It's a long trip by land, made longer by the fact that they're doing road work on the way to Dali. I usually take the night bus which is about a 14 hour journey right now. Tickets are about ¥200 and you leave from the west long distance bus station near majie.
The fast way is to fly up there. Takes about 50 minutes.
The Compass Cafe serves up the best western breakfast I've ever had in China. And the Noah Inn has nice clean rooms if you need a place to stay.