If you want to know something about the culture and custom of Bai ethnic groups in Dali City, you can start from Xizhou Town, which is a typical town of Bai character. It is situated in the embrace of beautiful Erhai Lake and Cangshan Mountain and 18 km north from the Old Town of Dali. As a convergence of residences of Bai people, it is famous for its unique architectural buildings of Bai style, which attract many people from home and abroad.
The history of the Xizhou Town can be dated back to more than 1,000 years ago. It was once ancient city of Nan Zhao Country, famous for its grandness and was an important trading and religious site during that period. Most people living here now are Bai ethnic groups, being regarded as one of the origins of Dali culture.
When you enter into the town, you are presented with all kinds of Bai architectural buildings. Most of the houses are exquisitely constructed of traditional Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) architectural style and decorated with Bai people's unique objects including colorful pictures, marble decorations, upturned eaves and brighter colors. A traditional Bai house always decorate the gate to their gardens and houses and has a wall called the “shining wall”. When the sun sets, the sunlight shining on the wall will be reflected into the yard, making the whole yard and garden bright. The most famous four big Bai clans includes Dong, Yang, Zhao and Yan's Compound and Each of them is of distinctive features.
In the center of the town lies a square surrounded by all kinds of shops. Delicate souvenirs such as dyed cloth, marble crafts and artistic objects can be bought there which are of high quality. The town is also featured by two big trees with lush branches, which are sparse in northern China. Local Bai people regard the trees as the symbol of prosperity of the town and a holy God protecting them.
Xizhou Town is a famous historical city in Yunnan Province and it is the best place to savor the great charm of Bai Custom. Local people living here are very hospitable and you can enjoy all the delicious local food in the house. The entrance fee is 10 RMB and you can take a couch from Dali City to the town directly.