Our first trip to Kunming, back in 2015, wasn’t planned very far ahead of time. We had been granted a few extra days of holidays before our trip to Thailand, so we zipped down to the capital of Yunnan and didn’t have time for anything beyond that. This time around, we made sure to get out of Kunming, and we were very glad we did!
We stayed at a nice little hotel in Shuhe Old Town, which is far enough from the main buzz that we could get some sleep, but close enough to lots of restaurants and shops that we weren’t remote. The whole area was beautiful and I honestly felt like I couldn’t take a bad picture if I tried.
Most people come to Lijiang to see Tiger Leaping Gorge, and I’ll get to that in my next post. Lijiang is so much more than a stopover though and there is plenty to see right in the city itself.
Black Dragon Pond
Black Dragon Pond Park is a lovely place to go for an evening stroll. It was built in the 1700s and offers peaceful walking paths and beautiful pavilions and pagodas to enjoy during your stroll.
We didn’t spend a great deal of time here, but we walked around shortly before sunset and enjoyed the comfortable weather and the peaceful atmosphere.
We made the mistake of visiting Mufu palace in the heat of a very hot day, so we didn’t actually stay long. We did manage to see some of the palace’s beautiful architecture.
In its hay day, Mufu palace, which was owned by the Mu Family for 22 generations, rivaled Beijing’s forbidden city in size and splendor. The palace was destroyed in the 1800s, and the area was used to build houses in the developing area, but in the late 1900s, a reconstruction was planned, and the palace was rebuilt as a tribute.
Even if you can’t see the whole palace, it’s only about 40rmb to get in and walk around (under $10cad pp), so it’s well worth even a short visit.
Old City of Lijiang
We spent quite a bit of time in the old city. It was beautiful, lively and not nearly as crowded as we’ve seen in other places. Unlike Pingjianglu in Suzhou, Lijiang old city is sprawling and covers a very large area.
There are shops selling all sorts of yak-related products. We tried yak jerky, Yak skewers, Yak yogurt and Yak candy while we were in old town, and it was all delicious!!
You can also buy scarves, locally made fruit wine and all sorts of souvenirs in the old city. And of course, the bar scene is worth mentioning. There’s live music all the way down the bar street. The nightlife in Lijiang wasn’t really something I was expecting. It kind of felt like we were in a tame version of Thailand!
Lijiang is a city full of life, great food and beautiful architecture. With perfect climate, big doggie friends in abundance and all the liveliness in the world, Lijiang is definitely worth a stop in Yunnan!
Stay tuned for my post on Tiger Leaping Gorge!