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Dali Travel Guide

Dali, another principal of Yunnan, even far more important than Kunmingseveral years ago. Rightnow, it is the wonderful destination for travelers. Fifty minutes by plane and 5 hours by bus from Kunming, Dali is the perfect place to relax.

Dali is the name of the Prefecture, the local city and the Dali Old Town . Travellers visit the Dali Old Town for its traditional architecture, minority cultures - mostly Bai but also with many Yi and Hui - and simply to relax.

With the beautiful Cangshan Mountains a short distance to the West of the Dali Old Town (approx 4200 metres at the peak) and Erhai Lake a few kms to the East, it has a perfect natural setting. The climate is temperate with moderate Summers and mild Winters, though it can get rather windy in Autumn and Winter. Although Dali is famous for it's backpacker heaven, it is still quiet and leisure at evening. Come and enjoy by your own heart here.

Major Attractions

Dali Old town

Picture of Dali Old Town

Dali Old Town lies 3 kilometers north from Xiaguan, the capital of Dali Prefecture. Embracing Erhai Lake in the east and adjoining Cangshan Mountain in the west, Dali Old town was first established in the early period of the Ming Dynasty.

People today comes here for feeling of antiquity,serenity and elegance from its magnificant towers, elegant streets, small and exquisite countryards, colorful flowers. A stroll through the ancient city, with its paved roads and ancient style houses with black tiled roofs lining the roads is like unrolling a poetic scroll.

Cangshan Mountains

Cangshan Mountain, also called Diancang Mountain, stretches 50 kilometers from north to south and is 20 kilometers wide from east to west, facing Erhai Lake in the east. Cangshan has 19 peaks, with an average altitude of 3,500 meters above sea level. The peaks are overgrown with primeval forests, and 18 springs and streams filled with crystal-clear waters.

Erhai Lake

It is a famous alpine lake in Yunnan, situated at an altitude of 1,972 meters above sea level. It is 42 kilometers from north to south and 3 to 9 kilometers from east to west, covering an area of 250 square kilometers. The lake is in the shape of a human ear. The lake water is crystal clear. Erhai and Cangshan enhance each other's beauty.

Butterflies Spring

Picture of Butterflies Spring

It is twenty kilometres north of Dali on the slope of Yunnong Peak. Springwater gushes out from the roots of a tree and flows into a clear pond. Beside the pond there is a huge camphor tree whose blossoms in April and May resemble butterflies, when thousands of real butterflies are attracted to the beautiful pool, too.

There is a beautiful legend about this lake, a pair of lovers jumped into this pond for not to surrender. Suddenly, a crack appeared at the bottom of the pool and a pair of beautiful butterflies emerged from the water, and ever since the pond has been called Butterfly Spring.

How to Get in

By bus

There are daily buses both from Kunming and Lijiang.

By Train

There is a night train from Kunming leaving at about 2230 and arriving around 0600.

By Plane

Dali also has an airport located to the East of Xiaguan. Flights from Kunming operate regularly - 3 times a day. From major Chinese cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou), it is possible to book a direct flight to Dali (with a stopover in Kunming).

Best Time to Come

The rainy season begins from July and will last until October. And the hottest is July. Due to the higher altitude, Dali enjoys bright sunshine which is most welcome during the winter months.
Spring is usually a good time to visit.

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