Cultural Immersion in Dali, Yunnan

Cultural Immersion in Dali, Yunnan

Our family vacation to Dali City in Yunnan ranks up there with the best of the best travel experiences. Everything was so peaceful and enjoyable thanks mainly to our wonderful hosts at the Linden Center.

Linden Center, Dali

We stayed at the Linden Center which is on the northern end of Erhai Lake in Dali, Yunnan. Linden Center is a retreat more so than a hotel. While staying there you are a house guest and they offer several cultural immersion options to give you a taste of life in Dali. For example, we learned about calligraphy, local teas and ceremony, and we made our own Chinese dumplings for lunch. Also they have excursions for hiking, shopping, market tours, bike tours, and make your own tie-dye tapestry. These are but a few of the sights and activities we enjoyed.

Calligraphy is harder than it looks
Writing with ink and brush takes quite a bit of skill.
Learning to make dumplings
These dumplings may not look beautiful but they tasted great!

Our experiences at the Linden Center are among my most favorite travel memories. We did and saw so much, everyone was pleasant and the bucolic scenery is an ideal way to spend a relaxing vacation.

Field of new garlic crop
The Linden Center is surrounded by farm fields. A common crop is garlic shoots which are delicious.
Lunch of fresh, local foods
We visited a local home for lunch and everything was fresh and delicious.
Getting to Dali and the Linden Center is simple. We flew into Dali airport and the Linden Center arranged pickup and return. Whenever we needed a cab or anything, they helped out. Easy.

The Old Town

The oldest hotel in Dali
Nearby the Linden Center is this old hotel. Said to be the oldest hotel remaining in the town.
Ornate doors of old wealthy family common around Dali
Several ornate entry ways are restored to their original vibrancy.

Dali was at various times a thriving trade route and wealthy families would have ornate doorways leading into their homes.

Old ladies making tie dye

One of our excursions was learning how tie-dye is made and to try making our own.  These ladies are experts and their tapestries are quite intricate and beautiful. Making tie-dyes requires a lot of skill and patience…and a thimble.

Mountain Hike

Zhonghe Temple at top of mountain
I took the cable car up to Zhonghe Temple, walked down the path for an hour or so then return. Or you can go to the next cable car about 3-hours walk south.


The path along a cliff
Breath taking views along the mountain path
Rare sighting of a "dog bear" or red panda
Click to zoom in

Several rest stops on the pathThe path is well maintained and pretty much paved the whole way.

There are several nice resting stops and scenic spots.

I had a rare opportunity to stumble upon a red panda or “Dog Bear” as the locals call it.