Dali Erhai Lake, the Ear-shaped Sea, offers a beautiful landscape and water which is crystal clear. For this reason, it is common to hear the “Pearl of Plateau” and “Jade Erhai Lake” in reference to the lake near Dali, Yunnan Province in China.
Dali Erhai Lake, aka the Ear-shaped Sea, offers a beautiful landscape and crystal clear water; therefore, it is common to hear the names “Pearl of Plateau” and “Jade Erhai Lake” as well. The “Silver Cangshan Mountain” is another common name since it is located at 1972 meters above sea level. In Yunnan, only the Dianchi Lake is larger than the Dali Erhai Lake.
The landscape of the Erhai Lake includes nine bends, five lakes, three islands, and four continents. The lake runs from Dongchuan in the north with its south end at the Xiaguan city. It is 9 km in width and 40 km in length. On the east bank of the lake, you can find the Wase Village, Shuanglang village, and the Haidong village while the west bank has the Shangguan Flower Garden, Zhoucheng, Three Pagados of Dali, Dali Old Town, Butterfly Spring, and Xizhou Ancient Town. Hiking and cruising by boat are the two ways of exploring the Erhai Lake.
Where should you explore in Erhai Lake?
Nanzhao Folk Island
Nanzhao Folk Island, also known as the Nanzhao Love Island, is one of the three islands in Erhai Lake. There are 8 man-made sites to see on this island including Nanzhao Summer Palace, the Guanyin Acuoye Statue, the Taihu Rocks, Square of the Patron Gods, the Statues of “Mother Shayi”, etc. You can enjoy a 2-hour visit to this island for a fee of 50 Yuan.
Little Putuo Island
Little Putuo Island is the smallest island, which is very close to Wase Village. One of the greatest attractions of this island is the Ming-dynasty Little Putuo Temple. Worshippers can visit either of the two floors available in the temple to worship Avalokiteshvara or Buddha Bodhisattva.
Jinsuo Island, literally translated as the “golden shuttle”, is also home to the Jade Dragon Palace. There is also a Yinshuo Island, the silver shuttle, which is smaller located at the southeast of the Jinsuo Island. The Three Courses of Tea which the Bai houses provide is something to enjoy. You will need to pay a 20 Yuan entrance fee to visit the island.
If you want to get a great view of the Jade Erhai Lake and the Silver Cangshan Mountain, then the Luoquan Peninsula is an excellent location to visit. Other attractions include the Guanyin Pavilion and the Luonquan Temple. The entry ticket fee for the Luoquan Peninsula is 30 Yuan.
There are two viewing decks available in this park which are the Long Corridor and the Observation Pavilion. There are 270 stone steps that you should climb to this location for an excellent view of the Cangshan Mountains and the Ehrai Lake.
Xizhou Ancient Town
If you want to learn a lot about the Bai people, then Xizhou Ancient Town is one place to visit. The sights include Bai houses, architecture. Besides, you can explore the “Three Courses of Tea” of the Bai people. The Yan Family Courtyard also holds a lot of historical values worth learning about.
Zhoucheng is the Land for National Tie-dye, which makes it a popular stop for travelers who are interested in learning the cloth-making techniques utilizing tie-dye. You can find out about traditional techniques through a visit to any Bai Family workshop.
Fishing serves as the most prominent source of income of the Bai ethnic people who are locals in Shuanglang.
Erhai Lake Cruise
There are two recommended ways to travel when visiting Erhai Lake. You can choose from either a cruise or a cycling method. If you like cruising, you can choose between these options:
Erhai Lake Long Cruise
|Erhai Lake Long Cruise|
|Departure From 8:00 to 9:00||Here, you can choose the Erhai Lake Wharf (Xiaguan Wharf ) as your point of departure. You will have a great time with the Bai People’s Three Courses of Tea when you visit the Nanzhao Folk Island. After this, you will reach the Taoyuan Wharf.|
|Departure From 13:30 – 14:00||From here, you can make a stop at Nanzhao Folk Island, have a great time while sipping the Three Courses of Tea by the Bai people. Around 17:30 – 18:00, you will arrive at the Longkan Wharf.|
Erhai Lake Ecological Cruise
|Departure From 09:00-10:00||You can get to the Longquan Peninsula through the Longkan Wharf by a boat|
|Departure From 09:00-10:00||You can also choose to go to Jinsuo Island instead of the Three Courses of Tea as the main choice.|
|Destination||Between 12:30 – 13:00, you should be at the Taoyuan Wharf.|
|Departure From14:00~14:30||Leave from the Wharf and stop at the Nanzhao Folk Island for the Bai’s Three Courses of Tea.|
|Destination||This cruise will end around 17:30 – 18:00 when you finally get to Longkan Wharf.|
Cycle around Erhai Lake
You can enjoy cycling on the west bank of Erhai Lake. It starts from the Dali Old Town and goes through Three Pagodas and then, makes a stop at Xizhou Old Town. After exploring the town, you can go on to your last stop, Zhoucheng. Once you get to this point, your 23-km journey will be complete and you can have a complete drive back.
|One Circle around Erhai Lake|
|First Day||Your first day will be a 50 Km journey. This 4 hours ride will take you Dali Old Town, Three Pagodas, Xizhou Town, Zhoucheng Village, Taoyuan Dock, Shangguan Town, Shuanglang Village (Nanzhao Island).|
|Second Day||This will be a 6 hours ride during which you will cover 80 kilometers. Places you will go through during this ride include Shuanglang Village, Wase Town (Little Puto Island), Haidong Village, Jinsuo Island, Huanhai Road, Airport Road, Erhai Dock, Haixi Village Highway, Caicun Dock, and Dali Old Town.|
How to get to?
|From Dali Old Town to Caicun Wharf|
|By Taxi||You can take a taxi to complete this 4 km journey (20 Yuan)|
|By Bus||Bus C2 takes travelers to Caicun Wharf from the North Gate.|
|From Dali Old Town to Longkan Wharf|
|By Taxi||There is also a 30 RMB taxi for travelers which goes from the North Gate to Longkan Wharf.|
|By Bus||You can wait at the Regent Hotel Stop for a Bus no. 8 to the Yuexicum Station. The bus No.3 also goes from the North Gate to Longkan Wharf.|
|Resource Protection Fare||30 Yuan|
|Daligang Wharf||143 Yuan|
|Longkan Wharf||142 Yuan|
|Taoyuan Wharf||142 Yuan|
It’s recommended to set aside a full day to enjoy the lake as there are many attractions and activities that you should not miss! Do you have any more information to add? Feel free to leave your comments and thoughts with us. Besides, feel free to leave your questions and our professional guides will reply as soon as possible.