Butterfly Spring derived its present name from a romantic legend. A beauty and an honest but poor boy (they were in deep love of each other) jumped together into the spring to escape the persecution of a rich man, and the next day, a couple of butterflies was flying around the spring.
Butterfly Spring seems like a miracle. On the arrival of the lunar April, thousands of butterflies assemble around the spring on time to have a fixed butterfly meeting. Colorful butterflies of various sizes and shapes are flying in the skies over the spring, which seems only can be seen in the movie. Some naughty butterflies fly hand in hand to make a string of butterflies and then hang themselves up on the trees. The clear spring bleeding out from the stone crevices will assemble to form peaceful pools. The pools assembling the fresh and sweet spring are as large as 6,500 m2, which are the outstanding sceneries in the park.
In addition to the butterflies and the springs, the flourishing trees act as the indispensable decorations. Towering old pines, green palms, gorgeous bamboos and other kinds of trees cover the entire park. In the early summer, graceful butterflies fly over the blooming flowers, making people hard to tell apart the flowers from the butterflies.
This spectacular sight has given rise to a local festival ---"Butterfly Meet" on April 15th. On that day, the young Bai dress up and come to the Butterfly Spring to attend it. The young men play instruments and sing for the girls they loved. The romantic spectacle of the butterflies as they feed and mate in such abundance has become a symbol of true love in the heart of the Bai people.
Butterflies are not flying around the spring all the year round, but only a few days, so the best time to make a tour in Butterfly Spring is the 15th in lunar April
Opening Hours: 8:30 -- 17:00
Ticket Price: 45 CNY
Location: North side of the Zhou Town, Dali City
Transportation: Shuttle bus from the ancient town in Dali can bring you here (40 minutes / 4 CNY).
As the second largest freshwater lake in Yunnan province, Erhai Lake, covering 260 square kilometer and spanning 9 kilometer, is praised as the Mother Lake of the Bai Minority. With an average depth of 10 and the high visibility, the peaceful and clear Erhai Lake looks like a pure jade inlaying among the mountains.
The Three Pagodas
The Three Pagodas, which have experienced for 1,800 years’ history, were once parts of an old temple. In the years of 1925, almost the entire temple was ruined in a destructive earthquake, while these three pagodas stood there surprisingly intact. They are the symbols of the history of Dali City and historical witnesses of the development of Buddhism in the area. As its name implies, Three Pagodas are made of three ancient independent pagodas forming a symmetrical triangle. They are one of the most significant and majestic wonders in Dali and look magnificent.
Standing by the peaceful Erhai Lake, Three Pagodas look more mysterious in the reflections on the lake. Locate at the foot of the Cangshan Mountain, the white pagodas look more outstanding and gorgeous. The 70-meter-tall main pagoda, Qianxun Pagoda, is one of the tallest pagodas of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907). Inside the Qianxun Pagoda, there was a wood ladder for climbing to the top, which now is broken. Three Pagodas, Zhaozhou Bridge of Hebei Province and Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an are three curiosities of Chinese ancient architecture.
In the Qianxun Pagoda, there are many sculptures of Buddha made of silver, wood or crystal, Buddhist classics, and more than 600 various medicinal ingredients. These cultural relics play an important role in explaining the ancient history of Dali City. When the night falls, the pagodas are lighted up, shinning the whole sky. Reflections on the lake make the night more gorgeous.
Opening Hours: 8:00 -- 19:00
Ticket Price: 121 CNY
Location: 13 kilometers away from Xiaguan City, Dali
From Xiaguan city, tour bus will bring you here (3 CNY)
From the Ancient Town in Dali you can come here on foot (30 minutes)
Facing the Erhai Lake in the east and close to the Heihui River in the west, the Cangshan Mountain embraces many marvelous landscapes, among which the sceneries of clouds, springs, snow and marble are the top four charming.
