Black Dragon Pool Park

Lijiang

China, Yunnan province, Lijiang, listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, Black Dragon Pool and Jade Drag

Getty Images/Hemis.fr RM

On the northern edge of town is Black Dragon Pool Park; the view from here of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is an obligatory photo stop in southwestern China. The Dongba Cultural Institute is part of a renovated complex on the hillside inside, an interesting stop for Naxi cultural artefacts and scrolls featuring the unique Naxi pictograph script.

Trails lead up Elephant Hill (象山, Xiàng Shān) to a dilapidated gazebo and then across a spiny ridge past a communications centre and back down the other side, making a nice morning hike (but bring your passport to register before you start the hike).

The park is included in the all-encompassing Lijiang Old Town entrance ticket, but in practice this is the only place it seems to be checked.