A Travellerspoint blog

Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-la

Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-la

View Nepal, north India, south India, Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Shangrila, Tibet, Philippines (2019) on ilovenewjersey's travel map.

Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lijiang

The First Bend of Yangtze River separating Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces, taken from tour of Shangri-La

Jade Dragon snow mountain in Lijiang( reminded me of Torres de Paine in Chile

Arrived Kunming, China via Bangkok from Bangalore, India. Didn’t come out of immigration until 1:30 am. Kunming is located in southwest China. Part of Yunnan province.
I asked my hotel for airport pickup when I booked my reservations. I called the receptionist, he could not speak English, I was starting to get anxious and worried. He had to wake this other guy up who speaks English. I spoke with him and he told me to meet the driver by exit 1B. I asked people/staff at the airport where 1B was, wrote it in my palm and showed it to them. I couldn’t get a straight answer, they were pointing at different directions, most of them just wave their hand as if saying “I don’t speak English. “ Anxiety was rising and so was frustrations because I’ve been waiting for more than an hour trying to figure out 1B, called the English speaking receptionist, he kept telling me to go to 1B, I told him I don’t know where 1B is. I asked an old lady cleaner to speak with him on my phone and to tell him where my location was, and finally we were able to meet. A 10 minutes ride from the airport took me about 1.5 hour to reach the hotel.

Offerings near the entrance of temple —

The next day, I was told that the main town of Kunming was about 20 km away from the hotel and there’s no bus that stops nearby. If I want, they can take me back to the airport and I’ll have to take the subway or bus to get to town. I decided not to go anymore because I might have the same communication problems I had earlier.
There’s a few restaurants nearby. It was dinner time and I was hungry, I tried to speak with the waiters, they just wave their hands as if saying “No English” I pointed my finger to a photo on the wall that looks like a delicious dumplings. As I was eating, I realized that it was shrimp dumplings. I’m allergic to shrimps, I get horrible rashes in my body and fingers, but I was hungry and I’ll be embarrassed to just not eat the dumplings, so I ate a few dumplings thinking “anyway, I have Benadryl to take later at the hotel”. Two nights wasted just laying in bed. No English Channel on TV, I have limited access to the internet, my cellphone(I did ordered VPN), wasn’t working well. FB disappeared, I know FB is banned in China. Thank goodness for the downloaded music on my iPhone, I was able to entertain myself.


This part of China although very progressive with wide roads and high rise buildings and ongoing constructions does not cater to tourists, unlike Beijing or any other big cities where you can read signs written in English and some people are able to help translate.
Now it was time to move to Dali. I’m already anticipating a lot of trouble finding my way to get to Dali. The hotel driver took me to the airport, I have to take a bus going to the main train station in Kunming from the airport, then take the bullet train to Dali. I went early...just in case! The tickets I purchased on line prior to arriving in China emailed me an attached important phrases from English to Chinese while in the train station. I found it very helpful because all I have to do was point at that specific phrase in my iPhone and the officers were able to point or write down numbers and time. The travel to Dali went smoothly about 2 hours.

Ancient town of Dali

The receptionist/owner at the hotel in Dali spoke English very well, she arranged a taxi to meet me at the train station with my name written on the board. Funny because having a US passport, they always thought I was Caucasian or Black, so he was looking for a non-Asian.
I arrived at the hotel at around 3:00 pm. Walked around the ancient town. There was a festivity going on for 2 days. I was told that it was a holiday and there was a big celebration going on. I didn’t want to buy any street food because I was afraid to eat something that can give me diarrhea. I saw only 3 or 4 western tourists walking the ancient town of Dali.

Fried Worms and crickets , anyone?...taken in Dali

Dinner time, I went to this restaurant near my hotel and asked for English menu...which they don’t have any. I saw a picture on the wall with noodles, vegetables, and meat that looks like chicken. I pointed with my finger to that photo and ordered it. When the food arrived in a bowl, the meat was not chicken. It was intestine of...God knows what it was. Again, I forced myself to eat it so as not to be embarrassed. Learned to use the chopsticks as fast as I could. I ended up eating at least a half of it. I went out and bought me fruits. In fact, I was just eating fruits for dinner for the next 2 days.

