Dali - home to the Bai people since the 4th century
Last Update: 19th October 2020
With an elevation of 2,090 meters above sea level, Dali lies on the south of Lijiang. It covers an area of 29,459 square kilometres. Since the 4th Century, it has been home to Bai people. It was the location of Dali Kingdom (937 – 1094 and 1096 – 1253). Therefore, Dali is a fusion of ancient ruins and Bai’s traditions and culture. It also offers gorgeous natural beauty of Erhai and Cangshan Mountain.
Dali Fast Facts
- Chinese Name: Dali (大理)
- Area: 29,459 square kilometers
- Things to do there: Photography, Archaeology, Adventure, Ethnic Folk Customs
- Who visits: Photographers, Archaeologists, Adventure Enthusiasts, Chinese History and Culture Lovers
- Time required: 3 – 4 x Days
What to expect at Dali
If you are adventure enthusiasts, it is recommended that you explore Erhai Lake, Cangshan Mountain, and Yuji Island. Erhai Lake is great for admiring the stunning sunset. Cangshan Mountain is a combination of nature and several cultural ruins, such as Neolithic cultural sites, Taihe City ruins in the Period of Nanzhao Kingdom (738 – 902) and Yangxiemei City ruins in the Dali Kingdom.
If you are crazy about the local culture and history of Dali and Bai people, Dali Old Town – the capital of Nanzhao Kingdom and Dali Kingdom, Xizhou Town, an old historical and cultural town of Bai people where you will experience the rich traditions of Bai minority, Shaxi Ancient Town and Nuodeng Dali Town which both played an important role in Tea Horse Road in ancient China and offers old stages and ancient music, Weishan Ancient City originally built in the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368), and Shibaoshan Town where visitors could explore the grottoes offering fine sculptures in local national styles.
Dali offers several old temples to visit as well. They are Chongsheng Three Pagodas standing 1.5 kilometers northwest of Dali Old Town, Dali Wuwei Temple originally built in 1305, and Shengyuan Temple originally built in the late Sui Dynasty (581 – 618) which is a relatively large Buddhist building complex with the fine reliefs.
Best time to visit Dali
The best months to visit Lijiang are from April to October.
How to get to Dali
There are several airplanes to Dali from the main cities around China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Nanjing, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Guiyang, Nanning, Hangzhou, Xi’an, etc. There are some direct trains to Dali from Kunming, Lijiang, Guiyang, Guangzhou, Guilin, Nanning, etc. Please get to Dali by air or by train based on your schedule.
Additional Dali Travel Advice
- If you are planning to visit Dali between June and August, please take umbrellas or raincoats with you.
- Please wear the sunscreen scream and sunglasses during the daytime even in winter as the sunshine is very strong in Dali.
- It is suggested to take wind coats, summer clothing, and umbrellas and even winter clothes with you as the weather is changing in one day.
- Please take care of your valuables in crowded places.