Lìjiāng Old Town

Historic Site in Lijiang

The old town is centred on the busy and touristy Old Market Square. The surrounding lanes are dissected by a web of artery-like canals that once brought the city’s drinking water from Yuquan Spring, on the far outskirts of what is now Black Dragon Pool Park. Several wells and pools are still in use around town (but hard to find). Where there are three pools, these were designated into pools for drinking, washing clothes and washing vegetables.

A famous example of these is the White Horse Dragon Pool in the deep south of the old town, where you can still see the locals washing their veggies after buying them in the market.

Now acting as sentinel of sorts for the town, the Looking at the Past Pavillion has a unique design using dozens of four-storey pillars – culled from northern Yúnnán old-growth forests.

A must-see is Zhōngyì Market where locals sell produce, copper items and livestock. If you are craving a slice of old Lìjiāng, this is where you’ll find it.