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Getting There

From Lijiang's airport, 28km (17 miles) and a 30-minute taxi ride (around ¥80) southwest of town, there are daily flights to a wide range of domestic locations including Kunming (50 min.), Xishuangbanna (30 min.), Guangzhou (3 hr.), and Shanghai (4 1/2 hr.). Tickets can be bought at the CAAC/Yunnan Airlines ticket office at Fuhui Lu, Minhang Zhan (tel. 0888/516-1289). CAAC airport buses (¥20) depart from the office 90 minutes before scheduled departures. There is another CAAC office on the first floor of the Lijiang Dajiudian at Xin Dajie (tel. 0888/518-0280; 8:30am-6:30pm).

Though the flight from Kunming to Lijiang only takes a half-hour or so, road transportation in the last decade has improved exponentially, reducing a 20-hour journey to just 5 hours once the new Dali bypass opens in spring 2010. From the main long-distance bus station at the southern end of Minzu Lu (tel. 0888/512-1106), buses run to Xiaguan (5 hr.; ¥55) every half-hour from 7:10am to 6:30pm; express buses to Xiaguan depart at 8:20am, 11:30am, and 2:30pm. Express buses run to Kunming (8 hr.; ¥151) at 8:20am, 9:20am, 10:20am, and noon; a sleeper bus to Kunming (10 hr.; ¥115) runs every half-hour from 5:30 to 8:30pm. Buses also run to Zhongdian/Xianggelila, passing Qiaotou (3 hr.; ¥35) every hour from 7:30am to 4pm; to Jinjiang/Sichuan (9 hr.; ¥88) at 7:10am, 8:30am, 12:30pm, 2pm, and 6pm; and to Ninglang (4 hr.; ¥42) every hour from 7:50am to 3:30pm. A private bus company, YNTAC (tel. 0888/512-5492), operates luxury air-conditioned buses to Xiaguan (3 hr.; ¥50) at 8:30am, 9am, 10:30am, and 5pm; and to Kunming (6 hr.; ¥168) at 8:30am, 9am, and 10:30am. YNTAC buses depart from the Naxi Dajiudian, at Nan Guojing Lu about 1km (2/3 mile) west of the bus station. A smaller bus station at the Guluwan Hotel on the northern end of Xindajie, opposite Mao's square has buses departing for Zhongdian, Qiaotou, and Shigu. Buses to Dali and Kunming can also be found here.

Getting Around

The old town, off-limits to motor traffic, can be comfortably toured on foot. Taxis cost ¥6 for 3km (2 miles), then ¥1.60 per kilometer. From midnight to 7am, in-town taxis charge ¥10 per trip. Bikes can be rented from several cafes in the old town and also in Mao Square at Ali Baba (tel. 0139/8704-7896) for around ¥15 a day.

Tours & Guides

Many of the cafes and hostels in old Lijiang have travel agencies that provide day tours and air and bus tickets. The Nice Hiking Club, Xinyi Jie, Jishan Xiang 17 (tel. 0888/517-5432), has photocopied maps of the locale that can help with backpackers' routes. Yunnan International Travel Service, across the way at Jishan Xiang 47 (tel. 0888/512-0653), frequently organizes hikes to Tiger Leaping Gorge and Wen Hai, skiing trips to nearby Haba Mountain and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, and overland trips by Land Cruiser into Tibet (approximately ¥4,500 per person for transportation and Tibet permit, based on four-person minimum). For the less adventurous, Old Lijiang has a Tourist Consultation Service just inside the northern entrance on Xinyi Jie (tel. 0888/511-6666), which offers more sedate day tours of the surrounding areas (in Chinese only).

Fast Facts

Banks, Foreign Exchange & ATMs -- The main branch of the Bank of China (Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:30pm) is on Xin Daje south of Fuhui Lu and has an ATM. In the old town, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) across from the post office (Mon-Fri 8:30am-5pm) can exchange cash and traveler's checks.

Internet Access -- A number of cafes in the old town offer Internet service for ¥2 an hour. One of the most reliable is the Dongba House Inn, Xinyi Jie Jishan Xiang 16. Dial-up is tel. 163.

Post Office -- The main post office in new Lijiang (8am-8pm) is on Xin Dajie. A smaller post office (8am-8pm) is in the old town at Sifang Jie just south of the Xinhua Bookstore.

Visa Extensions -- The Gonganju (PSB) is located at Fuhui Lu (tel. 0888/518-8437; Mon-Fri 8am-noon and 2:30-5:30pm in summer, 8:30am-noon and 2-5:30pm otherwise).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.