Lijiang


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Giant water wheel

After a long journey, first by night train from Chengdu to Panzhihua, and then by bus, we arrive in Lijiang. After such a long journey, we don't have a lot of energy left. So on our first day in Lijiang we don't see a lot of the city. And the one thing we do see (from the bus) doesn't encourage us to see the sights... they have a Dutch bar here. Aaaarrggh, let's avoid that, ok.

Elderly Naxi people
The next day we're ready to explore. First, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. This mountain is 5500 meters high, with the highest cable car in the world reaching as high as 4500 meters. I thought it would be a neat idea not to use the cable car, and go to 4500 meters on foot. Not possible, the Chinese authorities won't let you do that, unless you pass some sort of exam that proves you're up to it. Passing that exam takes almost three months, in which you have to climb some other (lower) mountains nearby.

Hell, forget it. So, the cable car it is.....

Or is it??? After a couple of hours waiting at the base station, it becomes clear this is not just the highest cable car in the world. It's also the cable car with the longest queues in the world. There's one queue down here, but (because there are two stages) up there you'll have to wait again, and again, and again. Suddenly, I don't want to go up anymore'. No matter how beautiful it is up there, I'm not waiting for 6 hours.

I head back to the city, find a nice restaurant for lunch, rent a bike, and go out to explore the farmlands around Lijiang. Ahhh, that feels better.

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Leon with his rented bicycle

A Japanese water buffalo (made by Mitsubishi)

Lijiang is the home of the Naxi minority people. In the city, I had the feeling the people in the traditional Naxi dresses were there just for the tourists. Here, out in the fields, the people look like they belong here. Yep, the real thing.

Lijiang farmlands

At 5 in the afternoon, my travel companions return from the mountain. They had more patience than I did (and they'd already paid, which is very important if you're Dutch). Exhausted from waiting, ravenously hungry because they had to skip lunch, and full of stories about the beauty of the mountains, and the snow, and the views. Yeah, right.

Chinese lanterns

In the evening we discover Lijiang is indeed very touristic. No surprises here, the Dutch bar was a dead giveaway. But we like Lijiang anyway, it's a very nice city with lots of restaurants and bars. And - very unlikely in China - they have cold beer.

Water mill

Lijiang by night Some sort of temple

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