"Looking for a Lost Shangri-la" Top 5 Page for this destination Lijiang by bpacker
Lijiang Travel Guide: 570 reviews and 1,889 photos
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.
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.
- Pros:Pockets of Old Lijian Remain
- Cons:Commercialism threatens to suck Lijiang's Soul Away
- In a nutshell:Lijiang lies beyound the Unesco Awarded Town
It seems a little odd, but it's not a common thing in Lijiang to drink coffee in the morning. Even when they have first... more travel advice
Having a boater row you out in the middle of Lashilake while you photograph the scenary and the flying Ruddy Shelducks.... more travel advice
- See All From Lijiang to Qiaotou
- Hiking the Great Tiger Leaping Gorge
- See All Best Silver Ware Shop in Town
- See All Drinking Lijiang Snow Tea in Lashihai...
- See All Best Hike in the Whole of China
Written Jan 30, 2008
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Poems
Written Feb 4, 2008
The Old Village of Su He
bpacker's Related Pages
Lijiang Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Looking for a Lost Shangri-la"
- "Vigi's Lijiang Page - Explore Old Town + Minority"
- "Old town, streams, lakes and mountains"
- "The place you can have a dream"
- "Lijiang - is it real?"
- "Lijiang - Vintage China"
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- Things to Do in Lijiang
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