Nestled between the jagged peaks of the Cangshan Range and the ear-shaped Erhai Lake, Dali was once the ancient capital of the powerful Nanzhao Kingdom; in the intervening centuries, Dali saw its share of turmoil, yet managed to safeguard a good deal of its traditional structures and buildings. Because of its well-preserved old town, Dali has recently begun to draw a steady stream of visitors. Like the rest of Yunnan, Dali hosts a large population of ethnic minorities, the most numerous of whom are the Bai.

Given its high elevation, Dali's climate is gentle and mild much of the year, with June to September being the rainiest months. Popular activities include touring the nearby countryside, particularly the waters around Erhai Lake, by bike; hiking or riding the cable car up the verdant slopes of the nearby Cangshan Mountains; and visiting the historic Three Pagodas.


A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.

Biking & Rock Climbing

For the more adventurous, take a bike tour into the beautiful landscape surrounding the city, or choose from a number of rock climbing excursions that offer beautiful vistas of the city and lake.

Erhai Lake

Bike, drive, or stroll around Erhai Lake. Named for its ear-like shape, there are seventeen villages around Erhai's picturesque waters, as well as Qing-era architecture and banyan forests.

Linden Centre

Stay at the Linden Centre in nearby Xizhou, where you can learn more about Yunnan through exploring, enrichment and volunteer activities from tea cultivation to participating on archeological digs. Stay for multiple days and absorb the fresh air and laid-back simplicity of this well-preserved Bai village.

Three Pagodas

Visit the “Three Pagodas,” Dali’s most famous site. The three pagodas are amongst the oldest structures in southwestern China and were built in the 9th century. The middle of the three is the largest pagoda, around 233 feet (71 meters) tall, flanked by the two others at 135 feet (41 meters) tall each.

Zhonghe Temple

Take a chairlift up to the Zhonghe Temple atop the snow-peaked Cangshan Mountains that border the city, and relax among the wild azaleas as you gaze down on sleepy Dali and Erhai Lake.

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