On the shores of Erhai Lake, Dali is a city of great antiquity and heritage. Located approximately 250km from Kunming, it was once considered the original backpacker hangout in Yunnan. Home to the Bai and Yi minorities, there are 12 districts within it, including two others with the same name. As such, it’s sometimes referred to as Dali New Town. Nestled in between scenic mountains and vast lakes, the weather is pleasant with virtually no air pollution. Seek out the mystic Cangshan Mountain where the snow never melts, Xizhou town for its woodwork and architecture, as well as the Yuanyang Rice Terraces. Though it’s a favoured destination for domestic tourists, Dali isn’t quite on the map yet to the rest of the world — unlike so for nearby Lijiang — so hurry here before the crowds close in.