After a full day in Dali which ended with rain I was glad to see that we had sunshine the next morning. We had seen most of the city and there was only the lake Erhai left. The streets were still empty when we left the Silver Maple Hotel. Breakfast was a quick stop at the steam kitchen from the day before, this time with baozi for me and tea eggs for Babsi, followed again by the thick potato soup. After testing jaozi and baozi I prefer the former, the thinner more noodlelike dough just tastes better. The baozi dough was too fluffy and bland for me.
Starting from the North gate bus number 2 should have brought us directly to the lake but we took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up taking a tuk-tuk. We passed the bus on the way though, so it does exist. At the lake we paid an astonishing 180 Yuan to bring us to the Jinsuo island where you can see exactly nothing.
The only thing we noticed were constructions going on everywhere. Originally we had booked accommodation at the lake but needed to re-book after the hotel was closed down. We later learned that the Chinese government was following through on a re-vitalizing program for the lake which including closing all businesses around it. Quite an interesting way to deal with an environment problem but surely effective. We saw lots of sewage channels being dug, so I assume hotels and restaurants will be re-opened eventually.
After walking around the lake which is actually quite idyllic and will be beautiful once everything is open again,
we took another tuk-tuk to bring us to the East gate. That was the only gate we hadn’t seen before.
There were nice little stalls and shops around the gat entrance and an amazing hotel right after it. The Maomao cool traveling with hotel was by far the best hotel I have seen in Yunnan. That was one stylish place and I wished we could have stayed there instead of the Silver Maple Hotel. We stopped for tea and had a good look around.
Walking back to our hotel I tried the rose petal moon cake which was really tasty, while the one filled with meat I had to spit out. We did a bit more shopping
and arrived on time at the hotel for the pickup which would bring us to the train station in XiaGuan City. Here we boarded the train to Lijiang at 15:30.
Two hours later we were picked up by a blue taxi (all official taxis are blue in Lijiang)
and were brought near our guest house, the Lijiang Panorama Inn. At a busy street we were welcomed by someone from the hotel who lead us into the old town and our hotel. Walked up a lot of stairs with my meanwhile heavy back-pack was killing me but probably already a good introduction for the trekking tour the next day.
First we had to pay 80 Yuan (keep the ticket, you will have to show it quite often and it is good for a couple of days) for entering the old town, then walked further on until we arrived at the Inn. The inn looked amazing on the booking website but once we were there it was disgusting. The room was filthy, the towels dirty and wet and the overall impression was one of decay. Really not the place where I wanted to stay to extra nights.
So the moment we left the guesthouse, we canceled the reservation and looked for a replacement. On our way to the main square we passed a nice looking hotel, the Merry Inn. It had such a pleasant vibe and the room we inspected was clean and spacious that we booked it right away.
Down in the ancient town, nothing looked ancient. Everything was in neon colors and music blasted from every corner. This was one awful old town, overrun by Chinese tourists and bewildered Westerners.
We went looking for a recommended restaurant and met a Canadian guy while doing so (from my home town which is a small village in the middle of nowhere if you can believe this), who suggested another place all together. We stayed there for dinner and had the best eggplants. Hot as h*ll but such a nice subtle smoky flavor. The rest was okay but forgettable. Yours, Pollybert