Standing at the peak of the mountain, you can enjoy the beautiful varied clouds over the Cangshan Mountain, which will be as thin as a veil and then as dark as ink. The most magical and beautiful clouds are called Yudai Cloud that looks like a fairy dancing with a ribbon made of jade and the Wangfu Cloud that looks like a lady waiting for her husband with great eagerness.
Springs bleeding out from the rocks form many gorgeous landscapes. Apart from the eighteen streams, there are still many lakes over the altitude of over 3,800 meters, along the shores of which valuable medicine materials, trees of rare species and various flowers can be seen.
Amazingly, the 4100-meter-high Cangshan Mountain is covered with snow all the year. When the sun rises, it is very dazzling and splendid, especially in March. On the moonlight night, the snow reflects off the mountain, which will form a picture of a crystal world.
The last thing worth us to pay special attention to is a smooth marble named Cangshan Stone. Cangshan Mountain is a famous manufacture center of such a stone. The Caihua Stone distinguish itself by its unique patterns. Natural scenes of mountains, flowers, birds or people appear once it is polished.
Come to experience the roaring stream rushing down from the peak along the valley of the Cangshan Mountain, come to experience the special customs of the Bai Minority and come to experience the scenic spot group around the Cangshan Mountain and come for the discovery of more distinctive sceneries.
Opening Hours: 9:00 -- 18:00
Ticket Price: 90 CNY
Location: Cable car and horse can bring you here.
Dali Ancient Town
Delaying on the Cangshan Mountain, Dali Ancient Town, laying in the hug of the Erhai Lake, has experienced 1200 years’ history. Along the Ancient Town, the customs and ancient architectures with the original designs are well reserved. Potted plants can be commonly seen in the old houses, ancient wells are still shared among neighbors and clear streams are flowing through the town.
Jizu Mountain is a member of the five mountains famous for the Buddhism in China and the others are Emei Mt., Wutai Mt., Jiuhua Mt. and Putuo Mt. With 13 splendid peaks, 34 steep cliffs, 40 hills of various sceneries, 45 mysterious caves, more than 100 marvelous spring pools, Jizu Mountain is a good place for adventure for extraordinary sights.
Standing at the peak of the 3240-meter-high Jizu Mountain, you will be amazed by the wonderful landscapes. At the east, the fantastic sunrise is waiting for you. At the south, the various caprice clouds will make you busy to tell what they are like. At the north, the snow mountain covered with white shinning coat is a feast of eyes. At the west, you can have a bird’s eye view of the peaceful and beautiful Erhai Lake.
In the mid of the Ming Dynasty, Jizu Mountain enjoyed the same fame as Ermei Mountain, Wutai Mountain, Jiuhua Mountain, and Putuo Mountain, with old trees touching the sky, smoke raising upwards, lots of old temples around the mountain, masters of monk coming out generations after generations, and visitors and scholars coming and going frequently. This mountain has been prosperous over thousand years, known as "A Mountain with Spirit, Capital of Buddhism".
Jizu Mountain has a long history and a bright culture. It is said that Kasyapa once performed Buddhist rites there. The existing structures on the mountain include the Zhusheng, Jingding, and Fota temples, the Kasyapa Hall, Huashou Gate and the Huideng and Muni convents. Jizu Mountain features a magnificent landscape and various animals and plants. It is a nature reserve in Yunnan Province.
March and April are the months when traditional festivals are celebrated, which is the best time for experiencing the pure local customs and culture.
Opening Hours: 8:30 -- 17:30
Ticket Price: 60 CNY
Location: Binchuan County, Dali City
Transportation: Shuttle bus from the county center will bring you to the foot of the mountain. To the peak, you can take the cable car or ride the horse.
Owing to the erosion of the wind and the water, marvelous and interesting landscapes can be seen in the flourishing forests in Shibao Mountain. Huge stones are shaped by the wind and water into a ball, a bell or other kinds of bizarre appearances. Mysterious grottoes with precious cultural relics will be a special experience. Ancient temple with hundreds years of history has more amazing scenes for discovery.
