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Thread: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

  1. #1
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    Default Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    Hi,
    I'm thinking of going to the above places in China in late december. Anyone been there before, care to share your experiences and tips and photos? Thanks.

    I checked the weather history and seems like Dec temp is above 0 and below 10, still manageable I think.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    too cold. Lijiang will still be good as the climate is moderated by it's position in the valley.

    1) The landscape is rather bleak during this time. However, you can get a magnificient view of the snowy mountains, aka yu long xue shan ( jade dragon mountain), mei-li shan.

    2) Hotel rates can be slashed like mad during this bleak season.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by clicknick View Post
    Hi,
    I'm thinking of going to the above places in China in late december. Anyone been there before, care to share your experiences and tips and photos? Thanks.

    I checked the weather history and seems like Dec temp is above 0 and below 10, still manageable I think.
    Yunnan is a very nice and scenic place! Depends on whether u follow travel tour or go on yr own, there are plentiful things to take photos, scenery, people, tribal costumes, etc. But for photography purpose, I would think it is so much better to go on yr own, although last time I went I joined the tour group for convenience.

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    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by cosycatus View Post
    too cold. Lijiang will still be good as the climate is moderated by it's position in the valley.

    1) The landscape is rather bleak during this time. However, you can get a magnificient view of the snowy mountains, aka yu long xue shan ( jade dragon mountain), mei-li shan.

    2) Hotel rates can be slashed like mad during this bleak season.
    Thanks. So december is not a good time for phototaking huh? Hope i don't go there to see a gloomy hazy foggy misty Yunnan.

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    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Astin View Post
    Yunnan is a very nice and scenic place! Depends on whether u follow travel tour or go on yr own, there are plentiful things to take photos, scenery, people, tribal costumes, etc. But for photography purpose, I would think it is so much better to go on yr own, although last time I went I joined the tour group for convenience.
    Thanks Astin. I'll be following tour. I too lazy lah, haha.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    Good place to go shoot pictures. I have seen very beauiful spring and even winter (snow) shots and they look very different.

    I have been there sometime ago and have enjoyed the trip very much, especially when there are so many pix takingopportunities. You can see some of my pictures here :

    http://www.worldisround.com/articles/38599/index.html

    [URL="http://http://www.worldisround.com/articles/38599/index.html"[/URL]

    Enjoy your trip.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    Kunming is a big city, most tour will start from Kunming, got plenty of hills and lakes and caves, lotsa walking so take care of yr camera bag. (it gets heavier as u walk uphill)

    Dali is an old city, but the problem is it rains frequently in Dec, so prepare your camera to get wet, the best is the old city quarter, u can see the city wall and pagoda etc.

    Lijiang is just amazing, normally tour group daytime will bring u to all the "important sites" then nighttime will be free and easy, make sure u come out at night time, go back to the old city, and GET THE TRIPOD!

    Most probably u would also visit the big mountain (jade dragon mountain), attend a dinner together with local tribe in their home (prepare to sing and dance with them), and visit the next city called Shangri-la (old name is Chung Din or something like tat).

  8. #8

    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    I've been there in Dec
    landscape-wise, it'll be dry time hence I didnt get to see the colorful shangrilla
    but, still the costumes of the people there is superb

    contact me, then meet up I'll show some pics

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    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Astin View Post
    Most probably u would also visit the big mountain (jade dragon mountain), attend a dinner together with local tribe in their home (prepare to sing and dance with them), and visit the next city called Shangri-la (old name is Chung Din or something like tat).
    Quote Originally Posted by squalle View Post
    I've been there in Dec
    landscape-wise, it'll be dry time hence I didnt get to see the colorful shangrilla
    but, still the costumes of the people there is superb

    contact me, then meet up I'll show some pics
    Thanks for sharing folks.

    I have time only for an 8 days tour, and there are different 8days packages, I need to decide which one to join.

    Options:
    8 days Dali, Lijiang, Kunming

    8 days Dali, Lijiang, Kunming, Shangrilla

    8 days Dali, Lijiang, Kunming, Shangrilla+Lugu lake

    Which one should I do? Should I try to see as much as possible and therefore spend less time at each location and more time on the road? Is Shangrilla or Lugu lake worth a look, or should I just stick to Dali/Lijiang/Kunming?
    Last edited by clicknick; 18th October 2006 at 10:51 AM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    Really, its a matter of how often you like to be shuttled between places. To choose the 3rd option, you must really enjoy your time on buses/trains and having 1/2 to 1 hr breaks at scenic locations....

