The weather in Chengdu has been very unforgiving lately, with highs topping 35 Celsius and lows no lower than 25 Celsius. We decided to head for cooler weather in Yunnan Province, south of Sichuan Province.
We spent most of Day 6 indoors, before heading to Chengdu Airport for a flight to Lijiang, Yunnan. The flight was very short, but also a late-night flight. By the time we got to our hotel, it was midnight and we crashed.
The next morning, we toured the more rural parts of Lijiang. In the morning, we went to Chama Gudao (茶马古道, or Tea-Horse Road). Tea Horse Road is an ancient network of roads, dating from about a thousand years ago. Horses and people would carry goods such as tea and salt from Yunnan Province to other parts of Asia. This was my second time on horseback, and riding a horse was much more tiring than I thought. Imagine traders with their horses, bringing many kilograms of tea over these hilly and at times muddy trails, how hard they would have had it!
Our second destination, Lashi Lake (拉市海), was just a short shuttle ride away. The lake itself was not very impressive, but the surroundings were very beautiful with the distant, rolling, green hills.
After a quick, simple lunch, we headed to the Lijiang Jinta Scenic Area, a Buddhist temple that was restored in 2004. It is high atop a hill, and the view from the top is absolutely gorgeous. It is also incredibly peaceful, a nice contrast to the bustling tourism life below.
Our next stop was Shuhe Ancient Town (束河古城, or Shuhe Gucheng), a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is one of three “Ancient Town”s in Lijiang (we visited the other two a few days later). You can buy many handicrafts from the local artisans here, and the architecture is quite something to marvel at.
To cap off our day, we attended a performance by Lijiang Qianguqing (丽江千古情, roughly Lijiang Eternal Romance). I didn’t expect much, as I’m not particularly interested in live theater. My initial impressions were completely wrong. The show was absolutely spellbinding, with exceptional storytelling, stage and costume design, and even acrobatics. My only complaint was that the acoustics of the hall were not up to par with the action. Nevertheless, I have never felt so riveted by a live show!
Check out this video excerpt of a Qianguqing performance!