How much does it cost to visit Dali, China? Let’s find out.
I spent two nights in Dali. I arrived early morning on day one and left early morning on day three.
How did I travel to Dali? I flew from Kunming. There are bus and train options which are way cheaper. But one of the benefits of being employed full time is that you can justify these splurges in order to get a few more hours in a destination.
While here, I stayed at the Dragonfly Inn (Hi Lorelai and Sookie!) in a private room with private bathroom.
I visited Butterfly Spring, Cangshan Mountain, Er Hai Lake and Congsheng Temple complex, which includes the Three Pagodas.
Please note: I have been keeping a tally of what I have spent in RMB. As I type this up, I then figure out the USD cost. Since rates fluctuate always, there most likely will be future posts where the RMB amount stays the same, but the USD cost differs.
Ways this could have been cheaper:
Public transport for sure. I had my hostel set up a driver to pick me up from the airport (120 RMB = $19.35 USD) and to again take me from the hostel to the train station when leaving (60 RMB = $9.67 USD.) I do not regret the airport pick up, I do regret the train station drop off. The bus would have been a straight shot and cost under $1 USD.
I also took transportation that would not have been taken had I not gotten horribly lost and needed help.
Learning how to read: When I did not notice the exit sign at Butterfly Spring, I walked in that direction for about half an hour, completely lost looking for entrance into the park. By the time I finally figured out my huge error, I was so annoyed that I laid out 20 RMB to take a shuttle ride to the top.
Being a physically fit full time traveler: If you want to, you could hike up Cangshan Mountain rather than take a cable car. When you are not physically fit, nor do you have a full day to devote to this, you will spend more money zipping up in a cable car.
Hotel: I strongly prefer private rooms with private bathrooms. Had I been willing to budge on either of these items, the cost would have been cheaper. Even more so had I been willing to budge on both.
ATM Charge: Every time I have gone to the ATM so far this trip, I have been hit with a $2.50 ATM fee and a $2.50 fee to check my balance. I have never checked my balance. I don’t know if this is a China issue or a my-bank issue. Either way, it counts as cost. I only went to the ATM once in Dali.
Sightseeing: Congsheng Temple complex is pretty expensive by China standards. Had I chosen to just stand outside the entrance to get a photo of the Three Pagodas, I would have saved 121 RMB (plus an additional 30 for the shuttle to the top inside.) But I wanted to see these pagodas way too badly to settle for taking a picture from outside.