Dali Overview

Dali (Dàlǐ, 大理) welcomes travelers with laidback cafés, friendly guesthouses and easy access to beautiful countryside. This historic town, scenically situated at the foot of the Cang Shan (Cang Mountain) and overlooking Erhai Lake, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Yunnan.

Most of Dali's attractions can easily be explored by bike, and good food and cheap drinks await at the end of each day on Huguo Lu (Hùguó Lù, 护国路). It's not all traditional charm and romantic views, however. There's the inevitable recent modern Chinese architecture of questionable aesthetic value and other incursions of functional but less-than-attractive modernity, but its residents manage to maintain the outsider feel that has made Dali a key stopover for backpackers in China in spite of the encroachment of the modern world.

On a lighter note, a number of low-key Amsterdam-style "coffee shops" have sprung up like mushrooms, causing some visiting backpackers to extend their stays in order to fully absorb Dali's sunny weather, friendly vibes, pretty sunsets and repeat plays of Bob Marley and Manu Chao tracks. And, of course, Dali's popularity comes at a price: the high season finds the city crowded with tour groups, backpackers and trinket-hawking vendors.

Dali stay

Dali go

Dali eat

Dali shop

Dali Nightlife

Feature articles

Dali attractions

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