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Lijiang: Venice of China


A canal with flowers

A canal with flowers

Lijiang is the old capital city of the Tea Road; for centuries it was the central bazaar where Tibetan and Han traders negotiated for their products. It’s at the bottom of Himalayas and Qinghai – Tibet plateau; you can feel the fresh air at an altitude of 2,000 meters. It’s surrounded with mountains, rivers and lakes. Besides of its amazing landscapes, it’s known also by its rich culture.

One of hundreds canals in Lijiang

One of hundreds canals in Lijiang

More than 20 different ethnic minorities live in Lijiang, amongst them are Naxi, Bai, Tibetan, Puma, Yi , Lisu, Miao people. Each of them have their own traditions and the different colors and styles of dresses fill the car-free cobblestone street of the old city.

Local people from Lijiang

Local people from Lijiang

 

 

 

 

In 1997, Lijiang was the first Chinese hill town listed in the World Cultural Heritage List of UNESCO.

Street view from old Lijiang

Street view from old Lijiang

 

 

Old women of Lijiang

Old women of Lijiang

Old way of transporting merchandise

Old way of transporting merchandise

Together with its picturesque landscapes, the arts and architecture of this town are fabulous. They are the masters of Dongba scripts, drawings depicting the Naxi culture. When I returned back home, my Chinese teacher asked me whether I listened to Naxi music. `Of course` I told her, almost everyday I witnessed live music performance of ethnic people on the border of the canals.

Old Naxi Scripts

Old Naxi Scripts

 

Famous Wall Scripts in Lijiang

Famous Wall Scripts in Lijiang

When you enter into the old city, the first thing that you notice is the numerous stone bridges embellishing the canals of Lijiang.  Another interesting thing: there are many shops where you can rent one of the beautiful Lijiang dresses, there you wear your costume and do your make-up and then a photographer takes your picture on one of the 350 bridges. Nice souvenir!

Pose For

Pose For

Another Pose

Another Pose

Thanks to its nature Lijiang kitchen uses lots of mushrooms or jun zi… really delicious in the hot pots!

Famous Mushrooms

Famous Mushrooms

Kublai Khan arrived to this city and drank water from this well…

Kublai Khan Well in Lijiang

Kublai Khan Well in Lijiang

You must absolutely visit Black Dragon Pool Park (hei long tan) , just 15-20 minutes of walk after you exit from the Old Town. It’s a relaxing place located at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. You can climb to Elephant Hill if you want to see an overview of old and new city. Or you can visit the Naxi Culture center to listen their songs.

Black dragon pool park

Black dragon pool park

This is not particular to Lijiang but my favorite toys, remembers me the Far East Asia 🙂

My favorite!

My favorite!

And don’t forget, life is full of surprises… you can not know when and where you can see a white camel. Sometimes you should switch your path from main streets to side streets 🙂

What is this?

What is this?

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Best of Shanghai!


I haven’t written for a while on my blog because of work, everyday duties, etc. But meanwhile I started to learn Chinese and I dedicate most of my time to this new activity rather than writing. I really enjoy learning this language, it’s like “deciphering” the meanings. It also shows me how immense the Chinese culture. I was lucky because last month I was in Shanghai where I had the  opportunity to practice what I learned in my Chinese class and observe again closely the Chinese culture.

Here is my list of `Best of Shanghai….Happy travel!

1. MAGEV Magnetic Train:

High speed train. It can attain to 400 km/ hr. I witnessed to 300km./hour. Morning times, the train does 400 km as well. Besides being the most practical mean to Shanghai city center (it takes 45 km. in about 7 minutes), it was a different experience for me (after having travelled in the TGVs and local trains in France and Europe, which are doing 200 km/hr at max.). My friend told me that Japanese trains are much more comfortable (zero  vacillation). I didn’t really feel any swing during my travel in MAGEV either.

When you exit Pudong International Airport, you find easily the MAGEV train platforms. One way ticket is 50 Yuan per person and it’s more expensive than city buses or metro lines. But it’s worth to try it!

2. The Bund and the view of Pearl Tower

This is the most scenic and touristic place of Shanghai. If you have only one day in Shanghai, this is the place to visit….

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3 . Shanghai Urban Planning Museum:

This is the correct starting point to explore Shanghai. Located in the People’s Park (one of the central places of the city, at the end of the East Nanjing street) and between the Contemporary Art Museum and Shanghai Museum, it first appeared to me the least crowded museum (no queue at the entrance) and that’s why I chose it to visit. But once inside, I spent more than 1 hour to see all floors and to follow how Shanghai had changed within time and what its future will look like.

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4. Bund Sightseeing:

I took the funicular which goes under the River from Pearl Tower to the Bund. It takes about 5 minutes. During the short distance travel, sounds and lights effects accompany you.

The funicular at the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel

The funicular at the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel

5. French Concession:

It’s one of the districts of Shanghai where the French concession – together with English one, had been established at the beginning of 20th century. The district has chic boutiques and French style coffees. ‘Shanghai is the Paris of the East!’ what can I say more…!

A coffeehouse in French Concession, Shanghai

A coffeehouse in French Concession, Shanghai

6. Nanjing Street:

The east side of the Street is the pedestrian area and you will find lots of shops and department stores. Check in your guides  the construction dates of the department stores on the East Nanjing Street; most are built at the beginning or in the first half of 20th century.

The West Nanjing Street has a lot of luxury department stores and skyscrapers hosting the offices of multinational companies.

2014, the Horse Year

2014, the Horse Year

7. Old Shanghai

Old Shanghai is the district where you will sense the `real` China. In the narrow and crowded streets you will discover different types of attractions and all kinds of shops.

Old Shanghai District celebrates Horse Year!

Old Shanghai District celebrates Horse Year!

Old Shanghai, crowded

Old Shanghai, crowded

8. Yu Gardens:

Don’t miss this place if you visit the Old Shanghai. The gardens are situated inside the Old Shanghai district and it gives you an idea about the aesthetic taste of the Ming Dynasty.

Yu Gardens, Shanghai

Yu Gardens, Shanghai

Yu Gardens, Shanghai

Yu Gardens, Shanghai

9. Xujiahui – Electronic Markets

Shanghai is a heaven of malls and department stores in China, and if you’re interested in buying – after hard negotiations of course!, electronic devices go to Xujiahui (the metro line is Xujiahui); this is a paradise for electronic lovers….

Chinese Year Decorations inside a Mall in Shanghai

Chinese Year Decorations inside a Mall in Shanghai

10. Visit the water villages outside Shanghai:

This is recommended by all travel guides about Shanghai but unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to do this daily trip, it will be hopefully next time. Instead I’d been in a different place in China and explored the river and the country side…. I’ll write about it in my next post… Until then….`ZAI JIAN!’

 

Shanghai by Day!

Shanghai by Day!