Attraction of the week

The Ancient City of Dali (Dàlǐ Gǔchéng, 大理古城), or Dali Old Town, is another great example of ancient and modern fusing together in China. The architecture is indeed ancient with...


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One hundred kilometers north of Lijiang, Baoshan Stone Village (Bǎoshān Shítou Chéng, 宝山石头城) sits atop a massive rock in Jinsha River Valley (Jīnshā Jiāng Pàn, 金沙江畔). Surrounded by cliffs, the only connection to the outside world is a narrow path. The Jinsha River (Jīnshā Jiāng, 金沙江) runs next to the village providing a source of water to an otherwise completely isolated location.

The Spruce Meadow (Yúnshān Píng, 云杉坪) is a large patch of grassland situated in the midst of virgin spruce forest on the eastern side of Yulong Xue Shan (Jade Dragon Snow Mountain). Among the local Naxi, the grasslands have a long-held reputation as a trysting spot for young lovers. With the decline of arranged marriages and development of the site into an officially designated tourist spot linked by chairlift to the outside world, it's lost a bit of its allure as a romantic getaway though it remains a sublimely beautiful..

While Dali is no longer the somewhat off-the-beaten-path place it once was and Lijiang is a popular domestic and international tourist favorite, Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hǔtiào Xiá, 虎跳峡) is still a place where travelers can escape the crowds and find a cheap bed to sleep in. A thin, winding trail hugs the side of the Haba Xue Shan (Hābāxuě Shān, 哈巴雪山) range as the white-capped waters of the Jinsha River (Jīnshā Jiāng, 金沙江; part of the Yangtze River) swirl far below and the steep mountain slope and craggy peaks of the Yulong Xue..

An impressive sight, especially with Black Dragon Pool in the foreground, Yulong Xue Shan (Yùlóngxuě Shān, 玉龙雪山), or "Jade Dragon Snow Mountain," is actually a 13-peak massif that forms one wall of Tiger Leaping Gorge and whose tallest peak, Shanzidou, rises 5,596 m (18,359 ft) above sea level. The range is home to one of the Northern Hemisphere's southernmost glaciers as well as a wide range of flora and fauna, much of it unique to the region. All of this combines to make it an increasingly popular tourist destination, so..

Situated at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulong Xue Shan, also known as Mt. Satseto), the Tibetan Buddhist Yufeng Lamasery (Yùfēng Sì, 玉峰寺) is farther north and more remote from Lijiang than its fellow monasteries Puji, Fuguo and Wenbi. Its relative remoteness makes it an attractive destination for those looking to get away from the more heavily toured sites closer to Lijiang. In addition to a beautiful forested mountainside location overlooking a picturesque valley floor, the lamasery is home to a famous giant camellia..

When people talk about Lijiang Old Town, they're usually referring to Dayan (Dàyán Gǔchéng, 大研古城). The UNESCO World Heritage Site Lijiang Old Town, also includes the nearby villages of Baisha and Shuhe as well as Dayan. This area survived a 1996 earthquake that leveled most of the modern buildings in town. In the wake of the disaster, Dayan gained fame as a quaint and authentic outpost of Yunnan culture and architecture and went from backpacker secret to tour package feature. Since then, it has struggled to retain its millennium-old..

Jade Spring Park (Yùquán Gōngyuán, 玉泉公园) is one of Lijiang's loveliest in-town attractions. The park encloses the spring-fed Black Dragon Pool (Hēilóng Tán, 黑龙潭), reflectively still and often the clarity and color of fine jade. Traditional architectural works—bridges, pagodas, and the like—dot the edge of the pond. The Dongba Culture Museum by the park's northern entrance displays the traditional art, garb and more of the Naxi minority and modern decorative graffiti can be found..

Another spectacular by Hero (2002) director Zhang Yimou (like his Impression: Liu Sanjie in Yangshuo, and the more recent Impression, West Lake in Hangzhou), Impression Lijiang (Yìnxiàng Lìjiāng, 印象丽江) is an all-singing, all-dancing celebration of local culture. Featuring more than 500 actors, 100 horses, and put on at a reputed cost of US$31m, the show takes place inside the spectacular Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Park, some 3,500 m (11,500 ft) above sea level.

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