Sunday, 12 October 2014

Old Lijiang

The beautiful stream through Old Lijiang
What a morning! Who would’ve thought that just transitioning from the Ancient Town to the Old Town would be such an ordeal! Firstly the minibus drivers were just being ridiculous and asking for 35RMB so we walked to the entrance gate and the tourist info lady told us that there was a public bus, no. 11, for only 1RMB and that it left from the end of the road. We didn’t realise that this was 1.5km away, which wouldn’t be too bad if it wasn’t for our backpacks, so needless to say we were hot and tired by the time we boarded the bus. 

We got off at the start of the Old Town and it was another 2km, uphill, to get to our hostel and our backs were aching by the time we finally reached the Fun Inn and were able to dump our bags. The room was fairly basic, pretty much a mattress on the floor, but for 88RMB/night you can’t expect much more. 

Our 'furry' mushroom dish
It had taken us all morning to change hostels so we headed into town to find some lunch and to explore. We chanced upon an excellent place for lunch and tried an interesting mushroom dish (the mushrooms turned out to be tasty furry bush-like things) along with a wonton soup and a very good rice cake stir fry. 

Old Lijiang by night
Our first touristy destination was the Black Dragon Pool and to enter we had to buy the 80RMB Old Town ticket, technically we also had needed this to actually enter the Old Town, but no one seemed to be policing that. We explored the Pool and then walked back to town along the stream, enjoying the picturesque old town paths, ponds and small water courses. When we got back to town the place was packed with Chinese tourists so it was a bit painful trying to navigate the town so we just ventured a few streets back off the main drag and the streets became empty and again pleasant to stroll along.

We sampled some street food on the way back to the Fun Inn – delicious ‘walnut cakes’ (miniature cakes with a dollop of chocolate in the middle cooked in a walnut shaped mould), more noodles of many varieties and a durian flan to finish. We relaxed in our hostel for a bit before going out to see the town at night and it was well worth it as it was beautifully lit up, especially along the river that passed through the town. It was a very pleasant evening, with much more food tastings as we walked, before we decided that we couldn’t fit anymore in and headed in for the evening, only to be woken up at 1am when some other guests stumbled in from a night out partying… the joys of hostels…

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