Lishui (丽水市) is a city in Zhejiang province.
Lishui has a very long history, for during the Liangzhu Culture period 4,000 years ago, there were tribes living in the area. In 589, a prefecture called Chuzhou was established by the Sui Dynasty with Kuocang, Songyang, Linhai, Yongjia, Angu and Lechen counties under its jurisdiction. Three years later, the prefecature's name was changed to Kuozhou and then to Yongjia County in 607. The name was changed back to Kuozhou in 621 during the Tang Dynasty, to Jinyun County in the first year of the Tianbao era (742) and back to Kuozhou in the first year of Qianyuan Era (758).
In 779, during the Tang Dynasty, it was renamed Lishui County. The name of the area was changed again in the year 1276 during the Yuan Dynasty to Chuzhou Lu and to Annan Fu in the 19th year of rule of Zhizheng (1359). The name of the area was maintained as Chuzhou Fu until the Ming and Qing Dynasties when it was changed back to Lishui. In the year 1935, the area was given the official name: Lishui Administrative Supervision District. In 1949, the Lishui Special District was established but then abolished in 1952. Later, it was re-instated in 1963 and the area was renamed as Lishui City. By the year 1997, Longquan, Qingtian, Jinyun, Yunhe, Qingyuan, Suichang, Songyang and Jingning were under the jurisdiction of Lishui, Liandu District serving as the administrative headquarters.
This guide concerns itself with the city of Lishui in the Liandu district. Other regions within Lishui County will have their own guides.
Lishui is well connected to major cities by bullet train. Wenzhou South Station is about 35 minutes from Lishui while Hangzhou East Station is 1.5 hours from Lishui and Shanghai Hongqiao Station is about 3 hours from Lishui by high speed train (CRT). The train station is located on the southeast side of the city and is just minutes by car or bus from the city center.
Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH IATA) serves domestic and international flights. To transfer to Lishui, take a taxi or metro to the East Railway Station and then travel by bullet train (approximately 1.5 hours). There are also 4 buses a day going straight from Lishui to Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (around 3h 15min. Ticket ¥122).
Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG IATA). The largest international airport in the vicinity of Lishui. Serves domestic and international flights from all over China and the world. To get to Lishui, first travel to Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station (about 1.5h subway ride from Pudong) and then take a bullet train to Lishui Station (3 hours).
Wenzhou Longwan International Airport (WNZ IATA) serves domestic and international flights. There are services to airports throughout China. The airport is on the east side of the city. To travel to Lishui, first go to the high-speed bullet train station and then travel by bullet train for approximately 30 minutes.
Public buses run fairly often depending on the route. Single and double-digit buses cost ¥1.5 (or ¥1.2 with prepaid bus card) in coins or bills (no change given). Board the bus, drop the coins in the machine or beep your card and you're set. Longer distance buses (often with 3 digits) cost ¥3-¥4.
Taxis are easy to find around most major sites. Fares start at ¥8. Within the city, you'll pay between ¥8-25. Taxi drivers are honest but very few speak English. To make it easy on your taxi driver, show them the name and address in Chinese.
- Astronomy Tower (应星楼), 大猷街(近江滨公园) (On the Lishui waterfront - look for the tall building). Beautiful building with a focus on astronomy. There is a small rotating exhibition on the ground floor and the 2nd and 3rd stories contain an exhibition about Chinese astrology. Climb up further and there's some kind of star show that doesn't run very often and on the very top floor you'll find a small temple with fantastic views of the city and waterfront. ¥30.
- Lishui City Museum (丽水市博物馆), 浙江省丽水市莲都区大猷街30号 (30 Dayou Street) (Located on the eastern edge of the waterfront park). Large museum with lots of different exhibitions, including history, animal life, the 3 treasures of Lishui (pottery, sword-making and stone-carving). Plan to spend a couple hours here. Small gift shop. Free entry.
- Lishui Photography Museum (中国丽水摄影博物馆), 括苍路583号 (Very close to waterfront and). Two-story museum with rotating exhibitions with photographers from around the globe. There is also a permanent exhibitions about cameras. Free entry.
