Dali is known in China as a 'backpackers and hippies' mecca. An area which supposedly saw the first few outgoing western travellers settle and travel in. We arrived by train and after a frantic bus ride (which could have been avoided as a bus leaves about every 5 mins from the station!) we made it to Dali Old Town. Our hostel has since 'changed' into a hotel, gone more upmarket and changed its name but as it was quiet we got an improved room for the same cost!
We had a few bits planned for Dali but mainly just making our way around the old town and enjoying a relaxing few days. Weather permitting we also planned a trip to one of the surrounding hills by cable car, which then allowed you to hike along the mountain walkways.
The old town was made up of hundreds of little shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. All were in the old Chinese style buildings and many were located down small alleyways and lanes. It was a really nice place to just walk around and look about. The town was surrounded by walls with small Chinese pagoda type archways on each of the walls which allowed entrance to certain parts of the town.
We found a really nice indoor food market which sold great steak meat on sticks cooked over a BBQ flame. Also randomly a Turkish guy who'd opened up a kebab shop! As western food is in the minority in China we indulged in one of the kebabs and it didn't disappoint! In the evenings we bought a few beers for our walks around town. One night we got a few beers and a bottle of wine to have back at the hotel but as with all Chinese beer it was under 3% and the wine under 5% so it would probably give you diabetes before any other effect!
The day we planned a cable car hike the clouds were over and the cable car shut down. Which looking back was a good thing, we'd had some hectic days and it was good to have a lay in and not another long hike.
We hired out a little electric scooter again and visited a local, less touristy town and some ancient pagodas which were just outside the Old Town. Nice little end to the stay and good to see some other local areas.
The next journey should have been one of the fast ones but upon arrival at the train terminal, our train was delayed by a good few hours... Making a short journey into a much longer one! Transport in China was proving to be not quite as efficient as some people had made out. Luckily we were used to travelling pains by now!