Yunnan Tour – Lijiang Day 8 (11 Days 10 Nights November 2015)

Pullman Lijiang Resort was really a great place for a good night rest. We slept like a log, especially after coming down from Shangrila where freezing cold and altitude sickness were our constant companions during our stay over there. Our sleep here in Lijiang was indeed sweet. Our tired bodies were rejuvenated and it would be a great day to kick start our activity in Lijiang.

When we pulled away the curtains and went out to the balcony, the majestic Jade Dragon Snow Mountain was awakening in diverse colours under the gentle autumn sun. The small stretch of snow on the mountain top was remarkably white with the surrounding rocky edges of the mount standing out in bright golden hues. The skies were also getting brighter turning from a tint of blue to bright white under the glare of the morning sun.

The distant mountains were coated with a grand coat of reddish brown. Soon, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain was back to its original greyish rock colour closer to silver with the unmistakable tiny shiny snow cap that adorned this awesome mountain during this autumn morning. The trees were glowing in bright reddish brown as well. What a joy to behold such wonder where we recalled our similar experience during sunrise at Mount Cook in South New Zealand from our hotel room window years ago.

Looking down below the balcony, hotel staff were up and about their work walking around the property. The resort buggies were out on the pavement with hotel staff busying themselves with work for the day. The villas were awaking as well with the few guests leaving for breakfast at the restaurant near the pond.

As for us, we needed not head out for breakfast. We bought bakery items from England Time at Shuhe Ancient Town the previous day and with the nice coffee maker provided by the hotel, we had a simple but satisfying breakfast. The coffee was heavenly so were the pastries from England Time. Having breakfast out on the balcony with the view of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain was a great feeling indeed. The air was fresh and cool this morning.

It was still very early and we had nothing planned in particular so we lingered in our room and enjoyed this spacious luxury hotel room watching TV. We were also able to keep in touch with the children back home. We had already left home for more than a week so it was also about time to keep up to date with events outside of China.

After 10 am, we decided to head to front desk to rent bicycles to cycle around the resort property. Bicycle rental was free and we were given a map of the surrounding. We were given one bicycle each and these bicycles were in good conditions. The compound in the resort was pretty big but we were the only guests cycling here with the occasional buggies sharing the track with us.

So we began our ride on this gorgeous property in Pullman Lijiang Resort. In front of our hotel building was the many villas very beautifully landscaped with plants, shrubs and trees, especially the lovely lavenders all over the resort. We didn’t cycle too far and we stopped to take pictures each time.

The place here was so pretty and we couldn’t help stopping so many times to take pictures at so many different spots. The flowers were lovely and we also spotted a solitary bird perching on a tree branch. Though lonely up there, this lovely bird seemed content and happy to be part of this wonderful garden in Pullman Lijiang Resort. We cycled on and looked back towards the front of the hotel from the back of the pond. This pond was actually quite large. Tall trees were providing shades along part of the path.

We rode on and crossed some bridges. The landscape here was equally beautiful. Some trees were shedding leaves while others were clothed in bright warm autumn colours in golden brown as well as deep yellow. It was such a wonderful sight and how could we not stop from time to time to admire the surrounding and take pictures! With the sun already up in the sky, it wasn’t cold at all. The air was really fresh this part of China.

We continued riding around towards the back of the resort. There were more villas located across a small stream. The trees here were really pretty decked in autumn colours lining both sides of the stream with the further end towards a mountain. The reflections of these trees on the cold stream was very lovely. There was a nice shelter near to this stream so we parked our bikes and enjoyed ourselves basking in this beautiful resort here in Lijiang.

After some time, we continued our bike ride around the perimeter of the resort and returned to the front of the hotel. At the carpark, we saw the hotel’s minibus, some cars and more buggies. From this area looking at the villas and the surrounding area, the focal point was always towards the majestic Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the distant background. This mountain was no doubt the centre of attraction in Lijiang.

Next we cycled back to the front of the pond where we fed fish the day before. This place was the most picturesque location in the resort with the beautiful pond in front of the magical Jade Dragon Snow Mountain posting behind just perfect for photo shoots. This would certainly be a great place for wedding photo shoots with such a fabulous surrounding. It was another cloudless day with a clear blue sky and we were blessed indeed to be out and about enjoying this bike ride around the resort.

So we had cycled more than one round checking out different parts of this resort. It was a great ride around the resort to discover this awesome piece of property. Eventually, we returned the bicycles to the hotel staff and returned to our room immensely satisfied with our first activity of the day.

