Kunming is 315 kilometers away from Dali. If you have a car, it will take 4 hours to reach Dali from Kunming. Traveling by a sleeper train takes 7 hours. Currently, there is no high-speed bullet train from Kunming to Dali to Lijiang. If there is a bullet train, for sure it will only take one and half hour to reach Dali and 2 hours to reach Lijiang.
For me, I think taking a train is better than flying. Well, if you are in business trip, then flying is a good choice. But if you’re a tourist, we recommend you to experience traveling by train. It’s just one sleep away and you’ll be there the next time you wake up anyway.
It only takes 1 hour to fly from Kunming International Airport to Dali Airport. This route is served by China Southern, China Eastern Airlines and Lucky Air. Lucky Air offers the cheapest fare from 200 CNY.
Airport is quite far from downtown Kunming. It will take 30 minutes from the railway station to the airport by taxi and fare is ranging from 140 to 200 CNY. There is an airport bus (white color) in front of the railway station in Kunming. Departure is every 30 minutes and it will take another 30 minutes for you to get there.
Bus fare is around 120 CNY and is 6 hours trip from Kunming to Dali. I better sleep by train and spend my night traveling.
This is the best option for budget travelers. Train tickets for hard sleeper is way cheaper than flying. You can also save one night staying in a hotel. travel time is 7 hours so make sure you book the right schedule for your trip. You can book in advance in Travel China Guide to avoid any hassle in your train travel.
If you want some comfort in traveling by train, you can book a soft sleeper train. The only difference is, your bed is a little bit softer and bigger. And there are only 4 beds in each berth. In some trains, you can close the door in your berth.
Also, don’t lose your ticket while in the train. Somebody will inspect it and give you a plastic card. The reason they do that is for them to inspect passenger tickets and to make sure you will not miss your destination.