We especially enjoyed the opportunities we had to go off the beaten path ... and look forward to sharing even more authentic experiences.
Nestled between the jagged peaks of the Cangshan Range and the ear-shaped Erhai Lake, Dali was once the ancient capital of the powerful Nanzhao Kingdom; in the intervening centuries, Dali saw its share of turmoil, yet managed to safeguard a good deal of its traditional structures and buildings. Because of its well-preserved old town, Dali has recently begun to draw a steady stream of visitors. Like the rest of Yunnan, Dali hosts a large population of ethnic minorities, the most numerous of whom are the Bai.
Given its high elevation, Dali's climate is gentle and mild much of the year, with June to September being the rainiest months. Popular activities include touring the nearby countryside, particularly the waters around Erhai Lake, by bike; hiking or riding the cable car up the verdant slopes of the nearby Cangshan Mountains; and visiting the historic Three Pagodas.
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Our co-founder & COO Jay Tindall is a former China resident and a true China expert. He loves visiting remote rural areas and meeting China's ethnic minorities.
Stay at the Linden Centre in nearby Xizhou, where you can learn more about
Yunnan through exploring, enrichment and volunteer activities from tea
cultivation to participating on archeological digs. Stay for multiple days
and absorb the fresh air and laid-back simplicity of this well-preserved
Take a chairlift up to the Zhonghe Temple atop the snow-peaked Cangshan
Mountains that border the city, and relax among the wild azaleas as you
gaze down on sleepy Dali and Erhai Lake.
Biking & Rock Climbing
For the more adventurous, take a bike tour into the beautiful landscape
surrounding the city, or choose from a number of rock climbing excursions
that offer beautiful vistas of the city and lake.
Visit the “Three Pagodas,” Dali’s most famous site. The three pagodas are amongst the oldest structures in southwestern China and were built in the 9th century. The middle of the three is the largest pagoda, around 233 feet (71 meters) tall, flanked by the two others at 135 feet (41 meters) tall each.
Bike, drive, or stroll around Erhai Lake. Named for its ear-like shape, there are seventeen villages around Erhai's picturesque waters, as well as Qing-era architecture and banyan forests.
Spend 11 days luxuriating in China’s lush Yunnan province, making your way from Kunming to Dali, Shangri-la, and Lijiang. You’ll stop at local markets, enjoy a fascinating look into China’s lush nature at Green Lake Park and the Yangtze Valley, hike through the iconic Shangri-La, and stay at the luxurious Banyan Tree.
Take an incredible 19-day luxury journey through Vietnam and Cambodia, seeing local life in villages to big cities as you stop in Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa, Yuanyang, Lijiang, and Kunming. You’ll ride a traditional Vietnamese junk, make friends in a Black Hmong village, and wander through the Stone Forest.
Immerse yourself in Chinese culture at the Linden Centre, located in Xizhou, a pristine village just outside of Dali City. Set in a fully-restored Chinese residence, the Linden Centre features four courtyards, lush, well-manicured gardens, and tasteful rooms and suites that feature locally built furniture, comfortable, plush mattresses, clean bathrooms, and Wi-Fi access. There are two restaurants at the Linden Centre, one serving Chinese cuisine and the other serving Western dishes. Amenities include a library, movie room, exercise facility, a small museum, and a series of gardens with sweeping views of the nearby countryside. The Linden Centre is located about a half-hour’s drive from Dali’s Old Town.