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key words:a historic town with rich culture

Altitude: about 3500m~4159m

Location:Dali Old Town is located at the north of Xiaguan Town, 15 kilometers away. This ancient city is situated between Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake.

An overview of Dali Ancient Town

The ancient city of Dali is one of Yunnan's most popular tourist destinations. It has historic sites, ancient buildings and temples, nearby beautiful Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake, local crafts, and the "Foreigners' Street" with Western-style restaurants and bars and English-speaking business owners. The street is popular with both foreigners and Chinese. It is known as a backpackers’ haven. Cangshan Mountain is a great, scenic hiking area and a natural reserve. Erhai Lake is to the east and Cangshan Mountain is to the west. Tourists visiting the area can see temples and architecture 1000 years old, buy beautiful souvenirs and objects of art, learn about the history of the area and of the native peoples, and go on excursions to the nearby lake and mountain.

History & culture

The city has a long history. About the year 738 AD, it became the seat of the Kingdom of Nanzhou. The Nanzhou Kingdom had control of important trade routes to Southeast and South Asia. Its location enabled Dali to prosper as merchandise from China was carried southwards, and as goods from as far as India was carried northwards. It was a major trading center. The rulers of the Nanzhou became Buddhists, and Bali became a center for the spread of Buddhism from Southeast and South Asia to the rest of China and East Asia. After two hundred years, The Nanzhou Kingdom was conquered by the Duan Clan. Two hundred years after this, in 1253, the Mongols conquered the city and ended the Dali Kingdom. Under Mongolian Emperor Kublai Khan, Dali became an important military outpost for the Mongolians. The Mongolians in turn were defeated, and the Ming dynasty was established.


The first gate of the ancient city—Wenxian Building
Wenxian Building is located in 1 km away from the south gate of Dali Ancient City, which is known as the first gate of the ancient city, and is the landmark of Dali Ancient City. It was established in the Qing dynasty emperor Kangxi period. Horizontal inscribed board of the building was written “historic town with rich culture” by Piantu, the chief commander of Yunnan Province in Kangxi period fortieth year (AD 1701). Wenxian Building stretch across the road which leads to Dali Ancient City from the south, and on both sides of the road lined with willow trees which is quite picturesque. Wenxian Building is two floors of gable and hip roof type, it has typical Bai architectural features.
The world’s first building of ancient Nanzhao kingdom—Wuhua Buidling
Wuhua Building is state guesthouse of ancient Nanzhao king, also called to Five Flowers Building. Since Nanzhao, Wuhua Building was burned down for many times, and rebuilt many times, but it was smaller after rebuilding over and over. Today the area of Wuhua Building has formed a certain scale of calligraphy and painting market, operating varieties include calligraphy, Chinese paintings like landscape flowers and birds painting and figures painting, etc., and leather trade and oil painting sale is very active.

Wuhua Buidling

Foreigners' Street—Huguo Road (Nation Protection Road)
The east-west Huguo Road in the Dali Ancient City is known as the "foreigner street". One by one Chinese and western restaurants, cafes, tea houses and gift shops here, their signboard and advertising is written in English, attracting blond foreigners lingering here and looking for ancient archaic Chinese rhyme, gradually the street become a unique scenery.
 Foreigners' Street
Dali Christian Church
Dali Christian church is located in road intersection of Dali Ancient City Fuxing Roand and Heping Road, was founded in June 1904, which was called "Chinese Christian church" at that time. In 1956, it changed its name to "Dali Christian unity council ". In 1980, it changed its name to "Dali Christian zion". Again in 2004 changed its name to "Dali Christian church". In 2008 it was listed as the municipal cultural relics protection unit. The major structure of church is timberwork, hip roof, which maintained the style of the western church, but also has strong Bai architectural characteristics that is a combination of Chinese and western church.

Main attractions in Dali

The Three Pagodas,the symbolic building of Dali, was first built in the time of Nanzhao Kingdom and Dali Kingdom in 9th and 10th century. Looking from a distance, the pagodas are like three ballpoint pens standing between the magnificent Cangshan Mountain and elegant Erhai Lake.