Shibao Mountain is 25 kilometers southwest of the Jianchuan County. The most attractive sceneries in the mountain are the grottoes of Nanzhao and Dali states. There are 16 grottoes housing 139 unique stone statues, including religious figures, the royal family of Nanzhao State and the Persians, which are the most valuable art in the culture of the Bai Minority. The danxia landform that spreads all over the mountain adds an excellent touch to the scenery.
In the Shibao Mountain, the annual traditional folk song festival has been being held in March for centuries, which is the most solemn festival of the Bai Minority that reflects the pure and plain customs.
Opening Hours: 7:00 -- 20:00
Ticket Price: 50 CNY
Location: Jianchuan County, Dali City
Transportation: Shuttle bus will bring you here (15 CNY).
The Iron Pillar
The Iron Pillar is actually a pillar made of iron in the Tiezhu Temple in Midu County. With a tallness of 3.3 meters, a circumference of 1 meter and weight of 2 tons, the iron pillar, has witnessed 1100 years of changes, is the oldest and famous historic relic in Midu County. The Iron Pillar is said to be cast by using the confiscated weapons at the order of Zhuge Liang, the most brilliant military consular in Three Kingdoms period (220-280).
The Iron Pillar Temple, decorated with the exquisite carvings and gorgeous paintings, is full of the antique style. The special designs of the entire temple architecture together with the towering ancient banyans, the graceful plum trees, the blooming azalea, the fragrant Osmanthus, the adorable bamboos and the pathways paved with ancient bluestones forms a peaceful and pleasant environment, making the ancient temple more holy and mysterious.
On 15th of lunar January, the Yi Minority will get together in the temple to hold the annual solemn Pillar-worship ceremony here.
Opening Hours: 9:00 -- 20:00
Ticket Price: 10 CNY
Location: Midu County, Dali City
The Ancient Town of Lijiang
In the vast China, there are four intact-preserved ancient towns, and the ancient town of Lijiang is a shinning member of it. Unlike the other ancient towns, the Lijiang ancient town is open without any town walls that will make the town more mysterious, while the blue marble stone pathways winding along the town would bring you back to the history.
Tiger Leaping Gorge
Hailed as the Oriental Grand Canyon, the Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiaoxia) is, to some extent, more attractive than the Grand Canyon. It is the most precipitous gorge in the vast China with an altitude difference of 3000 meters that is 600 meters more than that of the Grand Canyon. Therefore, the waterfalls here are amazingly marvelous, the stones here are surprisingly bizarre and landscapes on the cliffs here are spectacularly wonderful, all of which make Tiger Leaping Gorge a good place for adventure, photography and expedition.
Tiger Leaping Gorge with a splendid view of the swift turbulent current of the Golden River is formed through constant cutting by the waters between Jade Dragon Mountain and Haba Mountain. Spanning 17 kilometers long, the gorge, consists of the Upper Gorge, the Middle Gorge and the Lower Gorge, drops about 300 meters in a series of 18 rapids. The Lower Gorge is the most awe - inspiring part of all. The gorge, where the Golden Sand River pounds furiously at its rocky shores in an awesome fashion, sending up skilful of white froth, is a dream place for adventurers.
Seen from the bridge, the marvelous geological wonder, two huge mountains leaning close to each other and a large volume of fast moving water between them cutting deeper and deeper into the bottom of the gorge, will be more splendid. In addition, there is a drop of 3000 meters to the water, a beautiful and surprising place to go for photography.
Embraced by the arms of the picturesque Cangshan Mountain and guarded by an 8-meter-tall and 3.5-kilometer-long wall, the 600-year-old city of Dali was first built in 1683 and is characterized by the ancient stonewalls, grey tiled roofs, doors and windows carved with dragon and phoenix partners and gardens of varying sizes. The entire city is covered by a maze of streams, fed by runoffs from the Cangshan Mountain. Hence, the saying the gurgling of water can be heard in every house and flowers are planted in every family.
