Traveling in Yunnan : 大理 (Dali) and 双廊 (Shuanglang)

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When traveling in Yunnan there are two must have stops: Dali (大理) and Lijiang (丽江). Today I will skip my financial monologue to tell you  about 大理, and why you should not go there.

Forgive my gimmicky sounding second sentence and hear me out. Erhai (洱海) is beautiful and worth visiting, however staying in 大理 or 大理古城 (Dali Old Town) is not where you want to be. Today I want to tell you to reside two hours from 大理 in 双廊 (Shuanglang)

Why is 双廊 better than 大理古城?

The company

Pop quiz dear reader: Which of these two pictures would you rather explore?

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Here, I will give you another shot.

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OK, this is your last chance:

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If you’ve ever been on vacation and thought, “god, I wish this place was just packed with more people.” 大理古城  is the perfect place for you! 大理古城 is the same over priced tourist trap that you can find in most cities in China.  Don’t be fooled by the overcast sky in the three pictures of 双廊 (all, of course, on the bottom). It offers the same amenities with no crowds.

I can’t emphasize how much of a tourist trap 大理古城 is. Don’t misunderstand, it is worth seeing for a day. It is mindless fun; however, it should not be your main attraction. The pace is fast and the people working there want nothing more than to take your money. Consider this woman in Shuanglang:

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She certainly isn’t selling produce out of the goodness of her heart, however she and the hawkers of Shuanglang were so fun, so comfortable, so relaxed. People in Dali were very nice, but people in Shuanglang seemed like they were on permanent vacation. The difference in hawking manners was tangible.

Why is 双廊 better than 大理古城?

The food

This is the easiest point to make. The food in 双廊 was, for lack of a better word, awesome. Really awesome. Picking a restaurant in both cities is incredibly easy. Most restaurants arrange their food outside.

Picking breakfast, lunch, and dinner amounted to saying, “oh, that looks delicious.” The food was always mind blowing in Shuanglang.

Yunnan is famous for mushrooms. Order them every chance you get. I was also enamored with the shellfish, eating a clam at least every meal. The food in Dali was good, but the food in Shuanglang was some of the best I’v ever had. I did not order “slutty soup,” but this menu gives a good idea as to food pricing in 双廊- cheap.

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Why is 双廊 better than 大理古城?

The view

The view anywhere on Erhai is beautiful. Dali Old Town is certainly pretty, but the focus of the beauty is the architecture. Shuanglang is much more quiet and focuses on surrounding area. The view in Dali Old Town looks something akin to this:

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This is the best photo I took of the scenery surrounding the town, because, as previously mentioned, the scenery is mostly focused on the architecture of the town. Contrast this with any of the small villages surrounding Erhai:

 

 

The conclusion is simple. Stay in Shuanglang for a few days. Rent a moped for 50元 for a whole day and go explore. You won’t regret it.

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