Lijiang, a city in China’s Yunnan Province, is the culturally and historically important home to the Nakhi people, a matriarchal society related to Tibetans. Full of tiny canals and still-thriving artisan industries like papermaking, it’s a fascinating stop on the Yunnan trail, with evidence of Buddhist and Dongba religions and historic trade routes.
It’s also party central for China, apparently. This is where the eastern wealthy come to drink and scream and, probably, fall in a canal or two. The bars, the music, the drinks are interchangeable. (Really. Ask for a margarita. Or a martini. Either way, you might just end up, as I did, with a fruity, frothy concoction adorned with a couple olives.)
This tourist scene here is mostly domestic, so although it’s annoying on one level, it’s also a bit of a cultural immersion to party in Lijiang. It’s got traditional Chinese opera, sung by women wearing cowboy hats and backed by techno beats. It’s got people slamming bits of wood on the tables in a “rhythm.” It’s got people asking to take a picture with you if you’re blonde.
And when you need to retreat, the Crown Plaza Lijiang is, no joke, one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed in. Fancy bathrooms, impeccable decor, expansive outdoor spaces, an unimpeded view of Jade Dragon Mountain, which rises over 18,000 feet. Sure, the porters will rip your luggage tag off, but hey, that’s the stuff travel stories are made of! And when you’re done, just drive up the road to get spiritual in Shangri-La.
A chill bro, just posting.