    Ok, right. Just don't rush, and spend more time in Lijiang which I felt is the nicest of the Kunming-Dali-Lijiang circuit....

    Quote Originally Posted by clicknick View Post
    Thanks for sharing folks.

    I have time only for an 8 days tour, and there are different 8days packages, I need to decide which one to join.

    Options:
    8 days Dali, Lijiang, Kunming

    8 days Dali, Lijiang, Kunming, Shangrilla

    8 days Dali, Lijiang, Kunming, Shangrilla+Lugo lake

    Which one should I do? Should I try to see as much as possible and therefore spend less time at each location and more time on the road? Is Shangrilla or Lugo lake worth a look, or should I just stick to Dali/Lijiang/Kunming?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by clicknick View Post
    Thanks for sharing folks.

    I have time only for an 8 days tour, and there are different 8days packages, I need to decide which one to join.

    Options:
    8 days Dali, Lijiang, Kunming

    8 days Dali, Lijiang, Kunming, Shangrilla

    8 days Dali, Lijiang, Kunming, Shangrilla+Lugo lake

    Which one should I do? Should I try to see as much as possible and therefore spend less time at each location and more time on the road? Is Shangrilla or Lugo lake worth a look, or should I just stick to Dali/Lijiang/Kunming?
    Lijiang, Shangrila, Deqin(Meilixueshan) are the ones to head for. Lugu lake is nice as a 1 day stop, but you'll have to waste 2 days shuttling to and fro from Lijiang to get there. Personally I'd use Lijiang as a base and hit the areas surrounding it.

    However, do have a check on how the scenic spots look at this time of the year.

    A 8 day guided tour is going to be a very rush rush affair, most of the time your guide will be be bringing you to jade factories, medicine factories.....cause that's where they earn their commission. Also, be careful of "lucky charms" and medicine salesmen who diagnose you with fertility problems along the way..:P

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by gtsoh View Post
    Good place to go shoot pictures. I have seen very beauiful spring and even winter (snow) shots and they look very different.

    I have been there sometime ago and have enjoyed the trip very much, especially when there are so many pix takingopportunities. You can see some of my pictures here :

    http://www.worldisround.com/articles/38599/index.html

    [url="http://http://www.worldisround.com/articles/38599/index.html"[/URL]

    Enjoy your trip.
    Thanks. I didn't know it snows, hope it's not too cold.


    Quote Originally Posted by nuts View Post
    Really, its a matter of how often you like to be shuttled between places. To choose the 3rd option, you must really enjoy your time on buses/trains and having 1/2 to 1 hr breaks at scenic locations....

    Ok, right. Just don't rush, and spend more time in Lijiang which I felt is the nicest of the Kunming-Dali-Lijiang circuit....
    Ok, thanks, I'll choose a package that have more time in Lijiang.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    A sample of what Astin was referring to about Lijiang at night:




    Regretted leaving the tripod at the hotel.

    I wouldn't worry about warm clothing though, good bargains can be found in Lijiang which surprisingly had lower prices than Kunming.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    I went in Sept...Meili snow mountains covered with clouds...can't see anything. I think Dec should be able to see since it is the dry season. But the local tour guide told me that sometimes in winter if there is heavy snow fall, roads (tea-horse road) from Deqin to Shangrila will be closed.
    http://hydrop.multiply.com/photos/album/6
    http://hydrop.multiply.com/photos/album/7
    http://hydrop.multiply.com/photos/album/8
    http://hydrop.multiply.com/photos/album/9

  15. #15

    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    I would advise against following a tour group. Even if you book it from one of the Singapore tour companies, chances are your group will be passed to a local tour operator which charges low to be competitive but make up for it by visiting many shops and sometimes quasi-scam establishments (e.g. beware of temples). Not the best use of your limited and precious time in Yunnan.

