The Naxi Orchestra is an established part of Lijiang’s tourist scene. Using antique instruments, the orchestra performs Song-dynasty tunes derived from Taoist scriptures, a tradition said to have arrived in Lijiang with Kublai Khan, who donated half his court orchestra to the town after the Naxi chieftain helped his army cross the Yangzi. The orchestra regrouped after the Cultural Revolution, though the deaths of many older musicians have reduced its repertoire. To counter this, the orchestra’s scope has been broadened by including traditional folk singing in their performances.

The orchestra plays nightly in Lijiang in the well-marked hall on Dong Dajie (8pm; ¥120–160; some agents offer discounted tickets). The music is haunting, but introductory commentaries overlong; try to catch the orchestra practising in the afternoon in Black Dragon Pool Park, for free.

Also on Dong Dajie, another hall, called the “Inheritance and Research Base of China”, hosts a song and dance troupe who put on spirited nightly performances to a small audience (8–9.30pm; ¥80). Expect to be dragged on stage at the end. Similar audience participation is encouraged in the nightly dances that start around 7pm in Sifang Square.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

China features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

20 picturesque Christmas destinations

20 picturesque Christmas destinations

Dreaming of a trip this Christmas? We're here to help. From glittering cities to a few snowy escapes, here are 20 classic destinations for a festive break. …

12 Dec 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
An expert's guide: where to stay in Shanghai

An expert's guide: where to stay in Shanghai

Shanghai has to be a contender for the buzziest city in Asia, a thriving business hub that's brashly modern yet wears its history on its sleeve. Dense with glit…

23 Oct 2017 • Simon Lewis insert_drive_file Article
The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right