Final Exam: Yunnan, Part 5: Relaxing in Dali

This is part 5 of a 7 part series on our recent travels in the Yunnan province of China:

  1. Introduction
  2. Good Night, Vietnam – Hanoi to Nanning to Lijiang
  3. Biking Around Lijiang
  4. Tiger Leaping Gorge
  5. Relaxing in Dali
  6. A Step Back in Time – Shaxi
  7. Seven Legs of Transit – Lijiang to Shenzhen to Hong Kong

We woke up in Dali after a good night’s sleep, happy that we came in the night before instead of an early bus. Our thought was that if we decided to join an all-day tour that left early in the morning, we could still get on. As it turns out, there weren’t any all-day tours that seemed particularly appealing, so we had a relaxing morning catching up on Internets and, eventually, heading into “old town”, which became notorious in the 1970s as China’s backpacker hangout. Now it’s not considered as “cool” with the number of Chinese tourists that have taken over.

View from the cable car

View from the cable car

Like Lijiang’s old towns, the Dali old town was kind of a tourist trap. It had a lot of the same silver and scarf places that were in the other old cities. We expected a lot more Western places on “Western Street”, but we think a lot of have moved on when the Western backpackers stopped visiting. There was a bar that was open that brews its own beer, so it was nice to have a non-watery-lager beer for once. We spent the rest of the day climbing around on the old city walls. That night, we rented some free DVDs from our hostel, ordered popcorn with butter, and had a quiet movie night.

World's largest Chinese chess board

World’s largest Chinese chess board

The next day, before leaving for Shaxi, we took the cable car to the top of CangShan mountain. The ride itself was about 30 minutes, and afforded some beautiful views of the mountains, the city, and nearby Er Hai lake. At the top, there were some nice trails you could walk around on, and also the world’s biggest Chinese chess board (so they say). It turned out to be a very relaxing morning and a great way to end our time in Dali. We took a taxi to the bus station and headed off to our next destination, Shaxi.

A few more pictures:

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