Qinghai Lake literally means the blue lake. In Mongolian, it's called Kokonor, which also means the blue lake. Located in the northeast of Qinghai Province, Qinghai Lake is the largest inland lake and the largest salt lake in China. The source of Qinghai Lake relies on direct runoff and precipitation.
Qinghai is the largest province (excluding autonomous regions). Qinghai Lake is China's largest lagoon, is also the world's second-largest lagoon. Qinghai Lake is oval in shape, located in the northwest of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, 136 kilometers(84.5 miles) away from Xining. Qinghai Lake is 3,196 meters(10,486 ft) above sea level, with an average water depth of 18.6 meters(61 ft) and a maximum depth of 32.8 meters(107.6 ft). The lake shoreline is 360 kilometers(224 miles) long. The surrounding climate is very cool. Even at noon during summer, the daytime average temperature is about 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) and is often chosen as a summer resort.
From ancient times to the present, whenever a person mentions Qinghai Lake, "Green Lake," "Blue Sea," or "Wonderland" comes to mind because of the wonderful natural beauty it reflects. The area is China's largest inland and lagoon. It is no exaggeration to say that Qinghai Lake is a God-given miracle. Outside, it's surrounded by four rolling mountains, stretching wide grassy areas. Inside, there're a number of islands in the lake such as an island in the Centre of the Sea (Hai'Xin'Shan), an island in the West of the Sea (Hai'Xi'Shan), Three Rocks (San'Kuai'Shi), Bird island, Sand island, etc. All of these natural attractions perfectly combine to form a paradise, won the favor of many tourists.
Qinghai Lake has two sub-lakes, a saltwater Gahai Lake and a freshwater Erhai Lake. The open lakeside terrain, abundant water and mild weather make the area a natural pasture with lush vegetation, vast lakes, numerous rivers, and peaceful seclusion.
These crystal plateau lakes and Qinghai Lake and the surrounding islands, the vast grasslands, snow-capped mountains and spectacular desserts combine to make Qinghai Lake a scenic area. Qinghai Lake is so commendable, by China National Geographic magazine as "the most beautiful lake in China." From April to June every year, nearly 100,000 migratory birds migrate here, especially to the Bird island, so Qinghai Lake is always called the paradise of birds.
People think of Qinghai Lake as a "green lake" or "Wonderland" because of the marvelous natural beauty it reflects. Qinghai Lake is an important historic area for Mongolian and Tibetan traditional social gatherings. Picturesque Qinghai Lake, surrounded by high mountains, green grass, golden rape fluttering in the wind, littered with shepherd's tent, shows the charming scenery.
Qinghai Lake is really a good place for tourists. In addition to embracing the beauty of heaven here, you can also walk on the grass, go riding yaks, climb sand dunes, or visit the ancient ruins of the Tang Dynasty and the remains of the Silk Road. If you prefer to see the amazing sunrise and sunset of Qinghai Lake, you can go to Hemahe. If you are more sociable, hospitable locals will warmly welcome you because you visit their home to experience Tibetan life. Besides, tents and a variety of delicious food are provided for the tourists at the ranch.
The first station is to visit Qinghai Lake, the largest inland and salt lake in China. Then take the train from Xining to Lhasa, which will take you around 22 hours. You can enjoy the most beautiful landscape of Qinghai-Tibet Railway along the way. Short stay in Lhasa, you will visit Mt. Everest and Namtso Lake to enjoy the breathtaking natural scenery.
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