    Yunnan is big on tourism, so it is rather easy to get around on your own. You'll be in control of your own time - I pity those tour pigeons in Lijiang with hardly enough time to stop and take photos before being shoo-ed to the next 景点.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    Maybe it would be good, that someone organize a private tour "for photographers only"? (example: wake up at 5am shoot at dawn, then rest, then 5pm shoot at dusk again, something like that)

  17. #17

    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    Ok just share some of my tots...went there last year in dunno October or November and I joined a 9 day Kunming , Dali , Lijiang, Zhongdian or Shangrila with Chan Brothers.

    Kunming

    Just like a normal city but the tour guides there were very good and professional. People there are friendly and warm and the foos isnt too bad too. Once we landed head str for Stone Forest Shil lin and stayed there overnight. Heater at hotel will sometimes auto off. Shilin also nothing much and is very crowded. Seriously nothing much to shoot at Kunming. Had a first taste of Mala install cup noodles and man u should see the chilli oil in it. Its not that spicy(mayeb i eat a lot of chilli) but when food is very oily after a few mouthfuls u can feel all the oil feeling up your mouth and the food gets tasteless.

    Dali

    Spend 2 days one night there and the tour guide was really enthusiactic and freindly and tried her best to explain a lot. Take note that if you are going for a tour which includes Lugu most probably you wont spend a night at Dali and will only spend half at day in Dali. The time I went the air in Dali seems hazy and when u go up the forget its name mountain by cable doesnt make good photos especially udner hte hot afternoon light. Will be very crowded also at the usual spts such as the 3 pagodas. Foods crap. At night your tour guide may ask u to go for this dance and ligth show wich I high recommend. The dancers are babes and the lights and chereography are very good. Paid about SG 30+.

    Lijiang

    Beautiful place. We went there by bus and the route itself is very scenic. Different sorts of scenery along the way....talls trees at the sides sometimes and suddenly gos along cliffs etc...dont fall asleep during this part! About 4 to 6 hours by bus if I rem. Plently to do at Lijiang the Lijiang old town haev been mentioned countless times. Very crowded also espeically at night and u should get yourself down to one of the cafes and enjoy the bantering and singing between different groups across the stream. Went to this cafe called Sakura which is highly recommended by others. Nice ambience...drinks are pricey though...had a White Russian. SG dollars well over 10. Went up the Lion hill at the old town...entrance fee I think sg 10? Ntohing much up there especially in the afternoon but u get a good view of the whoel of old town if u climb up the tower. Be careful can feel the whole tower shakign when u at the top and people running down the staircase.

    Seriously if u are going for photography here it can get really crowded for u to really set up yoru tripd and take pics at night. Even more difficult if going with tour group. I do have a suggestion....that is at night stay till very late.....like after midnight to get good nice night shots and wake up very early next morning....say around 4+ and eitehr take a cab or walk over to teh old town. Thats when its most beautiful and when the sunrise and sunset shots should be good. Take a look at NUT's gallery!

    Yulong Mountain
    I tot the group which includes Lugu wont get to see much of Lijiang but they did to...thats y I didnt go to Lugu in the first place as I want more time at yulong mountains.Overrated I tot as it looks more beautiful when u see it from a distance. We took cable halfway up the mountain...dunno what plateau....lots of cendors offering photo servies but I dont think u need....but I think you should ask around for groups which takes u all the way up Yulong mounatins where the snow is, about 4000+ m. I tried to ask around but seems like none of the groups do that.Saw pics from pbase and it looks good going all the way up there.

    Zhongdian

    Its a wrong time to go during winter as I found out and the tour guide admitted. Thats because all the grass and flowers have withered and it looks really barren. Imagine taking a bus through barren land. Ont he way to Lijiang I suppose u might drop byt he Tiger Leaping Gorge. Windy adn cold down there but very beautiful place. The palce nar the big rock is fenced up but I jumped over the fence and got one of the phot vendors to take photos fo me for a small fee. Be careful if u do that as the rocks are slippery and I stood on this rock directly next to the rapids and I think that was stupid as one slip and thats it.

    Want to add that if u are there dont go for the massages at their centers at the base of the hotels. What happen was this female tourmate had a good massage doen at her room and she recommended it to another group member. This guy then went down to teh centre to have its massage and he was extorted as the girl claimed he had sexual services from her. Then this guy said there wasnt any and they argues and they got in soem meanlookin big lads to pressure him. then this guys wife got my tourmate and her husband to go down and help and negotiate. In the end , the otehr tourmate 's husband advised that guy to pay up as the sitation was bad and dangerous. Think that guy paid about 800+ SG dollars!!! Geez, could have a B list actress for that i think. Whether he was guilty all of us dunno.

    Lugu I never go but I heard from my tour mates that its really becautiful...the route there that is and there are cliffhanging moments cos of the road. Sunrise and Sunset should be good especially if u stay at the lodge next to the Lake.

    Anyway too much info to share. Take a look at nuts's gallery and search for the place on pbase. Will see some awesome pics. All in all, its quite a good itinerary but for photography wise u are better off doing it F&E or get a 4WD and a driver. Can do a hike around tiger leaping gorge.

    Have a good trip.
    Last edited by boroangel; 18th October 2006 at 02:14 PM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    Wow, thanks so much everyone for sharing with me so much details, I'll be more prepared for the trip with your tips.

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    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    I've been to Dali and Lijiang 2 year ago in Nov. I spend about 2 weeks in a small village called SanHe in Dali. I love the weather there. It starts to get cold at about 4pm and the temperature at night is about 5-10 degrees. The great thing is that it gets warmer at about 10-11+am, about 20+ degrees in the sun, but cooling in the shade. The view is wonderful, mountains and mountains as far as the eye can see. Lijiang is a really beautiful city. The most popular destination is of course Lijiang old town where most of the shopping is done. It has a really old feel. You must walk around Lijiang old town at night! It is drop dead beautiful. Feel free to wonder outside the tourist spot and you'll find some really good local snacks. I still remember the roasted potato with lots of chilli powder. In anycase, hope you enjoy your trip there. You wont be dissapointed.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming tips anyone?

    HI I was in Yunnan for a month during Dec doing Volunteer work and travelling. My party used chinese agents during the travelling part so we had much freedom to choose where to go. Here goes my experiences in the places that I've been to. Pardon me if I can't rem the name of the places that I've been to.

    Kunming: So-so, cityscape. Went to a temple, not very impressive. Didn't go to the stone forest though, been told it's over-rated. I feel that the best way to enjoy Kunming is to visit their parks and walk around to sample their street food esp "guo-qiao-mee-sian".

    Dali: Land of the Bai minority. Visited some parks, so-so only. Views of and from Cangshan were impressive. Take a cruise of Erhai lake and visit a few small islands along the way. Try Dali beer, qing mei shuang (sour plum drink) and any street food u find interesting. Dali gucheng's not as vibrant as Lijiang's but still can provide some photographic opportunities.

    Lijiang: Didn't like it when I arrived as it was swarming with tourists. But slowly realised Lijiang's charms. Best is to get out to visit attractions during the day. Yulong xueshan is not bad, try climbing up the stairs if you have the time. Will have better views there. There's a lake, forgot what's it's name. Very beautiful , rent a horse and race down its banks! superb experience don't pass it up if you are there. Tiger leaping gorge was superb, trek it if you can, the trekking route was closed during my time there. At night, Lijiang Gucheng's the place to be. bring along a tripod if you want to take lots of pictures there. the place suddenly becomes charming at night, go there and discover it for yourself. The modern city's not worth going.

    Zhongdian: Place becomes very cold(-10 C for me). Trees and grass loses colour, air smells fresher here dunno why. Yaks appears. But if you go there late enough when it starts to snow, it becomes like a winter wonderland at a famous lake there (forgot name too). Visit the Tibetan monastry, very nice. when you are done, try walk in the small town of zhongdian, place becomes a little barren and deserted(esp after lijiang) but you can see some tibetan elements and people. Try yak meat and yak milk.

    XiShuang Banna: South part of Yunnan. Felt it was a waste of my time there. Practically tour guides brought us to "admire" foliage that looks just like our's back home in S'pore. Culture wise, that/burmese.Elephants and peacocks. Not very interesting. Don't go there.

    Think the best thing about Yunnan is not it's scenery but it's people. The cultural diversity is excellent and interesting. If you have time, try to explore places that are not in the tourist trail. Villages are the best. Don;t exactly know how to org an eco-tour though. But anyway good luck and have a good trip!

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