Saturday, August 20, 2011


Apologies for the hiatus. was away on a holiday with my brother :)
And where did we go? China-Yunnan [ Kunming, Dali, Lijiang] and Shanghai

Arriving in Shanghai Pudong airport from Singapore, we made our way to Shuttle bus line 1 from terminal 2 ( RMB 30 per pax) to Hongqiao Airport ( it took around 1 hour) for our very expensive SH Kunming flight ( as we were there during the summer break for the Chinese, our two way ticket cost us 4000 RMB per pax (imagine! its $800) - you can sit the train for around 500 RMB per pax for soft sleeper - however it takes close to 1 3/4 days and we did not have time. (The train is very comfortable though - so if you have friends and time - take the train!)
Note: there will be taxi touts near the shuttle bus area that tells you that the bus will take 3 hours to arrive ( don't believe them!) but anyway, for taxi, They will charge RMB 50 per pax so its just around $4 more per pax and I would think you will get there faster perhaps within 45 minutes.

We reached the airport at 3pm, got our boarding pass but did not check in our bags as we had to rush for the last bus/Train upon arrival in Kunming for Dali/Lijiang - and our flight was suppose to be 5pm but as usual domestic flights frequently get delayed - and our flight was pushed back to 8pm and we only got to Kunming around 1120pm. And according to our research, the last bus and train was 1145pm- and as it was rainy summer period, our decision was to try and make it for the train. However upon arrival, after query with the shuttle bus counter 2 nice young ladies ( because the information counter lady was so rude and told me to check myself), they told me that this was the summer break and all train tickets need to book 3 days in advance - she told me to try out for the bus station to try and catch the last bus. As the shuttle bus only had to the train station( for only 10 rmb each pax) , we had to take the taxi to the bus station estimated 30RMB. And thankfully, we had a very nice taxi driver who told us not to worry because they had a 130am bus as well. Which was even better for us because that means we will not reach at Dali wee hours. The sleeper bus cost RMB 120 each pax.

Still, we reached Dali New Town (known by many as Xiaguan 下关) at wee hours around 530am at some bus depot and had to wait for the minivans / public bus to take us to Dali Ancient city ( 大理古城 da li gu cheng). However, we decide to try and book a bus ticket first to Lijiang for the next day in case tickets ran out. ( Wanted to take the bus because the guidebooks were saying that the scenery along the way was amazing) At the depot, there were buses that allow you to buy tickets in advance and they will pick you from Dali ancient city itself, however they only had the morning bus that leaves at 730am or so. It was too early for us - so we inquired and the bus driver told us that we can go to the main bus station( 北站 bei zhan ) that sold tickets every hour for Lijiang - its cheaper too RMB 54 per pax. So my brother and I got directions and decide to walk there ( despite warnings that it will take a long time and that if we took a taxi it will just cost RMB 30) - If we did not have our luggage, it would have been fine. I still loved the walk though because I could take pictures and view a little of the Dali new town itself

- but with our luggage, we took close to an hour of walking, reached there and was told that we could only buy tickets for the day itself - but not to worry as there are definitely tickets to Lijiang every hour from 730am to 730pm. So from there, we took the public bus ( RMB 1 per pax) to Dali ancient city.

Dali - I could live there for a long long time. What more can I say. Good food and Good accommodation - and the cost of living is very low. Imagine a bowl of yummy noodles at RMB 3.5 ( Less than $1).

Delicious food! I miss the food!

I love this. The tinge of vinegar-taste and the chilli and the cold noodles - delicious! I can eat 2 bowls of it at one go.

The soup base version. I prefer the dry cold noodle one.

You can tell them what you want to put in the soup. For me , I ask them to not put the pig blood.
Then they boil it then put it in soup with sichuan chilli. Quite spicy for me but its nice!

Some of the famous local snacks.
This was yummy! They bake it then they spread their spice sauce on it. Yummy Yummy!

They roast the dough-like prata then they put preserved vegetables and spices in it.
Chewy and a tinge of saltiness. Nice!!!
They have the sweet one too.

Something similar as above but this lady kneads the dough with her own hands and makes it like a curry puff shape.

