Words by Tim Wong
If you have been following this travel series, my last post on Kunming had a massive update of photos that were not initially released so if you haven’t seen the update, go check it out. The second city during my trip was the ancient city of Lijiang and more specifically Old Town of Lijiang and Old Town of Shuhe. Even though China has some very modern and developed cities, there is a large amount of the country still living in a more primitive state. The Old Towns are an interesting fusion of the two which you will see.
First I arrived by tour bus at our extremely peculiar hotel which was theme after the ancient city that happened to be right across the street.
The hotel lobby was grand as it could be. Maybe because I used to be into design so the interior design of the place really catches my eye.
Even the bars and restaurants were extremely lovely to see.
If you watch classic Chinese dramas and movies, you could tell this tea bar was design after the old medicine shops with the walls full of drawers.
Aside from the unique architectural aspects, the campus of the place was massive. It could have been a small town all on its own where you actually traveled around on cart shuttles.
This is a smaller version of the of the panorama, if you’re interested in seeing the large scale, you can blow up that image by clicking it.
This was our building where we stayed. The whole building was sticking with the theme very closely down to the rooms themselves. This is probably because I’m a guy, but I really liked the layout of the room due to the fact if you slide the walls in the right way, you can watch and hear the television from virtually any spot in the room (includes the toilet, bathtub, and shower).
I’m sure many expect going to China will look something like this:
Where everything looks like the old movies and cars are like 50 years old and some of it did, but other parts should stay old because it is culturally irreplaceable.
The Old Town of Shuhe is an excellent example of a culture that still lives on today regardless of how much the outside world has changed.
Our group dumped plenty of money into this trip so our local guide in Lijiang pulled out all the stops for our convenience and pleasure. Riding into town by horse was cool, but the fact that everyone gets out of the way for you is even better.
The town layout is based around waterways created from fresh natural water which flows throughout the entire town next to every walkway, every home, and every shop. The whole lifestyle works around the water which the used to drink, to wash food, to washing the body. They obviously separate the three bodies of water, but it’s quite the elegant system.
This is called the Three Wells which separate the three functions.
The water is cool to the touch so it works nicely to the point, they don’t really need refrigerators.
The native people of Lijiang are known as Nakhi and they still wear the traditional clothes as you can see the elderly woman above. Fun fact: Nakhi women’s marital status can be seen by the X across their chest. If the X is flat, then they are unmarried. You can look up the difference in the way it is crossed.
There was dogs running around all over the place in China and I spotted this one grabbing some buns from a small offering. It was quite amusing because it would grab one walk a few steps and then come and grab another.
After a bit of walking, we stopped into Miles for some coffee and green tea.
Just doing some artsy bokehlious photos.
I wasn’t kidding when I said there were dogs everywhere.
Random Audi A8L rolled into the middle of town. Hilarious thing was, the passenger getting had the biggest hissy fit when he saw me sitting down 100ft away taking a picture of the car.
While I was over there, I did see a surprising amount of people fans of WRC. There was WRC stickers slapped on pretty much any random car.
As the sun started to set, we stopped in to a restaurant for some dinner.
The food in Lijiang was rather different from what I was expecting because hotpot was the common cooking style and tonight was wild mushroom hotpot. Pretty much everything was wild mushroom based.
What’s inside? Yep, wild mushroom.
Lastly, I found some meat. Not the typical beef I’d normally eat as this was yak beef.
After dinner, we had just one more stop to make and it was just the night life in the Old Town of Lijiang.
Off road equipped Jeep sitting outside
Another WRX stickered up car.
The Old Town of Lijiang during the night. Of course, I will revisit the town during the day for a different perspective, but for now, this is is the night life were all the younger generation come out to play.
As beautiful the town is at night, the scene is rather exciting as the bar and night clubs pretty take over the city. I did manage to get these pictures without a tripod and even if I did have one, it would have been way too crowded to use anyways.
I will continue this series, but for now, I will leave you will some video of the Lijian night life. The video I found on Youtube which I feel most capture the scene best: