Dali, Erhai Lake, Cangshan Mountain
Dali (大理) is the historical home of the Bai ethnic minority and the one-time capital of the Kingdom of Dali. A popular phrase when talking about the attractions of Dali is 风花雪月, referring to the breeze in Xiaguan Town, the flowers in Shangguan, the snow on Cangshan Mountain (苍山) and the moon-shaped Erhai Lake (洱海).
An exploration of Dali usually starts in the ancient town, full of traditional buildings and rich in Bai culture. A stones throw away is ear-shaped Erhai Lake, a large highland lake. It is a pleasant drive around the lake to visit the surrounding villages such as Xizhou (for well-preserved Qing Dynasty Bai architecture) and Shuanglang (a traditional fishing village).
Moving further along Erhai’s perimeter you will find the three iconic pagodas of Chongsheng, symmetrically arranged near the foot of Cangshan Mountain. Cangshan can be explored either by cable cars or hiking and is the best place to get a bird’s eye view of the lake and Dali old town.