China Trips & Travels Yunnan

A train trip to Dali

It feels like I’ve been away forever! My friends Re and Li visited us in the Yunnan Province for the week-long October holiday. We left the city and took an overnight train to Dali. After a sleepless night, we arrived in a quaint town built below the looming Mt. Cangshan.

Local batik tie-dye work by the Bai ethnic group.

I love the patches of grass and flowers growing on top of the traditional rooftops.


Li exploring an abandoned house.

Freshly baked sour-dough ciabatta bread at Bakery 88.

Lightly fried Yunnanese goat cheese and tomatoes on ciabatta at Bakery 88.




Li Cafe is owned by Laurent Jeanneau of Kink Gong Records and his wife Tanding Shi. We met Laurent in Shanghai on our bicycle trip to the Chongming Islands.

I love this photo of Laurent and Tanding.

A strong cup of Yunnanese coffee.


Li took this photo of us chatting with Tanding about recording indigenous music in China.

Kink Gong Records by Bivouac Recording

Lightly breaded and fried mushrooms tossed with onions and spices.

We devoured this meal complete with local Dali beer!



Re took these two photos of me and Taurin.



After a good couple days of exploring Dali, Re and Li headed back to Beijing. Taurin and I continued on northward to hike the Tiger Leaping Gorge. You’ll definitely hear more about the beautiful and exhausting mountain journey through the Naxi villages soon. Until then, I’m drinking plenty of coffee and going on lots of bicycle rides for my upcoming photography exhibition.


  • Reply
    claire - mamaushka marie
    October 13, 2011 at 6:22 am

    beautiful photos! that cafe looks amaaazing…

    • Reply
      October 13, 2011 at 8:28 am

      Thanks! It’s such a cozy cafe with really good coffee!

  • Reply
    Johanna Tagada
    October 13, 2011 at 7:09 am

    I have a big crush on this city, I didn’t know about it and right now I’m googling around to know more!

    Traditional and Modern meet in such a wonderful way, or at least on your photographs, and I really like those roof which alone turn into small piece of Nature,… the wood, the bridge. The crush is serious…
    And this Li Cafe ā™„
    Thank you for sharing this, really. I have an other place to ad to my “I want to go” list.

    And as always your pictures are beautiful.

    Do you still have the same address? I would like to send you a tiny something from my little trip in Paris

    PS: My stereo is on and with both really enjoy what you shared!

    • Reply
      October 13, 2011 at 2:04 pm

      Ohh I think you’d really like Dali, too! There’s so much natural beauty and small local villages with their own unique culture and customs. But at the same time, there are young creative people from all over the place, living and working on various projects. And if you visit, you can easily make it out to Tibet on a bus!

      Yes, same address for now. I’ll send you something in the mail, as well! I’m carving little rubber stamps these days.. :]

  • Reply
    October 13, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Your photos really wanna make me go and visit China!

    • Reply
      October 13, 2011 at 2:05 pm

      Come visit! :]

  • Reply
    October 13, 2011 at 10:06 am

    thank you for visiting my blog!!!
    i like you blog a lot too!! your pictures are soo nice and you and your friends are so cute!
    and that food….. YUM!!!!

    • Reply
      October 14, 2011 at 2:59 pm

      Thank you! I really enjoy keeping up with your Tokyo adventures.

  • Reply
    Emmie Rae
    October 13, 2011 at 11:56 am

    This looks AMAZING. oh my gawwwsh. the food! i’m literally drooling/throwing my inferior dinner aside. What an incredible adventure!


    • Reply
      October 14, 2011 at 2:59 pm

      Psh, you’re always eating delicious food, too. For one, I’ve been craving melon soda… šŸ™‚

  • Reply
    October 13, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Hey sewon! i’ve already sent out the email about the phone number. Let me know if you receive it šŸ™‚ or i can try sending it again

    God i love all these photos, theyre so beautiful. I like hat red and teal/blue colour composition. The cafe looks so cozy and that food is making me hungry, craving for midnight snack now. yumm

    • Reply
      October 14, 2011 at 3:04 pm

      Ohh could you send it to me again? I even checked my spam folder and I can’t find it anywhere. Thanks!

      šŸ™‚ Midnight snacks are the best!

  • Reply
    October 13, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    I’m starving now. Are those dumpling bundles at the beginning?

    • Reply
      October 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm

      I’m not sure what they are, actually. They smelled really good!

  • Reply
    October 13, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    It looks so gorgeous over there! My brother just got back from China and he really loved it. It’s got me thinking about going hehe :3

    • Reply
      October 15, 2011 at 2:28 pm

      We were lucky with good weather in Dali! šŸ™‚ You should visit!

  • Reply
    October 13, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Beautiful pics! Thank you for showing.

    • Reply
      October 15, 2011 at 2:29 pm


  • Reply
    October 14, 2011 at 3:07 am

    yknow i am so glad i found your blog. i think everything you share is right up my alley. these photos are really beautiful!!! <3 thanks for sharing, it's really so much fun c:


    • Reply
      October 15, 2011 at 2:32 pm

      šŸ™‚ Thank you! P.S. You’ve inspired me to make a list of things to accomplish before my next birthday.

  • Reply
    October 14, 2011 at 3:53 am

    your foodtography never ceases to make my mouth water! that goat cheese concoction looks unbelievable.

    • Reply
      October 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm

      Yumm it was really good.

  • Reply
    October 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    A wonderful journey!

  • Reply
    October 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    The fabrics in the first picture are amazing! It looks like you had a great trip! Happy weekend!

    • Reply
      October 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm

      I really love the local tie-dye technique. I was hoping to attend a workshop but I ran out of time..

  • Reply
    Bonjour Juliette
    October 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Hey Sewon! Please send me a mail so that we can exchange our snail mail addresses!
    And… i LOVE your pictures / once more, hihi!

  • Reply
    October 14, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    this seems like a fun trip to country side.
    enjoy your journey and i look forward to see more interesting photos.

  • Reply
    j dubbs
    October 15, 2011 at 3:37 am

    I need to come visit some time…

  • Reply
    October 15, 2011 at 4:33 am

    omg I’m so glad I found your blog! your pictures are adorable. I love your hat and that yunannese goat cheese…man I’m drooling. I was in China over the summer too so I’m excited to see what other picture you have in store!

  • Reply
    October 15, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    it looks incredible!

    • Reply
      October 16, 2011 at 5:52 am

      It was beautiful! I think it’s really hard to capture grand natural landscapes like waterfalls or mountains in photos.

  • Reply
    October 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    So many splashes & pops of color here!

  • Reply
    October 20, 2011 at 4:39 am

    So fucking jealous you made it to Dali! Soooo cool you went to Li Cafe. Looks great out there. Keep in touch. T

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