Dali, China, is a backpacker-friendly place to chill out in Yunnan province. The Ming-Dynasty-era, wall-enclosed old town overlooks a pretty lake, and there is good hiking nearby. Dali is located 225 mi/340 km northwest of Kunming.

Dali is famous for its marble, and samples are available in numerous shops around town. The other staples of backpacker hangouts—Internet cafes, coffee shops and cheap lodging—can also be found in Dali, especially on a street aptly named Yangren Jie (Foreigners' Street), a sort of reverse Chinatown.

The colorful Bai people are the main inhabitants of the surrounding area, and their weekly market in nearby Shaping is well worth a look.

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