It was still before noon and we were not very hungry yet. However, we noticed the false ceiling in the shower stall was leaking. The rain shower head attached to the ceiling might be the cause so we called reception to request for a change of room and was promptly approved. We were told to wait in our room and a hotel staff would send us a new set of card keys and help move our belongings to our new room. We did some quick packing to get ready and not long after, a hotel staff came to our room and showed us another room just a few units away still with the view of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.

It was exactly the same set up in the room. Everything was perfect. The king bed was clean and comfy. Full set of toiletries was provided. Bottled mineral water was also given, coffee and tea facility was also arranged in order in our room. From the balcony, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain was still unobstructed basking in all its glory. So this change of room also solved our problem of having our room cleaned while we were still here.

With this room change settled, we went to the restaurant near the pond for lunch. The friendly staff remembered us and approached us with big smiles on their face. We ordered western food but Chinese soup to try out the local dish here. Again bread was given and we loved it. We would be taking some of the bread to feed fish and ducks after lunch. Our food came and we enjoyed our lunch here in this quiet restaurant just with the two of us during this low season.

After lunch, we went back out to the pond with bread in our hands. The fish came quickly and made some splashing around fighting for breadcrumbs. Soon, two ducks also came over to join in the feeding frenzy. They were smarter though. They came ashore and needed not fight with those fish in the water for food. It was a lovely sight and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. We went back into the restaurant for more bread each time we had finished our bread and the restaurant staff happily provided us with more bread without grudge.

When the fish and the ducks seemed to be fed and happy to go on their way, we returned to our room. It was barely 2 pm. We didn’t plan any more outdoor tours so we enjoyed our fabulous room watching TV. From time to time we would head out to the balcony to enjoy the splendid view of the surrounding. It was so peaceful and beautiful here. We also called reception to prepare us a horse cart to send us back to Shuhe Ancient Town to visit for one last time before we depart for Dali the next morning. Meanwhile, we took more rest in our wonderful room in Pullman Lijiang Resort.

Later in the afternoon, we returned to the hotel lobby to get to Shuhe Ancient Town. One hotel staff escorted us out to a waiting horse cart and not long after, we were on our way towards the Ancient Town. The ride was interesting but not the most comfortable ride like riding in a car. It was simply a novelty. In under 10 minutes, we arrived at the entrance of the Ancient Town.

Apparently there were more people at the entrance this afternoon. It was still the same bright and sunny autumn day that was very ideal for outdoor sight-seeing. We entered the Ancient Town and saw the same scene like the previous day. So we walked into town passing the nice pond with the pavilion for visitors to hang wishes.

Both sides of the street were still the same but slightly busier than the day before. There were kids out on the streets having fun. This Ancient Town was rather authentic with people living here. The children belonged to those shopkeepers in town. They were really having a great time.

So we ventured further passing visitors and horses along the way. Soon we reached the town square again and this location seemed to be the quieter part of town. Those small trucks they used here were also quite interesting. They didn’t come with the front enclosure exposing the engine with a simple belt and pulley transmission system. These skeletal vehicles were simply functional and not meant to be luxurious, perhaps about the same ride quality as the horse carts.

We walked further in and discovered a hotel in traditional Chinese style. It looked nice but was rather quiet. Low season perhaps and we didn’t see any quests in the hotel. The setting was quite nice though with a water body surrounding this hotel and night time would be romantic for couples seeking a nostalgic experience under the stars.

Venturing further passing streets with more shops on both sides, we came across some interesting shops selling handmade candies. Not far from one of these shops was a little boy sitting outside a shop doing homework writing Chinese characters on an assessment book. We shouldn’t be surprised though as Chinese loved to learn but it was an interesting sight for us tourists. The father came out to talk with this boy and we went into their shop to purchase some nice egg tarts. This would be great for supper later in the evening. More kids were playing on the street here as well.

Moving further ahead was the beautiful area where cafes and restaurants were located with a nice stream running in the middle. So the hotel we passed by earlier could be strategic for those who wished to dine here where many restaurants came with live music performance. There were visitors here but the restaurants were very quiet. It was still too early for dinner. Street vendors were still selling fruits here like the previous day.

Next we continued to stroll along the street and we arrived at England Time, the bakery we bought some food during our visit the day before. We entered the bakery to buy more food for supper and breakfast for the next day. This area was another interesting place too. Some visitors bought cakes and pastries as well as beverages and went upstairs to enjoy people watching from the upper floor.

