Erhai Lake, which in ancient times was called Kunming Pool, Weihe River and Ye Yuze, is located in Dali City, Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province. The name means, 'sea shaped like an ear', in Chinese, implying that the lake is ear shaped and as large as a sea, and hence it was so named. The general lake area is about 246 square kilometers, and the water storage capacity is about 2.95 billion cubic meters. It is a long, narrow lake, starting from the southern end of Wuyuan County in the north, and ending in Xiaguan, Dali City in the south. It is 40 kilometers long from the north side to south side. It is the largest highland lake next to Dianchi and one of the seven biggest freshwater lakes in China.

Quick Facts
  • Chinese name: 洱海 Ěr hǎi
  • Constructed: The end of the ice age
  • Suggested time: more than 3 hours
  • Ticket: Tickets are free, the tour bus route is 128 yuan per person, the cruise ticket is 120 yuan per person
  • Address: 1 south Erguan Road, Dali City
  • Open hours: 9.00 – 18.00
  • Best time to visit: Spring
  • How to get there:
    You can walk there from the ancient city of Dali, or take the No. 11 bus and get off at Longshan Market stop, or take a taxi or a carriage (consult the price with the driver and horse keeper in advance, private bus charges 1 yuan per person, the carriage can take about 10 people, about 4 yuan per person)

Highlights of Erhai

The lake is located to the east of the ancient city of Dali, at the foot of the Cang Mountain. The water is blue, and it is famous for its superb landscape and the unique villages and towns on the lakeshore. The classical views in Dali are the breeze in Xiaguan blowing blossoms in Shangguan, and the moonshine in Erhai shining over the snow on Cang Mountain. So don’t miss the beautiful lake if you are in Dali.

ride around the lakeRide on the lake

Cycling around the lake

Most tourists who visit here will choose to cycle around the lake. The route is about 120 kilometers. Bicycles and electric cars are available. If you plan to go around the whole lake, it is recommended that you choose an electric car, which makes it easy and fast. The blue sky is with you along the lake tour, and the scenery along the lake is first-class. When you encounter such a beautiful scene, just pick up the camera, take pictures and a selfie to record your tour.

Boat Ride on the lake

boat on the lakeBoat Ride on the lake

It is easier and more leisurely to take a boat trip than to ride a bike. The three piers, Longyan Wharf, Taoyuan Wharf, and Xiaguan Wharf, are all available for cruises. You can also watch the Three Courses Tea Performance on board. The three terminals are along the same cruises route. The scenic spots that pass through basically cover the small Putuo, Jinsuo Island, Nanzhao Fengqing Island. Visitors can go to the island. In addition, in the towns of Shuanglang and Caicun, you can find local fishermen sailing their small fishing boats in the lake. There is no fixed route, and watch out for strong winds.

Lake View Hotels

There are many fancy and traditional hotels, and Airbnb along this lake. Imagine this: when you open the curtains, the scene of the lake is just in front of you, and the breeze gently touches your cheeks. On the balcony, you can enjoy the Three Courses Teas, delight in the beautiful scenery of the lake, and enjoy chatting with your lover or friends. What a way to enjoy the leisurely and slow life of the small town!

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