Home: City Guide: Dali: Attractions
Font Size:    

Three Pagodas & Butterfly Spring

Three Pagodas, Dali, Yunnan 

 Three Pagodas

Looking from a distance, the Three Pagodas are like 3 huge paintbrushes standing in the city and coloring Dali with even more splendor.

Tourists can visit the Three Pagodas from 8:00 to 19:00 and the admission fee is CNY 52. If you set out from the Ancient City, you can get there on foot, which takes about half an hour. Also there are buses leaving from Xiaguan directly to Three Pagodas.

Chongsheng Temple, Dali


The Three Pagodas is the cultural symbol of Dali City. Located at the foot of Mt. Cangshan and near the banks of Erhai Lake, the Three Pagodas stands about one kilometer (0.62 mile) west of Dali City. They are three pagodas in tripartite formation and the main pagoda is named Qianxun Pagoda. Like Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Small Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian, Qianxun Pagoda is typical of the Tang Dynasty's (618 - 907) architectural style. It is a 16-storied pagoda enclosed with stone hurdles. To the west of Qianxun Pagoda are two smaller 10-storied pagodas in the same style. During the repairing of the Three Pagodas in the 1970s, more than 600 relics were found, including scriptures, bronze mirrors, golden Buddhas and crystal Buddhas.

Admission Fee:
CNY 90 (including ticket for Chongsheng Temple)
Recommended Time for a Visit:
Two hours
Opening Hours:
08:00 to 19:00


 Butterfly Spring

The mirror-like Butterfly Spring is situated at the foot of Yunnong Peak on Mt. Cangshan, about 27 kilometers (17 miles) north of Dali Ancient City. The spring is a renowned sight close to the beautiful Erhai Lake. An old Chinese tale goes that a beautiful girl fell in love with an honest young man; but unfortunately the local overlord was also in love with the girl. In order not to be parted by the ferocious lord, the couple jumped into the pool together to show their love. The next day, people saw a pair of beautiful butterflies fly over the spring pool. From then on the pool was called Butterfly Spring.

There are not only the two butterflies mentioned above, every April in the Chinese lunar calendar, thousands of butterflies gather here. Also, the young Bai dress up and come to the Butterfly Spring to attend the annual 'Butterfly Meet'. The young men play instruments and sing for the girls they love. The Butterfly Spring has become the symbol of true love in the heart of the Bai people.

Another eye-catching sight here is the 'Butterfly Tree' on the side of the spring. In early April, flowers on the tree bloom like butterflies during the day and close releasing a faint, delicious scent at night. Sometimes, it's impossible to distinguish the flowers and the resting butterflies. Visit Dali during spring (early April is the best time) and you can see this event for yourself, it will be an unforgettable part of your stay here.

Tourists can take buses setting out from the ancient city directly to the spring.

Admission Fee: CNY 36
Recommended Time for a Visit: One hour

I want to say