If the old city of Dali is very touristy, the surrounding villages like Xizhou and Zhoucheng remain interesting. Add to your journey the valleys of Weishan and Shaxi, still authentic- Review updated on 27 janvier 2023
The first gateway to northwest Yunnan, Dali is the center of the Bai minority region, and the ancient capital of the Nanzhao Kingdom. The city is located at the intersection of highways to Myanmar and Tibet, and globally between Kunming and Lijiang as the crow flies. She is known for her white marbles with gray features. Despite an altitude of 1900m, the region enjoys a temperate climate all year round, attracting many Chinese city dwellers wishing to escape the pollution of cities in eastern China, but also Chinese artists, the region has become some aspects a bohemian region. At the foot of Cangshan Mountain in the west, and Erhai Lake in the east, its location is exceptional, and it is one of the major destinations in Yunnan where to rest and relax for a few days.
What to visit in Dali?
Dali offers many interesting sights in its immediate vicinity, starting with its old town, which still offers some pretty little narrow streets with beautiful Bai houses. You will not miss to visit the big temple of the 3 pagodas, emblem of the region of Dali. Erhai Lake is a veritable inland sea, and small, endearing Bai villages are located around the lake, such as Xizhou, Zhoucheng, Shaping, Shuanglang or Wase, to be visited during a colorful marketplace where you can experience the charm of the region. Beautiful hikes are possible directly from Dali to the Cangshan Mountain, accessible on foot, by chairlift or cable car. You can also go around the Erhai Lake, or part of it, by bike. The drive from Dali to Xizhou, or vice versa, remains very easy during a half day. Guests can also take a cruise on Erhai Lake. Note however that the activity of cormorant fishing is now prohibited in Dali.
Cooking class and tea picking in Dali
In Dali, we also offer half-day cooking classes, including a visit to a local market, the cooking class itself (choice of specialties from Yunnan, China or ravioli), as well as the lunch of what you have prepared! To complete this culinary experience, you will be able to reach a tea plantation located very far from Dali, where you will be able to pick your own tea, then carry out all the steps of the preparation of your own tea, which you can take with you !
Other visits near Dali
3-4h drive away from Dali, do not miss the Weishan area where you will find an adorable and authentic old town, from where you can visit the beautiful site of Buddhist temples of Weibaoshan. There are several accommodations in Shaxi, but still rustic. Do not miss out on the rugged Shaxi Valley on your way to Lijiang or Shangri La, including visiting Shibaoshan. From Dali, guests can also join the pilgrims up the mountain of Jizushan.
Video discovery of Dali with a drone
When to visit Dali?
The region can be visited all year round. Despite its altitude of 1900m, it does not snow in the winter in Dali, and the climate is very mild during the day (a little colder at night). Many expatriates living in China appreciate the relative calm and the softness of Dali winter to spend holidays of end of year in family. The rains of summer remain few compared to other neighboring countries of Asia. If you can, opt for spring and fall, apart from the first week of May and October, national holiday period. You can find more detailed information on the climate in Dali on the Dali Weather page.
Choosing a hotel in Dali
The old town of Dali is now relatively touristy and noisy, with many people partying at night. We favor the Fairy Land Inn hotel, located in a commercial Dali alley, but with rooms overlooking quiet inner courtyards. If you are looking for absolute calm, we advise you to stay outside of Dali, like the charming bed and breakfast La Maison Suzanne located 5min outside the old town. We mainly work with the Linden Center hotel located in Xizhou Village, whose setting, service, charm and value for money remains unmatched in the region. Another interesting alternative in Xizhou is the Sky Valley Heritage Boutique Hotel.