Opening Hours: 9:00 -- 18:00
Ticket Price: 50 CNY
Location: Naxi County, Lijiang City
Transportation: Bus from Lijiang Bus Station and taxi will bring you here.
Lying in the flourishing forests far away from the pollution, Lugu Lake, covers 50 square kilometers with thousands square kilometers of lawns, is like a pearl inlayed in the plateau. With seven islands on the lake, the largest freshwater lake in Sichuan, seen from a bird’s eye of view, looks like a flying eagle with wings spreading.
Yufeng Monastery (Yufeng Si )
Built at the foot of the Yufeng Mountain in Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), the Yufeng Monastery has experienced more than 400 years of history. What may amaze you most is the huge old camellia that planted in Ming Dynasty (1364-1644), 100 years earlier than the construction of the monastery. This camellia is praised as the King of the Camellia for the marvelous size of it.
From the beginning of the spring to the beginning of summer, the camellia will be fully blooming for 20 times without breaking off just like a peacock showing off her tail, and the amount of the flowers blooming at each time is more than 1000, therefore there are surprisingly 20,000 flowers blooming every year. This magic camellia is said to be improved through grafting, so the flowers blooming on this 2-meter-tall camellia are as large as a plate.
On the arrival of the spring, people will come all the way from near and far to have a close look at this huge camellia blooming under the reflecting of the gorgeous Yulong Mountain with the snow as the coat.
Opening Hours: 8:00 -- 18:00
Ticket Price: 20 CNY
Location: Yulong Mt., Lijiang City
Transportation: Taxi from Lijiang will bring you here.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulong Xue Shan )
With an average altitude of 4000, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (yu long xue shan) is the wonderful place with marvelous spectacles in the challenging environment. Ganhaizi is a piece of vast grassland in the east with beautiful sceneries that provides a good angle for people to enjoy the entire sight of the Jade Dragon Snow Mt. White River, originates from the Jade Dragon Snow Mt., is a crystal-like river flowing along the Mt.. Yunshanping, a virgin forest with abundant rare natural resources, is the holy land of the Naxi people. All of them make Jade Dragon Snow Mountain a good place for adventure, photography and expedition.
The mountains western flanks drop steeply to the Upper Yangtze River (Jinsha Jiang), helping to form magnificent, deep gorges, and the highest peak is Shanzidou. The summit, Shanzidou, is 5596 meters above sea level. Viewed from afar, the snow-capped range resembles a silver dragon with snow curling up its middle. Rich forest, herb and animal resources thrive on the mountain and a giant tram cart up here is one of the highest of its kind in China.
She is a botanist's paradise and a "kingdom of medicinal materials". Of the 13,000 kinds of plants in Yunnan, more than half of them can be found on Jade Dragon Snow Mountain as well as 400 types of trees in 20 primeval forest communities. From April to June the azaleas turn the mountain into a riot of brilliant color. In autumn, blue rough gentian flowers cover her marshlands. She is decorated with blooming flowers 10 months of the year.
The mountain is also a sanctuary for animals, many of them rare animals that live at different temperature levels. She is home to 30 kinds of animals protected by the state, such as the wild ass, the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey, the lesser panda, the forest musk deer, the clouded leopard, the blood pheasant, the silver pheasant, and the spotted, yellowish civet cat.
She has attracted the attention of many scholars and travelers. Early in 1837, the French writer Bacier introduced Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in his acclaimed book "Universe". And seven years ago the chairman of the international Mountainous Region led a team to the mountain for field work.
In Lijiang City, you can have a magnificent view of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, with the main peak thrust into the clouds, the Old Man Peak standing out on the right and Black Snow Peak on its left.
Opening Hours: 7:30 -- 16:00
80 CNY for the kids below 1.1 m
Location: 15 km away from the Lijiang city center
Transportation: Bus No. 7 (15 CNY) and taxi (100 CNY) will bring you here.
