Wangu Temple is a Lijiang landmark and one of the best places in the city to soak in the views. While it may look like Wangu Temple was standing since the Ming Dynasty was formed, it is a newer addition to Lijiang—and one well worth a visit especially when you bring your camera along and visit the top-floor observatory.
Even though the five-story Wangu Temple was recently built, it has a deep connection to local history. It’s located right in Lijiang Old Town, the region’s center of history, culture, shopping, and tourism. The pavilion is the anchor of Lion Park, a 15-hectare forested plot—a respectable 38 acres. Some of the cypress trees, it is said, are 800 years old, which would make them as old as Lijiang itself. The park and tower are easy to find at the end of Sifang Street, Old Town’s main street. Signs will lead the way to the pavilion and park, the tallest point in Lijiang.
A nominal fee is collected to enter Lion Park, which gives you full access to Wangu Temple. Both are accessible daily from 8 am to 6 p.m. As soon as you step into the pavilion, you’ll find an altar near the entrance and monks who are available to answer questions and explain the sights on the floors above. The tour continues on the third and fourth floors, where you’ll find art exhibits, including paintings in the traditional scroll style.
The top floor serves an observation level, designed with 13 angles—one for each peak of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The natural wonder is just one of many sights to enjoy from the top floor of the Wangu Temple Pavilion. The surrounding park is a pleasant place for a walk, especially when the fruit trees are in bloom in the spring.