Erhai Lake

Erhai Lake is the largest highland lake next to Dianchi and one of the seven biggest fresh water lakes in China. It means, 'sea shaped like an ear', in Chinese. Implying that the lake is ear shaped and as large as a sea, hence it was so named.
Peaceful Erhai Lake
Erhai Lake Pictures
Erhai Lake, Dali
Erhai, the second largest lake in Yunnan

The Erhai Lake covers an area of 250 square kilometers (96 square miles) and is located about two kilometers (1.2 miles) east of Dali. It is like a crescent lying between Cangshan and Dali city as seen from Cangshan Mountain. In a sunny day, the crystal waters of Erhai Lake and the snow mantled Cangshan Mount radiate with each other. Thus the scene was commonly described as 'Silver Cangshan and Jade Erhai'.The surrounding islands, temples and villages are worth visiting too.

Erhai Lake Map
Erhai Lake Map

Golden Shuttle Island (Jinsuo Dao), and the nearby fishing community of Bai Minority do really deserve a visit with its attractive Bai culture and lifestyle, and because of the rare beauty of Erhai Lake and its surrounding scenery.

The most unforgettable Xiaoputuo Dao, originally devoted to Bodhisattva Kwan-yin, can be traced back to the 15th century. Though tiny and called xiao (which means small in Chinese), one can still experience and see the typical ancient Chinese Buddhist temple's unique architectural styles of its buildings' pointed eaves and decorations on this peninsular.

To give the people and tourists alike the convenience of watching the lake, Erhai Lake Park was built. In spring, the place is transformed into a wonderland of flowers like camellias, azaleas and primrose, and abundant exotic trees.

It's quite popular to take an Erhai Lake Cruise to enjoy the scenery, and there are three wharfs around the lake to embark.
island on the lake
One of many island on the Lake
Vast Erhai Lake
Fishing in the lake

Erhai Lake Cruise

Route Ticket Fare Time
Daligang Wharf - Shuanglang Wharf CNY 142 9:00
Daligang Wharf - Xizhou Wharf 9:00
Xizhou Wharf - Shuanglang Wharf 10:20; 11:00; 13:15
Xizhou Wharf - Daligang Wharf 16:30
Shuanglang Wharf - Daligang Wharf 15:00
Daligang - Daligang Wharf 13:30; 15:30
Shuanglang - Shuanglang Wharf 13:30

How to get to Erhai Lake from Dali Ancient City

1. Take a taxi and the fare is around CNY 10.
2. Rent a bike or electric bike to the lake area.
Entrance Fee for free (Erhai Park)
CNY 30 (Resource Protection Fare)
Time for a Visit
40 minutes
Opening Hours All day

 Further Reading:
Top 10 Things to Do in Dali

Top 10 Things to Do in Yunnan

In-depth Guide to Top 10 Yunnan Destinations

- Last updated on May. 13, 2024 by Gabby Li -
Questions & Answers on Erhai Lake
Asked by Ixuan from MALAYSIA | Nov. 20, 2023 22:18Reply
How long for full loop the er hai lake?
1) plan to run 1 loop the lake, is there pedestrian lane or i have to run on the road?

2) is the any chance for me to see canola in May?
Answers (1)
Answered by Green | Nov. 22, 2023 00:48

1. A circle around Erhai Lake is 120 kilometers and some parts have pedestrian lanes.

2. Generally, you can see it in Feb. and Mar. But in May, it is very beautiful.
Asked by hyowon from REPUBLIC OF KOREA | Jul. 12, 2019 19:06Reply
What is the difference between those three wharfs of Erhai Lake?
1. What is the difference between those three wharves?
2. Which one do you recommend?
3. Are those wharves depart only in the time you have written in this page?
(9:00, 10:00, 13:00)
Answers (1)
Answered by Liam from MALAYSIA | Jul. 19, 2019 00:01

You can enjoy a longer cruise from Daligang or Longkan wharf and the destination will be Taiyuan Wharf. You can also take a short cruise in Longkan wharf. There is only one long cruise in every wharf per day at the time on this page.
Asked by HANICK | May. 21, 2018 11:49Reply
Hello, can I swimm in the lake? And is there any really good place to swimm?
We will be in Dali around 13th of June and our plan is to rent a bike and bike around the lake (which direction is the easier to choose, clockwise or?) and also have a little swimm in the see. I expect the water to be around 17C to it is quite good. Yeah and please, can you tell me where and for how much can we rent a proper bike wich derailleur? Thank you in advance for all the answers!! Cheers, Hana, Czech republic
Answers (2)
Answered by William from AUSTRALIA | May. 24, 2018 20:52

Yes, clockwise is better because there are not many uphill roads. You can rent one in Dali city or some hotels near the gate of the lake. The fare is about CNY 20 to CNY 30, but the deposit of CNY 300 is necessary.

Many people choose to swim in Haixin Pavilion of the Guanshan Park of the lake. The temperature may be 15 - 18 C at noon in June.
Answered by HANICK | May. 26, 2018 04:03

Thank you a lot, this is really helpful information to me! Have a nice day, Hana
Asked by Ralph from MSIA | Dec. 13, 2017 20:20Reply it possible for us to visit Er Hai Lake from Dali Old Town?
Any public transportation to Erhai Lake? Please advise. Thanks!
Answers (1)
Answered by Selina from FINLAND | Dec. 14, 2017 19:38

Of course you can pay a visit to the lake from the town. Take Bus 8 to Xinhua Shudian and transfer to Bus 22. Get off at Erhai Gongyuan. It takes about 50 minutes, by the way.
Asked by Kanny from VIETNAM | Mar. 16, 2017 01:10Reply
Which is most beautiful part of Erhai Lake that you recommend?
Since the lake is too large and we have limited time to go around.
Answers (1)
Answered by Daniel from CANADA | Mar. 17, 2017 01:36

You are advised to tour around the southeast part. This part includes major attractions including Erhai Park, Haidong, Xiaoputuo Island, Tianjingge and Shuanglang. Have a nice trip!
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