Lijiang, Yunan Province (云南省丽江市)
Heilongtan Park, in the north of Lijiang Old Town, is renowned for its 40,000-square-meter pond. [China Photos/Betty Images]
The Yunnan town was a major trading hub eight centuries ago due to its extensive waterways and bridges. A trip to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town is practically mandatory; bonfires are lit at night and people dance in the city square. Also be sure to head over to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, an iconic Lijiang attraction capped with snow all year long.
Lijiang is the home of the Naxi, an ethnic minority group and one of the few remaining people to still write using hieroglyphs in the world. The local Naxi cuisine features dairy and beef products like yogurt, yak cheese, yak steak and yak butter. The local beverage is yak milk tea (who would've guessed?). And if you still haven't had enough, you can take a day trip out to Yak Meadows (60 kilometers from Old Town) and ride on a yak.