Three Pagodas

Pagoda in Dali

Image by Peter Stuckings Getty Images

Absolutely the symbol of the town and region, these pagodas, a 2km walk north of the north gate, are among the oldest standing structures in southwestern China. The tallest of the three, Qiānxún Pagoda, has 16 tiers that reach a height of 70m. It was originally erected in the mid-9th century by engineers from Xī’ān. It is flanked by two smaller 10-tiered pagodas, each of which are 42m high.

While the price is cheeky considering you can’t go inside the pagodas, Chóngshèng Temple (Chóngshèng Sì) behind them has been restored and converted into a relatively worthy museum.