In most places around the world, let alone DaLi, (in Yunnan China) it’s hard to know and find that interesting indigenous spot, shop or restaurant without some local knowledge. So as an endeavor to encourage more exploration off the beaten track here are just a few suggestions of what is possible in Dali.
The hidden Treasures of DaLi Old Town.
Dali sits between Cang Shan and ErHai Lake
First off, DaLi with its ideal location between mountains and lake brings with it all the associated activities of mountains and water. Sitting at a attitude of just under 2000m (6561ft) with literally a 4000m (13,123ft) plus mountain range sitting right on your back door – the majestic Cang Shan (Mtn) Range with its easy accessible walks and treks is a hikers’ delight. Start from the West Gate, straight up March Jie or alternatively go up Ping Deng Lu continue around the back of the chairlift and just follow the paths straight up.
The Old Town of Dali
Is an easy 4 hours walk to Zhong He Temple and above this the highest Guest House in DaLi the Higherland Inn which at over 2600m (8530ft) is the perfect spot to use as a “base camp” to assault the summit of Zhong He Peak (4100m plus) or venture deep into the range itself exploring the many wonders and little lakes such as Xi Ma Lake (Horse Washing Pond – named after the first Emperor of the Yun Dynasty, Kublai Kan, who washed his horse there after crossing the Cang Mountains to conquered the Bai Kingdom) sitting just 20 meters below the summit of Yu Ju Peak this clear small wonder is best seen in the spring or autumn but please before you attempt this seek advise as every year trekkers do get lost in the mountains not just in DaLi but around the world.
Dali 3 pagodas
From the mountains to the water, cycling is a favorite with the east side of Er Hai Lake the most picturesque with winding roads, charming lake side villages and temples. Not into cycling, no worries the east side can be easily reached by public bus from the Central Bus Station in Xia Guan, regular services go to Hai Dong 海东 and Wa Se 挖色.
Shuang Lang 双廊 is another attractive lake side village easily reached just wait by the Xia Guan – Li Jiang road, flaging down the Jiang Wei 江尾 or Shuang Lang 双廊 buses. Where it is possible to hike to one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage sites in China – Ji Zu Shan – to this day Buddhist from as far as India and Tibet still journey once a year to this site. Another little unknown jewel is Wei Shan 魏山 Village once the primary capital of the Nanzhao kingdom, with its well preserved old streets, houses and tower. Inhabited by Muslims and Yi minorities, this is a good place to hanging around for a couple of days, and explore the nearby Wei Bao Shan 魏宝山 Taoist Monastery, one of the seven most famous Taoist Mountains in China. Temple accommodation available on the mountain.
Boating and cycling about the ancient city of Dali
The Island of Jin Suo Dao 金梭岛, the only existing Bai Minority Island Village on the whole of Er Hai Lake, soon to be “bulldozed over” paving way for future “progress” into another “WHAT”?. To get there take the Hai Dong bus getting off at Nan Cun 南村 village walk to the lake and take the local ferry (located in the boat building yards) across to the island.
The list goes on and on, Hot Springs, minority villages, heritage and religious sites – waste no time – seek and you’ll be surprised in Dali!
HuaDianBa 花甸坝 camping in The Lost Valley of Flowers, DaLi,