Day 10: Lijiang

Note: Shaky internet access lately, so today’s a two-fer! Days 9 & 10 posted back-to-back…

Today was our last day in Lijiang, and we were thrilled to wake up to blue skies and a stunning view of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain — our first clear view of it since we’d arrived. A quick taxi ride took us to Black Dragon Pool Park, which lies just north of Lijiang’s old town. In addition to being beautiful, the crystal-clear water from the mountains is also the village’s main water source. The reservoir feeds a series of canals that run through the village streets and flow into three wells that are designated for drinking, washing vegetables, and washing clothes.

Entrance to Shuhe village in the morning

The picture on the cover of our guidebook was taken here!

Finally a clear view of the mountain

Various translations of “Keep off the grass” – from straightforward to philosophical

Within the park was Elephant Hill; after an hour of climbing we were rewarded with great views of the city in all directions.

Great view of Lijiang from up here

View of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain from Elephant Hill

Matt returning from peak of Elephant Hill

We followed the rushing canals from the park into Lijiang’s old town. The entrance to the town is marked by two large (ornamental) water wheels, and there is a huge main square that frequently features Naxi dancing and music.

Giant water wheels just for show

Naxi dancing in old town square

Get into the groove

The old town is a maze of winding alleys, fish-filled streams, Naxi houses with their unique tiled rooftops, and a million shops and restaurants (all selling the same stuff). We spent a few hours walking along the cobblestone streets, shopping and people-watching.

Weaving beautiful shawls

Delicious walnut cakes – check out the conveyor belt baking method!

Lijiang’s old town is similar to Shuhe, only bigger and much busier; we were glad we visited but were happy to be staying in a similarly charming but quieter location.

Why is he watering the bridge?

Dongba graffiti

This picture is so great.

Back in Shuhe, we did a little more strolling and shopping into the early evening. Having not eaten much during the day, we stopped at Shuhe’s “finest Italian restaurant” and had a dinner of pizza and beer. It was so delicious we didn’t feel the slightest bit bad about having a very non-Chinese meal in the middle of China.

OMG so delicious…

Shuhe village at night

Our flight was leaving very early in the morning, so we said our goodbyes to everyone when we got back from dinner. We loved Lijiang and are so happy to have stayed at the Maple Leaf Inn — Wil and Anna were so friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable, and thanks to them we experienced more of Lijiang than we almost certainly would have on our own. Tomorrow we head back east to Hangzhou and nearby Huang Shan (Yellow Mountain).

Anna (in white hat), Wil, their four kids, and another guest

4 Comments on “Day 10: Lijiang”

  1. Hello again, The last picture is so charming! What a great family, so warm and friendly, and so incredibly helpful to you two. Those shawls were absolutely gorgeous! You may have had only two weeks to research this trip, but you have certainly hit on some more beautiful, exotic, and colorful spots in China. I thought last year’s places were awesome; so far the trips are running neck and neck, in my opinion.
    Looking forward to the step trip up the mountain. Hope good weather continues. Love, Mom and Dad

  2. You two seem to fit right in! Love hearing and seeing your daily adventures. I can’t believe how brave you two are! Drew is still waiting for ancient warriors (ha ha). We wish you safe travels to your next destination and look forward to your days ahead! Love ya!! Aunt Kathy, Uncle Mark, Mandy & Drew

  3. You two need to do this for a living. I love all the beautiful pictures. What wonderful memories you guys will have. You need to take some of us with you the next time. Looking forward to the next blog.

    Love ya,


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