Jade Spring Park
The Black Dragon Pool (黑龙潭; Hēilóngtán) is a small lake in the Jade Spring Park, Yu Quan Gong Yuan, about a kilometre north from Square Street in the town of Lijiang, which also known as the Venice of the Orient.
Legend of the Black Dragon
The pool takes its name from an ancient legend. It’s said that once upon a time there were ten evil dragons that terrorised the land.
Lu Dongbin, one of the Eight Immortals of Chinese legends, jailed nine of the dragons in a tower, leaving only the youngest black dragon. The black dragon was forced to protect the land to keep its freedom, and still lives in the pool today.
The pool is divided into two parts by a white marble bridge, and despite the water being connected, the sides maintain different colours and the fish on either side refuse to swim to the opposite pool. Additionally, the pool has never dried up, even during the worst droughts.
Visiting the Black Dragon Pool
To get into the park you’ll need an Old Town Preservation ticket for 80rmb. These can be purchased at the gate, or you should be given one if you’ve already been on a tour to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
Standing on the white marble of the Five Arch Bridge, Wukong Qiao, it’s possible to see several temples and pavilions. The one above, on the lake is the Moon-Embracing Pavilion, Déyuè Lóu.
Most people come here to view the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain across the 40-hectare lake, in what is officially named as one of the best viewpoints in China.
The pond is overlooked by Elephant Hill (on the right in the picture above), which can be climbed for a view down onto the pool.
Don’t go to the wrong pool…
Guidebooks say the Black Dragon Pool is just past the only foreign bakery. On the popular Lijiang tourist map there is only one bakery, just next to a pool. Having been there, it’s a 3-pool well, which is interesting but not quite one of the best views in China!
Instead, head to the north, and when you reach the main square with the waterwheels head north upriver and you’ll find the Jade Spring Park.
A few days later we discovered a nearly as perfect view of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain from the Banyan Tree in Shuhe.