Dali is one of the old towns popular with tourists visiting Yunnan, and I think it was my favourite place from 3 weeks in China. Like Lijiang, there is a newer city nearby - in Dali's case it is a couple of kilometres to the south. The ancient streets of Dali are ideal for a gentle walk, exploring the many shops and cafes, and walking down to the old residential area.
Beyond the town walls to the west, a chairlift will take you up to more strenuous hiking routes in the mountains (not covered here). A kilometre to the north stand the famous Three Pagodas, not too far to walk (although we went by bike). We also cycled east across the flat farmland to the shore of Lake Erhai Hu, past agricultural workers and through a village. Again, this would be an easy hike.
This section combines several routes to provide a picture of a fascinating and beautiful old Chinese town. There are lots of great photos!
- I'll remember most the many traditional scenes of old buildings and people going about their daily tasks.
- The best bit was chancing upon an early morning market
- The worst bit was getting caught in a rainstorm
- The funniest aspect was all the calls of "hello" from children we passed on our cycling route
- An entrancing feature was the pipe music which filled the air in the town centre
- I had wanted to walk around Chinese fields, and this was my opportunity
- I didn't expect to see so many butterflies
- A word of warning - if cycling to the lake, be aware the farm road is very bumpy!
- Two lessons from Dali - read the guidebook properly before arriving somewhere, so you don't miss the best sights! (see final walk)
|Location||In Yunnan, near the border with Burma and Thailand, South-West China|
|Date walked||June 2005|
|Walk type||Town and City walks|
|Difficulty||Suitable for anyone who enjoys an easy walk, no special footwear required. Tougher hiking trails in the mountains are close by|
|Distance||Varied, from approximately 2km|
|Time taken||2 hrs 0 mins|
|Map used||Town map in Lonely Planet Guide|
|Walk source info||Lonely Planet guide - but mainly just exploring around the town|
|Getting there||3 hrs by bus from Lijiang, then long overnight bus journey back to Kunming|
|Places to stay||Wide choice of guest houses and hotels in Dali old town|
|Other features||The lake of Erhai Hu, the Three Pagodas, the old town itself|