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Published: October 16th 2007
Dali 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 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
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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