Day 7: Chengdu/Lijiang

Today we were up early to catch our flight to Lijiang, 350 miles southwest of Chengdu and part of the Yunnan province. The city is home to the Naxi people, who are related to Tibetans but have their own language and culture; it’s traditionally matriarchal, with women inheriting all property and mediating all tribal conflicts. Lijiang sits at the base of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, considered one of China’s most spectacular peaks. We caught a glimpse of snow-capped mountains during the flight and watched the terrain get more and more impressive the closer we got to the city.

Waiting to board the plane in Chengdu

Flying toward more rugged terrain in the Yunnan province

The road from the airport to our hotel was largely unfinished which made for a very bumpy ride, but our driver expertly navigated the potholes and we arrived at the Maple Leaf Inn in about 40 minutes.

One day this will be a fantastic road… but today is not that day!

I booked this hotel due to its good online reviews (thanks, TripAdvisor), the fact that one of the owners was from Holland (and therefore spoke English), and because it offered travel arrangements for the various sidetrips we wanted to take. We were thrilled to find it to be a charming little inn in Shuhe (one of the villages of Lijiang) and upon arrival we met the owners Wil and his wife Anna, plus their four children. We got settled and then went for a tour of the village with Wil and his son.

Our $25/night room – pretty nice!

Getting a tour of Shuhe village

Stylish hat and tasty fried noodle snacks

The village is a labyrinth of alleys, winding streams, countless shops, and traditional Naxi houses. We explored for a while before returning to the hotel to sit outside in its lovely courtyard and visit with Wil and Anna.

Pick-up street badminton

The stream runs throughout the entire village

One of these guys is not like the others

Little alleys everywhere

For dinner, Wil took us to his favorite noodle shop where he helped us order fried noodles with pork and vegetables. He did not mention that each order could have fed four people. They were delicious, though!

Shuhe sunset

Waiting for our dinner and taking photos with Wil’s daughter Joanna

Yeah, I think that’s enough noodles

Back in our room, we discovered that there was no heater – a minor inconvenience in an otherwise great place. We pulled on our hats and gloves to help stay warm and made plans for our three days in Lijiang.


6 Comments on “Day 7: Chengdu/Lijiang”

  1. Dad has a riddle for you guys: What time does a China man go to the dentist? Tooth Huty! What a charming town and your inkeepers sound so charming! What a find! Looking forward to hearing about your side trips. Dad also wants to remind you of a saying of Confucious: Man who fart in church, sit in own pew. And Confucious also say: Man who fly in airplane up-side-down, have crack up. Tee Hee. Talk to you soon. Mom and Dad

    • OK, that’s enough jokes now, Dad. This is a sophisticated blog. 🙂

  2. So let me see…it was kind of like camping?(at the hotel, in your hat, etc.?!!!) 🙂 Looks like a very nice little place, but I have to wonder how did it ever get the name Maple Leaf Inn – kind of sounds New England-ish!! How wonderful to have such a friendly and attentive host – the pictures of the Shuhe village seem to capture a very quaint atmosphere. I see the merchandise is displayed outside – guess that means you are still enjoying rain free weather! Love the shot of the local ‘baseball team’!! Here’s to continued safe travel,great food,and fun adventures! xo, mom

    • The inn’s previous owner was a Chinese-Canadian, hence the name Maple Leaf Inn. The new owners couldn’t change the name, but apparently it sounds good in Chinese, so they’re happy with it!

  3. Layers! Its like camping! Did you bring your camel pack and hammock?

    • It’s true…. The hammock was not a contender, but the camel pack actually did make it to the final round of packing process before being cut!

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