This was our second visit to Lijiang and Shangri-La in Yunnan Province, and it was also our last long distance trip of 2012.
Our first stop was the old city of Lijiang and the surrounding area, where we explored the cobbled lanes of the old city and did some hiking around the countryside, visiting nearby small villages. This year we noticed a change in the climate: there was not as much water in the town's canals as usual, and very little snow on top of Jade Dragon Mountain. But the rest of the scenery was as beautiful as ever, and you can get a good idea of what we saw by looking through the photos below.
The next stop was Shangri-La, a town where Tibetan ethnic culture is dominant.
The road to Shangri-La took us through the mountains. Along the way, we stopped off at Lashi Lake, a beautiful reserve where we rode horses and followed some of the ancient tea trails.
We stayed over in Shangri-La, and did more walking around in the streets and lanes. A highlight was a visit to Songzanlin Temple, the largest active lamasery in Yunnan.
Huijie took hundreds of photographs while on the trip – below you'll see her favorites!
Autumn colours in Lijiang's ancient town.
Local Naxi (ethnic group) people were dancing at "Si Fang Jie", Lijiang's town square.
Making a circle before beginning the dance.
A very cute kid was also checking out the dancing.
The hiking group atop Lion Hill".
From Lion Hill you get a view of the rooftops of Lijiang's ancient town.
There's a tall pagoda on the peak of Lion Hill.
An ornamented arch marks the entrance to the Mu Family's palace home.
A spectacular view in the Black Dragon Pool park, with Jade Dragon Mountain in the distance.
Nice group photo with a view.
We stopped at another small town and took pictures with some Naxi ladies at the market. A few minutes later they asked us for money!
A lady in traditional garb doing embroidery.
We took a punt on Lashi Lake.
A stupa in Shangri-La's ancient town.
Local ladies meet on the street in Shangri-la.
Local primary school students on their way home.
Spot the Angry Bird.
Tibetan cuisine at a restaurant in Shangri-La.
Group photo in front of Songzanlin Temple, with our local guide Zhaxi.
Songzanlin Temple, the largest active lamasery in Yunnan Province.
Local people were doing koras around the temple, at least six circuits a day.
Local Tibetans making a circuit.
More people doing their koras.
A stupa in the background.
The big stupa in Songzanlin Temple.
We took a short hike trail up to a small village where Zhaxi, our local guide, gave an introduction to Tibetan Buddhism in a nice spot outside of a temple.
We decided that they must have been burning pine in there – the smoke smelled very fragrant.
Kai and the colourful prayer flags.
The ruins of a Tibetan house.
The flags at a door in the monastery.
A family heads in to do their prayers.
The front of the temple.