Sunday, February 1, 2009

Yunnan - Day 3 : Dali (大理)

coming all the way to Yunnan Provence we didn't wanna miss visiting the city of Dali (大理) famous for its marble stone and its ornately dressed Bai ethnic people (白族).

for those who can read chinese you can see that "Bai" in chinese literally means "white people".
this is because the Bai people dress in white; with women wearing a white coat trimmed with a black or purple collar, blue loose trousers; embroider shoes, very ornate head piece, and silver bracelets and ear rings. much more colorful than the Nakhi women in Lijiang.

we had planned to take a bus (around 3~4 hours) from Lijiang but after arriving at the bus station were told that there was only 1 bus to Dali late in the afternoon rather than buses departing every 30 minutes as previously told!! very frustrating when travelling on limited time... but i think it was mainly due to the fact that it was the chinese new year.

after asking a few taxi drivers if they would take us to Dali most said "bu qi!" (won't go!)...

finally after a lot of asking and pleading we found a taxi to take us, along with a nice charge of 600 yuan! man, that's more than our accommodation! to give you an idea the "best" bus to Dali cost 65 yuan.
oh well, at least we made it to Dali safely.

the scenery on the way was pretty stunning too zooming past terraced rice fields and small villages alive with traditionally dressed locals.

arrived at our pre-booked accommodation; Emu Jade International Guest House, run by an australian and his chinese wife. the rooms were extremely clean and comfortable and best of all were priced very reasonably.
a short stroll away and we were at the old town.

unlike Lijiang this town was in a festive mood with real carnival atmosphere for the chinese new year. the streets were packed with locals out buying their goods and kids (and adults) lighting fireworks left right and center! suddenly people would run for cover and next minute there would be a huge boom! left standing was usually some old man covered in ash who couldn't hobble away quick enough...

famous Dali batik cloth & huge incense sticks

cooking yak cheese on a stick & making toffee animals

never ending stores selling fireworks

crowded streets & making candy floss with a moped bike!

also checked out Dali's famous three-pagadas (
崇圣寺三塔) at the foot of the massive Cangshan mountains overlooking lake Erhai.
amazing structures built more than 1800 years ago with the main pagoda being one of the tallest in china.

photo from wikipedia

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