As the Naxi culture is headed by females, they walk around looking proud and strong. You will have the opportunity to see them walking both in the new and old town. This photo shows them in their traditional dress - the clothing of a hard working woman.
Friendly and good
Mr. Yang owns one of many restaurants in Baisha, and his service is friendly as any. Mr. Yang invites you into his house, and you can sit outside- upstairs on the balcony or downstairs on the front patio. While the food is good, local Naxi-style food, it's not just the food you necessarily go for, as the hospitality and the experience is, in itself, worth the trip. I don't know about the other places, but I liked Mr. Yang's.
Four images. The Yak-butter tea goes well with the Naxi bread (baba), and he has cold beer as well. The dumplings aren't necessarily local, but they're good.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulong Xueshan)
Located 35 km from Lijiang. Best way to get there is by taxi. Cost RMB 80. From there grab the highest chairlift in Asia to a height of 4,506m for RMB 160 (return). Be prepared to pay an exhorbitant entrance fee of RMB 40 + 40 to the Snow Mt area itself.
The trip is well worth it though.
Wow Factor = 4 out of 5
Best Hike in the Whole of China
If you've been to Lijiang and not been to Tiger Leaping Gorge, you deserve a smack on the head. Really. Though little has been written about this place, it's by far the most popular hike by backpackers. Why? Simply because Tiger Leaping Gorge is the contender for the deepest gorge in the world.
The scenary here is spectacular, visitors on the trail are few and far between ( at least during winter) since the hike is challenging to do. Still, it can be done over 2-3days slowly. Some sadists have been known to do this within one day. But those hare-brained sods are risking life and limb to do so since it's helluva dangerous to walk here in the dark.
Read my Qiaotou page for more details.
Looking for a Lost Shangri-la
While the locals claim that ZhongDian is the inspiration for James Hilton's famed novel, NY times beg to differ. They cited Lijiang, a little town some 200 miles from KunMing. I wondered who was right before I went for the trip. From all the pictures that I have seen, Lijiang looked like a lovely canalised ancient town. So happily in mind, I conjured up an idealised Eastern vision of a Bruge(Belgium) since both were bestowed with a Unesco heritage award.
How woefully wrong I was!
The only thing the towns had in common were the cobbled stone streets. While Bruge still maintained the charm of an old medieval town , Lijiang Old Town was clogged with new souvenir shops, new restarants, hordes of tourists herded by flag-toting guides and Han-inspired buildings.
Sadly, this little town had lost its soul to the scourge of comercialism.
The last few gems of the town were the stalwart Mu Mansion that belonged to the last ruling family and the Naxi Orchestra.
While I savoured the last 2 gems, I asked myself whether I had arrived too late to see the old Shangri-la? Friends who arrived here before the earthquake of 1996 claimed they stayed in a town so charming that it remained the highlight of their trip. So, I remained hopeful and tried to look for hints for the Shangri-la lost.
"Shangri-la is outside of Lijiang Old Town"
Fortunately for me, there were a few saving graces. Su He Gu Zhen was one blessing. After witnessng the mayhem of tourists in LJ Old Town, we wisely made the choice to stay in another village altogether. Su He Gu Zhen ( Su He Old Town ) is an ancient tea trading town just minutes away from LJ Old Town but what a world of difference! Genine old buildings graced the town alongside with actual residents who live, work and play over here. It provided a nice respite from the crowds, neon lights and noise
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain was another. While the crowds threaten yet to ruin yet another magical experience, they thinned as soon as they had to do a little physical activity! Hiking thee was a mite challenging but few words can describe the exhiliration I felt standing at 4680m above sea level to look at the drifting clouds. Likewise for the little-mentioned Blue Moon Valley which had a lake so blue and clear, they mirrored the cloudless sky.
I had found my Shangri-la and they were for the most part, outside of Lijiang Old Town.