“Words mean different things to different people,” goes a Chinese saying. So many people have visited Lijiang, a well-known tourist city in Yunnan Province, that it’s impossible to tell which description will ring truest in which ears.
Lijiang wins over the hearts of tourists in contrasting ways: Those who love hustle and bustle adore the urban areas, while those who long for natural landscapes inevitably find tranquility.
For 800 years, the ancient city of Lijiang has seen countless visitors come and go, and a few things have survived the fleeting centuries such as pebble-paved roads and clear streams winding through villages.
Perhaps nowhere else in the world treasures leisurely hours like Lijiang. One can easily find a guest house, bar, teahouse, or a restaurant where locals and visitors alike are reading, sleeping, eating, or daydreaming.
“We value sunlight more than time,” a local claims. It is true that visitors can easily lose themselves in such a singular place.
Zhao Xu’s camera captured Lijiang from all sides: the snow-capped Yulong Mountain, nightlife in the bars, and crowds of people traversing Sifang Street. Dualistic life in this ancient town emulates night and day: One end of the street is busy and noisy while the other is silent and secluded. A female shop owner silently smiles the daylight hours away, but when night falls, she transforms into a rock singer in a bar.
1. There are myriad shops and stores, big and small, in Lijiang. Both men and women can find their favorites there. Nightlife is hottest around Sifang Street’s bars.
2. If possible, travelers can go camping in Lashihai, where they can enjoy wetland and rural scenery, ride horses, sail, or learn about folklore of the Naxi ethnic group. Winter is the best season to admire the golden summit of Mt. Meili.