23 October, 2007

No.22: Yunnan - Lijiang (Part I)

Lijiang Old Town
7th-8th August 2007

This year's summer vacation is spent visiting two provinces in China. I've written about my Guizhou Province visit. From Guizhou I proceeded on to Yunnan Province, known for having the highest percentage of the minority people group in China. It was my second visit to Yunnan Province, with my first visit in 2005 mostly spent visiting places in and around Kunming, the capital of Yunnan. This time, two of my friends Lz, J and I went to Lijiang.

Located in the north western corner of Yunnan Province, Lijiang is an old town comprising of a maze of little cobbled roads, rickety old wooden buildings, winding alleyways, drooping willow trees, little stone bridges, markets, inns and canals running through rows and rows of restaurants and bars on either side. It is at an elevation of 2400 meters above sea level, or about 7500 feet high. Lijiang old town has a history dating back to more than 800 years old. The bright lights and the Naxi (Na-Shee) culture handicraft shops seem to lend a bit of an authentic atmosphere.

On 3rd February 1996, the deadliest earthquake of the decade struck Lijiang Old Town with a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter scale. Surprisingly, the old Naxi buildings were able to withstand the severe earthquake and were still found standing whereas all the high rise buildings were destroyed. This instantly raised the fame of Lijiang and since has been a hot spot for many visitors. The new city of Lijiang is just another city, but the old city is what most of the people come for.



We set out from Kunming on 6th August at 8:10 pm. We boarded an air-conditioned sleeper bus with rows and rows of bunk beds instead of reclining seats. I was fascinated as this actually is my first tour on a sleeper bus. But the fascination was short lived as once the bus gets into motion, the passengers started smoking a great deal, that too with no windows!(air..air...gasping for fresh air). Also, on our way back, we took a sleeper bus again where two western women smoked at the front near the driver (hmpfff....they should have known better!). The Chinese passengers took this opportunity to practice English using all their Chinglish from their bunks. This time, my friend J, amidst the 'English practice' took the opportunity to tell them from one dark corner in a very broken English not to smoke :) I don't think they figured it came from another foreigner. But it sure did the trick :)

We stopped twice, at a bus station and at another place where the driver had something to eat at a restaurant(probably to kill time) and we, who needed fresh air and wanting to stretch our aching bones went out in the crisp night air. We finally arrived early in the morning at around 5:30 am. We lingered for a while on the bus as no public transport runs that early. At around 6:20 am, we met a girl looking for people to stay in their hotel. After bargaining and settling for the price, a van took us to our hotel which was right in the Old Town area. As we entered the Old Town, it was still very quiet and empty other than travelers like ourselves. After checking in, we wandered off to find a restaurant for breakfast. Most of the shops were still closed so we settled for a Chinese breakfast which was about the only shop open at that wee hour.

Having rested, we set out to explore the narrow cobbled streets listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. We soon found that the streets were very convoluted that it was very easy to get lost. By now the streets have come alive and it was rather shocking to find that almost all the houses turns out to be shops other than the ones at the outback area. I'd say the place is literally mobbed by tourists of about 90% Chinese and 10% foreigners! The entire town is pedestrians-only and cars, bikes and other vehicles are banned making it easy to explore and pollution free.

5 comments:

  1. kal ve lo ang mai in ngaih nawm ti deuhvin ka chhiar chu le,ziak ngaihnawm thiam thin e.

    Ziak ve ila chuan tlar nga velah a tawp mai awm sia..

    Khami zan kha chuan meizial kha zuk ve mai ka chak,Gold Flake chu nei ila ka zu khu ve luai luai ang maw le..:D

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  2. a nawm hmel thei phian mai, China hi ka kal ve chak tlat. Just out of curiosity, enge China ah hian I tih a jinx?1

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  3. Chutia mon le seki leh!!:) Zu khu ve vaih lang chuan i tukhum a ri thum dup anga, a pong lai i dap i dap mai ang hehehe

    @Jerusha: Tourism ah tan an la nasa bok a, China chu tlawh tur a pui hi an ngah riau asin. University ah ka zirtir ve lauh2 anih hi :)
    Chuan, i blog ah comment ka pe thei thak lo.Vawi tam ka try a,error om a ti zel. Nang poh hi i ngal chak hmel riau mai :) Bharat ah la om amo tih lai hian hlate khuaah ilo om leh hman daih zel :P
    Bondi Beach kha oooo...tloh ngei ngei chi.
    Thil pakhat ka tih hmanloh ka ui em em chu,Sydney harbour bridge lawn kha....:(

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  4. :) jinx - I va changsang ve aw, kei university ah hian zir lam ti leh tawh ila ka lo tih mai mai laiin.
    Beach lam ho chu ka la tlawh lo, swimsuit hakna chance la awm lo :) Bridge chu ka va lawn ham ham tawh sin!

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  5. Uizzz Jerusha,bridge i lon chu ka lon ah kalo ngai ve mai ange...hehee.Bondi beach ka kal lai chuan a rak over top...a sand kha ka beach tloh toh zz ah a dangdai top bok.Melbourne lam te, Uluru te kal tum m?
    Nangni ang pianpui MA (BA poh nilo) nei tan te chuan zir2 ngai toh hleihnem mole :P
    Thud!! tine monle, i blogah chiah ka comment theilo.Comment page a lang theilo hrim2 :(

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