The Erhai Lake, coexisting well with the Cangshan Mountain, is the second largest lake of Yunnan Province, while the Dianchi Lake ranking the first. It goes in the north from Jiangwei Village of Eryuan County to Xiaguan of Dali in the south, and is as long as 41.5 kilometers from the northern end to the southern end. It covers an area of about 251 square kilometers, with an altitude of 1,972 meters. It is called Erhai Lake because it has a shape of an ear of human beings. On the Tuanshan Mountain of the southern end of Erhai Lake there is an Erhai Park. The Park is an ideal place to enjoy the sight of Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake.
Looking down from the sky, you will find Erhai Lake is just like a crescent lying quietly between Cangshan Mountain and the Basin of Dali. In the Erhai Lake there are 3 islands, 4 islets, 5 lakes and 8 bendings. It is a lake from the sinking of faultages. The water is so clear that you can even see the lake bed. With such a high transparence, Erhai Lake has been called the "flawless and beautiful jade lying among mountains"from the ancient times. It is said that there grows a very big jade cabbage on the sea bed. The clear water is in fact the jade fluid coming from the heart of the cabbage.
Between Erhai Lake and Cangshan Mountain lies a fan- shaped flat alluvial basin. In the basin are fertile farmlands and many villages, and stand the Three Towers of the Chongsheng Temple. The basin has beautiful natural views, key points of interests and colourful folk-customs, and thus gains the good name "scenery gallery".
Enter into the Park from the small dock and climb the mountain along the stone steps. At the top of the mountain you will see the Sea Watching Pavilion with flying eaves. You can stroll in the corridor of the Pavilion and look as far as you can. All the scenery of Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake will be in your eyes.
Finally, as far as the natural sights in Dali are concerned, the most featured ones are the views with coexisting mountains and waters. The water mentioned here is in fact Erhai Lake, the lake on the altiplano. So if you come to visit Dali, you should not fail to enjoy the beautiful sights of Erhai Lake.
- When you are at Erhai Lake, it is advisable to visit the fishing villages of Bai people nearby, which is the few fishing villages on the altiplano. The famous movie of 1950s, the Five Golden Flowers, reflected the life here.
- Erhai Park in Xiaguan was designed and built for tourists to sea Erhai Lake. You can get there from any place in the city proper by taxi and that will only cost you 5 yuan. If you are interested, you can take ships there to visit Erhai. There are wooden ships and yachts. Remember to bargain before you get aboard.
- Ordinary boats do not go to the Nanzhao Love Islands. They usually come back after arriving at Golden Shuttle Island, Small Putuo Island and Kwan-yin Pavilion. If you rent boats, safety is the most important. When it is summer and autumn, especially when Husband Awaiting Clouds turn up on the Cangshan Mountain, it is better for you not to go on the sea.