Fried potato balls with chilli powder and sauce. Its spicy but nice when piping hot.

Don't like. Supposedly made from goat milk. The thing has no taste. But everyone is eating it.

Then at night we decide to go along with the china guidebook that we saw on a restaurant called No 84 Cang Er Mu. Its along Ren Min Lu.
They recommended the snails ( which we did not order), the fish soup ( which I find the fish a little too fishy for me), the chicken with papaya ( which I felt was nice) and the meat ( which was chewy but a little dry) but overall, find the food quite nice.


And have you seen this before?
They cut the goat in front of the shop.

And some local kids.

Amazing accommodation and host - Rainbow's Nest。(RMB 150)
Very good for couples, families and group of friends.
Quiet and out of the main eating areas ( though still within walking distance) with very clean rooms, own toilets and living room and TV.
Just like a home!
Walk from Ren Min Lu 人民路 and go down Guangwu Lu 广武路.

We placed our bags down and made our way to rent the bike to explore Er Hai lake - destination being Xi Zhou 喜洲 where we were told had the Bai minority and was good to explore. It was estimated 50km and would take normally 2-3 hours there. So we rented our bikes ( with gears) - haha to be frank, there is no need for the gears - for RMB 20 each pax (whole day) and made our way there.

Bike north, out of the North Gate of the Old Town and towards the Three Pagodas Temple. You will find a turnoff to the east, take it and bike it all the way down until you get to a big roundabout with a Chinese Arch. This is where the main highway connects with Dali Old Town. Be extremely careful, because traffic is relatively heavy and for some parts of this route, you will have to share the road with tractors that require you to veer on the road with the trucks and lorries and tourist buses.
Keep the right side and bike as close as you can to the fields. Bike for a few minutes, you will arrive to a first junction with a gravel road swindling off to the right that says 码头. Do not take it, and keep on going. When you cross the second junction, turn right on the gravel road and keep on biking.

Cycling on the main highway for around 2 hours with some stops for picture-taking of Cangshan and the fields, we still did not see Er Hai. So I suggested to my brother to cycle inside to the villages to spot Er Hai. So off we went!
Here is Er Hai

Going through the villlage

Ps: we were told that by the local that one can cycle along the Er Hai lake via the inside paths - going through houses and fields) but you need to keep asking directions from the locals as there are no signs. Heard that the view would be better.

After cycling for what seems like forever, we reached Xizhou.

Went to view the Bai Minority 'exhibition'

And cooled ourselves down with dessert and some food from the street market before doing the return ride back.

its tastes like agar agar except its dairy taste was too strong for me.
But the mix of the chilli and peanuts was nice.

More pictures on the way back

It was an amazing yet tiring ride. And boy was I burnt. And now I am peeling all over! And I am so dark.

Next day, in the morning we explored the town.
Visited the old dali monument

Tried the mango chocolate cake that a foreign shop had. It was good though expensive.

Then I went to check out the area outside of town. Trying to get a better glimpse of Cang Shan.

After check out, we were thinking of going early to get tickets from the bus station. However under the suggestion of the hostel host, by saving money to get the bus from the terminal, you still have to spend money to get to the bus terminal. So we went to check out the bus prices via the tour agencies in Dali ancient city. We managed to get a bus tickets for 2pm at 60 RMB per pax ( which was 6 RMB per pax more) from Bo Ai Lu.
So what was the 6RMB service fee for - they would use their car to bring you from the ancient city to the main highway where the buses (which i supposed from the terminal) to Lijiang would stop and pick us up. But the thing is that as you are the latest to board the bus, you have to take the leftover seats which is the backrow seats which would leave your bum really sore. Also! Remember to take the normal seats that have a window beside it, as during the summer , their air con is not really strong and it gets quite stuffy. Thankfully for me, I grabbed a normal seat beside a car sick old lady who had the permission to open the window throughout - slept through the whole ride. It took around 5 hours to get to Lijiang.
Note 1: By express train, it would supposedly take 2.5 hours.
Note 2: In Dali ancient city, there are also tour buses that cost a little more ( RMB 65-75) but they have their own buses. Can ask them.

Stay Tune for Lijiang.......

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...