The Eastern Switzerland

General Information of Dali


Another Name: Romantic City (风花雪月城 in Chinese)

Location: Located northwest of the Yunnan Province, 300 kilo-meters (186 miles) northwest of Kunming

Population: 3,474,800





The Chongsheng Three Pagodas in Dali, a famous attraction in Dali.

Interesting in Dali

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Introduction of Dali City

The bird-eye view of Dali Ancient Town, a famous ancient town in China

Dali Ancient Town


Dali, a city of great antiquity, beckons the visitor in any season and is always a tempting destination for those interested in exploring fascinating natural scenery and the area's considerable historical and cultural heritage. It is renowned as a land of wonders, both natural and manmade, inspiring in visitors a great appetite for its beauty.


Culture of Dali City


The customs of the ethnic minorities bring charm to daily life in Dali. 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.




Famous Attractions in Dali

Beautiful scenery of Erhai Lake, a beautiful lake in Dali city

Erhai Lake


Dali Ancient City: 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.


Erhai Lake: Erhai Lake is the largest highland lake next to Dianchi and one of the seven biggest fresh water lakes in China. In a sunny day, the crystal waters of Erhai Lake and the snow mantled Cangshan Mount radiate with each other. Thus the scene was commonly described as 'Silver Cangshan and Jade Erhai'.


Mt. Cangshan (Cangshan Mountain): Cangshan Mountain enjoys great reputation for its snow, clouds, springs and marble. Flower enthusiasts or 'green thumbs' may be familiar with this mountain because of the beautiful azalea flowers grown here.


Three Pagodas: Three pagodas, about 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) northwest of the ancient city of Dali, occupying a scenic location at the foot of Mt. Cangshan facing Erhai Lake, has a history of over 1,800 years. It is a symbol of the history of Dali City, and a record of the development of Buddhism in the area.


Yan's Compound of Bai Minority in Xizhou: Yan's Compound in Xizhou is the most representative of Bai-style residences, about 13 kilometers (8.08 miles) from Dali City. After visiting this impressive compound, one will ameliorate the admiration for its magnificence which is Bai people's architectural gifts.


Butterfly Spring: The pool is some 50 square meters overall and above it is an ancient decumbent tree. This is the famous 'Butterfly Tree', so called as in the short interval as spring turns to summer, its fragrant blossom attracts thousands of butterflies.


Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture Museum: it has delightful surroundings. Its exhibition hall shows the clear domestic house architectural style of Bai. The layout of the Museum adopts symmetric forms. All of its constructions seem to be one integrated mass, reflected in the surrounding pines and cypress. Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture Museum itself is a great architectural work of art of the Bai ethnic minority.

Dali Municipal Museum: Located at the southern section of the Fuxing Lu in Dali City, the Dali Municipal Museum covers an area of 21,510 square meters (5.3 acres).


Nightlife in Dali

Street view of Dali Foreign Street which is in the Dali ancient town

Dali Foreign Street


Dali has become a distinguished tourist destination attracting countless travelers yearning for something extraordinary. Today's Dali is an enthralling place mixed with modern and old fashions and is prosperous but also tranquil. The nightlife in Dali is always fascinating and colorful.


Getting close to the local people's daily life, the open-air squares like this can provide visitors with an intimate connection with Dali. More visitors may choose to spend a serene night in Dali's Ancient City. They could relax into light-hearted chat while drinking beer and the tranquil atmosphere of the ancient city can properly set the tone for timeless relaxation.


Food in Dali

Famous Local Snack--Erkuai, a traditional snack of Dali city.

Famous Local Snack--Erkuai


Dali is perhaps most well-known for dishes historically cooked by the Bai, one of the city's ethnic minority groups, and should certainly not be missed by those stopping in the area. However, Dali is a melting-pot for many different cultures, and offers visitors the chance to sample numerous foods from around Yunnan Province and other Chinese delicacies.


Stewed Carp Casserole: This dish is commonly served as a main course in Dali. It combines 28 different ingredients and numerous seasonings to create a dish that is both a treat for the taste-buds and nutritious.


Dali Snacks Dairy Fans: It is a type of food made from both milk and yoghurt which is then shaped into a fan form. Both ingredients are mixed together and then spread into a pan. They are cooked similarly to pancakes, although can also be steamed or boiled. Dairy Fans are a common local food and can be found served on many of the city's roadsides and lanes.


Er Kuai: One of the most conventional foods of Dali is Er Kuai, a rice-based dish. The rice is first washed, soaked, stewed and then mashed into a paste, before being molded into various lumps, slices and shreds. It is usually grilled over burning charcoals with a sugar, walnut, or sesame filling.


