I will be going to Dali this December. I would like to know the places of attractions which I can visit. I did a search on Erhai but the admission fees seem to vary from RMB 5-10 and some sites show that there is a RMB 40 resource conservation fee. Can someone advise me? Thanks!
Er Hai is big, and there are many sites you can visit in the area, they are not all the same price.
You will only pay the conservation fee if you go into conservation areas.
Some sites, like Xi Hu, will cost over 100.
As you say, the whole thing is a bit complex, but I wouldn't sweat most fees as they are quite low.
I would avoid the package trips, usually offered by hotels and guest houses, as you lose your independence. There is plenty to do within walking distance (5km) of the old town.