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As a famous tourist destination in Yunnan Province, Dali is easily accessible by air, train, and bus. The transportation in the city is also very convenient for visitors.
For most travelers traveling within Yunnan Province, the most convenient way is flying from Kunming to Dali, and then getting from Dali to Lijiang by bus or private car.
Dali Airport offers direct flights to and from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Kunming, and Xishuangbanna.
It is 13 kilometers (8 miles) from Xiaguan (the modern district of Dali City), and about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Dali Ancient City. Airport shuttle buses are available. If traveling by taxi, the cost is 80–100 yuan.
The station is located in the downtown area of Dali City, about 18 kilometers (11 miles) from Dali Ancient City. You can take bus 8 from the station to the ancient city. It costs about 50 yuan by taxi.
Read the train schedule for Dali Railway Station.
Dali Bus Station is the largest bus station in Dali. The station runs buses between Kunming and Dali (4–5 hours) as well as between Lijiang and Dali (about 3 hours).
There are daily long-distance buses to Dali at all bus stations in Kunming. The buses from Kunming to Dali will stop at Xiaguan (Dali New City) but not at the ancient city of Dali. From Xiaguan Bus Station, located at 21 Jianshe Road, you can take bus 4 direct to the ancient city.
Dali Ancient City is an excellent walking place, and getting around by foot is the best way to get up close and personal with the locals and their traditional way of life.
Of course, sometimes you'll need to move around more quickly or cover great distances, for which you can use bicycles, buses, or taxis.
Biking is a great way to explore the ancient town at your own pace, and to get to nearby spots, such as Erhai Lake and Xizhou.
It is convenient to rent bikes at many guesthouses and rental huts around town. The rental cost is 10–30 yuan per day depending on the bike's quality. Bikes vary greatly in quality so shop around for the best deal.
Read more information about biking in Dali.
Buses can get you to the main spots of Dali conveniently. For instance, you can take bus 4 or 8 from central Xiaguan to the ancient city, taking about 30 minutes and costing 1.5 yuan.
You can take minibuses to locations that are outside the town, such as to Butterfly Spring, Shaping, and Xizhou.
Taxis are a quick, convenient way to get around Dali City. Taxis in Dali Ancient City generally cost 5 yuan for a trip up to 3 kilometers (1.8 miles). The drivers don’t usually charge by the meter for locations that are outside the old town, and the prices can be negotiable.
Here are some fares for your reference: