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Ancient old town of Dali, Yunnan, China

Dali has been the little secret of Yunnan province for a long time. It is a small traditional ancient town in the mountains about 5 hours north of Kunming in China. The valley around the alpine Er Hai lake is completely surrounded by mountains. Dali old town sits right on the foot of the evergreen Cangshan Malong mountain range with its highest peak above 4000 metres. The Malong mountain range offers great views on the valley as well as far away peaks such as Yulong Xue Shan can be seen from here. The Er Hai lake is China’s second biggest highland lake situated at 1972 metres above sea level from where it flows down south into the Mekong River (Lancang River). With its naturally amazing location and environmental attractions the traditional old town of Dali has been one of Chinas most popular Tourist destinations over the passed couple of years. The ancient town offers a whole lot of historical architecture and cultural heritage.

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Dali Old Town Yunnan China

Walking through the little alleys in the old town while listening to the flowing water of the streams which are sending down crystal clear water from the Cangshan mountain range further down into the Erhai lake. Beautifully enlightened traditional chinese style houses and ancient architecture fullfills the dream of China in some ways on Dali can offer. You can find quality hotels, hostels, guesthouses and further opportunities all around and inside the old town district. There are a bunch of places to stay on Renmin lu (Renmin Road) oriented at budget travellers and backpackers. Better hotels can be found on Boai lu (Boai Road) for example. There are a lot of restaurants all over the old town as well as bbq food stalls at nights near the Southgate of Dali old town. The weather is pretty dry with lots of blue sky in winter while it can be a little rainy in summer afternoons especially being close the the mountain range. That might be one of the reason why Cangshan also translates into Evergreen mountain.

There are a lot of tour and travel agents around Dali and inside the old town on Renmin Lu, Fuxing Lu, BoAi Lu and many more. You can also travel by bike or book a cab to check out the area and head down to Cai Cun, a little village nearby the lake. If you prefer waterfalls you should head up to Malong mountain, there are almost 20 streams flowing down so it is not difficult to find one of the many beautiful cold water and crystal clear waterfalls while hiking and climbing up towards the cloudy tourist path. The cloudy tourist pass is a way along the Malong mountain range. It can be reached by foot or by cable car from several destinations on the foot of the mountain. If you are in Dali it might be worth to go and have a look at the Dali Tianlongbabu Movie Town Film City a little up the mountain above Dali old town. You can spend a few hours here and enjoy the atmosphere of ancient chinese architecture setups and installations. Dali old town is a pretty international place. You can find quite a few foreigners, backpacker, traveller and international tourists here. There are a couple of bars and foreign run guesthouses and hotels.

Dali has been a popular destination for backpackers and foreign travellers travelling in South East Asia for many years. It is the first 4000 metres summit just above 500 km north of the tropical jungles of Xishuangbanna and southern Yunnan province in China. The old town of Dali offers anything you need. From accommodation, restaurants, bars and clubs as well as a proper city not far away from the old town. Just about 20 minutes ride you can get to Xiaguan, also called New Dali or Dali City. There is a Walmart here and a couple of bigger markets and commercial shopping areas. Ask your way around to give the Hotsprings a try, they are not far away and pretty easy and cheap to get to. There are a couple of Hotels right at the Hotsprings as well.

There is a lot to see and you can spend your time with tours to several place by just staying in the Er Hai valley. Give the boat tours a try down on the lake. There are fisherman who offer rides in their boats while feeding the birds. Head down to Cai Cun and walk towards the lake, the locals will offer you rides right away. Buy some peanuts for the way. There are a couple of tasty Er Hai Lake fish dishes and a couple of nice restaurants down at the lake. Also accommodation can be found here. However. The infrastructure in ancient old town of Dali is great and the perfect place from where to get around the beautiful and stunning landscapes of Dali ancient old town in Yunnan province, China.

Dali 360 | Anthology 大理 云南 中国

time lapse video production by tripfabrik | music produced by alex block

”..Dali 360, a project by Chris Janzen, for which he has been patiently refining his photographic skills to record images of what some visitors have refered to as the last “Garden of Eden” on earth. The only accurate way to describe and understand Dali is graphically and visually, in pictures that “say a thousand words,” or as the Chinese put it, “a single glance that tells a hundred stories”…..to pay tribute to the natural beauty and colorful cultural heritage of this last “Lost Horizon”..” (cit. Daniel P. Reid)

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