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Where to stay in Lijiang/Yunnan?

Taby, Sweden
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67 posts
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Where to stay in Lijiang/Yunnan?

In September we will be on our first trip to China and have allocated approx 5 days to Yunnan - thought of the area Dali-Lijiang-Shangri-la.

1) Is it realistic to fly into Lijiang and stay there for all days, covering Dali and Shangri-la from there - or would you rather recommend to travel on from place to place?

2) Lijiang seems to be a lovely antient place but many call it "destroyed by the turists" - how bad is it? E.g. staying at a hotel in the old town such as Zen Garden Wuyi Yard in a "secong floor room with a fantastic view" - can you sleep at night? Many talk about noise from the bars? Is it perhaps better to stay outside Lijiangold town, or in a place like Baisha with its old town?

Beijing, China
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1. Re: Where to stay in Lijiang/Yunnan?

It is not possible to stay in Lijiang then visit Dali and Shangrila as day trip.

Dali you probabaly need two days,if you meet the local market day it is much fun

Shangrila at least 2 days.

Lijiang if you stay in the old town still fun,if you want really stay far away from tourists,you can think about to stay in Shuhe old town.Which is not too far from Lijiang

2. Re: Where to stay in Lijiang/Yunnan?

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Kihei, Hawaii
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4. Re: Where to stay in Lijiang/Yunnan?

You might consider 7 days for northern Yunnan if seeing some of China's more beautiful outdoor sites is a priority.

It's about 4-5 hours driving between Dali and Lijiang and Lijiang and Shangri-La. The Lijiang to Shangri-La drive is particularly nice with some spectacular scenery a;ong the way.

Lijiang is at about 8400 ft above sea level and Shangri-la is almost at 10,000feet. If you don't need time to acclimate you might want to fly into Shangri-La, spend two days there. Then a stop in Tiger leaping Gorge for 1 night. Spend 2 nights not in Lijiang but in Shuhe, which is a beautiful Naxi Village 15 minutes from Lijiang by bicycle or less then 10 minutes by mini-van. Lijiang's "Ancient City"is a cross between a theme park with no rides and an outdoor shopping mall. Having said that, it is beautiful in the evening when the hills are lit up ad the bar scene is amusing. You can make it down to Dali and just spend 1 night there. That leaves you one day if you want to make it down to Kunming which is the capital of Yunnan and a pleasant city of 4 million with good Indian, Thai and Western Food.

A more adventurous option would be to head from Shangri-La to Deqin a really beautiful 6 hour ride. Spend a night there (no choice). Then the next day take a horse or trek through Ya Kou Valley to Yubeng and spend a night or two there.

I'm here right in Shuhe right now

Miami Beach, Florida
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for Shanghai Region
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5. Re: Where to stay in Lijiang/Yunnan?

I am not sure where some of the above information is coming from.

If you were to go by private taxi, then these are the travel times. From Lijiang to Dali, about 2 1/2 hours. From Lijiang to Zhongdian (ShangriLa) about 3 hours. So you can make each a day trip, but I do not recommend it.

Lijiang is over-run by tourists and at the same time very much worth the effort to stay in the old city. It is not destroyed by tourists. It was restored to attract tourists. I stayed right next door to the Zen Garden at the Moon Inn for several nights. It was very quiet at night as you are well removed from any nightlife. This is a residential neighborhood and the roosters were my wakeup call. The best time to explore the old city is for breakfast and before the bus tours arrive at around 9 a.m. So to enjoy old Lijiang without the tourists, you must stay there. After dinner, the crowds thin out somewhat, and the Naxi music concert is worth listening in spite of the long Chinese monologues.

I would not stay out at Baisha, in spite of the Banyan Tree five-star ambiance, as you are literally in the middle of no where. You must take a taxi to have a choice of meals or surroundings. Much nicer in old Lijiang.

