Dali is a city in Yunnan Province in China famous for its old town and handicrafts. It consists of Dali New City and Dali Old Town. Travellers visit Dali Old Town for its traditional architecture, minority cultures (mostly Bai but also with many Yi and Hui) and simply to relax. There is actually much to do and see in Dali City well outside the Old Town.
With the beautiful Cangshan Mountains a short distance to the west of Dali Old Town (4,200 metres at the peak) and Erhai Lake a few km to the east, it has a perfect natural setting. The climate is temperate with moderate summers and mild winters, though it can get rather windy in autumn and winter.
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Dali Old Town is small enough to get around on foot, and being laid out in a grid format it is relatively easy to navigate. The major landmarks are the South and North Gates with Fuxing Road running between them, and Yangren Street (Westerner's Street) lined with cafés and tourist shops. As you look at the mountains and face west, the lake is at your back, or east. This method of orientation makes even more sense when you realize that the entire town gently slopes from the mountains to the lake, making those two landmarks a natural way to find your bearings.
Tang Dynasty Three Pagodas, Offering one of the best preserved Buddhist structures in China. However, the compounds behind the pagodas were destroyed during the 1920s earthquake and later in the Cultural Revolution and were rebuilt starting in 1986. The Central Pagoda is almost 1200 years old and represents a period when Dali was a Buddhist Kingdom. They are part of The Chongsheng Temple.
The Chongsheng Temple is a massive complex that continues far up the mountain, where a climb to the top of the pagodas rewards with a beautiful overlook of Dali Ancient Town and Erhai Lake. The Tang Dynasty Three Pagodas is part of Chongsheng Temple.
Erhai Lake. Visit Guanyin Temple and several islands. Go with a group and enjoy a great day out. Boats can be easily arranged as the owners come into town to drum up business and you can see what you are getting from the photobooks they carry.