There are various cinemas in Yunnan province showing both Chinese and westerns films. Most include family balconies, song and dance performances and drink and snack outlets. In 2001 the province of Yunnan introduced the 'New Film Project'; and now much of the country's creative cinema originates in this part of China. Yunnan cinema traditionally sits in the middle ground between art house production and fully blown studio-produced, commercial cinema. Film buffs tend to be drawn to this area due to the large scope of films.
Dali does not have much of a clubbing culture as such. The Caffeine Club is popular with westerners and young Chinese and here you can play pool and enjoy a drink with some funky beats playing in the background, but don’t expect much in the way of dancing.
For those of you who want to hit the dance floor, head on down to any of the city’s well-known hotels such as the Hyatt and Marriot groups, who have clubs with live music, extensive drinks lists and warm atmospheres.
Daliba is the first flavoured vodka bar in China and can proudly boast a menu featuring over 30 different flavours of vodka, which more often than not will result in an interesting evening.
Karaoke is incredibly popular across Asia and China is no exception. Most hotels have karaoke facilities where guests can take to the microphone and belt out classics. The Dali Recreational Centre on Central Jianshe Road, Xiaguan is a popular choice. These are where businessmen and groups of friends go to express themselves and are considered a guaranteed good night. You can sing privately in a booth or serenade the rest of the club.
A word of warning: the Chinese are not shy about singing and will insist that you sing. If you do not want to sing, you can say, “Wo bu hui chang ge” (I cannot sing). One of the coolest things about karaoke rooms is the little button on the wall that alerts an attendant. Need more beer? It arrives within seconds.
The pubs in Dali serve western and local beers, and are popular with the expat community and the locals. Most of these are on Foreigner Street, which has an atmospheric air to it, mainly due to the mixture of cultures and upbeat ambience. Due to the fact that it is a popular backpacking destination expect to find venues selling cheap alcohol. Some of the pubs advertise themselves as book cafes rather than the more traditional style of pub. Book cafes are usually readily stocked up with literature published in a variety of languages, offering a great way to relax.