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Day 3: Dali (Sanfu Inn,三福客栈) -> Dali, Erhai -> Dali Ancient Town (大理古城) -> 3 Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple (远观 - 崇圣寺三塔) -> Shaxi Ancient Town (沙溪古城) -> Lijiang (丽江古城独家记忆雪景苑度假会所) 


Last sunny day in Dali! The lake looks so calming and it is so quiet early in the morning. You seldom see vehicles roaming around or people walking around until close to 7am. Temperature can be quite cooling too in the morning - Jacket is a must!

white clouds ~
As usual we took a short stroll outside Sanfu Inn (near Little Pu Tuo) while waiting for breakfast to be served. We came down at 8+am that morning and there's more people waiting for breakfast than the day before. Looks like we were a little late.. A view across the lake seems to be without any boundaries (一望无际), but on closer look especially nearing night, you will see many lightings on the opposite end of the lake. That should be the Dali Ancient Town side!

boat to ferry across to Little Putuo (小普陀)
We didn't get a chance to go Little Putuo (小普陀) due to time constraints and afterall, there's nothing much on the island. As you can see from the photos taken previous days, it is a really small island that houses a Kuan Yin Statue and that's about it. If you are really into islands, perhaps the island near Shuang Lang (双廊) - 南诏风情岛 might be a better option.

8.05am (bridge outside Sanfu Inn, near Little Putuo)
Breakfast was done at 8.15am. Today we ate outside at the open space as there wasn't any space indoors and afterall the weather is cooling and comfortable enough.

breakfast time!
breakfast for the day (Clockwise from top: Sliced apple, mantou with minced meat, hard boiled egg, preserved vegetables, ham, congee)
Personally, the plain mantou that we had yesterday seem to be a better choice than this minced meat mantou. However the ham is really good. For someone who doesn't really like ham/sausages, yet find it really tasty and nice :)

We were extremely satisfied with our sumptuous breakfast. we were so full when the lady (that very kind and helpful lady I described yesterday) came over to us with 4 sweet corns and apologising for not giving us vegetarian breakfast. We then clarified that today was okay. We only had a vegetarian diet yesterday (Day 2). But still appreciate her gesture alot. It is owners/helpers like this that make staying enjoyable and have the feeling of home.

corns served - missing 2 other corns opps
Some view of the road that we saw while having our breakfast.

Local carrying a child in her arms
If you notice there's a van that's park alongside (nearest to the lake), that's actually our day 3' driver van. We had the same driver for Day 3 - 7 (5 days). Photo above was taken at 8.30am, but we were sure the van was parked there from as early as 8.15am even, though we booked him from 9am. We only realised it later  that he drove down from Lijiang and perhaps added some buffer time and hence reached earlier. Our driver (宋师傅) is from Lijiang, and the day before ( 9th Jun) was Dragon Boat Festival, so he had a nice dinner with his family before driving down to Dali to fetch us.

We were done with breakfast early, and we proceed to do a last minute check of our rooms thereafter proceeding for check-out. Check out was quick, we just need to give the receptionist our room card and that will do.

We met 宋师傅 at around 8.45am. He together with the lady receptionist was really helpful to help us carry our luggages to the van. We bade farewell to Sanfu Inn and feeling grateful to have a great start to our Yunnan trip all thanks to their great hospitality.

Our itinerary for the day is to head over to Dali Ancient town (大理古城) first, and if you recall day 2 map, the town is on the opposite side of the lake, so to get over he sort of have to drive around half of the lake to get there.

Spotted a 'cruise/ship' from far
We spotted a big ship from far - that is also the tourist ship where one can board for a fee and there will be entertainment (dance, singing...) while bringing you around Erhai Lake and stopping by the islands (eg. 南诏风情岛).

宋师傅 told us that how erhai (洱海) 's name came about is because it looks like the shape of a human ear. In today's context, we can easily see the bird's eye view of places from planes or even drones. However in ancient times, people discovered this when they climbed to the top of Cang Mountain (苍山). Cang Mountain (苍山) is also a tourist attraction with cable cars, which they called as 索道 to help you get up to the top. However it is a little pricey in our opinion, hence we decided to prioritise other attractions. Afterall from Sanfu Inn, we were able to see Cang Mountain (苍山) too. Just that whenever we overlook Erhai from our inn, we see many mountains at the opposite but not too sure which one exactly is Cang Mountain (苍山). Maybe they are all part of 苍山 afterall?

screenshot from Google maps
Does the shape looks like a human ear lobe? Hahaha I will leave the imagination to you ~
some view along the road
We passed by the ticketing booth for the tourist ship which we saw earlier on.

ticketing booth for ship that goes around Erhai
Along the way we passed by the southern end of 下关 too. Compared to Wa Se Zhen where Sanfu Inn resides, we saw many high rise buildings (condominiums, shopping malls...). It is really more developed than at Wa Se Zhen. Totally a change of scenary haha

About 45 minutes into the journey, we went onto 兴盛大桥 (southern end of Erhai).

From far 兴盛大桥 gives you the impression that you are in Europe. Seems to have some Italian / European characteristics. However if you notice it closely, it has Bai Ethnic Minority (白族) characteristics in it and that is what makes it special.
The bridge encompasses the golden carvings of a buddhist holy bird (near the bottom of the bridge) and tibetan white/gold pagodas too.
on 兴盛大桥
Shortly after passing the bridge, we saw Dali International Olympic Sports Center.

Dali International Sports Center
In 2008, it was the first time in China's history that they hosted the summer olympics. The opening ceremony and major events were held at Beijing. Not too sure what was held at this Dali sports Center though, but whatever it is, it must have been a grand and memorable occasion for the people of Dali to witness an international event in their home ground.

Soon around 10am (1 hour into the journey - yes the drive round half of Erhai is this long as it is a really big lake), we start to see mountains in front of us. 

Love the sight of these natural scenary ~
mountains ~
Love the sight of these natural scenary ~

As we see these trams, we are nearing Dali Ancient Town (大理古城). Along the way we saw people setting up stores to sell fruits such as 杨梅 (Chinese Bayberry).
fruits plantation
nearing the entrance of Dali Ancient Town
Entrance of Dali Ancient Town (landmark rock)
Entrance to Dali Ancient Town (大理古城) is free. It is considered the most popular ancient town in Dali. It's altitude is at 2025.8m as seen from the rock. We reached our first ancient town of the trip (Dali Ancient Town) at around 10.05am, after about an hour and 15 mins non-stopping drive from Sanfu Inn.

sightings in Dali ancient Town
Our driver (宋师傅) led us through the ancient town and we were thankful for his guide if not we would not know what to look out for or where to walk.

Trishaws for rental
One of the most common sightings you see at Dali is barbecued milk product (烤乳扇).  

云南十八怪 - 烤乳扇
It is made by boiling milk for long until it starts to become a bit sticky (non liquid form) then wrap it around a stick/chopstick just like how you make cotton candy.

It is one of the unique delicacies developed  by Yunnan locals ( 云南十八怪) 
"所谓“云南十八怪”是描述云南独特的地理位置民风民俗所产生的一些特有甚至有些奇怪的现象或生活方式。云南十八怪的版本很多,有的现象已经慢慢消失,有的也还保留着,有的条款是夸张了的。 随着社会的发展,云南经济建设卓见成效,云南十八怪也有了区别于原来的新云南十八怪"

Due to the multitude of ethnics in Yunnan and its geographical location, over the years it develop many unique or 'weird' food such as the barbecued milk product (烤乳扇).

Another unique local product (土产) of Dali is Flower Pastry (鲜花饼) which is like our Asian Tau Sar Pia but it has fresh rose petals as fillings.

Flower Pastry shop
On the bottom right of the photo above, you can see one of the shop helpers plucking the rose petals.
on the spot packing for customers
We bought 1 each from the shop (4 in total as our driver did not want). They gave the freshly baked ones to us and they were in individual paper bag (see photo below). It cost RMB 5 (SGD $1.04) for 2 pastries.
Flower pastry (现烤现烘)
The pastry was still a little warm and the skin is flaky and crispy. 

We also bought 1 box ( it can comes in 6/8/12 pieces) at the same pricing of RMB 5 for 2, for consumption in hotel. 

bought from this Kunming Ji Qing Flower Pastry store
flower pastry
 Not too sure why the packaging looks different. but oh well. We still miss the freshly baked pastry than the ones that we bought and keep over a few days.

According to the owner, we can keep it for 15 days even though there's no preservatives added. We then bought from another store to be brought back Singapore. Wouldn't say the other store is nice but rather the plus point is that the taste is still acceptable and it can store for a longer time period (enough time for us to bring back Singapore to share).

These are the ones that we bought back to Singapore.
Flower Pastry (鲜花饼)
Flower Pastry description
Shortly after snacking, we came to Foreigner's street (洋人街).
Foreigner's Street (洋人街)
Typically in Ancient towns and Cuihu Park in Kunming later on, Willows (柳树) is a common sight.
row of Willows (柳树)
Don't you think they make the whole town looks so picturesque ~

people in Dali Ancient Town

other sights in Dali Ancient Town
Similar to Lijiang Ancient Town (丽江古城), we feel that it is quite commercialised. You see international fast food restaurant chains here especially in Lijiang, McDonald, KFC, Pizza Hut, is a common sight. In Yunnan, Dicos fast food chain is popular too. It is a chinese fast food chain owned by Ting Hsin International group.

Many people love to take photo with this. As there is a stream of water flowing down resulting in the image of 小桥流水. Furthermore with the backdrop against mountain and Willows Tree, it makes an even better place for photo taking.

street at Dali Ancient Town
Wu Hua Tower (五华楼)
五华楼位于大理古城内,古时是南诏国王接待宾客的地方,后来几经兴废,最近一次在1998年重建。五华楼是古城内最气派的建筑之一,可以登楼远眺苍山、俯瞰古城区,也可以留影拍照,尤其夜晚时五华楼华灯初上,非常漂亮。 五华楼现在高三层,下面是可以过人的门洞,门洞上挂着写有“大理”两字的匾额,在这下面合影是很多游客一定要做的事情。在五华楼周围,目前已经形成了一定规模的书画市场,周围的店铺都以销售书法、国画等艺术作品为主,感兴趣的可以去看看。
In the ancient times, this tower was used by the king to host banquets for his guests. A royal and grand place in the olden days. It is open for public to head up to the top. We didn't head up this tower but another one.

beneath the city gate
Casting of silver jewellery
It is a common sight at Dali ancient Town to see silver jewellery shops and outside of these shops are labourers busy moulding/casting the silverware under high heat.

Haha coincidentally we caught a lady wear Singapore girl costume.
Singapore girl costume
lelong lelong ~ Clothes on sale
Marshal house (总统兵马大元帅府)
In the olden days, it was the place where the big Marshal reside. In today's context, it has become a museum opened free for public. We weren't exactly interested and did not went in.

streets/shops at Dali Ancient Town
As we walk, we came to the South gate (南门楼). At the top of the South gate states "文献名邦".
South gate 南门 @ Dali Ancient Town (承恩楼)
description (Chinese)
South gate @ Dali Ancient Town (南门楼)
As per what we saw in dramas, typically all 4 sides (North, South, East, West) of the city will have border gates like this. The Wu hua Tower (五华楼) which we saw earlier is an additional tower inside the Ancient city.

As introduced by our driver cum guide, we went up the tower by turning to the right of the border gate and you will see a flight of stairs up.

stairs to go up the tower
Do enter and continue to climb up the 'wooden' stairs inside to reach a taller height. I can assure you the city view will be breathtaking :)
wedding photo shoot
Bird's eye view of the Dali Ancient City
More views taken from the top
Spot the bride in the left most photo on top!

Thereafter we begin to walk back to where our car was parked. We left Dali Ancient town at around 11.45am. It is about a 5 minutes drive to our next destination - photo stop at Three pagodas of Chongsheng Temple (崇圣寺三塔).

Three pagodas of Chongsheng Temple (崇圣寺三塔)
In the past, there were many kings who left their palace to become a monk at this temple. What makes this place worth visiting is that after so many earthquakes that happened ( Dali encounter frequent earthquakes due to its geographical position), the pagoda still remain strong, sturdy and standing. This is even more amazing given that they were build in ancient days without the modern technology that we have now.

This is a 5A national scenic area. We choose not to enter this place because the admission fee is quite pricey, and afterall, it is the view of the 3 pagodas together that makes it look majestic and this can be accomplished by viewing from far. FYI, the pricing is RMB 121 (SGD $25.2) per pax.

Holy bird golden statue opposite of Chongsheng Temple
Some ladies selling fruits and having their lunch there
There were a couple of ladies opposite selling fruits to visitors who stop by to take photo of the 3 pagodas of Chongsheng Temple.

