Don't just want to enjoy local food in restaurants and look at sights while on holiday? Get active and use your stay in Dali biking along or around adjacent Erhai Lake. Various routes with different lengths can be recommended!
Traveling the lake by bike can be great fun. The conditions are generally good: not too many hills to conquer, major road constructions have been finished and especially the dry season from Oct/Nov to May/June promises low precipitation.
The route along the less inhabitated eastern shore is definitely one of the nicest areas of the lake to bike along. Slightly hilly and with great views to pagodas, islands and the great Cangshan Mountain Range behind the villages on the western shore make this ride enjoyable. The main attractions are seeing the lake itself and taking boat rides. A favorite stop is the so called Nanzhao Love Island near the village of Shuanglang (双廊). It is one of several islands and islets that dot the lake. It is nice to look at but was unfortunately turned into a theme park and resort complex. Example route: Xiaguan — Erhai Dock — Erhai Lake shore — Jichang Road — Huanhai Road — Haidong Xiang — Tianjing Temple — Small Putuo — Wase — Shuanglang Village — Nanzhao Love Island — Huanhai Road — Jiangwei (江尾) Xiang at the northern tip of Lake Erhai.
The route along the western shore leads you along cultural highlights and lets you pass the Dali Old Town (where also most of the shops and guesthouses with bike rentals are located) with its Three Pagodas and historic Bai merchant villages as Xizhou and Zhoucheng. Following the small roads closest to the shoreline instead of using the 2 parrallel expressways is highly recommended. But you would of course move slower than on the bigger and straight roads and would need to make small side trips to the sights and villages if you'd like to visit them. Example route: Dali Ancient City — Three Pagodas of Chong Sheng Temple—Xizhou Town with its Bai houses) — Zhoucheng (Butterfly Spring) — Taoyuan Dock — Shang Guan Town — Jiangwei (江尾) Xiang at the northern tip of Lake Erhai.
Combining the two routes at the eastern and western shores leads you along the new town of Dali, called Xiaguan at the southern tip of the lake and a handful of hamlets at the northern end.
To be on the safe side it might be best to plan your bike trip togehter with the guides and bike rental shops prior to tour start. They would be able giving you the latest updates and recommendations.
- Costs: standard bicycles or mountain bikes cost between 20 and 40 RMB per day. Brands as Merida or Giant are among the better kinds of bikes.
- Accommodation: While it is easy to find a bed in Dali's Old Town, it might get complicated in little fishing villages around the lake.
- Distances: The lake is about 35 km long and 5 km wide. Riding around the lake without having to be a trained cylicst would take 2 relaxed days, rather 3 if you are visiting above mentioned sites.
- Transportation: there are regularly operating bus lines around the lake driving north- and southwards. Stop one and ask for bicylce transportation if you'd like to go back to your starting point, want to skip a specific part or are just tired.
- Bring or rent proper bike and rain gear. Take water and snacks along too, especially if you go to the northern and northwestern sides of the lake where are not as many restaurants as fore example in Dali.
If you need help arranging bikes, accommondation and/or an itinerary, please contact us directly. Wonders Of Yunnan Travel can help you customize a biking tour around Dali. Also, our tour guides would be happy to assist you on site.