lijiang china banyan tree hotel

Situated in China’s Yunnan Province, Lijiang is a city known for its beautiful Unesco Heritage Site, the Old Town of Lijiang. In such an exotic locale and with so much to see, SUITCASE picked the brains of Mr. Nigel Fisher, General Manager, Banyan Tree Lijiang and Banyan Tree Ringha in Yunnan Province, China, on the best way to spend 24 hours there.

How would you describe Lijiang in three words? Pristine, diverse, cultural.

What makes Lijiang unique and worth visiting? It’s not commonly known but there are many minorities living in the area with their own distinct customs and culture. Surrounded by sweeping landscapes, high mountains, deep valleys, dark blue skies (unusual for China) and crystal clear streams, visitors will discover the many historical ties to central Asia through the tea horse route and the ancient Silk Road. Lijiang is the centre of the Naxi people who have their own language, pictographic script and unique culture full of wonderful song and dance.

9AM: Head to the house of Mr Yang in Baisha for breakfast. Mr Yang is a Naxi spiritual master and calligrapher. He and his family also operate a small street-side eatery in a picturesque street only ten minutes away from Banyan Tree Lijiang. Have the Baisha baba (local steamed flat bun) with chives and scrambled egg as well as a pot of Pu’er tea.

10AM: Take a walk through Shuhe old town past the seven springs to the top of Shuhe hill. Watch the sunrise over Shuhe old town.


Or take a cable car to the glacier atop of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain at 4,600m.


Later, visit the tea horse museum in Shuhe old town featuring the ancient tea trade between Pu’er in southern Yunnan through to Myanmar and north India, via Tibet. Visit the houses of the tea lords, still standing today and managed by their descendants.


Drive to Yu Hu village and ride a trail pony up Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to 3,000m. Pass through groves of wild azaleas, rhododendrons and roses to take in a view over the ancient glacial valley in which the city if Lijiang now lies.

nigel fisher lijiang banyan tree
Nigel Fisher, General Manger of Banyan Tree Lijiang

12PM: Try Jenny and Abe’s number one restaurant in Shuhe old town. During the mushroom season there is no better place to savour the local harvest.


Walk the back streets of Baisha and dine in a Naxi restaurant. Deep-fried thick-sliced ham with mint and aromatic roots is the local specialty.

3PM: Drive or cycle to Baisha and tour its Silk Road-era embroidery schools. Visit the centuries-old copper beating artisanal workshops operated by two Naxi brothers. Visit the Dongba Master and calligrapher to view the unique Naxi pictographic script, one of only a few in existence today.


Watch the world famous Impressions Lijiang Show at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, featuring a cast of hundreds, showcasing local costumes, dance, music and culture against the backdrop of the mountain.

6PM: Sit by the old stone bridge that crosses the central stream in Shuhe old town. There are many little tea houses and eateries, where you can enjoy a drink away from the commercial district.

8PM: Try local Naxi hot pot served fireside in the library of Banyan Tree Lijiang. Featuring a selection of home grown vegetables, meats and local specialties poached in a double chicken broth, this is great shared between couples or families.

10PM: Sleep well and get ready to enjoy another full day the following morning – there is just too much to see and do in Yunnan!

Enjoy a three night stay at Banyan Tree Lijiang as part of Abercrombie & Kent’s 11 night ‘Landscape of Yunnan’ tour from £4,880 per person

Find out more at:

This article was published in collaboration with Abercrombie & Kent and Banyan Tree

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