Dali is a lovely town in southwest China in the Yunnan province. This town used to be one of the backpackers' sanctuaries in China, and although it hasn't lost its magic, is getting more touristic and crowded. Anyway, you won't be disappointed with the town and the surroundings. You have the mountains and the mystic Erhai Lake and a lot of cultural aspects and sights to explore. If you like nature, this is the right place -- a few great hikes in the mountains or just cycling along the Erhai Lake is mandatory, don't miss anything.
The old town is surrounded by fortified walls and there is an easy walk that goes around the walls. A few kilometers north of Dali, you can find the Three Pagodas, one of the symbols of the town -– unfortunately you can only visit the outside area of the pagodas. Around Dali there are plenty of markets, so if you have the time, take half a day to explore one. If you have limited time in Dali, remember that nature makes this place really special -- trekking, cycling, or just crossing the lake on a small boat should be on the top of your priorities.
The best way to get in and out of Dali is by train, with one overnight sleeper train running from Kunming to Xiaguan. There are also buses that cover the entire province, but be sure to confirm that your bus goes all the way to Dali (many stop in Xiaguan). There is also one airport near Xiaguan that you can easily reach by taxi from Dali.
The hostels in Dali are usually very crowded during summer, so if you are traveling during this season, make sure you book in advance. Dali's hostels have average facilities and be prepared to trade cleanliness for price. The staff in Dali hostels seem to be too used to backpackers and usually they won't be a great help for your trip.
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the Hostelz.com local expert for Dali hostels. Welcome.