Dali Travel Guide

Dali, northwest Yunnan, is one of Yunnan’s larger cities and lies about 300kms west of Kunming, the capital. It is an ancient town known for its handicrafts and is a popular backpacker hangout.

Dali is surrounded by lush mountains and has startling views wherever you stand, with the Cangshan Mountains looking on and rising to heights of around 4,200m. Dali Old Town is very relaxed and at night the majority of tourists tend to head for the confines of neighboring Xiaguan.

The town is loaded with pleasing architecture and there are many caf├ęs and restaurants to kick back in. Most visitors to Dali also head for trips into the Cangshan Mountains, which are just west of town. There is a chairlift up to Zhong He Temple, from where are amazing views and good hiking. The 16km-long Cloud Traveler hike is the best known.

Getting There & Away

Dali is 50 minutes by plane from Kunming and 6 hours by bus. Trains from Kunming only go as far as Xiaguan (Dali’s new town) and take between 6 and 8 hours. There are three flights per day to Dali Airport from Kunming, the main international airport in the region.

Things to Do

Dali Attractions

Dali setting

The old town has an amazing setting amid very high mountains and lakes and also comes with pleasing old buildings and a laidback feel.

Side trips from Dali

Erhai Lake

Located to the east of town, this lake is fantastically beautiful, looking like something out of the mediterranean region. be sure to visit the lakeshore wase market.

Butterfly Spring

Featuring innumerable swarming butterflies the area also comes with a park and breeding center.


March Fair

Also known as the third month fair, it takes place in mid-march and goes over seven days.