Lijiang lies in the northwest of Yunnan, southwest of China, approximately 360 kilometers (225 miles) from the Tibetan border in road distance and 270 kilometers (168 miles) from the Burmese border in land distance. It has jurisdiction over 5 counties, with a population of 1,060,000, covering a total area of 21219 square kilometers (8190 square miles) with its municipal government based in Dayan Town.
Situated in a valley surrounded by high mountains, Lijiang has the benefit of pleasant temperatures all year around. The rainy season begins in late May and lasts until early November with storms possible in May and June. Then the rest of year is the dry season with good weather. Wild flowers start to bloom give blossoms in late March in normal years.The annual precipitation of Lijiang is around 953.9mm or 347.2 inches.
Lijiang has been home to the Naxi for over 1400 years. The Naxi are the descendants of the Tibetan Qiang tribe, who came down the Yangtze from Northern Tibet. The Naxi have a population of 300,000, most living in Lijiang area, with some in southwestern Sichuan and southeastern Tibet. Despite their small population, the Naxi have created a rich culture which attracts the world's attention. Their written language, known as Dongba Pictographs, is said to be the "only living pictographsic language" in the world. Like other regions in Yunnan Province, Lijiang is diverse ethnically, with Bai, Pumi, Yi, Tibetans, Miao, and Lisu inhabiting its valleys and mountains.
Being one of the most important trading posts along the Tea and Horse Ancient Road, Lijiang used to be very prosperous but gradually faded in importance until recent decades and became fairly quiet until Feb. 3rd, 1996, when an earthquake of 7 on the Richter scale hit Lijiang, killing over 300 and injuring 17,000. All of a sudden, Lijiang hit the international news, being in essence rediscovered.
Its beauty was found beautiful now draws and tens of thousands of tourists from all over the world began to come and see it each year. The number is growing. In 2005, over 3 million tourists visited Lijiang. Joseph Rock, an American botanist and later a leading Naxi culture expert, living in Lijiang between 1922 and 1949, described Lijiang as the Ancient Naxi Kingdom in the Southwest of China.
See: Huangshan, Guinlin and Lijiang Tour