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Ancient Town of Lijiang

This section of Lijiang is one of the most photogenic and best reconstructed old towns in China. Dayan Town, as it is also known, was rebuilt after a devastating earthquake destroyed it in 1996.

Tibetan dances

Lijiang old town is a treat in the evening when natives and visitors join together to form concentric circles in performing ancient Tibetan dances in the central square, Sifang.

Naxi Traditional Orchestra

Also don't miss its nightly performance played mainly by elderly musicians on rare instruments from the past. Do the same for folk and religious Dongba dances. Music runs in the blood of the Naxi people.

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

This majestic peak provides a splendid backdrop for Lijiang.

Reconstruction goal

The reconstruction efforts were designed with tourists in mind. Today, Lijiang old town teems with handicraft shops, restaurants and other enterprises geared for visitors.

Streams and canals gently pass through Lijiang old town, as they have for over six centuries. These narrow waterways are shaded by graceful willow trees and crossed by small bridges.

Commendable job

The overall architectural effect of tightly packed wooden structures lining charming pedestrian-only cobblestone lanes and alleys is impressive and should serve as a role model for other cities contemplating recreating their own old towns.

Misguided romantic notion

Some romantics would prefer to have the town reconstructed exactly as it was in 1995. Apparently they never saw it then. It had become somewhat grungy and run down - and hardly like it was in its heyday.

Shuhe Old Town

On the north edge of Lijiang lies Shuhe Old Town. It's worth a visit. Compared with Lijiang Ancient Town, Shuhe Town is:

Less polished
More personalized
More rural, less urban
Less touristy

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