This is one of the many things I love about travel. That as you go further and further, you realize how attainable things are. You can be a person who looks at a picture in a magazine and thinks “Oh how pretty” before turning the page and running for your car keys when you see an ad announcing that your preferred brand of kitty litter is on sale, or you can be the person who does not turn the page and instead brings the magazine to her laptop and begins Googling to figure out the logistics of getting there. I will always be the latter. How could I not be when this exists:
The pagodas were built during the Tang Dynasty and are part of Chongsheng Temple complex. It is a very large area featuring beauty all over the place.
Here is Chongsheng temple:
What could be more beautiful? How about THIS picture of the pagodas from the other side with the Cangshan Mountains in the background?
Or how about THIS view with the pagodas reflecting in a lake?
Do you see what I mean here? Totally worth traveling to Dali for.
You used to be able to enter the main pagoda and climb up, but the ladder is now broken so the best you can do is gaze lovingly from the ground. Trust me, there could not possibly be a better view from inside, because if you are inside, you cannot see the pagodas.
The entry fee of 121 RMB ($19.51 USD) is a bit steep by China standards. To give you a comparison, those beautiful mountains in the background? Those are Cangshan mountains. The entry fee is 40 RMB ($6.45 USD) and a cable car up will cost you an additional 50 RMB ($8.06 USD). So for 90 RMB ($14.51), you get to take a cable car ride and explore a mountain. You can also just pay the entry fee and hike up if you wish to do so, making it one third the cost of seeing the pagodas.
Personally for me, seeing the pagodas was worth the high cost. I have day dreamed about seeing them in person. Today may be the longest time I have ever sat and just stared at something. I could not believe I was seeing this or that it looked just as beautiful in person as it did in a guide book. Dali was kind enough to give me such a beautiful sky as a background.