How to Get to & Around Dali 2024

Dali with the profound Dali Old Town site, stunning Erhai Lake view, wonderful Bai ethnic minority culture and many other amazing places of interests is one of the most popular travel destinations in Yunnan and China. both meaning the capital city and the prefecture, Dali consists of Dali New City (下关: Xiàguān) and Dali Old Town (古城: Gǔchéng). However, most travelers visit Dali mainly around Dali Old Town for its traditional architecture and minority cultures. When discussing Dali, it is important to be clear whether you are talking about the entire city or just the Dali Old Town. And here we’ll tell you more detailed information to help you know how to get to Dali by air and train, how to travel around Dali City, how to transfer between Dali and Kunming, Lijiang, and more top places in Yunnan for your Dali tour planning and Dali Yunnan tour planning. Let’s check all at below!


How to Get to Dali Yunnan

By Air

Dali Airport (IATA: DLU; altitude: 2,155 meters) is the only airport in Dali City and has direct flights from and to more than 20 domestic destinations including Chengdu, Chongqing, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xian,Guilin, Guiyang, Kunming, Nanjing, Wuhan, Changsha, Zhengzhou, Lhasa, Nanning, Nanchang, etc.

Dali Airport:

The airport is about 9 kilometers from Dali downtown and 17 kilometers from Dali Old Town, which usually needs about 30 minutes to the downtown area (Xiaguan) and 1 hour to Dali Old Town by car.

Address: Jichang Road, Dali City, Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture (大理白族自治州大理市机场路)

Recommended Dali Yunnan Tours:

6 Days Yunnan Essence Tour (Kunming / Dali / Lijiang)

8 Days Classic Yunnan Tour (Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)

Dali Airport

Dali Airport

By Train

So far in May, 2020, there is only one train station in Dali - Dali Railway Station (大理站). This station is served for both high speed train to and from Kunming (2 hours), Guangzhou (10.5-11 hours), Guilin (9 hours), Nanning (6.5-7 hours), Lijiang (1.5 hours), Puzhehei (3.5-4 hours), Shangri-La (4.5-5 hours) etc. Also, there are some normal trains with some destinations in Yunnan Province and some nearby provinces in south China region.

Dali Railway Station:

It is located in Dali downtown, which is only about 10 minutes to the city center and 40-50 minutes to Dali Old Town by car.

Address: No.261 Weishan Road, Dali (大理市巍山路261号)

Dali Train Station

Dali Train Station

Transportation Between Dali and Kunming

By Air: there are several pairs of daily flights serving between Kunming Changshui International Airport and Dali Airport. the entire flying needs only about 45-55 minutes.

By Train: around 70 high speed D trains run between Kunming and Dali every day from early morning till night hours. Trains from Kunming are available both in Kunming Railway Station and Kunming South Railway Station. And the whole riding usually takes about 2-2.5 hours.

By Car: if you go by a private car, it usually takes about 3-4 hours with a driving distance of about 320-340 kilometers.

By Coach: you can also choose to take a distance coach between Kunming and Dali. Buses usually depart from Kunming West Bus Terminal and arrive in different stations in Dali after 4 hours’ riding.

>> Check More about Transportation between Kunming and Dali | Kunming Dali High Speed Train | Kunming to Dali Train Schedules & Prices

Kunming to Dali

Kunming - Dali Transportation Map (Click to Enlarge)

Transportation Between Dali and Lijiang

Dali and Lijiang are only about 140 kilometers away, so there are no flights available. But trains and coaches are very convenient for your short-time transfer.

By Train: there are several high speed trains available between Lijiang Railway Station and Dali Railway Station, which needs about 1.5~2.5 hours for whole riding. Besides, there are some normal K trains for your plan B choose, which usually takes less than 2 hours with low prices.

By Car: it usually needs about 2.5 hours by car with driving distance of about 170 - 210 kilometers for different routes.

By Coach: distance buses are another convenient way to go from Lijiang to Dali or in reverse. There are many shifts between the several coach stations in both cities, and the whole riding takes about 3.5 hours.

>> Check More about Transportation between Lijiang and Dali | Lijiang to Dali Train Schedules & Prices

Recommended Dali Yunnan Tour Packages:

6 Days Yunnan Essence Tour (Kunming / Dali / Lijiang)

8 Days Classic Yunnan Tour (Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)

Lijiang to Dali

Lijiang - Dali Transportation Map (Click to Enlarge)

How to Go Around Dali

By Private Car - Travel with China Discovery

If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can travel with us China Discovery by our comfortable licensed private vehicle. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you from your hotel/airport/train station or any other places to attractions in Dali with speed, convenience and safety, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing. Please tell us directly if you need any help!

By City Bus

Dali City has more than 10 bus lines to take you transfer from downtown to accommodation places and various attractions like Dali Old Town, Xizhou Old Town, Cangshan Mountian, Zhoucheng Old Town, Shuanglang, etc. That is a cost-saving way.

