If you can, visit Dali during the Spring Fair, held from the fifteenth day of the third lunar month (April or May). The event spans five hectic days of horse trading, wrestling, racing, dancing and singing, attracting thousands of people from all over the region to camp at the fairground just west of town. You’ll probably have to follow suit, as beds in Dali will be in short supply. In addition, an impressive but frankly scary Yi torch festival is held on the 24th day of the sixth lunar month – flaming torches are paraded at night, and people even throw gunpowder at each other.

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