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March 18, 2015

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All the elements for a great break

DaLi, capital of the ancient kingdoms of Nanshao and Dali, is the home of the Bai ethnic group. The national park scenic area in Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture is centered on the ancient town of Dali City, covering Cangshan Mountains and Erhai Lake. It also includes mountains of Weibao, Shibao and Jizu, and Zibi Lake in neighboring counties. The area in southwest China’s Yunnan Province is famous for its fine weather, well-preserved towns and spectacular views.

Local people use the term “feng hua xue yue” to describe the view of Dali City. The term together depicts a romantic and magnificent view, while the four Chinese characters individually mean wind, flowers, snow and the moon.

These indicate city’s four scenic sights — the wind around Xiaguan area, the flowers of Shangguan area, the snow on Cangshan Mountains and the moon on Lake Erhai.

A variety of boutique hotels, chalets and hostels are found on the shores of Erhai Lake, each offering vantage points on this beautiful scenic spot.

Shuanglang town is one of the more developed sightseeing locations around Dali. Located on the northeast shore of Erhai, it offers some of the best lake views. However, because of its popularity with visitors, be prepared for a squeeze while admiring the scenery.

Other gems around the lake include the towns of Shaxi and Xizhou. The former was a trading hub along the ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road, while the latter is a less-developed and well-preserved Bai ethnic town.

Numerous interesting sites are scattered around Erhai Lake, including the three pagodas of Chongsheng Temple. The pagodas are set against the snow-capped Cangshan Mountains and mirrored in the turquoise water of a pond near the temple.

Not far from the temple, the old city of Dali offers a rich cultural heritage for travelers to explore.

The local Bai ethnic people are renowned for their hospitality to travelers. If they are holding a wedding or other celebrations, passing travellers will often be invited to join in. Dali also has some special dishes, and for the authentic taste look for places where local people like to dine.

Specialities include boiled fish and roast marbled meat while flowers are common ingredients in local cuisines.


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