Getting around Lijiang. Dont stay in the Old Towns more than 2 days, there is nothing to do. 

Written by Oct 9, 2013 05:46
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I booked into the Holiday Inn in the old town Schuhe. I was quite disappointed, as an Accor member and expecting better, the room was quite dirty. The best thing was that it was quite large, with a large bed, TV, and bathroom was ok. Be prepared to sleep on boards, just covered with a couple of cloths. However, the room was dark as all the furniture and floor is timber and only one window and the lights were totally inadequate. The floor under the furniture and around edges was literally with age old dust, the cleaning was a sweep around the middle of the room only. The shower was covered in grit from the water, and white patches of mineral deposits built up on the floor. 

As you have to be fastidious about your drinking water in China, I would religiously boil water in the jug for cold drinking but when you poured the water into a glass, it would be quite milky from the calcium build up inside the jug. I asked for a new jug,(or my chinese friends I had just met did for me) but it was not possible to get one. NO ONE speaks english, so it was not easy getting tours organised etc.  

We arrived late, there were others on the plane that arrived late and it seemed to be the decision to get the shuttle bus. That was not a good decision, if you are stayin in the Old town.  The fee was about 30 Rmb to get to the terminus and when we arrived, now about 11 pm, the taxi drivers did not want to take anyone anywhere! We had 3 groups speaking english, and all different destinations, and no one could get a taxi! We were all panicking, one mother with 2 young children, myself alone with a 20 kg suitcase and backpack, plus another couple of French travellers. I went into the hotel around to the right, near the terminus and the owner refused to assist me, i had asked her to write my destination down from my phone on to a piece of paper as the phone was going flat. My destination was in Chinese which was sent to me by the travel guide. She was one of the few most unpleasant people i met in China. 

So I pleaded with a chinese man smoking outside to do the same, and at first he refused and then agreed. I tried flagging taxis, empty ones just drove by to no avail. So different to Beijing, Hangshou and Chendgu and Shanghai! These people in Lijiang are no where near as friendly, except for the odd one.  I ended up jumping in the back of a taxi as someone was getting out and convinced her to take me to the Old Town. She wanted 50 rmb, it was supposed to be 20rmb but I would agree to anything now! No taxi drivers want to drive to the old town. Once I got there I was too afraid to leave for the next week, in case I went through this again! I would not stay in the old Towns, unless you have a driver or a hire car organised. One day visit is enough or maybe 2, but there is nothing to do there, once you walk around and to see the area, you need to get out for a tour.  Also I got a bad case of gastro-enteritis there, left a day early and spent the next 5 days in a hospital in Shanghai! I think it was some food in a restaurant, as  I was so careful with water and fruit! 

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Comments (4)


Jul 30, 2016 03:25 Reply


LIjiang old town district is the area well preserved with most minority nationality in China. Most local and old people cannot speak English in this countryside, but the young can speak I think.

You really have that courage to travel without accompanying Chinese friends!
My experience is that download the Baidu Map or Goegle Map APP which can help you find the right way to the hotel and any other spots, and you don't have to print some paper copies. You can also download the translation tools and Ubber with you.

For me, like the above said, I also had the same experience in Intalia where people don't speak English and the striking workers made my train schedule delay and cost me lot of money for finding new rail lines and hotel!


Mar 10, 2014 01:50 Reply

Mr.ERIC WONG from Singapore said:

It is very tough for someone who does not speak Chinese to travel free and easy in parts of China which are less exposed to the outside world like Shanghai and Beijing. Far less people in these parts of China speak or even understand English. And if you really plan for whatever reason to go to such place, makes sure you have a map with you. Get it printed out back home before you leave for China! You can find these maps on the internet these days, so it is only a matter of an hour of googling and printing, and it will save you much more than an hour (of getting lost) when in China. It more than pay back!

As for maps, I would suggest that two would be better - one in English (or Chinese pinyin) and that's for you, and another one in Chinese, so you can more or less match the locations and show them to the locals if you need help).

I do understand the ordeal Ms Kriss had been through. Other than some words - the names of some food dishes and simple greetings like Buon Giorno or Come Stai- I am unable to hold a conversation in Italian. After leaving Rome and Milano for the less well known cities/towns like Brindisi, Ancona, Lecce, I had a similar experience. I was curious about these places but did not want to follow an organised tour, so I went around free and un-easy. Well, I still made my way home, except that it took a longer time to find that SOMEONE who spoke English.

Mar 10, 2014 01:54
Mr.ERIC WONG from Singapore replied:

Ugh! My first sentence is not quite grammatically right. What I had meant was that places in China such as various cities and towns in Yunnan - these are less exposed to the outside world unlike Beijing and Shanghai.

The way I had written it makes it sound as if I was saying that Beijing and Shanghai were less exposed to the outside world! LOL (at me).


Mar 1, 2014 08:47 Reply

Ms.MOON from Thailand said:


when in ljiang, we plan to visit Shigu, 1st bend of Yangtze, TGL, Baishuitai and then back to lijiang for 1 night.
we will leave for Shangrila on next day.

can you advise when we travel from Lijiang to Shangrila, will we passing by the same route as above? or is better to go shangrila after TGL? and then visit Baishuitai when in Shangrila



Nov 15, 2013 20:53 Reply


I am sorry for your encounter in Lijiang. But right people and right place, I am sure you will enjoy. I just finished my journey at that time. We have an fantastic travel for 20 days. I am an Chinese. And know where is better. Frantly, Lijiang comercial atmosphere is too strong. I really don't like it as well. So I will make a detail scheduel where I want to go.

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