Cold but comfortable in Yunnan

By Yang Feiyue
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, March 10, 2016
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Tourists and local people in ethnic attire at the ancient town of Dali, a Bai ethnic prefecture in Yunnan province. Dali is a hot spot drawing tourists from both home and abroad for its natural landscape and rich cultural legacy. (Photo by Du Wenbin/China Daily)

Thousands of snow-white sea birds take to the air whenever food is thrown at them near Xiaoputuo Island in the Erhai lake.

They don't fear the presence of humans. Some even fly toward the food held by visitors and take it away.

The scene is breathtaking and in your face and practically a moving picture with the blue water and sky, white clouds and snow-capped mountains in the distance.

It is the mid-January, supposedly the coldest period in the Dali Bai autonomous prefecture, Yunnan province.

Yet, I cast off my heavy overcoat once we land at Dali Airport after a four-hour flight from Beijing. The slight chill in the air is nicely balanced by the warm sunshine and refreshing breeze caressing my skin on the 30-minute drive to the island.

The heavenly site is just the tip of the iceberg in the prefecture's Cangshan-Erhai area, which the local government is striving to turn into a leisure center.

The construction of a self-drive camp and tourist center along the Erhai coast has begun, says Ma Jinzhong, executive deputy director of the prefecture's tourism development committee.

A total of five upscale hotels, including the Hilton, opened last year.

The second-largest freshwater lake in Yunnan, Erhai covers an area of 257 square kilometers and gives Dali a springtime look even in the midst of the chilly winter.

A tour of Nanzhao Fengqing Island, less than 15-minute drive from Xiaoputuo, gives one the feeling of being in tropical Sanya, in Hainan province.

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