After this instead of retracing our steps back to the main entrance, we walked on and ventured further uphill in this ancient town. We were exploring places we left out the day before. We arrived at another open area surrounded with shops. Horses and horse carts were also available for hire over here.

We continued our stroll uphill and found the cobbled stones streets rather slippery. The streets were not wet but the stones were so smooth. We passed a nice canal and we also saw couples taking wedding pictures at different spots around this part of town. The scene here was definitely memorable.

So we walked on and realized this part of town seemed to be more for the locals living here. We noticed there was an open area that served as a vegetable farm near the top of the town. However, there were more unique cafes and restaurants here as well.

Passing the street here, we seemed to have exited the Ancient Town. We arrived at a narrow street where the building didn’t resemble anything Chinese. It was an European style building with very nice interior. What we saw was actually a restaurant and a KTV served as a pub as well. This was probably a high end accommodation at the edge of this Ancient Town.

Walking further, we were pretty sure we were already outside of the Ancient Town. It was so quiet here where visitors were few and far between. The few persons we encountered were locals living here or going back home for dinner. Now we were walking outside the perimeter of Shuhe Ancient Town. Sunset was approaching and the moon was already taking over its duty so we quickened our pace.

With nothing much to see we began to feel weary. While walking back down to the main entrance of the ancient town, we came across their local minibus. We got on and told the driver we needed a ride back to Pullman Lijiang Resort. The driver didn’t really know where but since he had to head out to town the same direction, I told him to move on and would tell him where to let us alight.

So we were taking a ride back to Pullman Lijiang Resort. Couple of minutes later, we were on the main road towards our hotel. Once the minibus reached the opposite side of the road from the hotel, I paid the driver and we alighted. He then drove on with other passengers heading towards the city. We were really glad we didn’t have to walk all the way back to Pullman Lijiang Resort. From the main entrance of the Ancient Town, we would need 20 minutes to walk back but we were right deep behind the Ancient Town so we might have to walk 40 minutes in order to reach the hotel.

In fact, we were more than happy to arrive Pullman Lijiang Resort slightly earlier as the sun was fast setting in the distance. We were just in time to watch the magical sunset show hanging out at the pond area watching the changing scene of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain during this sunset hour. Everywhere was quiet and the ducks had retired. The fish no longer came to us and they too went to their resting place. Sense of peace and calm was all over this lovely place.

Lights in the resort were already turned on and the resort had turned on its romantic charm. The light tint of blue in the sky soon turned darker and the snow capped mountain took on a darker shade from greyish silver to dark greyish rock colour with its ice cap reflecting a light tint of pink before it finally faded out into the night. We were privileged to enjoy this magical moment where we missed the day before arriving Pullman Resort a little later.

When the show was over, we went into the Chinese restaurant that was operating in the evening. This was really a nice place to settle down for a great dinner before retiring to our room. We took the chef’s recommendation and ordered some Chinese dishes. The food presentation was good and the taste was great. We had an enjoyable dinner on this last night in Lijiang.

It was already dark everywhere when we left the restaurant. We took a slow stroll to look around the resort and then returned to our room. It was quite a long walk earlier so we were more than happy to settle down and rest. The TV was of course turned on to keep us company besides catching up with the children and friends using the excellent wifi from the hotel.

Once again, supper time beckoned. The egg tarts and some pastries kept us happy with coffee and tea to indulge our stay here in Lijiang. We had recovered from altitude sickness and lost of appetite in Shangrila and so we were eating normally and of course happily again. Pullman Lijiang Resort was indeed a great choice for us. This resort was so good that we didn’t feel a need to explore elsewhere in Lijiang. In fact we had already gone boating and horse riding in Lashi Lake when we first arrived in Lijiang 5 days ago and we had also visited the main Ancient Town nearer the city.

We deliberately skipped Jade Dragon Snow Mountain because we had already visited Shika Snow Mountain in Shangrila. The elevation there was over 4500 m where we had a great time on the top of the world. The cost for that day tour up the mountain was just 220 CNY per person. A visit to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain would cost more than 600 CNY and take more time as well. So we were very happy with our itinerary here in Lijiang where we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with this relaxing pace.

So the next day we would return to Dali by bus and bus ticket had been purchased two days ago when we arrived Lijiang from Shangrila. As such, all we needed was to pack up and get ready for our next destination back to Dali. With the night wore on, it was time to head to bed. We won’t forget the great experience here in Lijiang Pullman Resort. The nice comfy bed soon put us at ease and we let ourselves drift into sweet dreams during this fantastic part of our Yunnan tour.

Continue to Day 9

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