Yunnan Tour – Lijiang to Dali Day 9 (11 Days 10 Nights November 2015)

We woke up to another wonderful morning to witness the magnificent sunrise at our balcony. The changing colours of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain was equally mesmerizing and magical like the previous morning. It was such a delight to catch sunrise moments here in Lijiang, especially at Pullman Lijiang Resort where we could just step out to the balcony for such an experience. How often could we watch a snow capped mountain illuminated during first light with the myriads of colours dispersing from the mountain to the surrounding area.

Next was to indulge in a nice cup of coffee from the coffee maker and together with bread and pastries we bought from England Time the day before at Shuhe Ancient Town. Looking out to the fabulous garden like setting in Pullman Lijiang Resort with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain providing this majestic presence, our simple breakfast was such an enjoyable experience. The air was fresh and cool as we watched Lijiang becoming fully awakened from its break through the night.

Since our bus ride to Dali was late morning and we had already purchased our tickets, we still had some time before checking out and going to the bus station. As such, we did another quick round to roam the beautiful property in Pullman Lijiang Resort. The beautiful landscaped villas with the many lovely lavenders were too seductive to give it a miss. Without hesitation, we went down to walk around the premise on this beautiful autumn morning.

So we took pictures again at different nice spots and have another good look around. We won’t know when we would be returning to visit again. The lovely lavenders were simply too nice to miss in addition to the changing colours of the trees during autumn. Those colourful tall trees along the pretty nice cold stream was such a delight and no doubt a great place for meditation. It was so relaxing to walk around to enjoy this property in Pullman Lijiang Resort.

After this we returned to our room. A quick shower was in order. Having packed the night before, we were soon ready to head out to front desk to check out. The professional and friendly staff were a delight to interact with. We requested one of them to help us contact our hotel, Yinfeng Hotel in Dali to arrange a pick up outside the Ancient Town.

It was no trouble at all as the staff wrote down information to pass it on to me with instruction on where to get off the bus as well as the contact number of the driver with the car plate number provided. Pullman Resort had also helped us called a taxi which was already waiting for us outside the resort. After thanking the staff who made our stay so memorable, we left the resort and boarded the taxi.

The taxi ride to the bus station was smooth and trouble free. We arrived within 10 minutes. We then entered the bus station and waited for our bus to Dali. Soon we were called to board our bus. It was a clean and big bus and we settled down to enjoy our ride to Dali. The bus left the station and soon we were on our way to Dali travelling along the highway with not much traffic on the road.

About 12.30 pm, we stopped for a toilet break. This rest area wasn’t those huge rest stop with big food court, restaurant and convenience store and shops. But the small establishment here sold fruits and other snacks and water. So all the passengers alighted while the bus exterior was also being washed. A short while later, we continued our journey and by 1.35 pm, we arrived outside Dali Ancient Town where those of us who stayed here alighted. The rest of the passengers continued their journey to the new city in Dali.

We didn’t take long to locate our driver who was already waiting for us. The car Yinfeng Hotel sent was a small red sedan which was good enough to bring us to the hotel. We then set off towards Dali Old Town. In under 10 minutes we arrived at Yinfeng Hotel again after our previous visit nearly a week ago. The car pick up from outside the Ancient Town cost just 10 CNY.

The same hotel staff greeted us with smiles and they were expecting us since receiving a call from Pullman Lijiang Resort this morning. We also requested Yinfeng Hotel to secure our bus tickets to Kunming for the next day. This saved us a lot of effort and trouble, especially with the pick up from Yinfeng Hotel to the bus station.

We were given a room on the second floor again but a different room though. It was still the simple Chinese style bedroom that was clean and comfortable. The bathroom was big and clean. Wifi worked. Bottled water was also provided. Having settled in and with no issues to raise, we went to town to look for lunch.

Since we had been here before, we knew where to go to have lunch. The town was quite busy this day with the sun shinning brightly overhead. A week ago when we arrived, it was cold and slightly wet. This was definitely a good day to explore the town. So the streets were more crowded, especially at the junction of Foreigner’s Street. Fruits and flower vendors were there. Visitors were loitering around taking pictures.

So we walked straight into Foreigner’s Street where many cafes and restaurants were located. We walked up and down to check out the restaurants and then decided to have lunch at Yunnan Coffee Bar. The restaurant was quiet and we were the only dinners here. Anyway it was already 2.40 pm and lunch crowd would have left. We went up to the second floor and settled down near the windows. The staff recommended we try the fried noodles so we obliged and we ordered a rice set as well. The food tasted really good. Seemed like we were used to Yunnan food now!

After lunch, we walked back to Yinfeng Hotel to unpack. We also enquired about public bus service to Erhai Lake as it was still very early and weather was good. We were told to walk out to the North Gate of the Ancient Town and take bus number 2 towards Erhai Lake. Bus fare would be 1.50 CNY. So after we had settled our stuff in our room, we left Yinfeng Hotel.

At the main street of the Ancient Town, we turned right and walked towards the North Gate. Once outside the Ancient Town and after asking someone, we crossed the road and waited for bus number 2 at the bus stop. Soon the bus arrived and we boarded the bus and paid our fares. The bus was a little crowded. Along the way after some passengers alighted we managed to find seats on the bus. It was a straight road towards Erhai Lake and about 20 minutes later, the bus terminated at a small town near Erhai Lake.

We alighted and turned right and then walked towards the lake. It was just a short stretch of road with shops and street vendors selling all and sunder. We reached a huge carpark and right ahead was the wharf for those who were taking boat rides to other destinations. We turned left and walked a short while but couldn’t see much of the lake as we were blocked by the tall shrubs and plants. We were supposed to be exploring the wetland park here but it was a small area with nothing much to see and do.

