After a short couple of hours on the train we arrived at the Lijiang train station. Again just like Dali, what you are searching for is the Old Town. We didn’t come all this way for the outside town and once again it’s a mad fight for the bus heading from the rail station to Old Town. We arrived in the evening and spent a little bit of time scrambling around for a room. Many place were fully booked already but Lijiang also has a dearth of accommodations. Be a smart shopper here and look around a lot , some places are nice but also very expensive. We couldn’t stay at our first choice , The Panba Hostel , this time because it was already fully booked. So we walked around until we found a place called Mama Naxi’s. Mama is a very nice old lady who goes out of her way to help the backpackers. The place isn’t all that nice but what the rooms lack Mama makes up for , the price also helps too!
Once we had settled in we set out to cruise the streets of the Old Town. It’s an amazing place with cobblestone streets , red lanterns hanging throughout the town , streams running alongside the cobblestones, and hordes of (mainly) domestic tourists. On our quick walk through the town that night we discovered tons of good street food , I tried my first yak meat ( delicious!) , and we realized how easy it is to get lost in the all too similar looking cobblestone streets. Also an awesome point is that no cars are allowed in Old Town! Strictly pedestrians which can be a relief from the typical maelstrom of activity in Asia. Walking around we discovered a few wild herb plants growing in some backyards , funny how in some places that will get you arrested and locked up in a heartbeat. We also discovered the main bar strip which feels so weird in this setting. You walk up and see some more of the typical old style asian architecture , which is beautiful , and hear pulsating bass emanating from neon lit up old buildings. I guess late at night people try to out sing each other across the canals on the main bar strip. Touts also wait outside the bars for drunken tourists to emerge so they can pay a little bit of cash to make a wish and light a candle on a styrofoam boat and sit it adrift down one of the main canals. Down the river a net lies across the canal so the styrofoam doesn’t go pollute the environment and the boats are reused. Not a bad way to make some cash. Its only 15 yuan or so , a bit less than 2.5USD so yea its okay make a wish if you want , I didn’t haha. This main bar strip is mainly aimed at the domestic tourists which means they have very little dancing and very annoying techno pop music. I wouldn’t visit these bars at all ,however Lijiang does have an assortment of cool bars , jazz bars , book bars , and others which can feature live music and shows. Worthwhile to look for these different spots. The next day we walked around and visited the town market. The market is cool but one notable thing it that I saw my first straight-up in your face dog meat for sale. I hate when I talk to people from North America or Europe and one of the (only) things they seem to know is that you can eat dog in China. The dog you can eat here isn’t your pet fluffy dog. Non-domesticated dogs are what’s being served. I find it super hypocritical when people express extreme disgust at eating dog but then procede to eat pig , cow , duck , chicken , fish , shrimp , etc. If you eat meat it’s just another meat. We don’t go around abducting people’s pets are serving them up in China. Note , at this time I hadn’t eaten dog myself but that will come later on in the trip.
Lijiang has a few tourist spots outside of the city such as : cable car to some pristine alpine fields , a trip to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, a hike to see some Yaks , a trip to a small lake , etc. Another very cool thing I noticed was the usage of minority Dongba script. Almost all signs in Lijaing have Dongba hieroglyphic script in addition to the Chinese. Before I came to China I didn’t realize the amounts of minorities and hence minority languages in use in China. You can find anything from Arabic , Tibetan and Mongolian , to hieroglyphical languages. I really appreciated reading the Chinese characters and then seeing the hieroglyphics underneath. As much as an accomplishment as being able to read Chinese is , I still want to be able to understand the other scripts that I see. This happens everywhere I go. I just can’t help it!
We didn’t go off and visit the spots outside of Lijiang , we just kind of walked around Old Town and relaxed. Sometimes after a long time of whirlwind traveling you don’t really want to go see all the sights anymore. You just want to get a feel for everyday life in the various places you visit. I’m not saying don’t visit the tourist spots but sometimes it’s nice just to kick back and take it all in. Especially seeing as how everyday in Yunnan it seems like I’m visiting some mountain , a field , or seeing some exotic. After a while you start to wonder ” Just how many mountains do I need to take in during this month?” , you start to want something a little bit different.
Sorry nothing too exciting here but we just needed a bit of R&R. Our next stop was Lugu lake resting right on the border of Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. See?!?! More lakes and more mountains woooo!