Ride the Black Dragon

Everyone told me that going to Lijiang for three days was foolish. It’s too little time, and there are so many things to see. But three days was all we had, and I figured three days was better than none. If we liked it we could go back some time for a longer stay. It’s certainly on the Should Revisit List.

However, next time I go there will not be at the end of August. It’s the rainy season, and as you saw in the previous post, rain it did. But as I said before, it was the only time we had, so we made the best of it with umbrellas and raincoats. At least it wasn’t too cold.

One of the places in Lijiang that was on my list was Yulongxueshan, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. From pictures I’ve seen, this beautiful peak rises above Lijiang in a most picturesque way, but due to the weather we never got so much as a glimpse of it. Hutiao Xia, Tiger Leaping Gorge, will also have to wait for another time.

Next on the list was Heilongtan, or Black Dragon Pool. I asked at the hotel, and they said it was only about a fifteen minute walk, so we set out under grey skies on Sunday morning.
The entrance to the park is quite lovely. At first we thought there was no one at the ticket booth, then I saw a couple of ladies having their breakfast inside. At ¥80 per person the fee is quite steep compared to Beijing attractions – you could almost see both the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace for that amount. We probably could have walked in without them noticing us if I hadn’t gone up to the window. Ah, well, our contribution to the park’s upkeep fund.

Not far inside is the Green Bridge, which spans a waterfall.
Then you get to the Pool itself.
According to the signs inside the park, the Naxi people who live in the area have a very strong attachment to water, with much of their religion focusing on rivers, streams, and lakes, so this spot was quite important to them. In addition to the big temples, we saw a few little impromptu shrines with incense burning where creeks flowed into the pool.
Instead of dragons or lions like you see in Beijing, the roofs here are often decorated with fish.
It often pays to look up.
For a while at least, the rain held off.
Where there is water, there are bridges.Speaking of more formal temples, there is this one.
Its construction had something to do with an ancient king named Mu who ruled in the area. Today, the inside has a memorial to a more recent leader who died only a few years ago.
I like the way they’ve given the statue a rain poncho. Or maybe they just like things colorful.

One last picture before we move on, since the place is so darn photogenic, even when the weather is crummy.
After walking all the way around the lake, we made our way back to Old Town and ended up back at the Rembrandt Café for more Naxi potatoes, maoniu chuanr, and Yunnan coffee to recharge our batteries before hitting the shops in earnest.

I think I’ll call this a complete post, neatly covering a single topic, and finish up our all-too-brief Lijiang trip in the next one.

Pictures by D & I.


  1. Thank you very much for your continued posting. I finally caught up with all your latest posts and am continually in awe of the pictures that you share.


  2. Aw, shucks, bro. It's not like I have anything else to do around here at night.

    Oh, wait, maybe I do...