February 26th, 2009 – by: shirleysim
We take an 11 hours over-night sleeper bus from Kunming to Lijiang. Arriving around 7am next morning, weather was cold. We then take a public bus to Gucheng (Old Town) to look for a place to stay, settling in Lijiang Youth Hostel for 80rmb/double bed with electric heater blanket. We move to Mu Wang Fu Mansion on the second and also the rest of our stay, the design is Naxi courtyard style, nice western breakfast…. room has thin walls which you really hope for quiet neighbors. Basically, there are many hostels/hotels in and around Gucheng from cheap to luxury depending on your preference and of course, your budget. Choose to come at an off-peak season unless you like to be nose-to-nose with infinite camera touting Chinese tourist.
Lijiang is certainly a pleasant place; the Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a pedestrian-only maze of cobblestone streets, winding alleyways, and traditional architecture of the Naxi ethnic group that lives here.
Little canals and streams mender throughout the town, crossed by bridges, at night the town is illuminated by red glow of lanterns. Many shops and restaurants closed at around 11pm, it also had one whole stretch of bars at one of the street.
Downside:- tourist, tourist, tourist…. most of the person in the old town is either a tourist, or a local catering to tourist, every shop is selling things to tourists, you need to bargain hard, the shopkeepers are used to dealing with foreigners and jack up the prices accordingly, sometimes as much as 300-500% or more. Careful on what you eat, my husband got diarrhea from food poisoning, we couldn’t go far because anytime he could be looking for a toilet, so we stay in the old town most of the times.
We visited the town nearby called ‘SuHe’, less touristy then the old town, so it makes a pleasant walk around the area, walking deep inside, you’ll reach those part without any tourists….
the houses are authentic residential buildings, not shops. One of the local brings us to visit a place called ‘Lasahai’ for horseback riding which is basically a big tourist trap. There is nothing much to say about this trip, I wish we could stay in Lijiang Old Town longer because we did not explore much. Though I did not expect Old Town Lijiang to be this commercial which is different from what I imagine it to be, it is still worth to visit because it really is a beautiful and interesting place to see.