Neighboring the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Lijiang is easily reachable since becoming a popular tour destination at the end of the 1990s. The earliest vehicle in the region was the horse caravan to Tibet which passed through the Ancient Tea-Horse Avenue all year round. Long journeys through a dangerous natural environment were a great challenge for those caravans.
There are fights linking Lijiang and Kunming, and also direct flight from Shanghai to Lijiang. For a detailed schedule and fares of the flights, refer to the table at the bottom of the page. In peak season, there are be extra flights and schedules may alter accordingly.
Lijiang airport is a fair distance from the city center, about 28km east. There is a RMB20 road tax to the airport, and a taxi to the airport takes about 40 minutes and costs about RMB75-80.
There is no public bus to or from the airport. Upon arrival, there are a few transfer services to the city but the service is very unreliable. From the city, an infrequent airport shuttle bus leaves from the Guanfang Hotel. The best thing to do is to check with the hotel and the airport about up to date public transport information.
The Ticketing office is directly opposite the Senglong Hotel on Nanguojing Lu, beside a Branch of the Bank Of China. (Tel: 5128445). There is another branch on Fuhui lu at the intersection with Shangri-La Dadao. (Tel: 5180281), and another branch on the intersection of Xindajie and Jinxing Lu. (Tel: 5161291).
The biggest bus station is at the Intersection of Mains Lu and Changshui Lu. The main bus station has both Gaokuai (express) and normal buses.
Express buses runs to Kunming at 08:20,09:20,10:20 and 12:00. The fare is RMB151 and the trip takes 8 Hours. Buses to Xiaguan/Dali are scheduled for 14:30 18:30 11:30am. The trip costs RMB50.5 and takes 3 hours.
Normal buses to Kunming are usually night sleepers, there are several of these and the trip costs RMB115 and takes 10 Hours.
Mini buses to Zhongdian are available. There is one bus an hour between 7am and 3PM.
There are smaller bus stations in the town: among these, the biggest is at the old Guluwan Hotel on the northern end of Xindajie, opposite Mao's square. From here buses run to Zhongdian, Qiaotou and Shigu. Buses to Dali and Kunming can also be found here.
The other sub-stations are at the Yuquan Hotel (Jade Spring) and The Lijiang Hotel.
There is an express bus station (for fast buses only) on Shangri-la Dadao opposite the Guanguang Hotel (Tel: 5183758).
No vehicles are allowed to enter the ancient town. All taxis and buses are in the new city.
Taxi: Smaller sized cars are RMB6 for the first 3 KM and 1.6/KM thereafter and bigger cars like Santana are RMB7 for the first 3 KM and 1.8/KM thereafter. Although few drivers use the meter during the day, most journeys should not cost more than RMB6. The night pricing policy is a bit strange, after 10PM, meters are not used at all, and the fare is always RMB10.It should cost about RMB300 to hire a taxi for the entire day.
Public Bus: All buses are RMB0.8, some have ticket collectors, others are help-yourself ticketing. The exception is the bus No.7.
Bicycle: The old city of Lijiang prohibits vehicles from coming in, bicycles are also forbidden in the old town, and in any case, the lanes around here are too rough to ride a bicycle across. Many people hire bikes to travel to nearby villages however and to visit some of the scenic spots in the area. Bikes can be rented from 70 Mishi Xiang on Xinyi Jie, beside the river and opposite Mamafu's. All the bikes are mountain bikes, and cost RMB15/day.