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Erhai Lake

Erhai Lake Travel Guide

Erhai (literally, Ear Lake), two kilometers east of Dali, is a fresh water lake, and in the middle of it, there are three islets, four sand banks and eight famous sights. "Erhai Moon" is one of the best sights where one can enjoy the moon mirrored on the lake on a clear night. The Erhai Lake is also rich in aquatic animals.
It sits at 1973m above sea level and covers 250 square kilometers, the blue, rippling lake and the snow-covered Cangshan Mountain add radiance and beauty to each other. The scene is, therefore, described as "Silver Cangshan and Jade Erhai".
At the southern-most end of the lake is Erhai Park, which used to be a lonely miniature peninsular on the lake and a hunting resort for the King of the Nanzhao Kingdom.
The park that exists today was built in 1976 and includes an arboretum (with camellia, azalea and rare snow lotus), a zoo, a childrenĀ“s playground, and a public swimming pool. Winding paths weave through the hills in the park.
The spot best for a good view of the Lake from the park is Guanertai, a pagoda that overlooks the surrounding scenery.
Erhai is one of the most fascinating parts of a Dali visit. It is the seventh biggest freshwater lake in China.
Erhai Lake was also known as Yeyuze or Kunming Lake in ancient times.
The lake is an important food source for the local people (Bais), who are famous for their fishing method: their trained cormorants catch fish and return them to fishmongers. The birds are prevented from swallowing their fish by rings fixed around their neck.


The Erhai Lake park can be reached by taking bus No. 6 from Xiaguan. The Lake can also be easily reached by foot or bike from the ancient city in less than 15 minutes.

DCT Tips:

The lakeshore can be explored by hiking. Highlights include Erhai Lake Park and the Butterfly Springs on the Western bank.

Islands on the lake are also available to visits (including Jinsuo Island (Golden Shuttle Island), Xiaoputuo Island, Guanyin Ge and Nanzhao Fengqing Island).

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