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Monthly Archives: May 2008

March 2008 Lijiang, China (26 52 N, 100 14E)

Lijiang, China is located in the border area between Southwest China’s Yunnan province and Tibet. The Old Town area of the city is lined with beautiful tile-roofed court yard houses. The wooden homes and flag-stoned pavements are reminiscent of Tang and Song Dynasty styles. Several minority ethnic groups live here, most notability 210,000 Naxis. In fact, the town was built and developed by the Naxi people. The town flourished as a trading post on the “Tea-Horse Ancient Path”. Tibetans bartered horses for tea with the villagers around this area.

My first visit to the Old Town was in November 2006. Located in a Lijiang River valley, the old town is an excellent representation of traditional Chinese courtyard houses. Its architecture is noteworthy for the blending of elements for several cultures that have lived in Lijiang over the years. My two favorite examples are Wen Chang Palace and Mu Palace.


Another unique attraction of Lijiang’s is its complex and ingenious ancient water supply system that still functions today. In fact the icons of the town are two huge water wheels located at one of the entrances to the town. It is along the main canal where most of the local restaurants set up temporary outside eating areas when the weather is pleasant. Further along the canal both sides are lined with open air bars full of very inebriated singers charming the opposite sex from opposite sides of the canal. As if it provides some protection. The mating rituals of the Naxi and their singing of pickup lines across the canal is a unique and an entirely different story to be told later. Read More »