Cangshan Mountain,located west of Dali Old Town and Erhai Lake, is with nineteen peaks and eighteen streams. Travelers can take cableways to reach the top of Cangshan Mountain or explore the breathtaking scenery along Jade Cloud Road.

  • Erhai Lake
  • Erhai Lake (Ear-shaped Sea), reputed as "Pearl of Plateau", is the second largest highland lake of Yunnan. Taking a boat and cycling around the lake are fantastic ways to explore "Silver Cangshan Mountain and Jade Erhai Lake" scenery.

Tours including Dali Ancient Town:

Admission Fee:¥0

Opening Hours:all day

Attraction Transportation:

  • By Bus

Taking bus No.4, No.8 in Xiaguan about 40 minutes to the Dali Ancient City, the fare is 2 yuan. People who take bus No.8 can choose to get off at the east gate. In Yuer road there is touring bus passing Wind Flower Snow and Moon Hotel, Guozi Garden, Bluestone Bridge, Yeyu Road, Yuer Park, Boai Crossing and Cangshan Mountain Gate. In addition, visitors can take the minibus to Dali Ancient Town in Jianshe Road and Cultural Road, about 30 minutes to reach the old city. There are three options of transportation of electro mobile, mountain bike and walk for tourists in Dali Ancient City.

  • By Bicycle
1. Dali Ancient City Yuer Road (Dali Lanlin Pavilion Hotel)—Cangshan Mountain West Gate—214 National Road—Chongsheng Three Pagodas—Erhai Ring Road—Xizhou (Xizhou Mango Cabin Inn) —Shuanglang
2. Dali Ancient City Yuer Road (Dali Lanlin Pavilion Hotel)—Cangshan Mountain East Gate—Dali Road—Caicun Village MTB Theme Inn—Erhai Ring Road—Xizhou (Xizhou Mango Cabin Inn)—Shuanglang

Attraction Travel Tips:

  • 1. A lot of festivals and events of Bai nationality focused on March to April each year, travel at this time you will feel rich ethnic customs. And there is a song: "March in Dali has good scenery", so in the spring, it is suitable whether it is traveling to Dali, or climbing Canshang Mountain, visiting Erhai Lake.
  • 2. If you want to visit Erhai Lake, the ideal way is to go to Erhai pier to take cruise ship in the north side of Xiaguan. Cruise ships usually depart every morning at 8:30, suggest buying the ticket one day in advance.
  • 3. The bus from Kunming to Dali, the terminal is to Xiaguan (Xiguan is the new city zone), not Dali Ancient City. After you go out of the Xiaguan Station you can take bus No.4 to Dali Ancient City directly (about 20 kilometers away from Xiaguan), 40 minutes drive.
  • 4. Spring, summer, autumn and winter in Dali seemed like spring all the year round, the temperature difference is not big, the annual average temperature of 15 degrees celsius. In th beginning of March every year in the spring people can wear spring clothing, and at the beginning of May, summer clothing has been popular in Dali, in the middle of October to November period, people can wear autumn clothes, if you are traveling in mid-November to Dali, you have better bring a winter clothes for a rainy day.
  • 5. Dali, temperature difference can be as high as 10 degrees or so, sometimes plateau region has a characteristic, it will be solar heat during the day, but it will be cool when there is no sun in the morning and evening. And in the summer, as long as it rains, it is cold as winter, therefore the local has the saying of "it will run into the autumn with rain". So coming to Dali, no matter what the season is, it will be likely to meet a big difference in temperature in one day, especially in the rainy season of summer and autumn, people have better to bring appropriate clothing.
  • 6.When the weather is fine in Dali, the sunshine is heated, and ultraviolet light is strong. People should avoid direct sunlight, and the sun hat preparation is required during outdoor activities, a pair of sunglasses will make you comfortable in the trip.

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