Lijiang Ancient Town Overview

‣ Why begin Lijiang Old Town Tour

Lijiang Old Town, a well-preserved old city of ethnic minorities with brilliant culture, is a central town of the Lijiang Autonomous County of the Naxi Ethnic Minority in Yunnan Province. Lijiang Old Town is built along the lie of mountains and the flow of rivers, providing a very precious sample of the research on the old-time architecture. The unique geographical location, historical background and multiracial inhabitants make it one of the most popular travel destination in China. Hence Lijiang Tour or Lijiang Old Town Tour are typical and acclaimed choices especially for whom have strong interest in ancient town culture or minority culture.

‣ Where is Lijiang Old Town

Located on the plateau which is 2,400 meters above the sea level and embraced by the tree-covered Lion Mountain in the west, Elephant and Golden Row Mountains in the north, vast fertile fields in the southeast and crystal clear water running through, Lijiang Old Town looks like a big jade ink slab, therefore got the alias the Town of Big Ink Slab (Dayanzhen).

‣ Basic Information of Lijiang Old Town


• Chinese Name: 丽江古镇

• Another Name:Dayan Town(大研镇)

• Address: the center of Lijiang Dam, Lijiang City, Yunnan Province

• Keywords: World Cultural Heritage, Naxi Culture, Dongba Culture

• Area: 7.279 square kilometers

• Altitude: 2400 meters

• Telephone: 0888-5111118

• Opening Time: the whole day

• Recommended Visiting Time: 1 to 3 days

‣ History of Lijiang Old Town

Lijiang Old Town which occupies an area of three point eight square kilometers was firstly built in the late Song Dynasty and the early Yuan Dynasty and has a history of more than 800 years. Since Kubla Khan who is the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty set his reign here, Lijiang was on a fast developmental way and became the political, cultural, and educational center in this area, playing a very important role in the trading activities among Yunnan, China hinterland, Tibet, India and many other Asian countries. 

‣ Story about Lijiang Old Town

Lijiang Old Town is the only old city built without a city wall and there is an interesting story telling the reason. Lijiang had been under the reign of the hereditary Mu family for more than 500 years. If the Chinese character 'Mu' (represents the governor of Lijiang) is put into a frame (represents the city wall), you have the character 'Kun' which means 'siege' or 'predicament'. This would mean that the governing Mu family and their descendants would always be trapped like a rat in a hole. Because of this symbolism, Lijiang Old Town was never given a city wall.

‣ Architectures in Lijiang Old Town

As a result of the combination of the multinational culture and the progress of Naxi ethnic minority, the buildings in LIjiang Old Town incorporate the best parts of the architectural traits of Han, Bai, and Tibet into a unique Naxi style. The layout of Lijiang Old Town is free-style and flexible, the houses are close and diverse, and the lanes are narrow and meandering. Naxi people pay much attention to the decoration, the commodious and applied houses are mostly timber and tile structure compound with a garden, each has engraved vivid figures of people and animals on doors and windows, beautiful flowers and trees in the garden.

‣ What to Visit in Lijiang Old Town

On December 3rd, 1997, Lijiang Old Town was put in the list of the World's Relics by the World Cultural Heritage Commission of the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization). The charming Lijiang Old Town is now a famous tourist attraction for its traditional ethnic culture and customs, inimitable buildings and the wonderful natural views.

• The Giant Water Wheels

The two Giant Water Wheels is the landmark of Lijiang Old Town. 

• Square Market

Square Market extends to four directions, forming a network of Lijiang Old Town.

• Mu's Residence

Mu' Residence is a splendid ancient architecture first built in Yuan Dynasty.

• Lion Hill and Wangu Tower

The Lion Hill Park is located in the centre of Lijiang city where Wangu Tower is located on the top.

‣‣‣ More Attractions in Lijiang Old Town



‣ What to Eat in Ljiang Old Town

Lijiang Old Town has many mid-range restaurants, mostly aimed at tourists. The closer you eat to a canal, the higher the likelihood of the restaurant having an English menu, and the higher the price. In the evening Chinese tour groups are encouraged to sing traditional songs, and try to outdo neighbouring restaurants. Fun, but if you’re hoping for a quiet meal try somewhere on the edge of the Old Town.

‣ Recommended Hotels in Lijiang Old Town

There are various accomodation choices in Lijiang Old Town that is more convenient for you to experience the nightlife in Lijiang. 

▪Five-star Hotels

  ▪InterContinental Lijiang Ancient Town Resort(丽江和府洲际酒店)

  ▪Lijiang Grand Hyatt(丽江君悦酒店)

  ▪Pullman LIjiang Resort(丽江铂尔曼酒店)

  ▪Lijiang Manxin Hotels&Resorts(丽江漫心度假酒店)

▪Four-star Hotels

  ▪Wang Fu Hotel(丽江王府酒店)

  ▪Hexi Hotel(和玺酒店)

  ▪Liwang Hotel(丽王酒店)

▪Three-star Hotels

  ▪Baisha Holiday Resort(白沙别院度假酒店)

‣ Transportation of Lijiang Old Town

Lijiang Airport is about 28 km away from the county, there is shuttle bus special line going back and forth between the airport and the county. Lijiang Railway Station is about 4.8 km away from Lijiang Old Town, after getting out of the railway station tourists can take public bus go to ancient town directly. And in the Lijiang city, there are 13 long-distance bus stations, and basically there are public buses in those long-distance bus stations that can reach Lijiang Old Town.

• Protection Fare of Lijiang Old Town

Tourists are required to pay CNY 80 as the protection fare. They receive a receipt once they pay. This receipt is checked when they go to the tourist places. It is valid one month and covers all tourist places in Lijiang Old Town and Yulong Autonomous County, such as Mu’s Residence, Heilongtan (Black Dragon Pool), Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Guanyin Gorge and Tiger Leaping Gorge.

The Best Time to Travel Lijiang Old Town

The four seasons scenery is different in Lijiang city, visiting to Lijiang Old Town in different time will have different feelings and experiences. Lijiang is a plateau type southwest monsoon climate, warm in winter and cool in summer, large parts of Lijiang whose annual temperature difference is small, but temperature difference between day and night is quite large.