We bought some peaches from a lady who was clearing her stocks as she wants to go back home to cook lunch soon. They were cheaper than what we bought the day before at Mount Jizu @ RMB 10 (SGD $2.08) for 18 peaches. We tried it when we went back to our accomodation that day and they were really sweet. We bought blueberries too @ RMB 5 (SGD $1.04) for a bunch.
Lady selling peaches and blueberries
some of the peaches and blueberries that we bought from her
Our driver (宋师傅)'s passenger van
We didn't stay for long and left after 10-15 minutes of photo taking.

Next up we are heading to another old town - Shaxi Ancient Town (沙溪古镇). This old town seems less commercialise (朴素) than Dali Old Town. Shaxi Ancient Town is our favourite old town out of the others that we went during our trip.

To get from Dali to Shaxi, it took about 2 hours drive.
Screenshot from Google Map - Route for the day
Dali Ancient Town (大理古城) and Three pagodas of Chongsheng Temple(崇圣寺三塔) are near to each other. As you can see from the google screenshot above, Shaxi Old Town (沙溪古镇) is along the road from Dali to Lijiang. If you are self-driving from Dali to Lijiang, we recommend you to stop by Shaxi old town for a short break and also to admire this treasure gem ~

Along the 2 hours drive, we passed by their 'toll/ETC' again.

Some of our drivers like the ETC which is like our Singapore ERP where you dont have to stop and the machine will auto deduct the money from your cash card. This seems convenient however some of our drivers still prefer the manual ones (pay cash to the counter man by human) as they say the system has many flaws like only accepting top ups at certain places. Oh well, but I guess in future, technology is likely to replace manual labour...

En-route to Lijiang
Different speed limits along the expressway (Car: 120 km/hr, bus & trucks: 100km/hr)
The main expressway connecting Dali to Lijiang is G5611 大丽高速 (Dali-Lijiang Expressway) which was officially opened on 30th December 2013. (Source: Wikipedia)
Netting structure to prevent rocks from falling onto the road
Driving can be pretty dangerous along the roads of Yunnan especially when its crossing borders to another area such as Lijiang to Shangri-la. The roads are often narrow and bi-directional. Rocks can fall easily after a period of heavy rainfall and landslides can endanger cars. Furthermore, in Yunnan they really have a lot of hills, especially during the drive to Shangri-la from Lijiang which will be show in Day 5, you will see that we are driving on the edge of cliff and everywhere is big rocks and you never know when the rocks might fell. 现在想起还是有点怕...
sights along the way 
124km more to Lijiang ~ About 45 mins into the journey (12.45pm), we were heading towards a tunnel !
Xiashankou Tunnel 
Inside the tunnel
Nothing special, just like a normal tunnel but it's the first that we noticed in Yunnan haha. It seem like we have come to another place once we exited the tunnel..

View after passing the tunnel
In about an hour's time, we were nearing Shaxi old town (沙溪古镇). It is something worth exciting about however it rained when we were nearing :( And... from then on, there wasn't a day of no rain :( sigh. June is the start of raining season... but thankfully we didn't meet with any heavy downpour. All were light rain though they persist for long period of time.
Nearing the entrance of Shaxi Old town
What was written on the ancient books look alike is:

What they are describing is that Shaxi Old town is accorded by the China's Ministry of Housing development and State administration of Cultural heritage as a place of great historic significance. However there are certain areas of this place that cannot be protected by the state due to natural doings etc, and they get destroyed.

drizzling day 
We officially step out of the car at around 2.20pm. By then we were quite famished and decided to find a place for lunch first. Our driver (宋师傅) recommended us to eat at this noodle shop which was simple but fabulous haha.
Lunch place @ Shaxi Old town
 One thing that we realised and like about Yunnan (not too sure if it applies to other parts of China) is that you can communicate to the cook directly. As typically they are not exactly like the modern kind of restaurants you see in cities but rather small eateries that handle everything. Hence the person that take your order is likely your chef too. You can let them know anything you don't want (eg don't want onions...) or if you have special request on how food is to be cooked, as long as they know how and they have the ingredients they are willing to cook for you! That's what we did on some of our subsequent days. For that lunch we ordered from the menu.

menu on the wall
Just some explanation of the terms used in the menu, which we were confused too initially:
1. 西红柿 is tomato, or rather 番茄 which we Singaporeans commonly call it
2. 盖饭 is like our cai fan, means for eg 红烧肉盖饭, the meat will be on top of the rice instead of putting them in separate bowls/plates.
3. 铒丝 is another kind of vermicelli (different in texture)

It is sort of our first official proper meal at Yunnan, so we weren't sure what is suitable for us. To be safe 3 of us ordered vegetarian noodle (simple should be safe ya?) and 1 of us ordered Zha Jiang noodles. 

