One of the most picturesque towns in the vicinity of Dali, as well as one of the best places to see traditional Bai architecture, is the town of Xizhou. Formerly a military stronghold of the Nanzhou Kingdom, Xizhou began to flourish during the first half of the twentieth century when a group of over 100 wealthy nationalist families relocated there, calling themselves the Xizhou Chamber of Commerce.
While much of Dali’s traditional Bai architecture has been “updated” to suit the tastes of modern Chinese travelers, Xizhou remains relatively untouched — it’s home to the largest collection of Bai residential houses in China, over a hundred of which are considered registered cultural relics.
Most visitors come to Xizhou on a day trip from Dali, but those who choose to stay overnight can sleep in a Bai-style courtyard home, as several have been converted into guest houses.
Xizhou is located 12 miles (20 kilometers) north of Dali. The easiest way to get there is by minibus from the west gate of Dali.