Local ladies dancing in the street of Dali.

Local ladies dancing in the street of Dali.

I booked a day trip to an island by boat and other tourist sites along the way with a Chinese tour company against the advise of my hotel owner. I promised her that I won’t get lost. During the trip, I struggled a lot regarding time and spot to meet. There was this young couple from Chengdu. The husband speaks little English which was very helpful. But I can’t be attached with them the whole time since they also have own agenda. At times, I was assigned with a group of teens to help me translate. They were shy, and I think they speak some English but are not willing to speak partly because I think they’re embarrassed by the pronunciations. Unlike those teens in South America, they were eager to practice English and are not shy. Anyways, I managed to return back to the hotel in one piece.

Nanzhao Amorous Island, tour from Lijiang

There were times when I thought, “ This was a mistake coming to this part of China.” I was thinking of just quitting and get the hell out of this part of China and fly to the Philippines.
At moments of my frustrations and uncertainty. My father(deceased) was my inspiration to keep on moving. I thought of my fathers journey from Emung(near Xiamen, Fujian province) to Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, then to the Philippines to escape poverty. He was in his 20’s, probably in the 1930’s with barely enough money, unable to read English, can’t communicate in Countries he traveled. All he had was his skill as a butcher. And here I was, with all these modern technology , Siri, within my reach, money, education, clothing to keep warm or cold, and other stuffs. I thought, I shouldn’t be complaining. If my father was able to make it...so was I.

Nanzhao Amorous Island, tour from Lijiang

Ancient town of Dali

After 2 days, I have to travel to Lijiang, which btw was my favorite town among the province of Yunnan which I’ve visited. The ancient town and mountain were my favorite. Reminded me of beautiful Colmar in France with canals, bridges, and fancy restaurants decorated with fresh flowers. I’ve been hanging out in Pubs listening to live music. The only English song they kept singing(in Dali as well) was “500 miles” which made me think it must be their national anthem.

Restaurant In Lijiang

The next day, I went with a Chinese tour bravely even though I know I’ll have problems again with communications. The Chinese tour guide was nice enough and patient with me. Siri was helpful as well, but gets annoying sometimes being very sensitive with noise, I’m unable to translate well. Later, I realized that using my AirPod when speaking was very helpful.

Nanzhao Amorous Island, tour from Lijiang

Next stop Shangrila. I took the bus to Shangrila because there were no trains. Travel time was about 3.5 hours with one stop for restroom along the way. Somehow, I managed well and did not get lost. I just kept on asking people a few times to confirm the time, bus number, and location. I was met by the owner of the hotel in Shangri-La at the bus terminal.

Shangri-La temple

Shangri-La, although beautiful with mountain surrounding the ancient town was a “must visit” for me. I remember watching the musical, “The Lost Horizon.” it’s base on a novel written about Shangri-La . Shown in movie theaters when I was in my early teens and fell in love with the story. I can still hum the music in my head up to now. But, in reality, this small town wasn’t the way as I expected it to be.
Now, I’m at the airport on my way to Tibet. Tibet is very strict with tourists. I have to book with a travel agency while I was in the USA to get a permit to get inside Tibet, and they won’t allow individual travelers doing this trip on their own. Lots of politics going on with China and Tibet. I was advised by my travel agency regarding things I shouldn’t be doing while in Tibet.


Mu’s mansion and museum In Lijiang

Taken from Mu’s mansion In Lijiang

Mu’s mansion and museum In Lijiang

Taken from Mu’s mansion In Lijiang

Taken from Mu’s mansion In Lijiang

Lijiang, reminded me of Colmar in France

Beautiful decorations on Lijiang with Jack Sparrow

Ancient town of Lijiang

Canal in Lijiang


Cable going up to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lijiang

Blue Moon Valley, Lijiang

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, lijiang

Blue Moon Valley, Lijiang

Jade Dragon mountain, Lijiang( reminded me of Torres de Paine in Chile

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lijiang

Reflection of Blue Moon Valley, Lijiang

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lijiang

Huge rolling mantra in Shangri-La



Posted by ilovenewjersey 21:39 Archived in China Tagged dali kunming lijiang shangri-la Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 4 of 4) Page [1]