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Dali Research Trip November 2019

Cover photo: A traditional Bai-style building in Xizhou, a tie dye fabric product, a statue at the Three pagodas of Chongsheng temple, Dali Bai people residential house, “5-star” tourist toilet within Chongsheng Cultural Tourist Area in front of scenery above Erhai from Mount Cangshan


Three days Dali

This story is about my first trip in Yunnan. In November 2019, I have participated in a group tour to Dali, which was organized as research-business trip by Wonders of Yunnan. The trip has taken place over the weekend, starting Friday afternoon in Kunming and coming back to Kunming on Sunday evening. I came back with a lot of new impressions and was highly satisfied with the tour. Hence, I would like to share my impressions with you and tell you about the cultural differences I discovered when it comes to “making holiday in China”.


Day 1: Friday

The group tour started in Kunming, central railway station (昆明火车站), located at the city center at the end of Beijing road (昆明站 (北京路)). Taking the high-speed train in China can be compared with traveling by airplane. It is fast, convenient, and you have to pass the security controls. Nowadays for high speed trains*, there is no paper ticket anymore. You can book online and pass through the entrance counter with your passport. Our train had a two seats row and a three seats row; however, you cannot choose your preferred seats, only the category such as business, first and second class. But if you book your tickets of a group together the chance to sit together will be very high. Something I really liked is that you do not have to stand next to the tracks waiting for your train arriving. In Kunming (and Dali, too) there is a huge waiting hall above the tracks furnished with many chairs, even some massage chairs. For some Yuan you can let your holiday start already while waiting for your train. Our trains were equipped with decent space and electricity ports for our devices. Hence, no worry, entertainment via mobile phone is secure (but please do not forget to bring your earphones). Once you left the area of Kunming city, the train will speed up to 190 km per hour. With a few stops in between ranging from zero to four stations and a bit more than two hours later, we arrived to Dali train station (大理站), which is located in Xiaguan (下关) or also called Dali (new) city.

* There might be still paper tickets in other train stations and you have to pick them up at the counter first (also when you booked online) but they are changing to “passport tickets” county wide.

Train station with building and statue and people waiting for their trainTrain station with building and statue and people waiting for their train

Kunming train station (l) and Dali train station (r)

Our tour guide Toni has been already waiting for us in Dali in front of the train station. After a short introduction he brought us to the parking lot nearby the train station where our driver was ready at the bus. Finally, after everyone found their seats, we started, leaving the area of the train station, driving through the new city of Dali (country (Xiaguan下关)), heading the road to Dali ancient town (大理古城), where our hotel was located. The vehicle was cozy and clean, I could even take some nice photographs through the windows. During the ride Toni gave a deeper introduction about himself, about the procedure of our weekend tour, and already some interesting side information about the city and sights we passed. There has been already a great mood in the bus and everyone was very excited about the following days. For me, it was astonishing to see the clouds hiking over the high mountain peaks of Cangshan mountain (苍山), breaking the sun rays and creating a mysterious atmosphere.  

Dali city and cloud formation and Cangshan mountain with clouds

Dali city with view to the rising Cangshan mountain (l), astonishing cloud formation (m) and view to Cangshan mountain range (r)

Our first stop has been at Jinzhouwan Hotel (金舟湾酒店) for a common dinner with our partners from Dali. It has been my first dinner of this kind and it was very entertaining. Some of us where performing some nice songs. In the yard of the hotel I got the opportunity for Chinese tea and we have visited some rooms of the hotel to get an impression of the conditions.

Backyard of the Jinzhouwan Hotel in Dali and tea ceremony and group photo of the Wonders of Yunnan team

Backyard of Jinzhouwan Hotel (l), tea set in the hotel room (m) and group photo of the Wonders of Yunnan team (r)

Following the dinner our driver brought us to our hotel, Landscape Hotel (兰林阁酒店), in Dali ancient town. We checked in, brought our luggage to the room, and head for some night sightseeing in the old streets of Dali. It was super interesting, very colorful, and in classical Chinese style. Exactly how I imagined from photographs how typical China could look like. There were many bars with live music, one after another, divers’ shops selling goods and services, for example tea and tobacco, small aquariums with little fishes to clean your feet, souvenir shops, restaurants, and lot more.  They were open until late night. We were strolling around until midnight till we returned back to the hotel.

Lobby of the Landscape Hotel with bookstore and view over Cangshan mountain

Lobby of the Landscape Hotel in Dali ancient town (l), traditional bookshop in the Landscape Hotel (m) and view out of the restaurant over Cangshan mountain range (r)

I liked the hotel where we stayed the two nights a lot. It is compound of several buildings, including reception, restaurants, rooms, and an old style book store. Beside the walkways there has been some small ponds with little fishes and a lot of plants and trees. The rooms were clean, cozy and offered everything needed. Perfect for a good sleep to gain enough power for the upcoming days.

Dali ancient town with fish aquarium and bar and fruit shop

Different shops in Dali ancient town (all)


Curious about our sightseeing of Day 2 and 3? Visit our website soon again and you will find out how huge the Chongsheng temple actually is and what we discovered in the forest of Mount Cangshan. Moreover, stay informed about news and articles about our trips and Yunnan prefecture through our social media channels like facebook!


Photographs by Mario Kostka© ,Zoie Li©, Melanie Timmerman©
November 2019



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