Dali Ancient City

The ancient city gate
The city gate is the symbol of Dali Old City
 Dali Ancient City Pictures
 Dali Ancient City Video
Dali Ancient City is 13 kilometers (8.1 miles) away from Xiaguan in Dali City, Yunnan Province and is one of the 'Three Ancients' (Ancient Cities, Ancient Pagodas and Ancient Steles) of the Dali Scenic Spot. It can be dated back to the year 1382 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and has been among the top listed historical cities of China since 1982. With Erhai Lake to the east, and Cangshan Mountain to the west, its grand city wall, traditional Bai ethnic minority folk houses and marvelous scenery have been attracting many visitors.

According to literature, this Dali Ancient City was a gateway to the Silk Road in Southwest China, and also served as a seat of government and a major military barracks for Yunnan Province in ancient times. It enjoyed magnificent scale, with a wall length of 6 kilometers (3.73 miles), a height of 7.5 meters (24.6 feet) and a thickness of 6 meters (19.7 feet). There were four city gates facing west, east, north and south, upon which sat a gate tower. Four further towers were also placed at the four corners of the city wall. As it underwent many phases of prosperity as well as decline, only the city base remains till today. We can explore the mystery belonging to that period of history, especially through witnessing some parts of the city wall, the North City Wall Tower and the South City Wall Tower which were restored in 1982. The layout of Dali Ancient City was uniform, with five main streets from south to north and eight main streets from east to west, while marketplaces were neatly arranged within the city, which has remained unchanged to this date.
Old City Gate of Dali
Wuhua Tower, central landmark of the old city


The traditional Bai ethnic minority folk houses give the Dali Ancient City distinctive feel, unlike any other Chinese city. A typical house is characterized by '3 rooms and a wall screening' and '4 joints and 5 courtyards'. '3 rooms and a wall screening' means that every house has a principle room and two wing-rooms and facing the principle room stands the wall screening. When the sun shines on the wall screening in the afternoon, the sunlight is reflected back to the courtyard, thus illuminating the whole area. '4 joints and 5 courtyards' means houses are built with four sides; and four courtyards in the joining parts of the houses' corners and one big courtyard in the center makes five courtyards. The decoration is another construction feature of the folk residences, paying great attention to the gate tower, the eaves and corners. The windows, doors and the wall screening are adorned with Jianchuan woodcarvings, colored patterns, marbles and wash drawings. The delicacy, freshness and elegance of their construction may be called first-class among folk residences in Southwest China.
The Foreigner Street, Dali
Musical instrument souvenir store


When people walk along the cobble-paved streets in the Dali Ancient City, a sense of primitive simplicity and elegance will be invoked. Besides the Bai ethnic minority traditional folk houses, the houses all with grey-green roof tiles, peculiar workshops, temples, schools and churches with an antique flavor are scattered. Traditional artworks made of marble, such as pencil vases, striped screens, and a variety of woven handicrafts made of fine straw are laid chockablock on both sides of the street to be appreciated and purchased. The newly–opened Foreigner Street is also a must-see, providing snacks with the traditional flavors of the Bai ethnic community, as well as the famous 'Three-course Tea' ceremony for receiving guests that includes 'bitter tea', 'sweet tea' and 'final tea'.
 

How to get to Dali Ancient City

Bus 4 or 8 can take you to the ancient city from Dali or Xiaguan.

 From September 1st, 2015, every tourist of any tour group has to pay CNY30 protection fee. Independent tourists needn't pay the fare if not entering these tourist attractions that require tourists to buy the entrance tickets, such as Former Residence of Marshal Du Wenxiu and the Memorial Hall of Jiang Zonghan.

 Top 10 Things to Do in Yunnan
- Last modified on Nov. 15, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on Dali Ancient City
Asked by E. Lee from MALAYSIA | Aug. 19, 2018 07:30Reply
Hard sleeper Kunming to Lijiang
When buying train tickets can we choose the two lower bunks and one middle bunk? We are three persons.
Answers (2)
Answered by Carl from SWITZERLAND | Aug. 20, 2018 02:30
00Reply


Yes, you can choose the bunks when buying tickets onsite.
Answered by Jenny from AMERICA | Nov. 15, 2018 09:22
00Reply


Thank you!! This really helped me!!
Asked by Jay from THAILAND | Jul. 16, 2018 23:46Reply
what's the last bus from Dali North Bus Station to Shangri-la?
DL North Bus Station have a Baggage Storage? thank you
Answers (1)
Answered by Tony from MOROCCO | Jul. 17, 2018 18:58
00Reply


The last bus is at 20:00 but I’m not sure if there is some place can save the luggage.
Asked by bijoya chandra padhy from INDIA | Jan. 14, 2016 09:06Reply
what is the train itinerary from kunming to dali? cost of cheap hotels?
Answers (1)
Answered by Steven from USA | Jan. 15, 2016 00:49
01Reply


The train depart from Kunming Railway Station. The schedules are 08:10, 09:40, 11:55, 21:21, 21:48, 22:14, 22:37 and 23:15. The soft sleeper costs CNY155.5 and hard sleeper costs CNY105.5.
As I know, you can easily find many cheap and nice youth hostels in these two cities. In general, the fare is no more than CNY 150 per night. You can find one when you arriving there. :-)
Asked by Kae from THAILAND | Mar. 22, 2015 23:30Reply
Jinghong to Dali (Ask from Kae Thailand)
1. Is there a bus from Jinghong to DL?
2. Does the bus stop at DL Ancient Town? It it doesn't. How can I get there?
3. Which bus can I take from the Ancient Town to Erhai lake?
Thanks in advanced^^
Answers (1)
Answered by Katrina from RUSSIA | Mar. 23, 2015 02:18
20Reply


1. Buses are available from Jinghong to Xiaguan of Dali. Two buses run at 08:30 and 10:00 each day. The ticket fare is CNY208.
2. The bus doesn’t stop at the ancient town. You can take bus no. 4 or 8 to reach the town.
3. To go to Er’hai, you can take bus no. 8 to Caicun Port. There you can see the lake. Or take a taxi from the town to Shuanglang to enjoy the best part of the lake. It costs around 80RMB and takes around half an hour.
Asked by Gogo from SPAIN | Mar. 21, 2015 13:03Reply
Shigu town from Dali?
I am going to be in the DL área in august Could you tell me how to get to Shigu town from that area ? Is there any bus transportation?
Thank you and best regards to everybody
Answers (2)
Answered by Mina from CANADA | Mar. 22, 2015 02:04
11Reply


Go to the North Bus Station to take a direct bus to Shigu. As I know, only two direct buses are in service each day, leaving at 07:30 and 08:20. So get to the bus station early in the morning. The bus fare is CNY46 per person.
Answered by Gogo from SPAIN | Mar. 22, 2015 09:06
10Reply


Thank you Mina, you think its posible take the bus at morning from DL, visit Shigu town, U turn of Yangtze river and at afternoon take another bus from Shigu to Lijiang?
thank you very much, best regards
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