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Introducing Dàlǐ

Dàlǐ or Lìjiāng? Travellers doing the northern Yúnnán backpacker circuit will find themselves having this conversation at least once as they bump into each other on buses, cobbled streets and guesthouses. In the balance, Dàlǐ’s the one getting knocked these days. The beauty and character of Lìjiāng’s old town seems to be able to win people over for the most part regardless of the suffocating crowds. Dàlǐ’s historic area just doesn’t muster up the same enthusiasm despite pizza and banana pancakes on (literally) every corner. Where Dàlǐ does come out ahead, however, is with its stunning location sandwiched between mountains and Erhai Lake (Ěrhǎi Hú). There’s fascinating possibilities for exploring and getting to know the region’s Bai culture. Just get your hands on a bike and get out of town.