Nature and parks
- Lishui Riverside Park (江滨公园), 大猷街2号 (located on the north bank of the river between the photography museum and the Lishui city museum.). Large waterfront area that encompasses small parks, koi ponds, waterfalls, a sand playground, pavilions, the old city gate, astronomy tower and skateboard park. In the summer you can rent quad-bikes and take a boat ride here. On weekday mornings you might be able to hear people practicing traditional musical instruments. Free.
- Nanming Shan (南明山 - Chinese 'the Mountain of the Southern Brightness'). Mountain south of the city that is popular with locals. There is an old temple, rock carvings, waterfalls, koi fish ponds and an outdoor gym on the top of the mountain with fantastic views of the city. You can reach it by taking bus number 1 South. The mountain is at the very last stop. Free entry.
- Shahe Pagoda (The Old Pagoda 厦河塔) (located to the south of the train station, on the hillside to the left of the road, right before the blue bridge.). A Ming Dynasty pagoda in pretty good condition. There's no bus that passes by, nor a parking lot of any real sort, so it's recommended to take a bike or electric scooter there. There's a wee little fenced off area that people park their two-wheeled vehicles in, from which it's an easy few flights of stairs up to the pagoda. Built in 1585, there's no access to the inside, but it's worth spending some time examining the architectural details of the pagoda, especially the funky inscriptions on the individual bricks. The best time to visit is sunset, when one can take full advantage of the western-facing view of the city and its mountains. Make sure to wander around a little, and check out the connected temple, which can be accessed through a small shrine half built into a rock, off the right of the path up to the temple.
Temples, pagodas and churches
- Jinshan Pa (巾山塔 - Chinese 'The Pagoda of the Mountain of the Cloth'). The more secluded of Lishui's two pagodas. Erected in the Ming dynasty with renovations in the Qing dynasty. Nowadays it seems largely forgotten but can be reached from the southside of the mountain. On the way up you pass by a farming village and a local Buddhist temple. Can be reached by local bus 201 from Lishui get off at 柳后 (Liu Hou), and take the trail on the east side of the village. Entry is free.
- Lingshan Temple (靈山寺 - Chinese: Spirited Mountain Temple), 瓯江支流好溪下游 (take bus 8 northeast to the final stop. You'll find a stairway going up just across from the bus stop). Large complex with Buddhist temples scattered around. There's a dragon cave temple and a combination of older and newer temples dotting the hillside. Free but donations welcome.
- Ancient Weir Painting Village (古堰画乡景区(香樟古埠)), 浙江省丽水市莲都区大港头镇古堰画乡景区 (Take bus 202, 207 or 203 to the last stop (the bus makes a u-turn in one area; keep going until everyone gets off or take a taxi. By bus: 35-50 minutes. By taxi: 30 minutes). Tourist site on both banks of the river. There's small shops, restaurants, cafes, a small temple, bamboo boat rides for ¥20. It's very picturesque and you'll see many with easels painting the area. Some places take commissions if you'd like your portrait done. Ferry rides from one bank to the other are included in the entrance price. ¥50.
- East and West Scenic Area, aka Dongxiyan (东西岩), 丽水东西岩景区 (Take bus 313 to the final stop - about 45 minutes. Buses run about once an hour and the last bus back is at around 5:30pm. Taxi: 20 minutes.). Dongxi Scenic Area has lots of pretty rock formations, canyons, caves and temples. You can take a circular hiking route that will take maybe 1.5 hours (there's lots of signage everywhere) or just go explore for hours. There's a restaurant and tiny gift shop by the entrance and some small stalls at various points along the trails. ¥45.
- Kuocang Ancient Rd. (括苍古道) - old mountain path conneting two Lishui counties. Path leads through mountain tops, old villages and temples, from Jinyun (access by long distance bus - you need to tell the driver to drop you at Kuocang Gudao) to the outskirts of Lishui, where you can board 305 bus to the city center. Hike takes 5-6h.
- Xixi village (Bus 301 from Lishui. At the end stop switch to bus 301-1). The ancient village set more than 1000 years ago. The buildings themselves aren't that old, but walking through the narrow streets certainly makes you think like you're a part of some historical TV drama. It's not a museum though. People are still living there.A really pretty place with unique atmosphere accessible with the city bus. No entrance fee.