The Baisha Mural is a group of murals scattered around Lijiang City, which took 300 years to complete, therefore it is a reflection of the true life in the late Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty. Having been undergone over 500 years of history, part of the Baisha mural group somewhat becomes indistinct, but a large part of which still can tell you about the culture of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism.
The mural group consists of more than 10 small groups, the amount of mural in all of which is up to 550. Those gorgeous murals with various styles, which are telling the stories of the religious belief and social life of the local, are a blooming intelligent show that you must visit.
Located in Baisha Township, 8km north of the seat of the Lijiang Naxi Nationality Autonomous County, the mural is a rich fusion that had resulted in a tremendously powerful art, heavy in spirit and awe-inspiring in its presentation of the mystical world. Dominated by black, silver, dark green, gold and red colors, the murals in the back hall, overlaid with centuries of brown soot, are bizarre, the scenes and figures, some still vivid in detail, are largely taken from Tibetan Buddhist iconography and include the wheel of life, judges of the underworld, the damned, titans and gods, Buddha and bodhisattvas. There are trigrams, lotus flowers and even Sanskrit inscriptions on the ceiling. The deliberate damage done to the paintings is apparent and terrible, but the loss of the irreplaceable wooden statuary that filled the temple, of which there is no trace, is even more tragic.
These mural paintings, with their fine and smooth lines, bright colors, vivid pattern and balanced and harmonious composition are a wonderful sight that is not only crucial to the history of Chinese painting, but also important to cultural heritage relics.
Opening Hours: 8:30 -- 17:00
Ticket Price: 40 CNY
Location: 12 km away from Lijiang city center
Transportation: Bus No. 6 from Lijiang will bring you here.
First Bend of the Yangtze
The Yangtze River Bend, as its name indicates, is the spot where the southwards running Yangtze River turns northeastward due to the block of the mountain, which, seen from a distance, looks like the letter V. Seeing the spectacular Yangtze River roaring down from the roof of the world and then making a sharp turn will be a wonderful experience.
From the sightseeing hill, in addition to the splendid view of the entire First Bend, you can have a good angle for the sunset. Under the shining of the sunset, the river shows off the most wonderful part by turning the green mountains around into shining golden mountains. In this paradise, flowers may fully bloom in spring and corps may grow into red and yellow in autumn, making a harmonious living environment on the bank of Yangtze River for the hospitable folks.
With the gradual deposit of fertile soil at this spot, a village slowly came into being, now called Shigu Town, meaning "stone drum" in Chinese. Since ancient times, this town has been important, linking Tibet with the outside world. Here Tibetan people bring their quality hide and herbal medicine to exchange with the local tea, salt, cloth and other necessities. If your tour schedule falls on the market day, you can join into the amazingly crowded and noisy town by yourself.
Opening Hours: the whole day
Ticket Price: free
Location: Naxi County, Lijiang
Transportation: Take the shuttle bus or the tour bus from the bus stations in Lijiang to the Shigu Town and then change the bus to here.
Baoshan Stone Village
Stone village is in fact an ancient village with about 100 families living on the peak of the mountain with a mushroom shape. This mysterious village, facing the Chin-sha River, is embraced by steeps in the other sides. Therefore, there are only the North and South Gates as the access to the village. While, inside the gorgeous village the wide natural rock roads will show you around the amazingly splendid but simple stone-made architectures.
About 100km north of Lijiang, Baoshan Stone Village (baoshan shicheng) is located on a Herculean rock in the Jinsha River Valley. Virtually everything in the village is made of stone: stone ovens, stone water vats, stone beds, stone chairs and so on. The village is surrounded by cliffs on four sides with the Jinsha River flowing below and a small path leading to the outside world, one meter wide, creeps along the edge of the village.
The marvelous terraced fields created on the rocks with the clear mountain spring flowing down are a magic place where various sceneries can be seen. On the arrival of the spring, the newly transplanted corps is adorably green, while when the autumn falls, you will lose yourself at the scene that the golden rice, wheat and corns waving with the breeze. In addition, the huge stone carvings on the steep cliffs, created by the ancestors of the Naxi people, are the most spectacular scene that makes the tourists astonished.
