Dali Travel Guide

Dali Travel Guide

Dali Map
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Dali Facts

Chinese Name: 大理市 (dà lǐ shì)
Population: 679,100
Area: 1,815 square kilometers (5.971 square miles)
Location: in the northwest of Yunnan, southwest China
Area Code: 0872
Zip Code: 671000
GDP (2019): CNY 39.508 billion (USD 18.15 billion)
Nationalities: Bai, Han, Yi, Hui

Once Capital of Ancient Yunnan

Located northwest of the Yunnan Province, 350 kilometers (217 miles) northwest of Kunming, Dali City is the capital of the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture. It once served as the capital of Nanzhao and Dali Kingdom (738 - 1253) and as the political, economic and cultural center of ancient Yunnan for more than 500 years. For many Chinese travelers, Dali is a must-go city on a trip to Yunnan. The luxuriant forests, beautiful Erhai Lake, not to mention its many historic attractions, make it the perfect antidote from the rush and busy life.

 Pictures        Video

Ancient buildings, city walls and the old city moat are the sites most frequented by visitors. Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake are praised as the city's leading scenic areas. Most attractions lie between these two landmarks, such as the Butterfly Spring, and the Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple. 

 Top 10 Things to Do in Dali

Recommended Tours:

Yunnan Highlights: 9 days to Kunming,Dali, Lijiang & Shangri-la
Hiking Itineraries: Information about hiking in the city for your reference
Bicycle Itineraries: Offer information about cycling around the city

Ancient Town of Dali
Dali Ancient City
The Three Pagodas
The Three Pagodas, Chongsheng Temple

Dali Airport is located in the junction of Fengyi Town and Haidong Town, Dali City, Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province, southeast of China. As a vital tourist airport, it is about 13 kilometers (about 8 miles) from Dali City, 5 kilometers (about 3 miles) from Erhai and 30 kilometers (about 18.5 miles) from Dali Ancient City. Airport shuttle bus runs to downtown Dali.

 History: As early as 4,000 years ago, the ancestors of the Bai people settled in this area. In the Second Century AD, it was brought into the territory of the central government of Han Dynasty (206 BC-220AD). Two ethnic states, the Nanzhao State (738-937) in Tang Dynasty (618-907), and the Dali State (937-1253) in Song Dynasty (960-1279), were once established here as well. Throughout ages, it remained an intermediary area linking economic and cultural communications between ancient China and other countries via India. The remains of the Tai He City and the Dali Ancient City bear witness to thousands of years of historic changes once happened here. Together with the Xizhou Town and the Zhoucheng Village, the ancient towns around show the best of historic customs of daily life within the Bai Minority.

 Local Highlights: Ethnic minorities have inhabited in this area for generations, with the Bai Minority making up the majority of its population (65%). The customs of the ethnic minorities bring charm to daily life. Each spring, celebrations and festivals bring the city to life. Celebrations such as the March Street Festival and Butterfly Fest provide excellent opportunities to learn about local folk customs.

 Special Local Products: The famous Foreigner Street in the Ancient City attracts visitors with its handicrafts, and local culinary delicacies. Xiaguan, located to the south of the Ancient City, home to the government of the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture. Here hotels, public squares, and shopping centers add modernity to the otherwise historical city.

 Further Reading:
 Dining          Shopping

 10 Best China Honeymoon Destinations for Couples

- Last updated on Apr. 12, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on Dali Travel
Asked by Flecki from GERMANY | Jul. 10, 2019 02:56Reply
Do you know if there are trains or buses going from Chengdu directly to Dali?
Answers (2)
Answered by Oliver from USA | Jul. 10, 2019 19:34

There is no train between these two places. There is only one bus from Chengdu East Coach Station and departs at 14:00 with CNY340.
Answered by anky | Apr. 01, 2021 21:18

maybe there weren't ther, now here are trains. download trip.com app. Train from Chengdu East to Dali leaves at 7.35 and 13.35, takes almost 8 hours, and costs 660/645 yuan.
Asked by Steph from MALAYSIA | Apr. 09, 2019 19:01Reply
Kunming to Dali by Train
I've planned to go to Dongchuan end of this month. I was told that the bus from Dongchuan Hongtudi stops at Kunming North bus station. May I know how do I get to Dali from this bus station by High speed rail?

Answers (2)
Answered by Ingrid from FINLAND | Apr. 15, 2019 01:42

From the North Coach Station, take metro line 2 to South Huancheng Road Station and then transfer to metro line 1 to Kunming Railway Station. After arriving, there are several high speed trains that can take you to the destination.
Answered by Anon | Dec. 30, 2020 05:47

Kunming South has a few more trains to Dali than Kunming station, so check train times first to see what station is best to go to.
Asked by Duc from VIETNAM | Mar. 19, 2019 08:35Reply
Any direct bus from three pagodas to Erhai Park?
Hi there,
Is there any bus going directly from three pagodas or the ancient town to Erhai Park? Which number is it? I don't speak Chinese, it's difficult to change the bus lines and especially cannot find the way back :)
Thank you in advance.
Answers (2)
Answered by Moria from SINGAPORE | Mar. 19, 2019 20:38

Yes, there is a special tourist line departing from the three pagodas. However, there is no bus number but only the Chinese characters: 崇圣寺三塔专线. You can get off at the Xingsheng Bridge South and then walk east about 1km to the park.
Answered by duc from VIETNAM | Mar. 19, 2019 21:39

Well noted Moria. Thank you for sharing :)
Asked by Gugu from CHINA | Mar. 04, 2019 04:08Reply
What's the quickest way to get Dali from Nanjing?
Answers (1)
Answered by Wyatt from UKRAINE | Mar. 04, 2019 17:44

You can take a flight from Nanjing to Kunming first. Then take the direct bullet train from Kunming Railway Station to Dali Railway Station.
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