Baisha Old Town: Unusual Destination with Tranquility and Charm

Baisha Old Town is a hidden gem located near the more famous Lijiang Dayan Old Town, offering visitors a glimpse into the authentic Naxi culture and history without the crowds typically found in more popular tourist destinations. Here’s a guide that could be used to introduce travelers to Baisha Old Town:

Baisha Old Town: A Serene Escape into Naxi Culture and History

The Historical Capital of the Naxi

Baisha, meaning “White Sand,” was the ancient capital of the Naxi kingdom and the political, economic, and cultural center of Lijiang. It is the birthplace of the prestigious Family Mu, who played a significant role in the development of the area and the planning of its cities.

UNESCO World Heritage Connection

Baisha Old Town’s cultural and historical significance was a crucial factor in Lijiang Old Town’s successful bid to be recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its well-preserved architecture and frescoes offer a window into the past.

A Tranquil Experience

Unlike its bustling neighbor, Baisha Old Town is a place of tranquility, where the original Naxi village and culture can be experienced without the distraction of large tourist crowds.

Living Habits and Lifestyle

The residents of Baisha maintain a traditional lifestyle, with the streets growing quiet after dusk. This offers a peaceful environment for visitors to stroll and enjoy views of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the distance.


Staying at a local resort like the Baisha Holiday Resort allows guests to immerse themselves in the local culture. Enjoying tea in a flower-adorned courtyard is one of the simple pleasures that contribute to a sense of peace and relaxation.

The Baisha Frescoes

The highlight of Baisha Old Town is undoubtedly the Baisha frescoes. Spanning a period from the early Ming Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty, these frescoes are over 300 years old. They are a unique blend of Tibetan Buddhist, Daoist, and local Naxi religious art.

Architectural and Artistic Heritage

During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the Family Mu oversaw a period of political stability and economic prosperity that led to the construction of significant architectural works. The Dabaoji Palace’s frescoes are the most extensive, with 12 pieces depicting 167 figures from various religious traditions.

Visiting the Frescoes

The frescoes can be viewed at several locations, including Dabaoji Palace, Liuli Temple, and Dading Pavilion. Admission to see the Baisha frescoes is 30 RMB per person.

Travel Tips for Visiting Baisha Old Town

Plan Your Visit

  • Timing: Visit in the late afternoon to enjoy the quiet streets and the sunset against the mountain backdrop.
  • Respect: Be mindful of the local customs and traditions. Baisha is a living town with a strong cultural heritage.
  • Exploration: Hire a local guide to gain deeper insights into the frescoes and the history of Baisha.

Getting There

Baisha Old Town is approximately 10 kilometers from Lijiang Dayan Old Town and can be reached by taxi, bus, or bike.

Visiting Baisha Old Town offers a rare opportunity to step back in time and experience the rich tapestry of Naxi culture in a setting that is both peaceful and picturesque. It’s a must-visit for those seeking a deeper understanding of the history and heritage of this unique region of China.