When the Lijiang Express (a far cry from the old rust bucket that hauled us there from Panzhihua in 1991)- large leather armchairs, seatbelts, hostesses and blaring TV – pulled into modern Lijiang we feared the worst: we had arrived in what seemed to be a vast expanse of empty roads, half-finished concrete buildings, monstrous new hotels and souvenir shops… Was this going to be the Dali nightmare all over again? Adam most eloquently expresses his feelings on the over-exploitation of that once lovely village on our blog Holachina.blog » The Death of Dali / Shangri-La Tourism What happens when all of China and the world want to visit a small town? .
A friendly Naxi taxi driver drove us to the area near the waterwheels, which marks the entrance to the Old City. Immediately, we were shocked by the mayhem: we saw scores of Chinese girls dressed in fake Naxi costumes, tourist ponies, photographers, touts and, of course, hundreds of tourists milling about, or trailing after their megaphone-toting, flag-waving guides!
We quickly turned into one of the narrow, cobbled streets, these days lined with souvenir shops, and went in search of affordable accommodation, which we eventually found at the fairly atmospheric Old Town Inn.
When we emerged again in the evening, [Read more →]