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How popular is this time-locked place? Lijiang’s (丽江, Lìjiāng) maze of cobbled streets, rickety (or rickety-looking, given gentrification) wooden buildings and gushing canals suck in over eight million people a year. So thick are the crowds in the narrow alleys that it can feel like they've all arrived at the same time.

But remember the 80/20 rule: 80% of the tourists will be in 20% of the places. Get up early enough and you can often beat the crowds. And when they do appear, that’s the cue to hop on a bike and cycle out to one of the nearby villages.

Explore Lijiang

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Lijiang.


Learn more about Lijiang

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