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Three Pagodas of Dali

Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple

The Three Pagodas of Dali are one of my recommended places to visit here if anyone is planning to explore this beautiful and historical part of far western China.

Having heard of this place through a friend a number of years ago, I was quite excited to actually visit this amazing Chinese heritage site here in the Yunnan Province of China.

Often called the three pagodas, this is also known as The Three Pagodas of the Chongsheng Temple, and it is located in the ancient city of Dali.

Three Pagodas of Dali 

Dali 3 Pagodas
The first lake before the 3 Pagodas here
The three pagoda's date back from the time of the Kingdom of Nanzhao and Kingdom of Dali in the 9th and 10th centuries.

They are also located at the foot of the tenth peak of the mighty Cangshan Mountains and face the west shore of the Erhai Lake of ancient Dali. 

The main pagoda is known as the Qianxun Pagoda which was built during 823-840 AD by king Quan Fengyou (劝丰佑) of the Nanzhao state. It is also 69.13 meters (227 feet) high and is one of the tallest pagodas in China’s history. 

The other two siblings pagodas, built about one hundred years later, stand to the northwest and southwest of Qianxun Pagoda.

They both measure 42.19 meters (140 feet) high and is different from Qianxun Pagoda. The two pagodas are solid and octagonal with ten stories.

The center of each side of every story is decorated with a shrine containing a Buddha statue. The left Pagoda is also seen leaning to one side due to the inadequate strength of the foundation and reminds people of the leaning tower of Pisa. 

There is also a lake behind the pagoda's which is called Juying Chi (聚影池 or Reflection pond) and the pond is known to be able to reflect beautiful images of the three pagodas on a clear day.

For photographers, this is a highly recommended spot to shoot photos, but it is best to come in the early mornings as it can get pretty crowded after about 9.00 am. 

Below are various photos that were taken around the temple and also on the pagodas here while at the bottom, you will find information about the entrance fee and so on.

The best time to visit the Three Pagodas of Sali would be either in autumn, spring or in the summertime.

The trick here is to take the electric car ride to the top of the temple grounds, and slowly walk your way down.

Photos of the Three Pagodas of Dali

Below are various photos of the pagodas taken during my trip here.

Dali Leaning Pagoda
One of the leaning pagodas
Lake at the 3 Pagodas in Dali
First lake at the 3 Pagodas in Dali
Dali Reflection Lake
The Reflection Lake at the Three Pagodas in Dali
Dali 3 Pagodas LeaningDali Three Pagodas

Tiga Pagoda Dali
Front view of the 3 Pagodas in Dali
Photo of Three Pagodas in Dali
Two of the three pagodas
Photo of Three Pagodas of Dali
A close up photo on one of the pagodas.
Information for Three Pagodas of Dali
Historical information in English
Qianxun Pagoda Dali

One of the recommended things to do here is to walk right up to the Pagodas, as the comparison is pretty surreal.

Usually many will just pass the pagodas and head down but if you have the extra time, walk towards the main pagoda and you will see the intense size of the pagoda in close up view. 

Photo of Three Pagodas of Dali
A third lake at the three pagodas
Chongsheng Temple Layout Plan
Layout of the The Chongsheng Temple
Map of Chongsheng Temple
The Chongsheng Temple Map
Dali Chongsheng Temple
The Chongsheng Temple
How To Go To The Three Pagodas of Dali?

Getting to the Three Pagodas of Dali requires you to take a tour van as the public transport here is very limited, namely around the old part of Dali.

If you are visiting Dali on your own, I would recommend you engage a local tour company to move around the place.

At least, they will bring you to the tourist sites worth visiting, but along the way, they will surely make some tourist shop stops. You need not buy anything, just walk in and have a look , that's all.

You can still try to do it solo, meaning, rent a car and self-drive here, or take a local taxi here, but remember that you need to tell the taxi to wait for you and so on.

Honestly, I would recommend to just engage an English speaking tour guide and pay a little more, so you will not be lost or confused at any of the places in Dali.

Three Pagodas of Dali
Entry Fee: 75 Yuan (Free for kids under 1.3 meters)
Electric Car Ride: 30 Yuan 
Opening Hours: 8.00 am to 7.00 pm
Expected Time Here: 3 to 4 Hours 

Map of the Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple in Dali 


For this trip to Dali, I flew to Kunming via AirAsia, and then took an overland trip to Dali on this trip to visit this cultural city which is very rich in culture and heritage.

If you plan to visit Dali, you can do so by direct flights on AirAsia to Kunming, and then overland via train or van to get here.

And again, I will highlight that the Three Pagodas of  Dali are one of the must visit places when you are here. There is no doubt that this is one of the more natural destinations of China. 

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