Mark Read


Dali Old Town (大理古城, Dàlǐ Gǔchéng), the original backpacker hang-out in Yunnan, was once the place to chill, with its stunning location sandwiched between mountains and Erhai Lake. Loafing here for a couple of weeks was once an essential part of the Yunnan experience.

In recent years, domestic tourists have discovered Dali in a big way and the scene has changed accordingly. Instead of hippy Westerners, it's young Chinese travelers who walk around with flowers in their hair, and face-lifts of the old town precede apace.

Surrounding Dali there are fascinating possibilities for exploring, especially by bicycle and in the mountains above the lake. Or you can do what travelers have done here for years – eat, drink and make merry.

Explore Dali

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Dali.


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