The Er Hai or Erhai Lake is a lake formed by an Alpine fault in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan. Its name means “ear-shaped lake,” as it is seen by locals and travelers due to its shape. Its area is 250 km², making it the second largest highland lake in China, after Dian Lake near Kunming. The lake is an important food source for the indigenous people, the Bai, who are famous for their cormorant fishing: their trained cormorants catch the fish and return with them to the fishermen.
Lush pines and cypresses can be seen on the mountain slopes, as well as camellia and azaleas. Many more exotic flowers and trees growing only in and around Dali can be found here. The lakeshore can be explored by hiking. Worth seeing are, among others, the Erhai Park and the butterfly spring on the west bank. The lake is regarded as the pearl on the plateau and is known for its beautiful scenery. During a visit to Dali, the 3 pagodas and the Cangshan Mountains should not forget the Erhai Lake.