- Guanling Ancient Rd. (官岭古道) (Get on bus 601 or 602 and get off at the last stop. Walk along the road down the hill to Guanling village.). An old path through the mountains connecting two villages - Lishan and Guanling. It leads through a bamboo forest, with nice views on surrounding mountains. Both villages are quite picturesque. The trail itself is quite easy and takes around 1 hour to walk between the villages. Reaching the bus stop is quite problematic though (from each village you need to walk additional 3km). Another choice would be to call a taxi which would cost 100-150RMB back to the city.
- Lishui Adventure Island Water World (丽水冒险岛水世界), 水阁工业区绿谷大道353号 (entrance from the south), ☎ . varies but usually 10am-7pm during June-September. Closed October - May. Huge water park only open during the summer. Top-of-the-line rides purchased from the USA. Dining options available. ¥220 for adults, ¥138 for children above 1 meter. Seasonal cards available..
- Horse riding (莲城马会) (Bus 209 to Baikou 白口, or 207, 208 to Shiniu 石牛 and then walk for 15min. There are signs pointing to the right direction.). 8am - 5pm. There are small stables located in a park near the river bank. You need to bring your own water/snacks since there are no shops in the area. Prior booking is not necessary. ¥30 for one round or ¥260 for one hour.
- Lishan Advenure Park (利山亲子拓展基地) (Bus 203 to the Lishan village. Usually, there are 2-3 buses an hour.). Open 8.30-10.50 and 13.30-16.00.. Adventure park with obstacles (suspended bridges, wires, ladders etc) suspended 1-2m over the creek. There's no zip wire. It takes 30-40min to finish the whole route. Obstacles range from very easy to very difficult, requiring a lot of strength. Children have to be at least 120cm tall to be able to participate. There's also a playground for kids with zorbing, swings and a jungle gym. ¥88.
- Lishui Grand Theatre, 丽水市人民路处州公园东首, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Performing arts theater with live concerts, dance performances and children's shows. National and international artists. Located close to Wandi Plaza. 20-300RMB.
- Deng Xuxia Massage (邓旭霞), 丽水市囿山路597号, ☎ . Very large massage place with hour-long full-body massage (clothes on) for 80RMB by disabled massage therapists. Also offers acupuncture and other treatments. Staff does not speak English and massages vary in quality but it's clean, cheap and reputable (no mini-skirts here).
- Baiyun Shan (白云山 - Chinese 'the Mountain of the White Clouds'). Large mountain park in the Northern part of Lishui. Many paved hiking trails with occasional pavilions, providing shelter from rain. Large Buddhist temple at the top. At the foot of the mountain, there is a small museum about rock carving, a large pottery shop and a few stalls and restaurants. Nice place for morning coffee. Access by bus bus no 1. Just hop on the bus going North and get off at the last stop. You can't miss it. Free entry.
- General hiking. Lishui is surrounded by mountains. Most of them could be climbed, despite not being official hiking trails. Easiest access to the mountains is behind the railway station (200m West from the Station, there is a tunnel). Local villagers grow fruit (tangerines, peaches, mulberries, bayberries) in those mountains, so there are plenty of trails used by farmers. You'll also pass through many old villages with absolutely stunning views and virtually no tourists (since the only 'official' hiking spots are Baiyun Shan, Nanming Shan, Dongxiyen and Kuocang Ancient Rd.). Take with you water, snacks and a hiking stick to scare off the snakes (there are cobras in those mountains, so be careful between May and October). No entrance fee.
- Wandi Plaza Mall (花园万地广场). Very large shopping complex with tons of clothing stories, eateries, cafe, gaming park (3rd and 4th floors) with indoor playgrounds, skating rink and small go-kart area, moving theater and more.
- Night Market, West from McDonald's along Jiguang St. (继光街) (You can get there by bus no 6, 10, 11, 18). 6pm - 11pm. Market opens in evening hours on the sidewalk along Jiguang Rd. You can usually find cheap clothes, shoes and accessories. You can also buy sugar cane, steamed chestnuts and other fresh fruit. Prices are not given so be prepared to haggle. Merchandise sold at the market usually costs under 70 RMB.
