Lijiang Old Town
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. Lijiang Old Town is a tourist’s ideal, a picture postcard combination of cobbled streets, traditional wooden buildings and sleepy canals fed fresh water from Yuquan Spring at Black Dragon Lake. The waterways, ponds and wells have continued to be an integral part of the city down the centuries, even after the introduction of piped water.
For centuries this was the capital of the Naxi, a people of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau who had settled in the area by around the third century CE. The old town is a warren of lanes and streams which nurture more than 6,200 households. While Naxi culture dominates, a large part of the town’s attraction is its multiethnic tapestry, in which, from music to architecture, Naxi meets Han and Bai styles in a unique fusion.