Dali Travel Advice, Information and Directory
|Health Care||Accessing Money|
|Book Shops||Visa Extensions|
|Internet Access||Postal Services|
Health, Doctors and Pharmacies in Dali
There are several pharmacies around Dali. The most convenient one is on Fuxing Lu, beween Renmin Lu and Huguo Lu.
In case of sickness, ask for help at the reception of your hotel. If you need urgent medical attention, then the Dali Prefecture People’s Hospital (located in the main city of Xiaguan, not Dali Old Town) is the hospital that is usually recommended for foreigners.
Accessing Money in Dali
There are several ATMs that accept foreign cards in Dali and ATMs almost always have a choice between English or Chinese operating language. There’s a 24-hour ATM at the Bank of China outlet at #333 Fuxing Lu (between Renmin Lu and Huguo Lu). You can also exchange money there during business hours (9am-5pm).
Book Shops in Dali
There are quite a few places to try for English-language reading material in Dali. Many cafes and guesthouses have a small selection for purchase or trade. Mandarin Books & CDs (on Fuxing Lu, between Huguo Lu and Renmin Lu) has a small range of English books as well as maps of Dali and other destinations in Yunnan Province.
There are also two outlets of The Bookworm Dali, both of which stock a decent range of used titles, including a good supply of guidebooks. Shop I is at #46 Bo’Ai Lu (just south of the intersection with Renmin Lu), while Shop II is at #60 Renmin Lu (just east of the intersection with Ye Yu Lu). Visit their website for more information.
Visa Extensions in Dali
The Public Security Bureau that handles visa extensions in Dali is in the main town of Xiaguan (not in Dali Old Town). The PSB is located on Dali Lu, a few hundred meters south of the intersection with Wenhua Lu. From Dali Old Town, take Bus #8 from Yuer Lu. You can get off at the North Bus Station and walk south along Dali Lu from there. Or else keep an eye out for the building with the large steel structure resembling the Eiffel Tower on top (this is the PSB), and get off as soon as you see it.
Internet Access in Dali
Almost all guesthouses and many cafes in Dali have public computers where you can use the internet. Sometimes this is free, but otherwise it only costs ¥4 – ¥8 per hour. Many cafes and guesthouses also have free wireless internet access, including Cafe de Jack.
Post Offices and Courier Services in Dali
The Chinese postal service is generally quite efficient. Postcards or letters sent from Dali will usually take around 10-12 working days to reach North America, Europe or Australia. Parcels will take a bit longer. If you need things to be sent urgently then you can use China Post’s Express Mail Service (EMS).
There are a couple of China Post outlets in Dali Old Town. The most convenient one is on the corner of Fuxing Lu and Huguo Lu (#341 Fuxing Lu; Open 8am-5:30pm). In addition to postal services it is also possible to make Western Union transfers at this branch.
Phone Calls to and From Dali
The international phone code of China is “86” and the area code of Dali is “0872”. If you call to Dali from abroad, you should dial the international access number (usually 00 or “+”), then the code for China “86”, then the code for Dali without the ‘0’ (872), and then the 7-digit city number.
If you call to Dali from inside China, then dial the full Dali code (0872), and then the 7-digit city number.
If you dial a Dali number inside Dali, just dial the 7-digit number, without any prefixes. Note that if you call a Dali landline from a mobile phone while in Dali, you should include the ‘0872’ prefix.
IP (Internet Phone) cards are hard to come by in Dali. If you need to make an international call, you’ll need to pay the often exorbitant rates charged by places such as Cycling Dali (#55 Bo’Ai Lu). Just about every little agency in Dali offers this service, so there’s no shortage of places to make a call at least.
If you plan to stay in Dali for a longer period it is reasonably cheap to buy a SIM card with one of the local operators: China Mobile or China Unicom. The cheapest SIM card usually costs around ¥100-120 and generally includes ¥50 credit. You also pay more depending on how ‘lucky’ your phone number is. Average call charges are ¥0.6 per minute and ¥0.15 per SMS. Once you move outside the city where you bought the card you have to pay slightly higher ‘internal roaming’ charges.
There are China Mobile and China Unicom outlets on Fuxing Lu, between Renmin Lu and Huguo Lu.
Safety in Dali
Dali is generally safe, and it’s unlikely you will encounter any problems. Considering that Dali is a tourist town, it’s surprising how little people hassle you. The major annoyance is touts offering ‘something to smoke’. Of course, the nature of their product means they keep moving rather than persist if you say no. There were apparently reports of solo hikers being mugged in Cangshan Mountain in the past.
Maps of Dali
Probably the best map of Dali is the Trax 2 map. It’s a little low on street detail (not really necessary in Dali) but it gives a great overview of the surrounding area, especially around Erhai Lake. Trax 2 is a small company that is actually based in Dali. A few guesthouses in the town sell the map. Otherwise, you can drop by their office for a copy (#43 Yin Cang Lu [one street north of, and parallel to, Yuer Lu]). The map can also be ordered online from the Trax2 website (www.trax2.com).
Otherwise, there are no real stand-out maps of Dali to recommend. Mandarin Books & CDs (see ‘Book Shops’, above) has a few options.