The first thing to know about Dali is that the "Dali" you arrive at from Kunming is probably not the one you intend to visit!! There are two "Dalis"; Dali City, officially known as Xiaguan is where most buses pull in. The Dali known as a backpackers paradise with cheap beer, music and guesthouses is another 12km away from Xiaguan. Locals like to call that area "the ancient town" or Dali Gucheng. Most visitors arrive in Xiaguan first and then continue on to the real Dali. Xiaguan is also the place most organized tours stay for the night before or after a day tour to Dali.
XIAGUANBy Air: Xiaguan is 380km northwest of Kunming. There is a daily flight from Kunming to Xiaguan and there are also some other limited regional flights. But one thing to note is that the flights to and from Xiaguan may change according to seasons, and during peak seasons there may be more Kunming-Xiaguan flights.
Xiaguan airport is 15km east of the city center. For most travel services, look in Xiaguan. Unfortunately, there are no public buses running to the airport, since the airport is not frequently used. Although sometimes the airport has a shuttle bus running between the city and the airport, the bus does not run on a regular basis. The best way to get away from the airport to the city is by taking a taxi. This costs around RMB80 and takes 30 minutes.
Ticketing: On the main road of Xiaguan, Jianshe Lu, most of the hotels and travel agents have ticketing services.
By Train: There is a train which runs daily between Kunming and Xiaguan, In peak seasons there may be another additional train running and schedules may be rearranged. For schedules and fares, see attached. The train from Kunming takes over 8 hours and it is much more efficient and convenient to make the journey by bus.
Although Bus Nos. 6,8,10,11 all run to the railway station which is located not far from the city center on the east, the best way to get to the railway station is still by taxi, from almost any point of the city, you can get to the station for RMB5 and it takes less than 10 minutes.
Ticketing office: There is a ticketing office which sells train tickets to Kunming only. This office is located in the lobby of 35108 Army Guesthouse, which is on Jianshe Lu near Guanping Jie. Opening Hours: 9:30-17:30.The ticketing office for inter-provincial trains (trains to and from Kunming) is on 21 Jianshe Lu, inside the main bus station Tel: 2189330 . Open daily 9:00-18:00.
By Bus: Most travelers choose to travel to Xiaguan from Kunming by bus. For more information, see the Kunming section of our site!
There are three major bus stations in Xiaguan, all on the same street, Jianshe Lu.
A. The biggest bus station is the Dali Central Bus Terminal (Dalishi Keyun Zongzhan) on 21 Jianshe Lu. Most of the Gaokuai (express and expensive!) buses start from here and there is a separate waiting hall for fast buses away from the normal buses. Gaokuai buses leave for Kunming every 30 minutes between 7:30-20:00. The price varies according to the type of vehicle from RMB89-RMB103.The trip takes 5 hours.
Gaokuai Buses to Lijiang cost RMB50 and leave 4 times a day from this station 8:30,9:30, 14:00,19:00, the trip takes merely 3 hours.
Gaokuai Buses to Zhongdian cost RMB85 and leave at 9:00 and 15:00, the trip takes 9 hours.
There are numerous other buses running to these cities, that are cheaper but slower, the schedule may vary according to season. Call 2189330 for updated information.
B. The second largest station is called the Transportation Service Terminal (Keyun Fuwu Zhan), there are some express and other buses leaving from here, most of the Kunming buses arrive at this station. For a schedule see attached.
C. The third bus station is on Jianshe Lu, opposite the biggest one and beside the Dayun Hotel, also know as Dayun station. Express buses do not use this station but normal buses to and from Kunming (RMB50) and other destinations are available from here. The schedules and services are not reliable however.
A. Public bus: there are some 10 public routes in Xiaguan, the bus fare is RMB0.5 for most of the buses and help-your-self ticketing. Few buses run to a strict schedule but most end at around 9:30pm and starts at about 6:30am
B.Taxi: The meters for Taxis in Dali are only for decoration! If you insist on using them, the starting fare for the first 3 KM is RMB5. After 10PM the starting fare is RMB6. The truth is that with RMB5 you can get to almost all the major places in town. To rent a taxi should cost about RMB300 for the day.
THE ANCIENT CITY OF DALI
From Xiaguan: The ancient town is about 12 Km from Xiaguan. The easiest method of transport is bus. Bus No.4 starts opposite the Dali Hotel on the intersection of Jianshe Lu and Renmin Lu. Buses run between 6:30-8:00 and costs RMB1.2 . The trip takes 40 minutes.
Another option is to take a mini bus from the intersection of Jianshe Lu and Wenhua Lu, the numerous mini bus costs RMB 1.5 and takes 30 minutes. The minibuses run later than the normal bus. Bus No.8 runs between the railway sta
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