12 Reasons Lijiang Is The Prettiest City On Earth

Eat it, Venice. There’s a reason every young person in China dreams of moving there.

Lijiang is a city in China’s southwestern Yunnan Province. According to social media, every other college grad in China dreams of quitting their jobs to become an innkeeper here.

Hang around Chinese social media long enough and you’ll hear about China’s ‘Four New Yuppie Fads’.

But dreaming of moving to Lijiang is about the same order of twee as wanting to open a bookstore in Portland. Tell that to your friends in China and they’ll say, “sure, right.”

So why do young Chinese professionals want to quit their jobs and retire in Lijiang?


1. First of all: compared to the coastal cities, Lijiang’s relatively small, uncluttered and clean (the metro area has 1.2 million people).

China Photos / Getty Images

2. Yulong Snow Mountain’s glaciers are just a few dozen miles outside of the city.


3. Scene walks thread around the city.


4. And there’s charming historic architecture aplenty.

Lijiang was an important trading post for the Silk Road, and the old city section is a World Heritage site.


5. Southwestern Chinese (Yunnanese) Chinese cuisine is also severely underrated.


6. There’s surprisingly decently nightlife and bars, since it’s consistently one of the most popular vacation spots for young people.

It can apparently feel Venice-ish and over-toured during high travel season, but every idyllic historic city is at risk of that sort of artifice.

7. There’s a laid back music festival there.

China Photos / Getty Images

China Photos / Getty Images


8. People hang out near canals and drink in the middle of the day.


9. The city’s near pristine forests, lakes and other outdoor options.

10. It has its own unique culture.

Most of China’s Naxi ethnic minority call Lijiang home, though their relationship with the Han majority is complicated of course.

China Photos / Getty Images

11. The air’s clean and the weather’s always sunny.

12. And true to its reputation among young travelers, it’s a city of inns and small hideaways.

(But avoid the repeated souvenir shops everywhere.)

This skyline is why every college grad in China wants to move here:

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