Qinghai Lake is about 100 kilometers west of Xining city in Qinghai province of Northwest China. It has an altitude of 3,205 m on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. And the lake covers a surface area of 4,317 square kilometers. Besides, it is the largest saline and alkaline lake in China. According to the 2008 data, the lake’s maximum depth is 25.5 m.

Famous Qinghai Tourist Attraction Qinghai Lake
Famous Qinghai Tourist Attraction – Qinghai Lake

Qinghai Lake’s previous name in Mongolian is “Kokonor”. Whereas the lake in Tibetan name refers to “Blue Lake” or “Green Sea”. There are 23 rivers and streams flowing into the lake. But most of them are seasonal. Among them, five streams supply 80% water. Furthermore, Qinghai Lake has separated from the Yellow River around 150,000 years ago.

However, the lake size has narrowed a lot in the 20th century. In 2004, it growed again. Inside the lake, five native fish species live. They are Gymnocypris, Triplophysa stolickai, T. dorsonotata, T. scleroptera and T. siluroides. Of all, Gymnocypris is most plentiful in the lake. Sometimes, some Yellow River Fish appeared in the lake. Yet due to the raising salinity and basicity, they were gone.

The lake is good to visit all the year around. Lots of tourists come there when it is spring. Because not only can they see the green scenery around the lake but also visit the rape flowers not far away. Moreover, plenty of herds and sheep are on the lush grassland. The lake bank is linked with extended farm fields. Travelers may get the chance to see how local farmers work.

The lake area is immersed with fragrant smell from the rape flowers and wheat. The atmosphere is really romantic. Additionally, the rape flower fields along with the lake have become the paradise of photography. Numerous people come to take pictures there. Except that, visitors can also rent a horse from the local to walk along the lake area. Or if you can not ride it, the owner is happy to lead the horse for you.

The lake water is crystal clear. It is like a mirror with the reflections upon the lake surface. Moreover, the water color varies from time to time. Especially with the bright sunshine on it, the lake is most striking. In view of the changing color, the lake has got the name “’Seven-Colored Lake” as well. Many animals visit the lake such as the birds.

The attractions worth seeing around the lake are Haixinshan, Shadao and Niaodao. Haixinshan literally means “Mount of Sea Heart”. Respectively, Shadao literally refers to “Sand Islan” while Niaodao indicates “Bird Island”. Those three are all islands in the lake. You can take the boat to visit them. Travelers can visit the temples on Haixinshan. Legend has it that Emperor Yang from Sui Dynasty once sent the officials to raise horses there. What’s more, Shaodao is known for its sand. It is a good place to swim as well. Niaodao has lots of birds. In the summer, it can reach to the amount of around 10,000.

There are many tourist projects around the lake such as hot air balloons taking as well as yak and horse riding ect. Additionally ,the Black Horse Township is a good place to see the sunrise. The expense there is bit high though. Rubber Township is a nice place to see the sunrise as well.

Qinghai Lake – Travel Info


1. Bird Island

Entrance Fee: CNY 100 (Apr. 20 to Aug. 20); CNY 60 (Aug. 19 to Apr. 19)
Opening Hours: 8:30-17:30
Best Travel Time: Summer

2. Sand Island

Entrance Fee: CNY 70 (Apr. 20 – Aug. 20); CNY 35 (Aug. 21 – Apr. 19)
Opening Hours: 8:30-17:30
Best Travel Time: Summer

3. 151 Scenic Spot

Entrance Fee: CNY 100 (Apr. 16 – Oct. 15); CNY 50 (Oct. 16 – Apr. 15)
Opening Hours: 8:30-17:30
Best Travel Time: Summer