Xizhou is located about 20 kilometers outside of Dali’s Old Town. It was originally the temporary palace of the Nanzhao Kingdom. Located just west of Erhai Lake, Xizhou is made up of about 88 family compounds. Until the middle of the 20th century, Xizhou was a commercial center with over 140 families; most notably the Yin, Yan, Dong and the Yang national families. There are numerous family courtyards in the town, all very well-preserved in the Bai style. This traditional and distinctive style consists of spacious courtyards, intricately painted roofs, pillars and upturned eaves.
It’s ideal to cycle or simply stroll through the lakeside town and explore the old family compounds and beautiful courtyards. While Xizhou is an easy trip from Dali, there is also the option to stay in a family compound for an evening and soak up some of what China’s unique history has to offer.