Erhai Lake, Yunnan, China

Located in Dali Bai autonomous prefecture of Yunnan province, Erhai lake is one of the seven biggest fresh water lakes in China.. At an elevation of 1972 meters, the lake stretches for 42km from North to South.. Erhai is translated from Chinese as “Ear Sea” (洱 er – ear, 海 hai – sea).. The lake was named so because of its ear-like shape.. Erhai used to be a royal deer ranch for Nanzhao kingdom..

Nanzhao kingdom has vanished centuries ago.. Once a royal deer ranch, today Erhai lake is one of the most famous touristic spots of Yunnan province together with Dali old town.. Thousands of travelers come here every year to enjoy the beautiful scenery and limpid waters of Erhai lake.. It’s about 15 minutes bicycle ride to the lake from the historical town of Dali.. Me, my friend Lily (together with whom I hitchhiked from Thailand to Laos and China) and our couchsurfing host Momo took the bicycles and on a windy November afternoon rode to the lake..

There are boats at Erhai view pier that take visitors for a trip around Erhai (of course, you have to buy the tickets first).. But if you prefer a private boat, local fishermen boats are always an option.. Although it’s forbidden for tourists to take that local boats as it is said on a big sign near the pier, no one really controls it.. On the other hand, it’s a source of income for local villagers.. They often ask a higher price, so it is worth barging..

We didn’t plan to take any boats that day, but the lake was so charming and attractive that eventually we changed our minds.. Momo went to one the local ladies (those ladies who wander around in search of foreigners to offer a boat trip) and after barging for about ten minutes we got a boat for one hour at the price of 20 Chinese yuan.. Barging is part of Chinese culture.. The lady guided us to the boats along the shore.. The boatman was her husband..

The boat made of steel was very old and rusty.. One of the oars was broken.. And yet I enjoyed the trip.. It was a bit windy and the clouds that covered the sky that day, a bit later gave us a chance to witness one of the miracles of Dali and Cangshan mountain.. God’s eye.. Or eyes? The sunbeams from time to time would cut their way through the dark clouds to show us the magnificent beauty of Erhai and its surroundings.. Such a harmonious and peaceful moment!

The picturesque scenery made us feel relaxed and happy.. There was harmony in the air.. The white snow over the Cangshan Mountain and the limpid water of Erhai Lake have earned Dali the fame of “Jade Erhai and Silver Cangshan”.. During a clear night, the moon is mirrored in the lake and it’s hard to say which one is the lake and which one is the sky.. The local Bai people call it the “Erhai Moon” which is one of the four best sights of Dali..

When our boat trip was over, we drove our bicycles back to the pier and after wandering around for a while returned to the old town of Dali with Erhai lake in our hearts..

More photos on Picasa:


4 thoughts on “Erhai Lake, Yunnan, China

    • Thank You! 🙂

      Well, if you you know the real price, then you can bargain, sure.. When I first time traveled in China, I didn’t know any Chinese, so the communication was on hands!:) It works:)

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