- Zhejiang Hotel Supplies (浙江万年红宾馆酒店用品有限公司), 浙江省丽水市莲都区中山街164-8号 (next to bus stop for K1). This place is some kind of Aladdin's cave of bizarre souvenirs, hotel supplies and kitchenware. It's two stories tall and goes back very, very far, such that it wouldn't be shocking if no customer has seen the whole store. Don't miss the Chinglish signs on the 2nd floor. Prices are shockingly cheap and everything is well marked.
- Western Plaza (西城广场), 36 Xueyuan Road (学院路36路西城广场) (bus 4 or 6 stop here). Large plaza with two stories and dozens of restaurants and food stalls. Almost all Chinese food except for two sushi places and an Italian restaurant (corner of the 2nd floor). Very reasonable prices. ¥6-30 per dish.
- Lishui Vegetarian Restaurant (丽水善膳堂清心素食), 566 Dangshan Road (囿山路566号) (Bus 7 or 12 stop outside). 10:30-1pm and 5pm-7:30pm. Vegetarian buffet restaurant. All Chinese options and drinks available too. Very popular around 6pm so get there before or after. ¥18 for adults, ¥10 for children.
- Heart Sushi (心寿司), 217 Youshan Road (囿山路217号), ☎ . Somewhat authentic sushi. Lots of options, including avocado. Picture menu. ¥6-20 per dish.
- Wandi Plaza (花园万地广场) (By bus 4, 8, 10 or taxi. There are also free Wandi buses that run once an hour.). Most good restaurants in Lishui could be found here. Things to try: Beijing duck (北京烤鸭), baked fish (炉鱼), a Thai restaurant (on the 2nd floor) and a restaurant with Xinjiang cuisine. Dinner for 4 people costs anything from ¥120 - 300.
- Xinjiang Cuisine (西域映象创意新疆菜), 万地广场4楼020号 (4th floor of Wandi Plaza. Donkey by entrance.), ☎ . Wonderful restaurant featuring Xinjiang food, from caramelized sweet potatoes to grilled mutton. Lots of offerings but make sure your phone has a text translator unless you go with someone that can read Chinese. Prices per dish - 4RMB-35RMB. There's a decent amount of vegetarian options.
- Hey Juice (茶桔便(万地店)), 万地广场5号107-2 (pedestrian pathway on the southern side of Wandi Plaza). Small bubble tea place with an English menu. ¥10-18.
- First Generation (初代宇治抹茶 蛋糕西点), 万地广场步行街5-103 (along the small pedestrian street on the south side of Wandi Plaza), ☎ (mobile). Adorable Japanese-inspired tea and cake place. Three floors of cuteness. Great place to take a date. Prices are relatively high for the area.
- BeerGo (啤酒狗精酿), 浙江省丽水市莲都区大猷街27号(洋房餐厅隔壁) (very close to the riverfront. Bus K10 has a stop close by), ☎ (mobile). Restaurant and craft beer joint, frequented by many expats. Sliders, fries, etc. Reasonable prices.
- New World Hotel, 219 Liqing Road (Liqing Lu) (downtown, near the East Bus Station and the railway station). There are 120 rooms and suites, including single, luxury, business standard, administrative and presidential type rooms with modern facilities. Daily rates starts from ￥130.
- Xierdun·Roman Holiday Hotel, 568 Dayang Road (Dayang Lu) (downtown, 4 km from Lishui Railway Station). Spacious suites as well as standard and single rooms outfitted with LCD computers. Coffee bar, beauty salon and ample parking.
Lishui has much better air quality than the rest of China. It is also cleaner and the people are very friendly. Traffic is much safer as people drive more carefully and have more respect for traffic rules than the rest of China. However, the tap water in Lishui is not potable. Most large places will have Western toilets and smaller places might have a Western toilet as the handicapped option. Bring your own toilet paper and hand soap and if there's a bin beside the toilet then use that as most toilets cannot handle paper. International credit cards are generally not accepted so carry plenty of cash. ICBC, CCB and Bank of China ATMs are best for international withdrawals.