In 2006 Evangelos (Lou) Louizidis took a trip to China. It was a journey that changed his life forever. Looking in China for a business opportunity, friends told him that they would show him the most beautiful place on Earth, a claim that he thought was preposterous – that was, until he laid eyes on the village of Lijiang. Since then, he has done everything in his power to ensure that he would wake up every morning looking at the foothills of a Himalayan mountainside, in a Chinese village that remarkably, reminds him of everything great about being Greek.

It’s a village that he is 100 per cent certain beckoned him because of its Greek connections. “It was a calling,” said Louizidis, “something hit me, drove me to find out more about this place because there is more to this place. Something spiritual made me go there.” The town he speaks of with so much passion is Lijiang in the northwest of the Yunnan Province. The old town of Lijiang is a UNESCO heritage listed site, so the beauty, natural topography and history seeps from every pore. China as a country is entrenched in a mythical history and culture that similarly to Greece, has to be lived in to be fully understood and appreciated.

In other words, to understand the deep and rich history of both countries you need to walk in the same steps as the people from centuries past – to get the chill that runs down your spine thinking about an era before Christ. “I found in their mythology, through pictures of past events, this picture of a what I thought were two hoplites (Ancient Greek soldiers) and a Tibetan princess. One of the soldiers looked like he was wearing an Alexander the Great emblem, but it turned out not to be,” explained Louizidis of his introduction to the Greek connection in Lijiang. Louizidis was taken aback by his discovery and wanted to know more.

“When I discussed this with experts in Athens, they told me that I was looking at the wrong soldier. I should be looking at the other soldier who was dressed in a pre-Troy Mycenaean war outfit. I thought no one came out this far east, but the experts said that in mythology, Dionysis and some other Greeks did.” Now well and truly bitten by the history bug, he followed through with his investigations and uncovered another distinguishing fact. The province that Lijiang is situated in is Yunnan, which is the Turkish word for Ioanian.

“If you talk to classical Greek mythologists they will tell you the Ionian race originated in Tibet, and there are signs that these guys may be on the right track. There is a Greek temple on the top of one Tibetan mountain.” With all these uncanny connections, Louizidis felt as though landing in Lijiang might not have been such an accident and more his own destiny. With his past and present colliding in this UNESCO heritage-listed site, it was almost written that he was to open a boutique hotel there, so he could live out his dream of making east meet west. 

 Louizidis grew up in Melbourne. His father was the President of the Athenian Society of Melbourne during the 1950s and ’60s and Louizidis was his right-hand man when it came to all things hospitality. “Hospitality is in my blood, I can’t help it.”

Smack bang in the foothills of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Glacier National Park, Australia House is the perfect base for travellers looking for a refuge, adventure, romantic escape or boys own adventure and gives Louizidis the opportunity to live out his hospitality. The facilities and service is modern but the outside meets the strict traditions of the Na-Xi tribe. Although Louizidis was given free reign to create a modern masterpiece inside the building, the outside had to reflect the 800-year-old architecture that makes up Lijiang’s old town.

“Australia House evolved as a concept – to be a guesthouse that doubled up as my base, to show my friends the magnificent surrounds of the village,” said Louizidis. The set-up began in April 2010. Within nine months the complex was built. After three more months, it was fully furnished and fitted with locally sourced furniture and crafts from surrounding villages. Louizidis encourages guests to use the hotel as a base to explore the traditions and rich cultures of this natural geographical wonderland. Apart from the national park and Himalayan mountain, two-hours away is China’s biggest gorge, the famous Tiger Leaping Gorge. An adventurer at heart, Louizidis will take out all his guests on personal tours to ensure they see all they can of this wonderment.

“I chose a location at the foothills of the Himalayas where guests could wake up with the birds. You’re living within history, the most pristine virgin countryside – you can’t imagine the beauty.” Having this nature at your doorstep is truly something, but Louizidis remains convinced that it was the similarities the town had to Hellenic culture that ensured this venture would become his very own Chinese destiny. “The villagers are very family orientated like the Greeks. The values, the ethics, the morals are very similar to the Greeks. If you’ve seen a Greek village or are from a Greek village, you wouldn’t feel out of place here. I can feel the spiritual connect here. I love this place. I love waking up here and I just want to share all the love and beauty with my fellow human beings.”

Australia House Boutique Hotel is located at 52/7 Donkang Street, Shuhe, Lijiang, Yunnan Pr. PRC. For more information, visit