Xizhou Town Ba Ba: Ba Ba is in fact a kind of savoury snack made from wheat flour. The dough is first rolled into a cake shape and is then sprinkled with a combination of chopped onions, salt and diced ham before being baked in oil. This local fast-food is favored by both locals and travelers alike.


Tea in Dali: Tea is the most popular drink among the Bai. It is commonly drunk as part of a ceremony involving three servings. The first cup of tea tastes bitter, the second is sweeter, while the third cup has added seasoning for a more fragrant, lingering aftertaste.


One of the best places for visitors to sample the tea ceremony for themselves is Yan's Compound in Xizhou Village. Yan's is served by minibuses departing from both Xiaguan and Dali Ancient City. This type of ceremony can also be enjoyed on a number of the cruise ships on the Erhai Lake, and is often accompanied by performances of traditional Bai songs and dances.


Shopping in Dali

The Compressed Tea (Tuo Cha) of Xia Guan, a famous souvenir in Dali for tourists

The Compressed Tea (Tuo Cha) of Xia Guan


Dali Snow Pear: Owing to the climate and the soil condition of Dali, the pears which grow here are much sweeter in flavor, and have thinner skins and more tender flesh.

Engraved Green Plum: A traditional food of the Bai people is made from dried green plums. These are engraved with various patterns and designs. The fruit can be eaten after months spent soaking in pickling juice made from salt, brown sugar and honey.

The Compressed Tea (Tuo Cha) of Xia Guan: Due to its resemblance to the shape of a fungus, the compressed tea of Xia Guan is called 'Tuo Cha'. It enjoys an excellent reputation for its fragrance and cleansing effects. Xiaguan can promote health by refreshing both body and mind and is also an excellent method used for weight-loss.

Tie-dye: The tie-dye of the Bai Minority is usually made by stitching patterns on cotton cloth and impregnating them in plant dye. Traditional dyed fabrics have white patterns on a background of indigo and are used for tablecloths, door curtains, hats, clothes, and scarves as well as other items.


Dali Travel Guide


China Travel in Dali: Best Time to Visit Dali
The scene of famous Dali festival March Street

Dali Festival--March Street


The best time to visit Dali is from March to June when springtime is in full swing and all of nature seems to be in the process of rebirth, as it were.


The Bai minority group holds their celebration in March and if one visits Dali during that month, one will be able to witness the joyous mood all around. People are friendly and hospitable but visitors must be aware and thus avoid ethnic taboos.

Dali Travel Tips: Transportation in Dali


By Air: Location-About 13 kilometers (8 miles) away from Dali City, Dali Airport, also named Dali Huangcaoba Airport, is located on the southeast bank of Erhai Lake in the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture.


By Train: Getting to Dali by train is also convenient. Located in Yunling Street, the Dali Railway Station can be reached by city buses No.6, 7, 8, 10, and 11. Trains run only between Dali and Kunming. The earliest train leaves from Kunming at about 08:00 and the other four all run at night from 21:00 to 23:00.


By Long-distance Bus: Located at No.21, Jianshe Road, Xiaguan, the Dali Bus Station is the largest bus station in Dali. It operates bus lines to Kunming and Lijiang, as well as cities in other provinces, such as Panzhihua in Sichuan and Putian in Fujian. Most comfortable express buses depart from this station. Bus No.2 stops in this station.


Dali Coach Station: The Passenger Transport Service Station is adjacent to the Dali Bus Station, at No.78, Jianshe Road. Visitors can choose either company depending on their schedule. Xiaguan North Bus Station is located on North Taian Road and operates a bus line to Tengchong, Lijiang, Zhongdian and Shangri-La. The last bus to Lijiang leaves at 18:00 and the trip takes about three hours.


By City-bus: There are dozens of public buses running to every corner of Dali.  For instance, the trip from Butterfly Spring to the Dali Ancient City by autobus is convenient. Visitors can also tour Cangshan Mountain by cable car or on horseback.


By Water: Cruise to the lakeErhai Lake has a long shipping history. In 1999, the Xiaguan Dock of Dali Port was expanded and renovated into a grand and well appointed dock with 13 berths. Nowadays, busy shipping around Erhai Lake is injecting new energy into the shipping industry of this area.

Taxi: For people who want to get to their destination as quickly as possible, taxis are wise choices. 


By Bicycle: Renting a bicycle is the perfect solution for those who want to enjoy a trip around the Ancient City of Dali to get a full view of its beauty and unique charm. Cycling along the paths paved with stone slabs is a very fashionable way to appreciate the Ancient City. Usually, the rental is about CNY 10-20 per day, and a deposit is paid in advance.

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