After our extended visit of Xizhou (喜州) we slowly got hungry, but the plan was not to have lunch at Xizhou. After we finished the final stops there two horse carts were awaiting us. As I had a quite serious crash with a horse drawn sledge in Norway some years ago, I was not that eager to travel again by horse cart, but in the end it was more safe than the Norwegian variant.
Our horsecart ride was roughly six kilometres and went from Xizhou through the countryside along Lake Erhai to Villa Verde near XiangYangXi Village. We didn’t know a lot about Villa Verde, just what we were supposed to have lunch there and that our guide Sunny was somehow related to it.
We all liked our break at Villa Verde a lot. Villa Verde is a hotel/home stay/bed & breakfast run by Gerald and Sunny (our guide) offering very comfortable rooms in great location just some 50 metres from Lake Erhai. At the time of arrival their dog had puppies and we had a lovely time playing with them. We also got a delicious lunch consisting of local and western dishes and some very good coffee as well. We would have liked to stay longer, but our day trip was not over yet. Some of us promised to come back as Villa Verde would be a perfect base for a more individual trip to Yunnan.
The next leg of our trip consisted of riding the bike back to Dali. The bikes were delivered by a local provider to Villa Verde and they were well maintained. An elderly lady on our group didn’t want to bike, so she got a ride on the scooter with Sunny. Perfect organization!
The first 15 kilometres (out of 20) were along the shores of Lake Erhai passing many small villages. The route was on roads with very little traffic, so that you can easily slow down to take photos or have a chat with fellow group members. Our first longer stop was at Beipan village where we witnessed the favourite activity of the male population – playing Mahjong.
After some more kilometres we stopped at XiaBoPu Cun Village where we attended a very touching temple ceremony (YouTube Video) by elderly ladies.
We left the shores of Lake Erhai after passing Xiajiyican Village. From there we cycled slightly uphill towards Dali. Thankfully it started to rain only during the last two kilometres. To sum it up the bike ride was a wonderful way to finish our day trip to Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, which I can highly recommend to everyone.
You can contact Sunny at Villa Verde for more information on this day trip.
The next morning our stay at Dali came to an end and we took the bus to one of my favourite destinations so far: Shaxi (沙溪).