The North of Yunnan province is located near Tibet and has a lot of mountains and lakes which give good day trips opportunities to go away into the wild by foot or by bike.
The North of Yunnan province is located near Tibet and has a lot of mountains and lakes which give good day trips opportunities to go away into the wild by foot or by bike. It's possible to rent bikes from most towns for 30 yuan for the day, less than 3 euros.
I went cycling for the first time at high altitude (3200m) in Shangri-La. I chose to go to Napa Hai Lake, located 7 kilometres away from the old town. Bikes are great options to get away from the coaches full of Chinese tourists who just want to take a thousands photos of the lake before leaving. The road leading to the lake is breathtaking. Clouds seemed to detach themselves from the sky that I have rarely seen so blue. On the way I saw some locals fishing, I had to ask my way to a couple of kids who were on their way to school going through green paddocks where live many yaks, horses and goats. The perfect reflection of the mountains and the sky on the calm water of the streams gives this place a surrealist atmosphere.
One week later I rented a bike again for two days to go around the large lake in Dali which is 1972 meters above sea level. Erhai Hu lake (which literally means “Ear Sea” because of its unusual shape) is the seventh freshwater lake in China. The West part of the lake is probably the most interesting as a special path for bikes go through a great number of villages by the lake and allows bikers to see locals – men and women – working in the rice field or fishing on the side of the lake. On the way I met a group of three Chinese who were going around the lake like me. They hardly spoke English but they invited me to join them and even paid for my lunch.
The East side might be more scenic with fantastic views dominating the lake but you have to cycle on the road with cars most of the way. It's a good opportunity though to admire some lovely islands and cycle along the imposing Cang Shan mountain range which majestically dominates Dali.