© 2011 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated Dali Bike Ride

China – Dali bike ride 21st – 22nd December

We went out for a bike ride with one of the Chinese girls’ Sylvia who was staying in the dorm with us, she was friends with another of the girls working at the hostel. It was good to have her with us as she could help us to find our way by asking the locals which way to such and such a place. She wanted to go to a specific village called Xixhou which is about 20km away from Dali old town. We wanted to cycle through some of the villages closer to the lake so we could explore the farmland, the most direct way would be to cycle along the high way for the entire ride but that’s no fun, so we compromised and spent some time cycling to the villages and some time catching up and taking the highway to the furthest place.

The farmland in Dali is very lush and extremely beautiful to photography. During our stay in Dali the sky was a perfect blue and it was a very comfortable temperature indeed, only being cold in the shade. By night it dropped significantly but we had electric blankets to cope with this!

So we took in the scenery around us, some farmland, some lake and some road. It was stunning. We got to Xixhou at around 3pm and ambled through the village market before stopping for some very good value soup rice noodles. For 3 of us to eat it cost around £2.80, and the food tasted really good. The only bad thing was a local guy pestering us for left over food and drink, he wouldn’t leave us alone and eventually got what he wanted. Still the setting took us away from this. We continued out of the village and took the road to some older parts of the area. Once more fantastic views, terraces and buildings surrounded us.

We decided to make our way back at around 4pm and set off for Dali. We were going quicker than Sylvia on her lady-like bike so we waited for her every so often, plus the drivers on the road aren’t the most reliable often overtaking two cars in one go so we wanted to make sure we were all with us. When we got back Sylvia joked about how fit we were compared to her and she said she’d only ever ridden a bike once before in her life. Considering this fact she did very well indeed.

When we got back we ate at an Indian restaurant down the road from our hostel and enjoyed more chai. Back at the hostel there were a few more travelers, Helen got chatting to Jane who she’d seen at various other places around China. It’s very easy to bump into people when you use Hostelworld for recommendations on where to stay. Many people also choose to travel through South China from Vietnam as it’s a good route and the weather is pretty good in Yunnan.

So it was our last night in Dali and we really loved the town and the hostel had a nice vibe too. We decided to nip back to Bakery 88 the next morning to get some take-away sandwiches with very good cheese and meat! Yum!! We also sneaked in a few more granola slices.

The bus back took the scenic route as part of the highway was closed but this wasn’t a bad thing as it meant we got to drive through some more beautiful countryside and villages. It was quite a luxury bus with only a few of us on board, and we got back to Cloudland at around 7pm. We had some food, chatted away and got ready for our flight to Guangzhou the following day.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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