So we returned to the big carpark and then entered a café at one corner by the lake to chill out. We went upstairs and found a table where we could look out to the lake. A singer was also singing and strumming his guitar to entertain guests. We ordered a pot of tea and settled down to while away some time by the lake.

We could see a ferry on the lake approaching. The lake area was quite scenic and peaceful. The distant mountains were a little blurry on this hot and sunny day. But the air was no doubt fresh. There were little ducks on the lake near shore. A solitary bird was perching on a branch nearby. So we enjoyed our tea and admire the lake view on the top level of this café by the lake. With the wind blowing, it was a great time just to chill out over here.

We left the café after consuming our tea and walked back into town to explore this small area. There were accommodations here but we would prefer to stay inside the Ancient Town. There were shops and restaurants along the road as well. At the place where the bus terminated, many vendors were selling vegetables on the open area. This place was like a small wet market.

Soon bus number 2 had just arrived. Quite a number of passengers were already waiting. We then boarded the bus and found ourselves seats after paying the driver 3 CNY for our bus fare. This time however, the bus was getting really crowded as we made our way towards the Ancient Town with many passengers boarding along the way. So in about 20 minutes we were back outside the North Gate of the Ancient Town. We had to squeezed our way out of the bus in the overcrowded bus. Nevertheless, the bus fare was so cheap and we were not complaining. It was just an experience to take the public bus here in Dali.

We then made our way into town and enjoyed the scene here in town. We watched a street vendor prepared and sold pancakes on the street. The street was busy with shoppers thronging certain shops and street vendors. We also entered the historic Dali Christian Church for a look. Outside the church were street vendors attracting some customers. Finally, we returned to Yinfeng Hotel to rest before heading out again for dinner.

At about 6.30 pm our stomachs were calling. So dinner time beckoned and we were out on the street again. We turned left on the main street to walk towards Foreigner’s Street again. It wasn’t dark yet but the moon was clearly visible on standby for duty. The streets were cooler and more lovely at night. It was also busy as well. The junction at Foreigner’s Square was a tourists magnet again.

We walked into Foreigner’s Street to check out restaurants again. We decided to settle down at Ice Bird Café for dinner. We took a table on the street level and sat down to people watch and have dinner. We ordered a Chinese and a Western dinner set. The food was pretty good. So dinner was great and the ambiance was excellent too. It was a good beginning for our evening venture.

After dinner, it was time to thoroughly explore this Ancient Town in Dali. Our previous visit was wet and cold so this evening was a perfect occasion to spend more time here. It was already dark and the town was nicely lit up. Visitors were thronging the streets now.

This time we walked on towards the South Gate which we missed the last time. We came across a food court that was quite busy. We didn’t know a food court existed here otherwise we could have tried out the food here as well. This food court wasn’t very big though. So we continued walking.

There were interesting shops selling local products and souvenirs and many other stuff. As we walked on, we came to a pretty looking gate that was elegantly lit up. In front of the gate was rather crowded with tourists taking pictures. We managed to walk through the gate and the other side was likewise crowded with photo taking tourists. We didn’t try to go up the gate as we would like to check out other places of interests here in town.

So as we walked on we reached at a side street that was packed with visitors. In the middle of this street was a beautiful cascading stream with water supposedly flowing down from the nearby mountains. Of course many people were taking pictures and selfies here. This was another nice spot here in town.

Next we walked on and stopped by a fruit juice vendor and bought a bottle of pomegranate juice to drink and enjoy our street scene here in Dali. Further up the street we came across an open area brightly lit up with locals practicing folk dancing. This was another interesting scene in town. The locals here really knew how to enjoy themselves. This Ancient Town was rather authentic with locals living here. In fact there were schools here and should we get caught during school dismissal, we would be trapped on the street in a vehicle until these students completely dispersed into town.

As we walked on towards the end of the street, vendors were lining the street to sell scarfs and other souvenirs. So my dear wife bought a nice scarf after some bargaining. These vendors were rather friendly and some of them were quite young too. We then retraced our path towards Yinfeng Hotel.

We stopped by shops and bought some local flower biscuits. While on the way back, we noticed a nice shop attracting huge crowd. So we went in to take a look. This shop was quite modern like those Daiso stores we were familiar with. But this was another Japanese chain selling stuff at very reasonable price. Then we found out this was a Miniso store that was just opened recently. The products were pretty good. My wife bought plenty of face masks and other toiletries products. I also bought two pairs of bluetooth wireless headsets for our boys.

With shopping done, we walked back all the way observing the same scene. We also bought some more bakery items in town for the next day’s breakfast. It was a good evening stroll and good shopping as well. Eventually we arrived Yinfeng Hotel.

Back in our room, it was packing time with so much shopping done. This was the day where we did some real shopping after more than 8 days in Yunnan. In fact, we were prepared for more shopping the next day back in Kunming before flying home in two days time. So meanwhile we made allowance and switched gear to shopping mode from now on.

Of course we also excitedly shared what we bought with the children back home. The wifi in Yingfeng Hotel was very reliable. So today leaving beautiful Lijiang, we were back in nostalgic Dali. The bus trip here was smooth and uneventful. Hotel arranged pick up from outside the Ancient Town went without a hitch.

It was a good day with plenty of sunshine which was excellent for outdoor activities. Having spent a great day in Dali, it was time to head for bed to prepare for more fun in Kunming the next day. So with lights out and eyes shut we soon entered into the tenth day of our Yunnan tour.

Continue to Day 10

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