Saturday, January 28, 2012

Eighteen Hours in Dali, China

After Yangshuo, Sara and I headed for a 5-day tour of Yunnan, a southern province known for mild weather, lots of ethnic minorities, and tall mountains.  We traveled to the province by train, and traveled within the province by long-distance bus.  Since our time was short, we had just a day or two at each location.

In today's post, I plan to gush about our first destination: Dali.  After shivering our way through gray Yangshuo and enduring about 24 full hours of public transit, we arrived in a sparkling, sunshiny jewel of a town.  Dali sits between a range of mountains and a long lake.  It has a clean, touristy old town and is known for having many people from the Bai minority.

We were there for less than a day, but it was great!  Enjoy the photos.

First, the train ride.  We chatted with our fellow passengers, ate lots of fruit (most of it pressed on us by our berth-mates), got headaches from the cigarette smoke, and watched southern China roll by.

Mandarin oranges for breakfast in my top bunk

Views from the train window were increasingly beautiful as we entered the land of red dirt, terraced fields, and mountains.

After the train ride, we took a long bus ride from Kunming to Dali.  Here is Dali on the night we arrived:

Old town gate

Local restaurant

 The next day, we began by renting bikes and riding out of town to the lake:

Old town

On our bike ride:  Facing Dali with the mountains behind it

At Erhai Lake

At Erhai Lake -- so happy to see the sun!

Biking back to town

Then we enjoyed an afternoon in Old Town:

We stumbled on a Christian church and stopped for some conversation with this local believer.

Trying Dali fried cheese

Alley lined with souvenirs

We paid 2 RMB (30 cents) to climb the highest point in Old Town

Decorative panel on the little tower we climbed

Making candy sculptures from caramelized sugar

Food vendor

After Dali, we hopped on another long-distance bus to the next destination: Lijiang.

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