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China -> Lijiang
Yunnan Province

Lijiang sits in the foothills of Tibet and is home to the ancient Naxi people. Though the town was racked by an earthquake in 1996, much of the old town was undamaged. In the Dayan Old Town, you can walk through the cobblestoned maze of streets lined with stalls selling everything you could ever need, and more that you don't. At night, the Chinese roofs are lit up and you can hear the gushing canals in the town. Everywhere you go, you see the matriarchal Naxi women wearing their traditional blue clothes. The various colored aprons the women wear symbolize the different stages of life they are in (unmarried, married, widowed, etc.).

The views are breathtaking, especially if you can see the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain on a clear day. Another natural wonder to see is Tiger Leaping Gorge, which is one of the main reasons people come to Lijiang. This is the spot where the Jinsha River flows through, later joining the Yangtze River. One of the most spectacular shows of the area is the "Impressions of Lijiang" musical directed by Zhang Yi-Mou, who also arranged the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. This is a showcase of the traditions of the regional minorities in an elaborate song and dance performance.

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