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Dali Travel Guide and Tips

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The name of Dali is originated from that of a local regime in history called Kingdom Dali, meaning a state of great order. Many of the architectures of the city were built of marble from the ore nearby, and that is why it is also called a city of Dali Stone (marble). Both Chinese writing and pronunciation of 'great order' and 'marble' are the same. Marble buildings, marble streets, marble wall foundations and marble wells make the city so bright and limpid as if it is a tranquil fairyland. Each family loves door carving and wall-decoration; every household has a flower garden.

Dali is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Yunnan, famous for its beautiful natural scenery, historical heritage, and well-preserved Bai minority culture. It is considered a great place to relax.

Its location makes it a popular stopping point on the way from Kunming to Lijiang and Shangri-La. Dali is a must visit destination for Yunnan tourists. It is worth staying at least one night.

Why Visit this City:

Extraordinary Natural Scenery - The pretty and lofty Cangshan Mountain looks like a painted screen, the elegant Erhai Lake is as bright and beautiful as a mirror, the white clouds floating over the rice field look like jade belt...This is the normal scene of Dali and no matter when you come and you'll catch the best scenery of the pearl of plateau.

Colorful Bai Ethnic Culture - On the treasure land of Bai people, you'll be amazed by the colorful culture and traditions of Bai ethnic group. Appreciate the special structure of Bai's architecture, learn Bai's tie-dyeing with beautiful pattern, taste the featured Bai snacks and meaningful Three Courses of Tea, get in-depth into the Bai people's fishing villages and experience the local life...This is the Kingdom of Bai people and this is the heaven for all travelers.

Slow Pace and Leisure Exploration - Relaxing and interesting activities are designed in every scenic spot. Travelers can take a leisure walk in Dali Old Town, do some hiking in Cangshan Mountain, cruise happily on Erhai Lake, cycle merrily around Erhai Lake, sit quietly by the lake, watch the sunset going down...Traveling is a kind of life here without any rush.

The Highlights of Dali

Dali Ancient Town

Dali Ancient Town

With a history of over 600 years, Dali Ancient Town is one of the most renowned ancient towns in China. There you will see historical architecture built in the traditional Bai ethnic minority style.

Foreigners' Street is a good place to find cafés, Western restaurants, and souvenir shops.

Dali Erhai Lake

Erhai Lake

Erhai, literally 'ear sea', is the second largest highland lake in China. From Dali Ancient Town, it takes about 50 minutes by foot, or 15 minutes by bus.

Blessed with a mild climate and stunning scenery, the lake is a perfect place to take a boat ride, or a bike ride. Read more about cycling in Dali.

Cang Mountain (Cangshan)

If you would like to get away from the crowds in Dali, you can take a day out to Cang Mountain, from where you can enjoy a bird's eye view of Erhai and Dali.

You can take a 25-minute cable car ride to enjoy the spectacular views, or hike up the mountain along the paved path in 2–3 hours.

Xizhou Village

Xizhou Village is famous for its well-preserved Bai architecture. Wander in the small streets to see the typical ancient buildings and women in traditional dresses. It is a good way to immerse yourself in the local culture.

The Best Time to Visit Dali

The climate in Dali is temperate with long, warm, rainy summers and short, mild and dry winters. The temperature ranges from 18 °C (64 °F) to 25 °C (77 °F) in summer and from 4 °C (39 °F) to 17 °C (62 °F) in winter on average. It is a place suitable to visit all year round.

The best time to visit Dali is from March to October. Erhai Lake and Cang Mountain are beautiful in March and April, when the flowers are in full bloom. Many ethnic festivals are held in these months. Check the dates of the festivals.

Most rainfall is seen from June to October. These months should be avoided if you don't like too much rain. Read more about Dali weather.

Transportation in Dali

Dali Railway Station

Transfer to Dali

Travelers can take flight, train and long distance bus to get to Dali. Dali Airport is located in the southeast of Erhai Lake, about 13 kilometers from Xiaguan and 30 kilometers to Dali Old Town. Convenient flights are connecting Dali with Kunming, Xishuangbanna in Yunnan Province; and Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xian, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Nanjing, Shenzhen, etc. There are several daily schedules for flights from Kunming to Dali with 50 minutes' transfer. Dali Railway Station is located in the south of Erhai Lake in Xiaguan, about 26 kilometers from Dali Old Town. It is a common choice to travel between Kunming / Lijiang and Dali by train. There are seven daily K trains from Lijiang to Dali, taking around 2 hours. And eight daily K trains are available from Kunming to Dali and many travelers choose overnight train which usually board the train around 22:00~23:30 and get off Dali Railway Station in the early morning, taking about 7.5 hours on the train. Travelers can reach Dali by long distance bus either from Kunming, Lijiang or other places in Yunnan.

Transfer around Dali

Besides use our private car service, travelers can take Dali sightseeing buses to Dali Old Town, Three Pagodas, Cangshan Mountain, Shuanglang, etc; if weather and physical condition permit, it is recommended to rent a bike cycling around Erhai Lake. Moreover, taking a cruise sailing on Erhai Lake adds more leisure into your trip.

Ultimate Dali Travel Guide & Useful Articles

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