A Travellerspoint blog

Dali, Yunnan province

Tasty mal a tang


So the flight to Kunming was a dream; on time, spacious and food included. We didn't have long in Kunming before we took an overnight train to Dali. A lot of travelling, but I guess you have to be prepared to do that to get anywhere in China.

Our hostel was lovely in Dali, called Jade Emu Guesthouse, and well located for the old town and Cangshan mountains. You know what Jason's like...even after all that travel and no sleep he was keen to do some trekking in the mountains that surround Dali as soon as we got there. Luckily I managed to persuade him to let me get the cable car up and walk the 20km afterwards.

The Cangshan mountains have been made into a tourist trap in some areas, with cable cars and paved footpaths that wind their way through the forests. Apparently you can get off the beaten track and do some proper trekking but we didn't do this because actually found that the path was very quite as a lot of the Chinese tourists simply choose to go up and down the cable car in one area. The path is called the Cloud Path and you could see why...the clouds are ever changing and we found ourselves in torrential rain one minute and then glorious sunshine the next. I think Jason secretly liked wearing his poncho rain coat. The mountains offered superb views of Dali Erhai Lake and Dali city. By the end of the 20km we were both exhausted...and Jason even managed to strain his foot...oh dear.

The next day we booked ourselves onto a tour around the Erhai Lake, meaning 'shaped like an ear'. It gave Jason chance to rest his foot a little and be chauffeured around. It was a pleasant day; local markets, picnic on the lake, embroidery factory, beautiful scenery. I always find the local markets fascinating...especially the food. You can see from one of the photos a bunch of little ball shaped red chillis, called the 'flower chilli' and the night before had experienced its anaesthetic affect on my mouth when eating Yunnan chicken...I thought I was having an allergic reaction, its not hot but instead is numbing on your tongue. A girl from our tour ate little sparrows on kebab sticks (bones, beak and flesh)...not my cup of tea. The market offered the usual hustle and bustle of buyers, sellers and livestock.

Dali is famous for its tie-dyed cloth. We were shown how local women create intricate dyed patterns on cloth by sewing specific pieces of material together so that the dye doesn't take and instead creates a repeated pattern.

We took time to wander around Dali old quarter; it can get quite busy with Chinese tourists and a lot of the shops sell the same souvenirs but nevertheless offers a glimpse of what Chinese old city's used to be like with their traditional houses, narrow lanes and open waterways. We found a couple of really good local treats for our tea; amazing pork dumplings from a really smiley Chinese couple and my favourite food so far, mal a tang. Its basically a DIY soup; you pick and choose your ingredients (I.e. tofu, greens, mushrooms, bean sprouts, noodles) and then it gets boiled in an individual basket that sits within a huge vat of delicious broth. It was so tasty!

Anyway, I'd better get myself geared up for Tiger Leaping Gorge trekking...

Posted by bloorsontour 03:19 Archived in China

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Amazing scenery! I hope you're going to try the local delicacies now you've travelled all that way? Sparrow on a stick and dog hotpot shouldn't be missed! X

by Ma and Pa

Im so looking forward to Istanbul in October just to meet up with you both. keep up the blog it is amazing, couldnt be more proud of you. Missing you love Dad xx

by Dad

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