Qinghai Lake

Location: Qinghai Province

Perched at 3,200m above sea level and sandwiched between the Hainan and Haibei Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures, lies Qinghai Lake (Qinghai hu). This huge expanse of deep, salty liquid receives its name, literally Blue Sea Lake, from the vastness of its azure waters. It is the largest salt water lake in China, with a circumference of 360km and a surface area of over 4,500km squared. In ancient times the lake was known as the Western Sea, and in Tibetan it is known as Koko Nor.

The lake has a number of attractions that draw travellers in this region in. Ornithologists, campers, hikers, botanists, swimmers, sailors, fishermen, loners and nomads all find areas of interest around the lake. The beauty here lies in its salty vastness and the remote peace that it instills. The colours that can be found around the lake are of purity and contrasts, from the deep yellows of oil seed rape against the cold blues of the lake to the dark greens of distant mountains against the fluffy white of bilious clouds.

Highlights of the lake include the Bird Island, a peninsular in the westernmost part of the lake and the most impressive sight, especially in season. For most of the summer rare species can be seen here in great multitude. The cuisine at the lake is also of interest, composed of variations on a fish theme. Especially notable is the naked carp, whose tender flesh is served in most local restaurants and hostels.