Very touristy...but still worth the visit

Trip Start Jun 17, 2009
Trip End Jul 20, 2010

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Where I stayed
Panba Guesthouse

Flag of China  , Yunnan Province,
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

After a big crowded and polluted city like Chengdu, the small mountain city of Lijiang, in Yunnan province, felt like a quaint county town.  The biggest difference I noticed was the lack of smog. Not being able to taste the air and actually seeing further than a couple blocks was a very welcome change.  Based on my experiences in the big cities, I was beginning to get the impression that China was just one big polluted mess.  Fortunately there are refuges from the smog.

The guesthouse I stayed in was located on the east side of the old town of Lijiang.  It was a very well run hostel with incredibly friendly staff.

The old town of Lijiang has been rebuilt over the last several years and turned into a major tourist attraction.  Fortunately as I was visiting in the off season I didn't have to fight through any particularly large crowds and I didn't have too much difficulty in keeping unwanted people from ruining my photos.

Old Lijiang is what most people probably picture chinese cities looked like several hundred years ago.  The old style buildings arranged in a complicated maze of winding streets and alley with small streams running throughout bringing fresh water to the inhabitants.  Although the drinking water is now piped into many of the homes and guesthouses, the streams are still used by many of the local inhabitants for washing clothes and other water needs.

The homes in the old town are in a traditional Naxi style although they are rather uninteresting from the outside they often contain nicely decorated central courtyards.  Many of the inns and guesthouses have adopted these designs.

Most of the commerce in the old town is clearly directed at the tourists.  Literally hundreds of shops line the narrow streets and sell every manner of tourist nicknack.  The most common items for sale include leather goods, items made of yak horn (combs and back scratchers were popular), silver jewelry, tea, and traditional musical instruments made from bamboo and a hollowed out gourd.  The artisans were frequently sitting outside their shops working on their crafts. 
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