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Dali, Yunnan

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Dali, Yunnan

This article is about the Yunnan city. For the division of Taichung, Taiwan formerly known as "Dali City", see Dali District.
Dali City
County-level city

Wuhua Tower, a landmark spot in Dali

Location of Dali City (pink) and Dali Prefecture (yellow) within Yunnan province of China
Dali City
Dali City
Location in Yunnan

Coordinates: 25°36′N 100°16′E / 25.600°N 100.267°E / 25.600; 100.267

Country People's Republic of China
Province Yunnan
Autonomous prefecture Dali
 • Total 1,468 km2 (567 sq mi)
Elevation 2,007 m (6,585 ft)
 • Total 652,000
 • Density 440/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Time zone China Standard (UTC+8)
Postal code 671003
Area code(s) 0872
Yunnan e-Portal

Dali City (Chinese: 大理市; pinyin: Dàlǐ shì; Bai: Darl•lit; Hani: Dafli) is a county-level city in and the seat of the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, in southwestern Yunnan province, People's Republic of China.


Dali is the ancient capital of both the Bai kingdom Nanzhao, which flourished in the area during the 8th and 9th centuries, and the Kingdom of Dali, which reigned from 937–1253. Situated in a once significantly Muslim part of South China, Dali was also the center of the Panthay Rebellion against the reigning imperial Qing Dynasty from 1856–1863. It was severely damaged during an earthquake in 1925.[1]

Dali is also famous for the many types of marble it produces, which are used primarily in construction and for decorative objects. In fact, Dali is so famous for the stone that the name of marble in Chinese is literally "Dali Stone" (Chinese: 大理石; pinyin: dali shi).

Dali is now a major tourist destination, along with Lijiang, for both domestic and international tourists.

Old Town and new city

Dali and Yunnan's capital Kunming are only a 40-minute flight apart. Dali's newly finished administrative district that houses the newly opened Dali International Convention Center is in Longshan District. The Dali government's urban planning keeps its old and new districts separate, to encourage tourism. The "new city" is known as Xiaguan and is south of the old city. The old city was built during Ming Dynasty emperor Hongwu's reign (1368–1398). Owing to the distance between them, the old city is still peaceful and quiet.


Dali is located on a fertile plateau between the Cangshan Range to the west and Erhai lake to the east. It has traditionally been settled by the Bai and Yi minorities. It is also the capital of the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture.


Tempered by the low latitude and high elevation, Dali has a mild subtropical highland climate (Köppen Cwb), with short, mild, dry winters, and warm, rainy summers. Frost may occur in winter but the days still generally warm up to 15 °C (59 °F) or more. During summer, a majority of the days features some rainfall, and daytime temperatures rise to 24 °C (75 °F). A great majority of the year's rainfall occurs from June to October.

Climate data for Dali (1971−2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 15.3
Average low °C (°F) 2.2
Precipitation mm (inches) 20.4
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 4.0 6.7 8.5 9.9 10.8 17.4 20.0 19.5 17.7 12.8 6.2 2.6 136.1
Source: Weather China

Sites of interest

Dali is one of Yunnan's most popular tourist destinations, both for its historic sites and the "Foreigners' Street" that features western-style food, music, and English-speaking business owners, making it popular among both western and Chinese tourists.

  • Dali museum
  • Chong Sheng Temple
    • Guanyin Palace of Copper Rain (rebuilt in 1999)
    • Jianji Great Bell of Nanzhao (recast in 1997)
    • Three Pagodas
    • Butterfly Spring
  • Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils film city
  • Shaxi, Yunnan: a historical town in Jianchuan County on the ancient tea route
  • Shuang lang: on the opposite side of the lake, a small fishing village, now a tourist destination. Lots of lakeside guesthouses with excellent views, some are quite expensive.


  • Third Month Fair (Sanyue Jie)



Local transport

Local transport modes include buses (11 routes in the city proper), taxis, bicycles, and boat (on the Erhai Lake).


  • Dali Airport (destinations: Kunming 20 min, Xishuangbanna 25 min, Chengdu 80 min, Chongqing 70min). The airport is 13 km (8.1 mi) to the east of Dali City (via Weishan Road or Airport Road), taxi fare Y50. Dali is a domestic airport with connections to Guangzhou and Beijing.


  • There is a Freeway between Dali and Chuxiong.
  • From the bus stop near the west gate in Dali there are daily buses to Shangri-La County and express buses to Kunming. Travel time by road to and from Kunming is about 3 hours and 30 minutes. Express buses to Lijiang and minibuses also leave from here. A bus leaves for Shaping every Monday morning for the market.
  • The three biggest long-distance bus stations of Xiaguan (the "new city") are all located on Jianshe Road. There are daily trains and long-distance buses to Xiaguan from Kunming. From Xiaguan, there is a direct bus (No.4) to the Old Town of Dali. The bus No.8 links the railway station, the East and the North bus station of Xiaguan with the old city of Dali.
  • China National Highway 214


Dali has rail connections to Kunming via the Guangtong-Dali Railway and Lijiang via the Dali-Lijiang Railway. Daily train service is available to and from Kunming (1 day-train and 2 sleeping trains) and to Lijiang. As the railway network expands in Yunnan, train service will become available to Shangri-La County and Ruili.



External links

  • Dali City Official Website
  • Dali News and Information Network
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