By Cruise

Taking a cruise is the most ideal way to catch the sightseeing of Erhai Lake and the beautiful islands. For different types of cruises and islands stopping, the prices are various. It is highly suggested to book the ticket one day in advance.

3 Days Dali Classic Tour

By Bike

Bikes are also available at many guesthouses and rental huts around town. Bikes vary greatly in quality so shop around for the best deal.

By Taxi

Taking a taxi in Dali is relatively more expensive but the most convenient and relaxing way for independent travelers. Taxis in Dali Old Town generally cost less 10 Yuan (though most drivers will ask for 10 Yuan). For other locations outside Dali Old Town, all prices are negotiable.

Notes: Two famous little ancient towns, Xizhou and Zhoucheng are located in the north of Dali Old City, 10 km and 20 km respectively. Butterfly Spring Park is 24 km and Shaxi Ancient Town is about 90 km from Dali Old City;

Dali to Shaxi Ancient Town

Shaxi Ancient Town in Jianchuan County is situated in the middle way of Dali and Lijiang. It is about 90 kilometers from Dali downtown, 76 kilometers from Dali Old Town and about 72 kilometers from Lijiang Old Town. Most people visit Shaxi on their way from Dali to Lijiang.

By Car: it usually takes about 2-3 hours;

By Coach + Minibus: from Dali, you can take a distance coach at Dali North Coach Station (大理汽车客运北站), Dali Old Town Coach Station (大理古城客运站) or Dali Fast Coach Station (大理快速汽车客运站) that heads to Lijiang and get off at Jianchuan County in the middle way, which needs about 2.5 hours and usually departs every half to 1 hour. Then, transfer onto the local minibus (green or yellow) to get to Shaxi Ancient Town for another 1 hour.

Check More about How to Get to Shaxi Ancient Town from Dali

Recommended Dali Shaxi Ancient Town Tour:

6 Days Dali Lijiang Tour with Shaxi Ancient Town (Dali / Shaxi Ancient Town / Lijiang)

Private Car Service

Private Car Service

Erhai Lake Cruise

Erhai Lake Cruise

Dali Taxi

Dali Taxi

Dali to Shaxi Map Click to Enlarge Dali to Shaxi Ancient Town Map

How to Plan Your Dali (China) Tour

Visitors usually plan 2 days in Dali to enjoy the top highlights including Dali Old Town, Three Pagodas & Chongsheng Temple, Erhai Lake, Cangshan Mountain, Xizhou Village, Zhoucheng Old Town, etc. to savor the best historical culture, stunning landscape and wonderful ethnic custom. Besides, many people prefer extend to the famous Shaxi Ancient Town to explore the Tea Horse Road culture in another 1 day.

Recommended Dali Tour Packages:

3 Days Dali Classic Tour

4 Days Dali Leisure Vacation for Nature & Culture Savory (in Luxury Boutique Hotel) (Dali / Shaxi Ancient Town)

Furthermore, actually most travelers arrange Dali city as a part of their Yunnan travel to visit more top destinations in one go, such as Kunming famous as Spring City and convenient province capital, Lijiang with ancient Lijiang Old City, Shangri-La dreamed by visitors as the world pure land, Yuanyang with terrific rice terraces, Xishuangbanna with exciting tropical flavor and Dai ethnic dances, etc., which usually needs 6-15 days based on your exploration depth! Moreover, if you have any idea of more interested destinations in China to travel with Dali together, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Guilin, Guiyang, etc., please feel free to contact us and our experienced travel expert will help you to plan you coming tour with sincerity!

Recommended Dali Yunnan Tour Packages:

6 Days Yunnan Essence Tour (Kunming / Dali / Lijiang)

8 Days Classic Yunnan Tour (Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)

11 Days Amazing Yunnan Tour (Kunming / Yuanyang / Jianshui / Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)

Dali Three Pagodas

Dali Three Pagodas

Lijiang Old Town

Lijiang Old Town

Travel Dali Yunnan with China Discovery

To help you enjoy a worry-free Dali trip in Yunnan, we highly recommend you travel with us China Discovery. Our local experienced drivers will escort you to the attractions with comfortable car directly with speed and safety. And our English-speaking tour guide will accompany you all the way, showing you the best travelling route, share interesting stories and introduce all highlights, so you can focus all your attention on the highlights. Our experienced travel expert will help arrange your accommodation and plan your trip sincerely. The tour can be tailor-made according to your group size, time, physical condition, plan, interest, budget and every special need. Please feel free to contact us if you need any help!

Recommended Dali Tours

Top 3 Dali tours chosen by most customers to explore Dali in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Our guest Louis J from Belg visited Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Monastery in December 2021

3 Days Dali Classic Tour


Rosa's group from Spain visited Three Pagodas in January 2023 with China Discovery

4 Days Kunming & Dali Highlights Tour by High Speed Train

Kunming / Stone Forest / Kunming / Dali

Our customers TJ Maa's group from USA visited Three Pagodas in Dali, Yunnan, China in 2018.

8 Days Classic Yunnan Tour

Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La

Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once inquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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