We arrived in Dali after another successful nights sleep on the train, we got into a taxi and asked to be taken to the old town. Once there we were bombarded by people wanting us to take their trips or go to their hostel. One of the hostel's was recommended on the guide book so we followed the lady and got ourselves settled into the room.
We decided that we didn't want to do a tour with anyone as we were a bit tired so decided to walk up to the Three Pagodas as this is Dali's main attraction. Infact the whole of Yunnan province tends to have a photo of this hung on their restaurant walls.
The admission price was fairly expensive but we thought we should visit them, so went in. The Three pagodas were originally built in the mid 9th Century and the tallest one has 16 tiers. There was a temple behind that we also visited and it was not a small temple. It consisted of about 15 different buildings, most of it has had to be rebuild apart from the Three pagodas that although are leaning are still in really good condition. We really enjoyed ourselves and spent a good few hours just wondering around, it was so quiet and peaceful unlike any other place we had been to in China. Out of all the different temples we went into Matthews favourite one was the 500 Disciples hall that basically had 500 strange looking gold statues of men, everyone of them slightly different. Matthew decided to go around and take photo's of all the ones that he thought looked like his mates, and yes Adam you are on their too! He must have spent about an hour in their, i found it a bit creepy after a while, so many gold faces looking at me so went and sat in the sun for a while.
Once we had seen most of the temple we decided to go and look around the old town, it was beautiful. All the buildings were lovely, with hand carved wooden panels and all the streets were fairly narrow and the streets cobbled, we had a really nice afternoon. We even had some lovely Chinese food, even though we had a great problem ordering as she couldn't understand at all not sure why as we pointed to the dishes we wanted! It was lovely when it came though and it restored our faith in Chinese food. Once we had eaten we came across a bakery and got a piece of cake each for 10p all together, i couldn't even finish the piece it was that big! Oh and i made a mess too. Food is so cheap here, its great!
The old town was great as we could just people watch, their were lots of elderly women and even young girls wearing the traditional dress of Dali that i really liked as it was colourful, not too sure if i would wear the hat though! We wondered around the town until we felt we had seen it all and then headed to bed.
The next day we decided to take a chair lift (that took about 30 mins and was really high, i don't know why i do this to myself) up to Zhonghe temple. I found the chair lift a bit traumatic and Matthew laughed at me once again, but once at the top the views of Dali were great. We stumbled across a little cafe and had a coffee and another piece of cake and then decided to go on a small walk. The walk was really good, the views of the gorge and the three pagodas were fantastic, and although it meant a bit of climbing around rocks the dragons mountain pool at the end was beautiful as it was pieceful and the water was so clear. We were both a bit dissapointed that we couldn't spend longer at the top of the mountain bit we had a bus to catch to Lijiang so we headed back down and found another very basic restaurant and had even better food than the day before!
We really enjoyed Dali and would have stayed longer if we could especially to do more walking but die to the size of China it takes at least 4 hours to get between places.