Opening Hours: 8:00 -- 18:00
Ticket Price: 20 CNY
Location: 100 km away from Lijiang City
Transportation: Shuttle bus from Lijiang will bring you here.
Meili Snow Mountain
Baimang Snow Mountain
Arrival in Lijiang, meet your driver and transfer to Lijiang Ancient Town (about 1 hour).
Stroll in the Lijiang Ancient Town, which was built in the late Song Dynasty and early Yuan Dynasty (late 13th century AD) with a history of 800 years. It perfectly combines mountains, water, and the living environment to create an excellent example of human habitat showing the harmony between man and nature. The unique urban layout, tortuous streets, scattered residential houses, and flowing streams make it stand out in many famous ancient towns.
Explore the Black Dragon Pool Park. Located at the foot of North Elephant Hill, the Black Dragon Pool is the landmark of Lijiang and during the sunny day, people can see the reflection of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
Then, drive you to your hotel in Shuhe Old Town (about 30 mins).
Your driver will pick you up at the hotel, and take you to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (1hr) and you will take the cable car to Yunshanping, where you could challenge the altitude over 4000 meters.
Visit the Valley of the Blue Moon. It is nicknamed the Little Jiuzhaigou, and this valley has very clear waters flowing down from the mountain. Lots of bride and groom come there to take wedding photos.
After noon, you can visit the village Yuhu at the foot of Jade Dragon snow mountain. And the village Baisha of Naxi minority.
In the evening, free visit in the Shuhe Ancient Town.
Meals included: Breakfast
After breakfast, meet with your driver and depart to Tiger Leaping Gorge(about 1.5 hours). Visit the Tiger Leaping Gorge. This gorge is one of the deepest canyons in the world. Standing here, you could see the Yangtze River roars between Yulong Mountain (5596m) and Haba Mountain (5396m) and be shocked by the impressive landscapes.
Hutiao Rock View: If you would like to journey deeper into the gorge for the view from Hutiao Rock, there is a path that leads closer to the Yangtze River. From here, you can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view. The hike down takes approximately 20 minutes, and the hike up takes about 30 minutes.
Then, drive to Shangrila (about 3hrs).
After you arrive in Shangri-la, you can stroll through Shangri-La Old Town and visit Guishan Temple, home to a massive prayer wheel.
Meals included: Breakfast
Discover the Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, the largest Tibetan monastery in Yunnan, nicknamed Little Potala by its resemblance to the palace of the Dalai Lama in Lhassa. On the way to the monastery, you stop at a viewpoint for the panoramic photo of the valley.
Walk around the Napa Lake.
Meals included: Breakfast
Your driver will pick you up at your hotel.
Depart to Shibaoshan (176km, 3hrs). Explore the Shibaoshan Caves and Baoxiang Temple, a striking collection of Zen temples and Buddhist sculptures carved into the rocks. After the visit, you can hike from Shibaoshan Caves to Shadengqing Valley (1h30 / 2hrs).
Alternatively, you can take the shuttle bus to return to the parking lot to meet your driver. The hiking path from Shibaoshan Cave to Shaxi Village (30 mins) is beautiful and relatively easy, but it is not recommended for those with knee problems as the path consists of steep stairs.
Continue your trip to Shaxi (30km, 50 min).
Stroll in the Shaxi village at leisure, admiring its 14th-century Ming Dynasty buildings. You’ll see vignettes of daily life.
Meals included: Breakfast
Your driver will pick up at your hotel and take you to Dali (about 2.5 hours).
On the way, visit Haishe Park, located at Erhai Lake. Enjoy the scenery of Erhai Lake.
Explore the beautiful Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Monastery, which are the most iconic symbols of Dali.
Wander in the Dali Ancient Town and discover the Bai Catholic Church.
Meals included: Breakfast
Transfer to Dali Airport, return by flight.
Meals included: Breakfast
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