarves at bargain proices!
Also there was a silk factory where you could buy great material.
The Lijiang old city is World Heritage listed by Unesco.
The skyline of this World Heritage listed ancient town is dominated by a huge snow mountain range - called Snow Mountain or Jade Dragon Snow Mountain by its proper name.
It is about 5,500 metres high. You can easily reach near the top because there is a cable car.
There are board walks so you don't have to trudge through the snow.
Snow Mountain dominates the skyline of Lijiang.
There are actually tropical palm trees growing near Lijiang. So you can look at a palm tree and see a snowy landscape behind the palm tree.
It is cold on the peak though - so take warm clothing or hire warm coats there.
You will also probably need to buy oxygen from cylinders at the top because altitude sickness can be a problem.
There is a ski resort at the top (China's highest ski resort), so if you like skiing, go for it!
It is one of the highlights in this area.
It is a beautiful deep gorge which is many kilometres long and quite deep.
The scenery is breathtaking - people come from all over the world to do this walk.
A tiger once (so the story goes) escaped from its hunters by leaping over the gorge - hence the name.
Allow yourself two days in the Tiger Leaping Gorge.
There is accommodation along the way to stop overnight.
You most definitely need a guide.
Organise one at your hotel or by talking to other travellers.
The guide will take you there.
Make sure that the guide is going to walk through the gorge with you.
They will show you the way and organise accommodation.
The airport is quite a way out of town - about an hour by taxi.
I recommend you organise an airport pickup when you book your hotel.
Have a look around for the best airfare to China including Lijiang and other places.
Buses are another way of getting to Lijiang - longer and less comfortable of course but feasible.
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