Located about 15.5 miles north of Lijiang city, the Baishui's riverbed is composed of white marble and limestone. The clear water is crisp and unpolluted, which is why Baishui River is also called "White Water River." Slate gray mountains and green foliage in the spring and summer make the Baishui River not only one of China's most scenic destinations, but also its most relaxing.
When to go: The river is accessible year-round and swimming is permitted. While the water is always cold, traveling in July and August might make it a bit more bearable than during the winter. Choose between a full-day guided tour of Lijiang, or travel on your own by taking the No. 7 bus from the city for 8 CNY ($1.30). The bus stops at various destinations, including the Baishui River.
What to know: Visitors can hike along the river's edge on foot, or choose to ride a yak or horse. Should you opt for a ride, the fee is 5 CNY (about $0.80). Visitors are welcome to explore the river and follow it into higher elevations. You might want to bring a towel and some warm clothes – that is, if you're brave enough to take a dip.