After 6 days in Yunnan, my siblings and I finally reached the last stop of our journey: Lijiang 丽江.

Lijiang used to be an important transit point on the Tea Horse Road 茶马道 or Ancient Tea Route. This Tea Horse Road was a commerce trail, linking Tibet to China.China traded tea with Tibet, while Tibet had something China needed for military purposes: horses. Apparently, it is through this Route that tea first spread across China and Asia. Here is one enlightening article about the Tea Horse Road for those interested.

 

Canoeing on the Lashi Lake 拉市海

From Lijiang Old Town, 30 minutes are needed to reach the Lake.

The Lake is a part of the Lashihai Plateau Wetland Nature Reserve 拉市海湿地公园, which was established in 1998. Since then, the biodiversity of the Lake has been preserved and protected. Bird watching is a very common activity, but only during winter.

I highly recommend going there to admire the view of the endless mountains surrounding the Lake. We could rent a canoe and glide over the lake. View was breathtaking.

 

On the tracks of the Ancient Tea Horse Road 茶马古道

Before leaving the Wetland Nature Reserve, it is also possible to experience an hour-long horse ride.

The horses we rode were much smaller than the ones we usually find in Europe. The ride was fun, yet quite challenging at times, since some parts of the road were wet and slippery…

 

The Ancient Town of Lijiang 丽江古城

The city of Lijiang is famous for its UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Town of Lijiang 丽江古城. It has now become a very (very very) touristy and crowded city with lots of Chinese people and some foreigners.

 

One might say Lijiang is too commercialized and I can understand why: the whole Ancient City has been renovated and you can feel it is way too clean & polished, with the same shops in every arteries of the city.

To be honest, it depends on where you are. Sure, some places are noisy and horrible, but 100 meters away, you can find a calm alley.

 

Lijiang from above

I definitely advice you to take the small adjacent streets and try to gain height. Most people don’t go up there because they don’t know about it or are just too lazy to take the stairs.

Hostels and inns have taken over the streets

Enjoying a cuppa coffee

 

The wedding photography business is clearly thriving in Lijiang. We would stumbled upon brides dressed up in traditional clothes and grooms in super-fashionable suits…

The Black Dragon Pool 黑龙潭

 

The Naxi Tribe Museum 纳西族博物馆

As we strolled in the Ancient Town of Lijiang, we came across a little museum, which dealt with the Dongba language 东巴, “written” and spoken by the Naxi people, one of the 55 ethnic minorities listed in PRC.

The Dongba language is composed of over 1,400 symbols and picture-like characters. Today, it is said to be the only hieroglyph language which is still actively used (by Dongba priests or researchers).

 The people at the museum were very welcoming.
We had fun trying to re-draw the symbols of the Dongba language.

 Pretty straightforward language

The Mu family residence “Mufu” 木府

We visited the Mufu 木府 toward the end of the day so there were not a lot of people. Though it used to be the residence of a rich local family, the buildings look more like a palace.

Quieter than Lijiang: Shuhe Ancient Town 束河古镇

As Lijiang can be relatively overwhelming and feel a bit draining, Shuhe Ancient Town 束河镇 is worth the detour.

 Feeling like I am in a movie all the time

 A beautiful park…

 … Where tourists still prevail …

Chilling in a café

About food in Yunnan…

Whether it be in Shuanglang, Dali, Shangri-la or Lijiang, food was okay, yet not extraordinary. Here are a few highlights!

Hostel breakfast: egg, mantou or Chinese steamed bun,
some corn and stir-fried potatos. Good enough to start the day!

 From left to right: Fried-pan potatos, some local fish, algae and egg soup
Our best dinner from the trip

 Delicious Mixian noodles 米线 with beef and chives. Love them!!
Mixian is actually from the Yunnan Province!

Hope you enjoyed the articles and the pictures 🙂

Any questions on Yunnan? Feel free to contact me!

Read more about my trip in Yunnan:

 

 

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