Land of wonders–Dali
2013-12-25 Ada Tours Dali 1115
Dali has been described as a place where there are flowers in every house in many articles. It is renowned as a land of wonders, both natural and manmade, inspiring in visitors a great appetite for its beauty.Despite its fame as a backpacker heaven, Chinese tourists hugely outnumber foreigners. Chinese tourists tend to stay in nearby Xiaguan Town so Dali becomes thankfully quiet in the evenings. Dali has recently been overshadowed by nearby Lijiang, and many foreign tourists either bypass it or give it 1-2 days stay. Dali deserves better than 1-2 days stay.
With the beautiful Cangshan Mountains a short distance to the west of Dali Old Town and Erhai Lake a few km to the east, Dali has a perfect natural setting. If you visit Dali, plan to spend at least one day up in the mountains. You can also overnight at guesthouses behind Zhonghe Temple, enjoying the most blissful peace and quiet available in China. A famous path, called Cloud Traveller's Path, is extremely well built and in a better condition than many sidewalks in Chinese cities. It's supposed to be at an altitude of 2500m.
However, the path is occasionally closed due to rockfalls, particularly in the section between the Seven Dragon Pools and the Phoenix Eye cave, as was the case for large portions of 2012. There is a cablecar at Gantong Temple. Zhonghe temple is an old Daoist temple and well worth a visit. If you see a huge statue in Dali, it may be the huge memorial stele to the Pacification of Kingdom of Dali, which was built during the Ming Dynasty and remains standing at the end of Sanyue Street past the city's West Gate.
Life in there is very cozy. If you are not that into travels with purposes, wandering will also be a good thing to experience the cozy life in Dali. And one of the wonderful parts is, the climate there is temperate with moderate summers and mild winters, though it can get rather windy in autumn and winter, which is perfect to avoid cruel temperature in other places.The mountains themselves are home to beautiful wild camelias, orchids, rhodedendrons, azeleas and abundant birdlife. Dali is home to some of the rarest camellias in China and Cangshan was the source of most of these. The stock for most azealas grown in Europe was sourced from wild azealas on Cangshan. Most of the lower slopes are covered in replanted pine forests, with higher slopes, and steep valleys showing areas of more natural forest cover.
Many local people in Dali have the surname Duan to this day, which is rare in other parts of China. These historical events are immortalised in the Martial Arts literature of Hong Kong author Jin Yong (read by every Chinese school kid), giving Dali a fame nationwide.
Both the Nanzhao Kingdom and the Kingdom of Dali had a military alliance with the Tang Dynasty against the aggressive Turfan (Tibetan) Empire which made regular and aggressive incursions into their respective territories.
Dali, a city of great antiquity, beckons the visitor in any season and is always a tempting destination for those interested in exploring fascinating natural scenery and the area's considerable historical and cultural heritage. My point is, how can you miss it?