Zhiyun Monastery, Lijiang

Where is Zhiyun Monastery

Zhiyun Monastery is situated in the west of Lijiang near Lashi Basin. It was built in 1727 during the Qing Dynasty and was made up of thirteen different structures. However only six structures remaining intact today.

Why is Zhiyun Monastery so special

This monastry is unquie in design. It differs from the traditional Tibetan architecture as all the carvings and structural designs were taken from the Naxi, Han and Bai people. In the courtyard of this temple, there are five different kinds of big trees, such as the Cherry tree, Plum tree, Ginkgo tree, Mulberry tree and the Chinese Scholar tree. All of which are more than 200 years old.

The monastery is the first lamasery temple among five main Tibetan Buddhism monasteries situating in Lijiang. As well as few commercial air blows into this lake side corner enclosed by pear trees and sacred relics. According to strong influence from Kamaba sect of Tibet in the past, majestic hall and indoor settings give you a surprise despite of peaceful surroundings decorated by multi-ethnic structure.

Pointing at the cloud

“Zhiyun” in Chinese means “pointing at the cloud”. The name “Zhiyun” is derived from a folk story. A Tibetan Buddhist Master was honorably invited to give instructions, when he was traveling across Lijiang, by the locals who found it difficult to choose a construction site for a Buddhist monastery. After observing around the surroundings, he (the master) raised his Buddhist stick to point at a colorful cloud in the west. Therefore the place right under the cloud was determined for the temple which was then named “Zhiyunsi” (Zhiyun Monastery).

Facing eastwards, Zhiyun Monastery consists of two courtyards. The main architectures are the entrance (gate), the Buddha Hall, the side halls and the Chanting Hall etc. The Buddha Hall, as wide as 5 rooms, is a 3-storeyed double-eaved pavilion; its first floor is a preaching hall; while its second and third floors serve as a Buddhist library (Cang Jing Lou).

In the past, Zhiyun Monastery complex had altogether 13 Buddhist halls of which only 5 are surviving. In the monastery, one can find rare and precious plants such as centuries-old gingko, Sophora japonica (locust tree) and Prunus cerasoides (Yunnan cherry) etc.

Attractions Near Zhiyun Monastery

Lashihai Lake 

Lashi Lake is in the basin in Hengduan Mountain Range, 10 kilometers away from the Old Town of Lijiang. The warm climate makes it possible for them to pass the long winter safely. When next spring comes and flowers bloom, the birds will leave for the north for reproduction. They bring life to the villages at the foot of Jade Dragon Mountain. Especially when black-necked cranes fly over Jade Dragon in rosy clouds of dawn, you will feel that the legend about the Naxi has come true. (According to book of Dongba, the goddess Chenhong Baobai transformed herself into a crane, and carried Chongrenli’en who had survived the floods to the heaven and begged her father to let them get married. Their children then became the ancestor of Naxi people.)

Baisha Ancient Town

The Baisha Ancient Village is one of the oldest towns in Lijiang City. It got its name “Baisha” meaning “white sand” from the natural white sand in the area. It was the cradle-land of the Tusi Dynasty evolved from the Mu Clan. It was also the earliest settlement of the Naxi people. There are many ancient constructions built in the Ming Dynasty: the Dabaoji Palace, the Liuli Temple and the Wenchang Palace. The well-known Baisha Frescoes are situated in the Dabaoji Palace.

Lijiang Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Course

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club is one of the icons of China golf. This Kunming golf course is set in the bottom of a valley that faces the famous Jade Dragon Snow Mountain that is 5596 meters (18,360 ft.) high. You can enjoy mountain views from almost every place on this Kunming golf course. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club is situated at 3100 meters (10,800 ft.) above see level, the second highest in the world and the highest in Asia. 

Jade Water Village or Yushuizhai in Lijiang

Yushuizhai is under the foot of the Yulong Snow Mountain, facing the ancient city of Lijiang, which is o­nly 15 kilometers from the city. The sacred water out of the Yushui Village brings up a generation after generation, giving them courage, wisdom and happiness.

Black Dragon Pool

Black Dragon Pool (also Heilongtan), or Jade Spring(Yuquan) Park is the main headwater of the Yushui River which goes through the Old Town. People believe that the gods of the Naxi people are living in the chestnut woods, beside the mouth of springs, behind the carved doors and below the bridges. The springs come from the god-protected mountains and gather in this place and finally form the dragon pool. Then water goes down a waterfall and becomes the Yuhe River, pouring life to the Old Town.

Dongba Valley

A trekking route leads to the amazing Dongba Valley. It is located at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and 15 kilometers away from Lijiang Old Town. The Dongba Valley is home and livelihood of Naxi people. Traditional houses of Naxi and other peoples are open to visit.

Admission Fee:¥230

Opening Hours:6:00-18:00 (May 1st to Oct. 31st); 6:30-18:00 (Nov. 1st to Apr. 30)

Attraction Transportation:Because there is no public bus, tourists need to charter a taxi / car/ mini-van or carpool together from the downtown area. The distance is around 10 miles (15 kilometers). It takes around 40 minutes. The round-trip charter rate is around CNY 200.

Recommended Accommodation

1.Inter Continental Lijiang Ancient Town Resort(丽江和府洲际度假酒店)

Located in the southern of Lijiang Old Town, the InterContinental Lijiang Ancient Town Resort is the international five-star conference and resort which combines modern luxury, traditional Naxi architectural, and the local representative landscape. Hotel has 274 spacious rooms and suites, 4 restaurants and bars, Spa and Fitness center. It is a 10-minute walk from Sifangjie (Market Square), a 30-minute drive from Lijiang Airport.

2.Hotel Indigo Lijiang Ancient Town(丽江古城英迪格酒店)

Hotel Indigo Lijiang Ancient Town is located in Lijiang Ancient Town. It features a wellness center, an indoor pool and a fitness center. The luxurious rooms offer free wired internet. At Hotel Indigo Lijiang Ancient Town you will find a la carte restaurant and buffet restaurant. Breakfast can be served in the comforts of guests’ rooms. 

3.Lijiang Wangfu Hotel(丽江王府饭店)

Lijiang Wangfu Hotel is located in the South Gate Square in Old Town. Featuring colorful traditional Chinese architecture and décor, it offers rooms with flat-screen TVs and free internet. Guest can enjoy Naxi bonfire party every Friday. The hotel provides car rental and concierge services. A tour desk can help with travel and sightseeing arrangements.

4.Manty House(漫庭美宿酒店)

Situated in Lijiang, this inn is within a 15-minute walk of Mu Family Mansion, Dayan and Wang Gu Lou. It features a restaurant, a bar/lounge and coffee/tea in a common area. WiFi in public areas is free. Other amenities include dry cleaning, a 24-hour front desk and tour/ticket assistance.

5.Lijiang International Hotel(丽江国际大酒店)

Lijiang International Hotel is located in Lijiang, 400 m from Wangu Pavilion and 600 m from Square Street Dayan Ancient Town. Guests can enjoy the on-site bar. Every room at this hotel is air conditioned and is fitted with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. You will find a coffee machine in the room. For your comfort, you will find bathrobes and slippers.