On our second day in Lijiang, we took a driving tour arranaged through our hotel, the Bivou, out to view the Yangzte River, to tour the Stone Drum Village, and then finally to see the Tiger Leaping Gorge, all wonderful places to visit in Yunnan Province.
Recent changes to Chinese law have prevented more skyscrapers from being built, have closed factories and prevented large-scale businesses from operating in Yunnan Province. The absence of industrialization has helped to preserve the heritage and to make sure tourism remains in tact….plus the added benefit of blue skies and clean air. I felt rejuvenated by being under the big blue skies, mountain peaks surrounding us, and a huge river flowing through it all. Tourism is estimated to be so big in Lijiang that 5 star hotels are popping up (like Intercontinental) and private residences with the St. Regis brand.
At more than 3,900 miles in length, the Yangtze River is the third longest river in the world, and home to the largest dam. Our driver took us to the best place to see the Yangtze River’s most famous bend. The hike to the top of the hill revealed a beautiful vista – a quaint village on one side, river in the middle, orderly fields in shades of green on the other side and mountains framing it. It was incredible!
We then spent an hour or so wandering through the Stone Drum Village. It was market day there so vendors were selling household goods, fresh produce, street food and enjoying a good piece of gossip.
Up through the village we found shops and workers, and a beautiful temple to explore. Plus there was an awesome wooden bridge to run across, and, if you so desired, to meditate.
The first half of our day was almost done and we were hungry! Our driver took us to a restaurant perched on the high banks of the Yangtze River. There we were able to pick our fresh veggies and meat, eat a yummy fresh lunch, and drink traditional Chinese tea. Not to get to personal, but the squatter here was the cleanest and had the best view of any I have ever been in.