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.
Dàlǐ destination guides
Kunming to Shangri La
Explore the beauty of China’s Yunnan Province as you encounter the region’s ethnic minorities and traverse heavenly landscapes akin to a Chinese ink drawing
Best of Yunnan
China is developing faster than just about anywhere else, but after wandering the scenic highlands of Yunnan for a while, you can’t help but wonder, “What’s the rush?” This 10-day trip is ideal for travellers eager to dig into a side of China you won’t find in bustling Beijing.