My trip to Lijiang is not as smooth as I expect. I travelled to Lijiang from Xian via China Eastern airline. From Xian, I took airport bus in front of Melody hotel. There are many touts trying to have you away from taking the airport bus, but hiring their car. For this, I would suggest you to keep calm as long as you have allocated ample time for your journey to the airport. Me myself start going to the airport from my hostel 3 hours before my departure time.
I have to say Xian domestic terminal on terminal 1 is quite nice where you can find various food inside include international franchise like Burger king inside. Please allocate sufficient time as the terminal inside is quite huge hence you will take some time to go to your gate.
Unfortunately, my travel was not as i planned initially. My initial flight was about 7.20 PM, but then being delayed. First, the staff informed the flight will be at 8.30PM. Time goes by, the staff then inform the flight would be 9.30 PM due to no pilot available, as the pilot was still in Beijing even though the aircraft was already available at the gate. Passengers became impatient due to uncertainties. Airline staff distribute soft drink and biscuit to calm down the passengers.
As time went by, and it already showed 10 PM, yet the flight not yet commenced. Passengers now became worried whether the flight would be cancelled as there was passenger got the news the flight from Beijing to Lijiang had been cancelled. Passengers insisted on the airline staffs not to cancel the flight as they had booked their accommodation in Lijiang and planned for their holiday as starting early August was school holiday in China.
Flight was finally being commenced at 00.00 AM and arrive 2.00AM. As the flight arrived at Lijiang at 2.00 AM in the morning, not much taxi available there. I can see the airport bus, but decided not to take as the airport bus will take you to New city of Lijiang (Xiaguan), not the old town. Finally I got the cab which also took other passengers and had to pay more expensive flat fee.
Another problem happened. The taxi driver had a problem to allocate my hostel, Panba lakeside. Calling to the hostel as well not successful, which understandable due to timing. Finally I decided to ask the driver to drive me to the sister hostel of Panba on the old town where I had my reservation on the next day. Arriving on the other Panba at the old town, the hostel also had been closed, however I can see there are people partying on the bar next door, which I guessed that it was part of the hostel. I encouraged myself to call the people of the bar asking whether it’s part of Panba. Good thing it is yes, and they brought me inside.
After resting awhile in the sofa, there are Panba staffs of the old town asked whether I had reservation with them. I explained to them that I had the reservation however for the next night as my reservation actually at the other Panba however taxi driver can not allocate the hostel. Very nice of the staff, they give me rest temporary on one of the staff’s bed as the hostel was full.
After resting, it’s time to explore the jade dragon snow mountain (Yuelong Xueshan). From the old town, the journey to the jade dragon snow mountain takes approximately one hour and I booked a cab for return journey for 200 RMB. One way journey by cab normally cost you 100 RMB. Normally the cab driver will ask you whether you have your jacket and oxygen and whether you need as they got commission from taking guests. Be prepared for bringing your own jacket for journey to jade dragon snow mountain even though on august as the wind blows coldly above. As for oxygen, as long as you don’t have problem with your health, I do not think you will need oxygen. Just walk slowly and rest whenever you think you need it.
The first activity at Jade dragon snow mountain was watching Impression Lijiang which show the local traditions of people living there, Naxi, Yi and Bai people. The ticket cost you 190 RMB, quite pricey however this is a good show, very recommended.
The show itself designed by famous director Zhang Yimou, Fan Yue and Wang Chaoge and involving hundred of people and number of horses during the show. During the peak season, there are several shows being performed, if not mistaken around 3 shows at around 10.00 AM, 11.00 AM and 13.00 PM (Please double check on the timing).
There are three option of cable cars with different elevation above. As suggested by River Yang, the staff of Panba, I took the highest one which will take you to the elevation of 4506 m. From there, you can walk through the stairs to the top at 4680 m.
For going to the cable car, first you will need to queue for taking the eco bus which will take you to the area of the cable car. After getting out of the cable car, the surrounding view from elevation of 4506 m itself was so amazing and impressive.
However with patience, finally I managed to walk slowly up to the top at 4680 m. There was a seller who sell the medal grafting the date when you reached the top if you want to purchase to celebrate your achievement to the top.
Not spending much time, I then back to my hostel, Panba courtyard at the old town of Lijiang to check in. I liked the design of the Panba courtyard, at it show traditional characteristic of old town while having good facilities including WIFI, travel booking include bus or airline ticket booking with cafe and bar.
I was glad I chose this hostel. From my travelling experience in China, I can see actually there are many good hostels around China, not necessary need to stay in hotel. Some hostels I thought had better facility compared to hotels, for example WIFI as some hotels might only provide you the cable connection for your internet instead of WIFI. Note, currently Panba has changed name to Timeless Hostel.
Panba Courtyard Guesthouse and Hostel
Address : 63 Wenming Village, Wenming Lane, Wuyi Street
Old Town Lijiang, China
Phone : +86-888-5119077
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s time for dinner. For the dinner, I eat around Panba, a local restaurant and order local Naxi food, Dongba chicken with rice. Please expect higher prices for all things include food when you travel to Lijiang. It might due to huge tourists travelling to Lijiang which drive the price up in Lijiang.
Night time it’s a good time to explore the old town of Lijiang. Just be careful while walking on cobble street as it might be slippery especially when it’s rained. Passing by the bridge nearby, you will see seller of Styrofoam of boat. The seller marketing its floating boat to all the passing people to float one Styrofoam boat to have their wishes became true.
There is one street where both ways separated by bridge on Lijiang which is full of bars and cafes. It’s not like an old town. From the street, you can see the performers of each bar and cafes and each staffs of respective bars and cafes will ask you to go inside having some fun.
For me, the view of old town of Lijiang especially at night is nice, but too touristy in my opinion. As it’s raining at night, i decided to go back to my hostel to rest to prepare for my bus trip to Shangrila on the next morning.