We took a day trip to Zhongdian and stayed up there for maybe three or four hours, enough for lunch, exploring the central square market, driving around to appreciate the colorful Tibetan architecture and to go the Yak Meadow park where you can ride horses on the Tibetan Plateau to mingle with Yak amid highland meadows and wildflowers. It was well worth the day trip, and an overnight would be interesting also.

The trip up to Zhongdian is fun, as you go through Tiger Leaping Gorge and then travel up a narrow gorge alongside a rapidly flowing river. It is a new highway, but still an adventure for those sitting on the right side of the vehicle.

Dali could be a day trip also, but I would recommend overnight so you can hike up in the Cangshan, visit the new Buddhist Monastery (largest one in China, and a recreation of an ancient one behind the Three Pagodas), and walk around Dali which makes Lijiang seem to be a tourist ghost town. Avoid the highly touted lake boat ride as a waste of time and money.

The cost of the private taxi was around 400-450 Yuan per day, not bad considering the amount of touring which can be fit into a single day. The same taxi took us to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (waited there) and Baisha for about 170 yuan (total a 1/2 day trip). The Moon Inn arranged the taxi, as I am sure the Zen Garden will also. Just be sure to bargain hard and not accept the first price offer. The taxi driver probably will not speak fluent English, so make sure you have all arrangements nailed down and get some directions written out, such as "please wait," "let's stop here," and "let's go."

I enjoyed my time in all three towns and would highly recommend them. This is a completely different China from the East Coast.

Taby, Sweden
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6. Re: Where to stay in Lijiang/Yunnan?

Thank you everybody for useful input! I will post what we will decide upon.

P.S. One other comment - as a frequent reader of TA Forums I have had the pleasure to read several of SoBeSparky's answers/entries. Always very informative and just, straight forward. Just wanted hereby say it is a joy to read what good competent people write. Thank you.

Melbourne, Australia
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for Beijing, Lijiang
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7. Re: Where to stay in Lijiang/Yunnan?

We were just in Lijiang in April. We must have been lucky as we found it no where near as busy as we expected. It was nice during the morning but the main shopping area & town square was busy during the day. Lots of day trips to do from Lijiang to keep you occupied tho.

We spent one of the days visiting Snow Dragon Mountain and seeing the Impressions of Lijiang Show. Although being from Sweden you are probably used to snow LOL.

The old town is big enough to wander away from the main area and have an enjoyable amble around in peace & quiet. We really loved Lijiang.

We stayed at the Tea Boutique on lion Hill which had beautiful views looking down onto the old town. They also have anonther part of their guest house in a quiet are of old Lijiang. Can highly recommend them as they really take care of you and their hotel is delightful.

http://teagalleria.blogspot.com/

There also reviews for the Tea Boutique on trip Advisor

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g303783-d137139…

Like SBS also did a day trip to Zhongdian (Shangri-la). If you can fit it in it is well worth it. The scenery was amazing.

Have a great time.

Taby, Sweden
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8. Re: Where to stay in Lijiang/Yunnan?

Guess where we have booked our stay in - room 206, Lion Hill, ... and guess again: based on who's review on TA?

:-)

promise to write a report when we'll be back!

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Beijing, Lijiang
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9. Re: Where to stay in Lijiang/Yunnan?

Have a great time guys!!!

And visit the market area - go past Mu's Mansion, go to the left and there is a little walk way between two builings.

No tourists - just genuine Lijianger's doing their shopping. Have seen lots of markets all over China - this is the best! (& cleanest LOL)

Lijiang is a great spot & you could not have picked a better place to stay:)))))

Taby, Sweden
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10. Re: Where to stay in Lijiang/Yunnan?

Thank you everybody for valuable input. This is what we finally arrived at. Any comments?

Wed: arrive evening to Lijiang, night in Lijiang

Thu: in Lijiang and villages around, night in Lijiang

Fri: day trip to Zhongdian, TLG, night in Lijiang

Sat: lisure trip to Dali, arrive evening, night Dali

Sun: hike Cangshan, Buddhist Monastery, night in Dali

Mon: in Dali and villages around, night Dali

Tue: leave in the morning for Guilin/Yangshuo

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