Erhai Lake Cruise

Erhai Lake is the largest highland lake next to Dianchi and one of the seven biggest fresh water lakes in China. It has its feature shaped as a human’s ear, whose surface equals 250 kilometers square, running from Dengchuan in the north with its south end at the Xiaguan city. It is 9 kilometers in width and 40 kilometers in length. The landscape of the Erhai Lake includes nine bends, five lakes, three islands, and four continents. Because of its crystal clear water and the charming landscape, it is also titled as “Pearl of Plateau”. Taking a cruise is an enjoyable way to immerse yourself in the beauty of Erhai Lake. There are three piers around the lake, Xiaguan Pier(下关码头), Taoyuan Pier(桃园码头), and Longkan Pier(龙龛码头). 

About the Ships on Erhai Lake

Taoyuan Wharf of Erhai Lake in Dali City

The branch company of Erhai cruises owns large luxury catamaran tourist ships such as Dujuan(杜鹃号), Cangshan(苍山号), Dayun(大运号), Erhai No.1(洱海一号), Erhai No.2(洱海二号), etc, which are the largest, highest class, fully equipped and fastest cruise ship in Yunnan province, with a rated capacity ranging from 400 to 950 passengers. They have a lot of private rooms for you to choose from. Additional charges will be imposed depending on the size of the room. Otherwise, just find a seat under the sun which is free. The cruise ship is equipped with KTV private rooms, ethnic singing and dancing performance hall, commercial department and five golden flower photography department and other multi-functional facilities.On the cruise ship, there will be a performance of “Three Course Tea” with strong ethnic characteristics, which will let you appreciate the unique ethnic customs and dances of the Bai people. 

Three Piers of Erhai Lake Cruise

Xiaguan Pier(下关码头)

Also called Erhai Lake Pier, Xiaguan pier is located in the Dongnanyan of the Erhe River in Dali, covers an area of 4.4 hectares. Its Main Building, with total floor space of 3,200 square meters, offers passengers with convenience in getting on and off regular ships, and taking rest. Apart from the Building, there are a square, parking lot, roads and green area. There is also a Ship Examination Center of the Shipping Company.

Transportation: It’s near Erhai Park and tourists can take bus route No.6 from Xiaguan to Erhai Lake Pier or take a taxi to.

Taoyuan Pier(桃园码头)

Taoyuan Wharf of Erhai Lake in Dali City

Also called Butterfly Spring Pier, Taoyuan pier is located in Taoyuan village, just opposite road of Butterfly Spring. The area of Taoyuan pier has been developed commercially and maturely. The buses of travel agencies are in an endless stream, most of which are heading to the famous Shuanglang at the opposite shore. There are good accommodations around the pier, where you can enjoy the beautiful Erhai lake scenery. 


There is no direct bus coming from Dali Ancient Town to Taoyuan Pier. Tourists can take the shuttle bus from Dali to Shaunglang(双廊), Jiangwei(江尾) or Butterfly Spring(蝴蝶泉) and get off at Taoyuan Pier. Alternatively, take a taxi or share a local vehicle to with others to Taoyuan pier.

Longkan Pier(龙龛码头)

Longkan village, is one of the small villages near the ancient city of Dali by Erhai lake. Longkan pier is located in this village. The surroundings is very quiet, and there are no redundant buildings, only farmland. It is also the gathering place of seaview houses. 


1.Take Bus Route No. 4 or No.8 from Xiaguan to Dali Ancient Town;
2.Take Bus Route No. 3 at the North Gate of Dali Ancient Town to Longkan Pier;
3.Take Bus Route No. C2 at Dali Ancient Town to Caicun Pier(才村码头) and then walk to Longkan Pier.

Types of Erhai Lake Cruise

There are two types of ships: big cruise or small cruise serving in different routes. The long route is for big cruise only and the short route are suitable for both. Please Note: The cruise information may adjust based on the season, weather and number of travelers, etc. To inquiry more Erhai Lake cruise itineraries and tickets, please feel free to contact our professional travel consultants.

Long Route of Erhai Lake Cruise

Route 1: Xiaguan Pier(下关码头) – Longkan Pier(龙龛码头) – Little Putuo Island(小普陀) – Nanzhao Folk Island(南诏风情岛) – Taoyuan Pier(桃园码头)

If you are ready by 8:00 – 9:00, you can choose the Erhai Lake Pier (Xiaguan Pier) as your point of departure. At 09:00, the ship will set out from Xiaguan pier and arrive at Longkan pier at around 09:30-10:00. Then continue the tour to Little Putuo and Nanzhao Folk Island. Sometimes the visit to Little Putuo will be cancelled according to the actual conditions. Tourists will have about 40 minutes at Nanzhao Folk Island. You will have a great time with the Bai People’s Three Courses of Tea when you visit the Nanzhao Folk Island. 

Route 2: Taoyuan Pier(桃园码头) – Nanzhao Folk Island(南诏风情岛) – Longkan Pier(龙龛码头) – Xiaguan Pier(下关码头)

At around 13:30 – 14:00, the ship will sail back from Taoyuan Pier to Xiaguan Pier via Nanzhao Folk Island and Longkan Pier. The same as the route 1, tourists will have a great time with the Bai People’s Three Courses of Tea when you visit the Nanzhao Folk Island. The whole journey will take about 3-4 hours. Around 17:30 – 18:00, you will arrive at the Longkan Pier.

Short Route of Erhai Lake Cruise

Tianjing Pavillion in Dali City

Route: Longkan Pier(龙龛码头) – Longquan Peninsula(龙荃半岛), namely Tianjingge(天镜阁) – Longkan Pier(龙龛码头)

This short route of Erhai Lake is suitable both for big ship and small ship. You can get to the Longquan Peninsula through the Longkan Pier. The departure time for big ship is 10:00 and 14;00. Please arrive at the pier in advance if you want to catch the big ship. As for the small ship, it will depart when it is full. Also, the Bai People’s Three Courses of Tea is ready for tourists to experience their unique culture.

What to See During Erhai Lake Cruise

Little Putuo Island

Little Putuo Island is the smallest island in Erhai Lake, which is very close to the Wase Village. One of the greatest attractions of this island is the Little Putuo Temple built in the Ming-dynasty of 15th century, and originally devoted to Bodhisattva Kwanyin. Worshippers can visit either of the two floors available in the temple and have a bird’s eye view of the lake. In the winter, you will see a vast number of seagulls.

Nanzhao Folk Island

Popularly known as the Nanzhao Love Island, the folk island of Nanzhao, located in the north of Erhai Lake, is an important cultural site of the Bai people. This is one of the three islands which you find in Erhai Lake. t is about five minutes from Shuanglang by cruise. Besides the hills, threes, beach, there are eight which are man-made.

Three Course Tea Ceremony

During the Erhai cruise, it is recommended to enjoy the most famous Three Course Tea Ceremony in the region. In Chinese, it is called San Dao Cha. During this ceremony, the following tea will be served: a bitter tea, a sweet tea and tea of aftertaste finish. So the travellers can take part in one of the most important traditions of the Bai minority.

Tianjingge Scenic Spot(Luoquan Peninsula)

It is situated in the east bank of Erhai Lake, facing Dali Old Town across the lake. It is an ideal place to view Silver Cangshan Mountain and Jade Erhai Lake. There are several Buddhist sites worth exploring, such as “Luoquan Temple”, “Guanyin Pavilion” and “Luoquan Pagoda”. 

Recommended Erhai Lake Cruise Tours

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6 Days Kunming-Dali-Lijiang Tour

8 Days Kunming-Dali-Lijiang-Shangri-La Overland Tour