Perhaps we were late, we were their only customers and hence cooking was fast.

素面面条 RMB 10 (SGD $2.08)
This bowl of noodles + lettuce is just what we needed on a cold raining day. Though it looks simple but it is flavourful enough (didn't sense any MSG). Highly recommended if you want something not too oily or spicy.
炸酱刀削面 RMB 10 (SGD $2.08)
The Zha Jiang noodle is okay too. Spicy level is just nice. However, would choose the simple vegetarian noodles over this.

宋师傅 ordered egg fried rice which was not on the menu but they were glad to cook it too. It cost the same price as us too - RMB 10 (SGD $2.08). We didn't take a photo of it, but I must say it looks really yummy with generous serving of egg. 

We gobbled our lunch down quickly and were done in about 15minutes time.

Now back to a proper stroll around Shaxi Old town. 
Disclaimer: Not all pictures do justice to this beautiful town. Really strongly recommend you to stop by this place if you are travelling from Dali to Lijiang.
Description of Shaxi Old Town
street at Shaxi Old town
It is not exactly smooth pavement but rather a little ruggard and some parts can be slippery. So be sure to wear good footwear.
shop houses
Shaxi Old Town
alley,s & people of Shaxi old town
Shaxi Old town (沙溪古镇) is situated at Dali 剑川县. What makes it special is because it is the only surviving tea-horse road bazaar. 
" Shaxi Ancient Town was once an important stopover station on the Tea Horse Road. Located between Dali and Lijiang, it is an overland wharf on the Yunnan-Tibet Tea Horse Road.
In the Tang-Song period, the kingdoms of Nanzhao and Dali rose in the south-western regions, and became a buffer area between the Tang Dynasty and the Tubo Dynasty. They connected the two strong dynasties, and this area was one of the main places that the Tea Horse Road passed through which was used for economic and cultural exchanges.
As a town on this road, Shaxi played an active role. Perhaps God has a special liking for this town; after the Tang Dynasty, salt wells were dug in its vicinity. It was the nearest Tea Horse Road bazaar to those salt wells and consequently the salt trade began there.
Salt mining, like icing on the cake, added fuel to the fire for the development of Shaxi. As the nearest Tea Horse Road bazaar to the salt wells, Shaxi became the salt capital on this road as well as a distribution center of table salt for Tibet and north-west Yunnan."

admission fee needed if you are going to the temple
Shaxi Square street (四方街) - Ancient Stage
"The ancient stage is the soul of Shaxi. Everyone that comes to Shaxi for the first time will marvel at its unique architectural structure and exquisite craftsmanship. It is the most distinctive building on Square Street.
This stage was built in the Qing Dynasty. It is a three-story Kuixin pavilion with a stage. The front is the stage, and the back is the pavilion. It's a special structure with cornices and 14 flying eave corners."

roads at Shaxi old town
Willows tree strike again
recycling bin
Dustbin not commonly see along the streets. So best to have a plastic bag with u to contain all your rubbish and hold on to them till you found a dustbin.

owner and dog at one of the shophouse
small but nice alleys
horse riding services available
In order for China to be rich and powerful, its people can only thrived if the population growth is controlled.
toilet was inside hehe
The water wheel outside this gift shop looks like a minature version of the one at Lijiang ancient town. Little did we know there's toilet inside until we asked our driver who was walking with us. The toilet was well maintained in terms of cleanliness but the doors could not lock sadly :(

