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Dali, an ancient capital of the ethnic Bai people's Kingdom of Nanzhao (738-937) and now officially the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture – a place where ancient and modern China come together perfectly.

Dali map
Dali Travel Tips and FAQ

If you are on a trip to the south of China, and are overwhelmed by choosing just one destination among thousands of cities, a good choice would be Dali. An ancient capital city situated in Yunnan Province, it provides in one place many examples of the wonders China has to offer.

From the majestic snow-capped Cangshan mountain down to the shores of Erhai Lake and everything in between, Dali will keep you busy all the time with things to do and places to see.

It is the ancient capital of the ethnic Bai people's Kingdom of Nanzhao and now officially the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture – a place where ancient and modern China come together perfectly.

There are two parts to Dali, the ancient city (Yucheng city) and the new (Xiaguan). The Dali council keeps the two areas apart so people can experience both separately. So don't be surprised when you find the two areas are a distance of 13km apart. This allows the ancient city to stay away from the influence of modern development and retain its character. You can find all the modern conveniences if you need in the modern city before taking the trip to the old that so many have come so far to take.

Dali has always been popular with Chinese tourists but any foreigners to visit have succumbed to its charms in the ancient city. Dali and its surrounding area has so much to see and do, some of the most famous and well known being the incredible Three Pagodas of Chongsheng which dates back over 1000 years and if you travel a little further, Butterfly Spring at the base of Mount Shenmo, a truly beautiful place. There are colourful festivals to see such as the "Festival of the Third Month" which is celebrated with an open air market that has been held in Dali for over 1000 years on the 15th day of lunar March (usually around the late April or early May). It includes the Dali Folk Festival in which ethnic minorities from the region come to join the Bai people to dance, sing, play music and entertain in their own individual ways.

What's more, the friendly and welcoming Bai people will make you wish to stay for longer no matter how long your stay is, one day or a year.

  • Air quality: ★★★★★
  • Foreigner-friendly degree: ★★★☆☆
  • Public security degree: ★★★☆☆
  • Hygienic degree: ★★★★
  • Traffic jam degree: ★★☆☆☆
  • Internationalization level: ★★☆☆☆
  • Consumption level: ★★☆☆☆
  • Language: Dali dialect, Bai, Mandarin
  • Best traveling season: Mar. to Oct.
  • Tourist resources: landscape, ethnic culture, historic relics
  • Airport to downtown: 13 km
  • Demographics: Han (49.5%), Bai (27.1%), Yi (7.6%), Hui (3.6%)
  • Key words: Cangshan mountain, Erhai lake, mild, photo, ancient town, ethnic culture, tranquil.

Local Delicacies: Fish in Casserole (Shaguo Yu 砂锅鱼), Dengchuan Dairy Fan (Dengchuan Rushan 邓川乳扇), Hot and Sour Fish with Plum (Cuimei Suanlayu 翠梅酸辣鱼), A Long Strip of Noodle (Yigen Mian 一根面), Raw Pig Skin (Shengpi 生皮), Plum Carving (Diao Mei 雕梅), Stewed Plum (Dun Mei 炖梅), Dali Beer (Dali Pijiu 大理啤酒), Xizhou Griddle Cake (Xizhou Baba 喜洲粑粑), Three Fragrant Tea (Sanxiang Cha 三香茶), Sweet Rice Wine (Huajiu 花酒), Cold Rice Noodles with Shredded Chicken (Liangji Mixian 凉鸡米线), Plum Wine (Qingmei Jiu 青梅酒) .

Local Specialities: Bai Batik (Baizu Laran 白族蜡染), Bai Tie-dye (Baizu Zaran 白族扎染), Dengchuan Dairy Fan (Dengchuan Rushan 邓川乳扇), Xiaguan Compressed Mass of Tea Leaves (Xiaguan Tuocha 下关沱茶), Dali Snow Pear (Dali Xueli 大理雪梨), Jianchuan Wood Carving (Jianchuan Mudiao 剑川木雕), Dali Straw Weaving (Dali Caobian 大理草编), Dali Tricholoma Matsutake (Dali Songrong 大理松茸) .

    Useful lines:

  • 云南省旅游局 Yunnan Tourism Administration Service
  • 0871-4608333
  • 大理州旅游局 Dali Tourism Administration Service
  • 0872-2316784