Yunnan


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September 24th 2007
Published: October 16th 2007
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Dali by nightDali by nightDali by night

Night shot on the busy main street of Old Dali town
Our plan was always to spend a fair bit of time in Yunnan, the part of China directly north of Vietnam. There were a fair few things we wanted to see there, one of these was Tiger Leaping Gorge. However through our travels we kept on meeting travellers who had just arrived from the area, they talked of the fact it had not stopped raining in weeks. In addition the gorge was closed due to landslides, and although the number differed with each teller, it seemed that quite a few people had been killed on it, so it had been closed. After spending a fair bit of time researching the situation, we decided we may as well stay longer in Hong Kong, besides we were enjoying it there.

Anyway, after a 27 hour train journey from Guangzhou, the large Chinese city near Hong Kong, we arrived in Yunnan, and it was indeed still raining heavily. We didn't stop in Kunming, the capital, instead we took a bus to Dali 5 hours away, and it was still raining heavily there as well. But waking up in the morning we were greeted by beautiful sunlight, and that is how it stayed for
Lynda in DaliLynda in DaliLynda in Dali

On the main street. Note the kids in army uniform in the background, there were hundreds of them around.
the rest of our time in Yunnan. Unfortunately we still did not have enough time to trek the gorge which had just reopened. But this is something we would both love to do in the future, maybe not in the rainy season when people end up dying.

Dali was a really nice town, like Pingyao it had the old walls, and had preserved its original character. It was nice just wandering the streets, but there was also a lot to do outside the town as well. One of these was the Monastery on the hill, there was a cable car that went to the top, but we decided to walk. This may not have been a great idea, as it had rained non-stop the previous three weeks, so after a long and exhausting mudfest, we arrived on the top coughing up the last of the pollution we had been collecting in our lungs throughout China.

The temple at the top was small but charming and the view was fantastic. We took the cable car down though!

We also explored the area as much as we could by bike, feeling kind of guilty as we meandered along past
Even babies stare at usEven babies stare at usEven babies stare at us

Quit staring kid.
entire communities working furiously to get the rice harvested. We were on holiday. They were working so hard just to get enough rice to feed themselves.

About 5 hours north of Dali was another really nice town, Lijiang. Lijiang lacks the city walls and orderly streets of Dali, but it was still amazingly beautiful. The old streets wound around each other creating a maze like experience. We would wander these streets for hours never sure where we were. We had a few days to chill out here, then we had to take a long bus to Kunming, and then an overnight bus to Vietnam.

The overnight bus was not nearly as comfortable as the one from Yangshuo to Hong Kong, in fact it was really grotty. We tried not to touch anything, and tried to ignore the cockroaches which would swarm whenever the bus stopped. It was a really bumpy ride to the border, as sometimes we ran out of road. Tired and sore we arrived at the border, where we waited half an hour for the border station to open. Once open we walked across, and into South East Asia!!




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Hilltop MonasteryHilltop Monastery
Hilltop Monastery

One of the eaves of a Buddhist monastery on the hill near Dali
Favourite afternoon past timeFavourite afternoon past time
Favourite afternoon past time

Cards, Chess, Mahjong, Dominoes are all played on the street in the late afternoon by the locals
Dali streetDali street
Dali street

Another shot of the bustle
Chillies out to dryChillies out to dry
Chillies out to dry

People seem to use the street as a nice flat working ground, and use it to dry all of their produce, including these fiery chillies
Corn out to dryCorn out to dry
Corn out to dry

Absolutely every part of the corn plant is used, and nothing is wasted.
Nothing is allowedNothing is allowed
Nothing is allowed

No bikes, no carts, no horses, no tractors, no trucks, especially exploding trucks, and no musicians! It took us ages to find out the trumpet was there for no car horns. Until then we wondered what they had against musicians.
Rice harvestRice harvest
Rice harvest

It rained for 3 weeks solid before we arrived in Dali. As soon as the sun came out, entire villages came out to harvest the rice
Black Dragon Pool ParkBlack Dragon Pool Park
Black Dragon Pool Park

A beautiful view in a park in Lijiang
Bridge in Black Dragon Pool ParkBridge in Black Dragon Pool Park
Bridge in Black Dragon Pool Park

5 minutes earlier there were no less than 100 people on this bridge.
Former royal residence in LijiangFormer royal residence in Lijiang
Former royal residence in Lijiang

While smaller than the Forbidden City, it was more intimate and very beautiful.
Ginger taffy manGinger taffy man
Ginger taffy man

After seeing this man make ginger flavoured toffee we had to try some, and it was divine!
Lijiang by nightLijiang by night
Lijiang by night

Happy diners in Lijiang
Local Naxi ladies dancingLocal Naxi ladies dancing
Local Naxi ladies dancing

We are not sure what the dance was about, but they all looked lovely and seemed to be enjoying themselves.


16th October 2007

lovely place
it looks like... :-) anyway, you guys are getting closer and closer, now on China less far from home NZ.
17th October 2007

Ahaaa! Yunnan
Wow!It's so wonderful trip! I like the Dali old town very much! By the way did you go to the foreigners' street?

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