Qinghai Lake

Located in the Qinghai Basin in northeastern Qinghai Province, Qinghai Lake, which means “Blue Sea” in Mongolian, topped the list of the “Five Most Beautiful Lakes in China”. With an area of 4,264 square kilometers, it is the largest inland saltwater lake in China, and also the highest one with an altitude of about 3,200 meters (about 10,500 feet).

Qinghai Lake

There are many famous natural scenic spots here, such as Haixin Hill (Hill of the Sea Heart), Sand Island and Bird Island, etc. On the Haixin Hill there are temples, lucid springs and green grassland. On the peak of the hill the panorama of the Qinghai Lake can be overlooked. Sand Island is famous for its sand scenery and is also a good place for swimming. Among the scenic spots, Bird Island is the highlight.

Bird Island

Qinghai Lake, as a National Nature Reserve and a National Park, is rich in rare species of birds and fishes. It has been added by the United Nations to The Ramsar Convention Manual and to The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat. Bird Island at the northwest corner of the Qinghai Lake is the sanctuary of birds where thousands of birds inhabit. Every May and June, the best time of bird watching, migratory birds fly from faraway mountains and deserts to breed here. It is quite a spectacle of thousands of birds flying over the sky, with their nests thickly dotted and colorful eggs interspersed all over the island.

In spring and summer, the rippling lake is as clear as the sky. The wetland by the lake is covered with grass and wild flowers. Under the azure skies and white clouds, sheep and horses graze in a leisurely manner. Water birds fly against the backdrop of snow-capped peaks. All these make a harmonious natural painting for visitors. The climate surrounding the lake is very cool even in the middle of the summer, which is the reason why it is often selected as an ideal summer resort. And summer is also the best season to visit Qinghai Lake, especially July and August when the Rape flowers are in full bloom.

Rape flowers blossom around Qinghai Lake.

Qinghai Lake is already a favorite biking area in China. Tour de Qinghai Lake International Road Cycling Race is held every year in July or August. The high altitude makes biking around it strenuous. However, the rewards of seeing beautiful scenery and feeling the mixed culture of Muslims, Mongolians, and Tibetans make the strain worth it.

Tour of Qinghai Lake


You can take a bus at the Xining Long-distance Bus Station to the lake.

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