Erhai (Lake Er)
Erhai is one of the seven biggest freshwater lakes in all of China and the second-largest highland lake after Dianchi. Parks along the banks of the lake offer hiking and cycling opportunities, but most visitors choose to explore the lake by boat. These tours allow visitors to see cormorant fishing in action as well as visit some of the lake’s many islands and temples. Many sightseeing tours of Dali include a lake cruise, along with a walking tour of Dali Ancient City and a visit to the Bai village of Xizhou.
Things to know before you go
- Erhai Lake is a must-see for first-time visitors to Dali.
- Remember to dress in layers; temperatures are often cooler out on the water.
- Don’t forget to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat.
How to get there
To get to Erhai, catch the No. 2 bus from the North Gate of Dali’s old town or join a guided tour from Dali. Cruises depart from three different wharves around the lake.
When to get there
A mild climate means there’s no bad time to get out and enjoy the lake. The lake is at its most beautiful during spring, when the surrounding park fills with azalea, primrose, and camellia blossoms.
Highlights on the Lake
Erhai Lake packs cultural and natural appeal, with plenty to see during an excursion. Stop at Little Putuo Island to visit a temple; climb to the top for panoramic views of the lake. Golden Shuttle Island is home to a Bai village, where you can see traditional houses and sample some local food.