Picturesquely situated on Lake Erhai with a backdrop formed by the peaks of the 50km long Cang Shang range, Dali is a great place for some gentle-paced exploration and a little relaxation. Covering only about 4 sq km, much of Dali is contained by the remains of its Mingdynasty walls. Sightseeing in Dali and surrounds includes a cruise on Lake Erhai, some orientation stops at some ancient temples and villages, a visit to Butterfly Spring - a popular spot surrounded by a marble ballustrade and overhung by an ancient tree that produces butterfly-like flowers and the famous Three Pagodas. Built when the region was a major Buddhist centre, Dali’s distinctively tall pagodas remain upright, despite wars and earthquakes. The largest of them - Qianxun tower dates back to 824 AD, some hundred years older than the two smaller octagonal pagodas behind, is 64m high, and is embellished with Buddhas made from local richly veined marble on each of its 16 levels. Whilst sealed (preventing entrance inside), in any case the pagodas are best seen from a distance to take in their sheer size. Back in Dali,enjoy some free time exploring the old section of the town.
Overnight: Dali | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner