After Lijiang, our next stop was supposed to be Dali (大理). We (ok, actually “I”) loved Lijiang, but after five days in Lijiang, we (actually “Jo”) wanted to take a short (actually “loooooong”) break from Old Towns.
That’s why we decided to make a detour to Shuang Lang (双廊), via a hot springs resort in Eryuan. This detour was not mentioned in any of our guide books and we only got to know of it from our hotel owner in Shangri La. According to her, this is the route her family would take for their annual getaway to avoid the “hustle and bustle” of Dali.
There was one thing we did not take into consideration… Yunnan is one place where the extensive train network of China does not really connect to. We would have to attempt this part of our journey by… BUSES.
And to make things even more interesting, the buses don’t even stop at Shuang Lang. We were unceremoniously dropped off on the side of a country road and told to hike down a hill “towards the water” to reach our destination.
So was Shuang Lang worth all the hassle to get there?
Well… let’s just say that when someone came up with the term “small fishing village”, they probably had Shuang Lang in mind.
True, the scenery of Shuang Lang was gorgeous, and this was especially so around Er Hai (洱海), a lake so big they called it a “sea” (海). (it’s either that, or the Chinese’s penchant for exaggeration was rearing its ugly head yet again)
But there was seriously NOTHING TO DO in Shuang Lang. There aren’t even that many cafes for us to hang around in.
That’s why it’s probably a good thing we were staying in Hyacinth (风信子) , a small B&B opened by two world travellers. Hyacinth has one of the best views of Er Hai. The decor is chic and the architecture of the building is so unique and so well done up that we could already see a few other constructions with eeriely similar blueprints sprouting up around Hyacinth.
Allegedly, you know you’ve made it in China when someone is copying what you are doing.
Anyway, after two days of vegetating aimlessly in Shuang Lang, Jo suddenly decided that she is ok with Old Towns again after all!
*Sidenote: It’s possible and probably easier to visit Shuang Lang as a day trip from Dali. We just decided to stop there on the way from Lijiang to Dali because we got boogers for brains.