29 March 2007

18 Yunnan: Lijiang - The Beautiful Rivers

My mother told me that all the Chinese always want to come to Lijiang once in their life, because of its famous beauty. (She is 100% Chinese born in Thailand, so we have some reasons to believe her.)

It is not so surprising that when some of the Chinese got richer (some of them is already a lot) they all head to Lijiang and transforท it into one of the most touristic cities in China (or in the universe). Especially after 1997 when Lijiang was announced to be UNESCO World Heritage, its fame got sky rocketing.

The small old city of Lijiang when we arrived on one evening was super crowded like a stadium when they have a big football match - very disappointing. It is very similar to Venice: very beautiful, very touristic. We had to wait until everything was closed down around 11 pm., when started to admire its real beauty - like Venice in winter.

The city of Lijiang is famous for its small rivers running around the city, where people used to live their life - bathing, washing, drinking. They have a common schedule of how to use the rivers, everybody has to use the rivers for the same thing at the same time. The city itself is situated on the hills between two mountains.

The cluster of the houses of in Lijiang are, of course, Chinese courtyard house typology, with some different decorations of Nanzi ethnic group who are the local. Some part of the old city became super touristic, while some part are still very quiet and people still live their more or less normal life with less disturbance from tourists. We also found a very cute guesthouse where I will surely stay if I visit Lijiang again.

Around Lijiang is also very beautiful natural scenery. We went to Jade Dragon Mountain (ภูเขามังกรหยก) and visited a Tibetian Buddhism Temple.

My students and a Tibetian little girl.

In the last morning there, we escaped from the charming old touristic city to see where the real people live in an open air market. Very nice and cute. Look at the simple rattan furniture!

A shop selling prefabriated doors and windows in the market.

The last thing got me impressed in Lijiang is the airport. It is not fancy or anything. But the airport has this smoking area as an outdoor space in the departure lounge. Even for a non-smoking person like me, compare to the smoking cage in Suvannabhumi airport, Lijiang Airport smoking space is a paradise. :)

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