Lijiang Old Town


The old town is centred on busy and touristy Old Market Square, with the Waterwheel defining the northern edge and the lively Zhongyi Market marking the southern limit (which is a good stop for a slice of old Lijiang's trading traditions or just some afternoon street food). 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), including White Horse Dragon Pool. Where there are three pools, these were designated into pools for drinking, washing clothes and washing vegetables.

Much of the joy of the old town is to be had in wandering small twisting lanes that open into small courtyards, hidden teahouses or tiny temples like Puxian Temple. Don't stress too much about seeing it all – but do make sure to climb the flanks of Lion Hill at some point for sweeping views of the old town and mountains.