men playing card games to past time
One common sight that we see in Yunnan is that the women in a household are normally the ones heading out to earn a living through selling crops/stuff, while the men live their lives care-freely. Not sure if what we saw can be generalised across the population, but if that's true, then the women sure deserve much respect.
horses standing below the willows and in the rain :(
quieter stretch of road 
pathway inching towards a scenic and famous bridge at Shaxi Old Town
plantations everywhere
mini garden open for viewing 
Yujin bridge(玉津桥)
玉津桥始建于清朝康熙年间,几百年来几经坍塌和战火的破坏,于1931年,云南省大理州剑川县沙溪民众募资再建古桥,白族著名学者赵藩为玉津桥的重修专门撰写了《修桥募引》。 玉津桥跨空 12米,高6米,桥长35.4米,宽5米,石柱石板护栏。拱顶上有石雕鳖头,雄视黑惠江上游,另一侧是石雕鳖尾连接黑湛江下游,护栏尽头有四只“娃娃鱼”石雕。 古桥是世代居住在沙溪的白族人通往田间地头劳作经商的必经之路,桥身的石板被过往车马和行人踩踏得泛着青光,坑坑洼洼。古桥承载着沙溪古镇厚重的历史,年复一年地迎来送往沙溪几代先民。 "
- Ctrip  
View opposite the bridge
heading towards Yujin bridge
Yujin bridge (玉津桥) was a mandatory path that ancient Bai ethnic minority need to pass by either by foot or horse over to the plantations at the other end. It was built during the Qing Dynasty and rebuilt in the 1900s again due to severe destruction by war.
on Yujin Bridge
Even in today's context, we still see the bridge serving its original purpose. Women carrying their child / crops / barang crossing the bridge either to head over to the plantations (most likely where their home is) or heading out to the town to sell their crops. Horse shit was seen too so I guess horse still take this route but perhaps more for tourists leisure now.

women carrying her barang in a basket strap behind her back
Part of Yunnan - Tibet Tea-horse road (茶马古道)
plantation across~
We idled around the bridge for 15 minutes and start to set foot back to the carpark. It was close to 3.30pm by then. We still need to continue our journey to Lijiang. Shaxi Old town is only at half of the intended journey :/
lady riding a 3 wheel vehicle around Shaxi Old town
cafes in Shaxi Old town
shop houses still retaining its ancient look
As Yunnan moves towards greater development with the push from its government towards tourism, we are afraid Shaxi old town might lose its ancient charm as the years go by. As modern cafes seep in, tourists get to know this place, towns get more interconnected by the roads that makes it accessible easily, damage might be done to this historical site. I don't dare to imagine how this town will looks like in 5 years time, but I sincerely hope it doesn't get as commercialised as Lijiang Old town.

We left Shaxi Ancient town at around 3.40pm. Along the way we encountered a few toll counters. Our driver's rate of RMB 800 includes any necessary toll or parking charges already.

'Toll' uncle
At around 5.15pm (about 1.5 hours into our journey), we see this checkpoint that states 丽江西 (Lijiang West). I guess we have finally reach Lijiang ~

Lijiang West Toll station
That's 宋师傅 paying the toll fee hehe. Oh, in contrary to Singapore's practice, China drivers sit on the left side of the car.
'Toll' sister
Let's continue the journey after paying the taxes! As you can see from the windshield, it is still raining :( Gloomy weather to welcome us to Lijiang.
En-route to Lijiang old town (丽江古城)
Finally, 宋师傅 drop us off at the road near our Lijiang accomodation for 2 nights. You might wonder why did he not drop us of at our hotel, that's because it is on a hill top that is not accessible by cars. It was sort of a mistake that we later realised, especially given that we were lugging 3 big luggage in total (not counting small hand carrys)
the stretch of pavement ( Four seasons Inn ) 
It wasnt easy finding the way up, luckily the hotel's owner asked us to call him when we reach so that he can fetch us up. He is called 小高, quite a friendly guy and willing to share and talk to us alot.
So here's the way up, of course photos taken the following day evening(about the same timing):

first flight of rocky stairs
When 小高 came to fetch us up and told us that we have to climb up these stairs, we were a little shocked. Yes when we researched we knew that car wouldn't be able to reach our accomodation, but we didn't know we had to climb so many stairs. And they aren't easy to climb, not to say with luggages and umbrellas (yes raining ) even! Don't be deceived by the photos alright I must warn, the steps are wide (for eg. from where the lady in the photo stand she is almost twice my height already if I were to stand at level ground.)

Okay moving on...

climb climb climb
As you climb up and up, you will see a youth hostel at the right with some wall paintings.
youth hostel at the right side
wall paintings at youth hostel
Oh come on, lets continue the climb!

climb again
 Continue to climb until you come to this intersection then turn left into the alley.
turn left here (towards where the constructure infrastructure is at)
 And congratulations, if it rains you will see a mud pool just like us :(

narrow alley with no way of escaping

mud pool at its best
Imagine walking through the mud, avoiding those pool of water yet the space is so restricted and you have a big big luggage with you that weigh a ton and you are juggling with your umbrella on the other hand. Yeah you get the pain.

roadworks needed
 After you turn into the alley, past the mud pool (only happens if it rains!), and you will see Three Little bears hostel. If you notice, it has a sign that states '独家记忆'. Our hotel is called 丽江古城独家记忆雪景苑度假会所, for simplicity we remember as 独家记忆, until when we reach then we realised almost all the hostels/inns at the hill were called 独家记忆 lol. But luckily 小高showed the way, if not we would have gotten lost.

