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Location:Lijiang, Yunnan

Shuhe Old Town

Nestled at the foot of the majestic Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Shuhe Old Town (Shuhe Guzhen) is a captivating destination that offers travelers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage and traditional way of life of the Naxi people. This ancient town, located just 4 kilometers northwest of Lijiang Old Town, is a well-preserved gem along the historic Tea Horse Road, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Introduction to Shuhe Old Town

Shuhe Old Town, also known as Longquan Village (Dragon Spring Village), is believed to be the birthplace of the renowned Mu Family, one of the most influential Naxi clans. Dating back over 800 years, this charming town has retained its authentic character, with traditional Naxi architecture, cobblestone streets, and a vibrant local community that continues to uphold its age-old customs and traditions.

Highlights of Shuhe Old Town

Sifang Square and Shuhe Street

At the heart of Shuhe Old Town lies Sifang Square, a bustling central market that covers an area of approximately 250 square meters. This lively square, reminiscent of Lijiang’s famous Sifang Street, is surrounded by ancient shops with dark red painted wood doors, where locals gather to chat and go about their daily routines.

From Sifang Square, visitors can stroll along Shuhe Street, a picturesque cobblestone path that leads to the Jiudinglong Pool, a sacred spring revered by the Naxi people.

Jiudinglong Pool and Beiquan Temple

The Jiudinglong Pool, also known as the Dragon Spring, is a tranquil oasis that serves as the source of the stream that winds through Shuhe Old Town. According to local legend, this spring is believed to be the birthplace of the Naxi people, adding to its spiritual significance.

Nearby, visitors can explore the Beiquan Temple (North Spring Temple), a traditional Naxi-style temple built in honor of the sacred spring. This serene sanctuary offers a glimpse into the religious beliefs and architectural traditions of the Naxi people.

Qinglong Bridge and Sansheng Temple

One of the most iconic landmarks in Shuhe Old Town is the Qinglong Bridge, a stunning stone bridge dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). This 25-meter-long bridge, with its intricate carvings and weathered surfaces, is a testament to the town’s rich history and architectural heritage.

Adjacent to the bridge stands the Sansheng Temple (Three Saints Temple), a traditional Chinese quadrangle that houses a collection of Naxi artifacts and exhibits, providing insights into the local culture and traditions.

Practical Tips for Visiting Shuhe Old Town

Best Time to Visit

Shuhe Old Town can be visited year-round, but the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons offer the most pleasant weather conditions and vibrant natural scenery.

Getting There

Shuhe Old Town is easily accessible from Lijiang Old Town by various modes of transportation:

  • By Bus: Take bus No. 11 or No. 6 from Lijiang Old Town to Shuhe Lukou or Shuhe Shangcun Wenmingcun station, respectively.
  • By Taxi: Taxis are readily available, and the fare from Lijiang Old Town is approximately 20 CNY (around $3 USD).
  • By Bicycle: For a more leisurely experience, rent a bicycle and pedal your way to Shuhe Old Town, a journey of about 40 minutes.

Entrance Fees and Opening Hours

The entrance fee for Shuhe Old Town is approximately 70 CNY (around $10 USD) for adults and 35 CNY (around $5 USD) for children. The town is open daily from 6:30 AM to 8:30 PM, with extended hours during peak seasons.

Guided Tours and Accommodation

For a more immersive experience, consider joining a guided tour or hiring a local guide to gain deeper insights into the history, culture, and traditions of Shuhe Old Town. Additionally, visitors can choose to stay in one of the town’s traditional guesthouses or inns for an authentic Naxi experience.

Shuhe Old Town is a true gem in the heart of Lijiang, offering travelers a unique opportunity to step back in time and immerse themselves in the rich cultural tapestry of the Naxi people. With its picturesque streets, sacred sites, and well-preserved architecture, this ancient town promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you enchanted by the charm and authenticity of this remarkable destination.