Life in Lijiang - 14th August 2008 @ 12:59 pm «   »

Location: China, Yunnan Province : Life in Lijiang

We left the beach and sand of Sanya at 23:55 on Saturday evening to board our first of two overnight hardsleepers. At 08:30 we arrived in Zhanjiang and had to take a local bus to the main train station – about a 30 minutes ride away. It started raining at that stage and we didn’t really have the energy to walk around town, so we just parked off inside the station and waited for our next train in the afternoon. Luckily they had tv screens in the station that showed the Olympics, so the 5 hour wait went by quiet quickly.

The train departed at 14:12 for Kunming and this time it was a much older train with no aircon. We had the upper hardsleepers again and only survived the heat due to the little fan above our heads. But for some unknown reason, they switched off all the fans and closed all the windows during the night. So, after a sweaty and stuffy night, we arrived in Kunming at 09:45 on Monday morning. We had a flyer of the Hump Hostel so we headed straight there from the train station. It is a very nice hostel with a huge lounge/patio area on the 3rd floor that overlooks the main square. We checked in for 1 night and left again the next morning on the 10:00 bus to Lijiang.

The journey to Lijiang was 9 hours on a a sleeper bus. After our previous sleeper bus experience, we were not too impressed but this bus turned out to be much more comfortable and the time actually went really quickly.

It was just before 19:00 Tuesday evening when we arrived in Lijiang and as we already booked Mama Naxi’s  Guesthouse in the Old Town, we just gave them a call from the  station and they arranged a pick-up. The hostel is run by a little lady and we arrived in the middle of dinner – which is a very busy, noisy affair (but a good bargain at only 10 Yuan per person) with all the staff running around, including Mama herself. Needless to say, there was complete chaos and confusion when we wanted to check in and after some shouting and arm waiving from Mama, we realised there was no double room left in the main guesthouse. One of the girls then took us to another one of the Mama houses and we got a big double room in a much quieter environment.

Lijiang is about 2000m above sea level and this cause for a very mild temperature – even at this time of the year. It is a pleasant, cool haven after our previous steamy destinations and it actually feels strange not having to apply sunblock all over before heading out!

Wednesday morning we started exploring the Old Town and soon realised that it is quiet a challenge without a map, but we found our way around just fine in the end. The Old Town is a maize of cobbled stone paths and canals with dozens of shops selling all kinds of colourful trinkets. It is a beautiful little town with loads of character and we’ve spent the last 2 days just wondering the streets, enjoying the local delights in cozy cafes and sipping ginger tea while watching life go by in Lijiang’s alleys.

We’re planning on spending another few nights here in Lijiang and if the weather permits we’ll be attempting a day-trek to the famed Tiger Leaping Gorge – about 2 hours further north. Either way, we’re but too happy to be spending some quality time in such a laid-back, wonderful little place.

If you can’t see the slideshow above click here.

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