3 bears inn
 Just opposite the 3 bears inn is ours!
yup that sign states the place that we reside in!
argh even steeper steps ...
Lijiang accomodation (独家记忆雪景范 - 花神(雪景店))
And finally ~ 四合院 (courtyard) style.
Level 1
recreational use for everyone
 During our two nights there, we always hear people strumming the guitar at night. Very happening and warm friendly place :)
final flight of stairs to our room at level 2
Check in required all room visitors passport (similar for all the accommodation we stayed at) because we are foreigners :/ After we got our room card, 小高 being understanding gave us each a bowl of white fungus soup (warm) 银耳汤 to drink. Afterall its a cold rainy day and we had a 'strenous exercise'. One of the speciality of this accomodation is that they offer white fungus soup (warm) 银耳汤 daily for its guest to drink every night.

Thereafter drinking the soup to warm our souls, we headed to our room. 
Time check: 5.50pm.

Level 1 king sized bed
door, sofa, stairs to the attic

small sitting area at the side of the window to admire the view
Tadah ~

view of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (covered in fog though) from our room
double bed at attic
Though they stated that 4 can sleep in the room, however only one proper pillow was provided at the attic. We tried asking 小高 for an additional pillow, but there wasn't any at his storeroom. So we had to make do with one person sleeping on the white pillow, while the other on the cushion :( But thankfully the bed was comfortable both at level 1 and the attic bed.

washroom (separation between the bathing and toilet area)
The hot water was powerful. Hot enough for the cold weather :)
door area
Not too sure why, but we couldn't on the TV. But oh well, we do not really need tv entertainment anyway. Wifi was strong but no facebook (#China censorship).
sink outside the bathroom
sofa area
We booked this accomodation from Qunar. We really searched high and low and finally this is the only place that let 4 adults stay in one room (doings of its one child policy). Furthermore rate is pretty reasonable at RMB 304.06 (SGD $63.35) per night for 4 of us. You might wonder why did we choose such an inconvenient location. The answer is simple - since we are not visiting Jade Dragon snow mountain (玉龙雪山), we wanted a room where we can see the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. If we were to stay in Lijiang old town they are at lower ground levels, hence only at a higher level can you then see the mountain. In the end, we sort of regret choosing this accomodation, BUT not because of its hospitality or comfort, but because of its location. If we were not carrying that many luggages, we might still stay here. And.. it rained during our time here, so end up Jade dragon snow mountain was always covered in fog. Even if we do see the mountain, after seeing so many other mountains from far in Dali/Lijiang, all mountains seem to look the same.

That night we had noodles for dinner. 小高 recommended to us a noodle (面线) store that is near our accomodation. As it was raining, some of us went out to takeaway instead.

However we went the wrong way (went further instead) to another noodle store at the main street. While waiting we called 小高 to confirm and we managed to find our way to the store that he recommended.

chicken vermicilli (土鸡面线) - left: not spicy, right: spicy. Both at RMB 10 (SGD $2.08 each)
The spicy one was really spicy (a little over for us.) We prefer the non spicy one. Sadly, there wasn't much chicken, most of it was bones actually :(

Below is the one that 小高 recommended.

Chicken Vermicili (土鸡面线) not spicy @ RMB 12 (SGD $2.50)
Not too sure if they were closing shop at the time we went to buy (7.30pm), but this shop had even lesser chicken than the one we bought before. All in all, wouldn't say these are the best 面线 that we have eaten but glad we managed to try their local speciality.

We also bought a bottle of 1.5L water @ RMB 3.5 (SGD $0.73) on the way back.


Driving lesson car at Dali
Not too sure if this applies to whole of China or yunnan only but in contrary to Singapore's driving lesson, Singapore adopt the 1:1 approach. Whereby 1 instructor to 1 trainee in a car. However in Yunnan, they can have 4 trainees to 1 instructor in the car and they take turn to learn from each other. Not too sure if this is an ideal method or limitations, but that's just their way of doing things. Interesting indeed.


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