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Most Famous Lakes in China

Here, TopChinaTravel would like to introduce the most famous lakes in China for you. Some of them are famous for their breathtaking natural beauty, some of them are scared places among local followers, and still some of them, renowned for their wide waters and abundant natural resources. Here we go. 

Tianchi Lake (Changbai Mountain)

Tianchi Lake or Heaven Lake of Changbai Mountain, is the deepest lake and the largest crater lake of China. Lied in the southeastern part of Jilin Province, on the border between China and North Korea, it is the source of Honghuajiang River, one of the 10 longest rivers of China. It is an oval-shaped lake renowned for its superb natural scenery, but the legend of Lake Tianchi Monster made this lake wrapped in mystery nowadays. 

The average depth of the lake is 213 m (699 ft) and maximum depth of 384 m (1,260 ft). From mid-October to mid-June, it is typically covered with ice.

West Lake, Hangzhou

West Lake is a previous natural gift of Hangzhou as an apple of the eye. Located in the west part of Hangzhou, embraced by green hills by three sides, this lake is reputed for beautiful scenery, a multitude of historical sites, brilliant cultural relics, and a profusion of native products.

Ancient Chinese people praised the West Lake as a place of intoxicating beauty for its serenity water surface and the long narrow river levee that full of sense of “willow down and flowers reign”. Legend goes that the West Lake was a heavenly jewel fallen to earth. Pragmatists insist that it is a mere lagoon on Hangzhou's western fringe. In any case, West Lake has inspired painters for centuries.

► Recommended Classic Hangzhou Package Tour: Hangzhou Tours
Most Famous Lakes in China-West Lake in Hangzhou

Kanas Lake, Xinjiang

In Mongolian language Kanas means "lake in canyon". Kanas Lake located near the Altai Mountains, Xinjiang Province, it is the deepest freshwater lake in China famous for its Swiss view, and home to 798 species of plants and 117 varieties of birds. Embraced by snow-capped mountains and dense forest, the lake, takes on different colors in different seasons. 

The crescent moon shaped lake have water storage capacity 53.8 billion cubic meter, average depth 120 meters. Like the Tianchi Lake, Kanas Lake is also a mysterious place where has been sightings of large lake creatures in the waters. Not long ago, a video was taken and shown in the local Chinese media where numerous unidentifiable creatures can be seen.
Most Famous Lakes in China-Kanas Lake, Xinijiang

Heavenly Lake, Xinjiang

Heavenly Lake is located half way up Bogda Peak in Fukang County, 110km east of Urumqi City, Xinjiang Province. As a natural alpine lake, it has an elevation of 1,980 meters. In the shape of a half moon, the lake is 3,400 meters long, about 1,500 meters wide, and 105 meters at the deepest point. With limpid water, the lake shines like a sapphire under the sun and is surrounded by green mountains. At the southeast end of the lake is the magnificent Bogda Peak, meaning "Sacred Mountain” in the Mongolian language.

The Heaven Lake scenic area can be divided into four natural view belts: lower mountain belt, mountain coniferous forest belt, alpine and subalpine belt, and ice and snow belt. 

► Recommended Best Xinjiang Tour at: Xinjiang Tours
Most Famous Lakes in China-Heavenly Lake in Urumqi

Erhai Lake, Yunnan

Located in the northwest part of Dali City, Yunnan Province, Erhai Lake is a plateau lake that stretches 42km from north to south and 3.9km from east to west. As the lake has a shape of an ear, it gets the name Erhai (Ear Lake). Reputed as the pearl on plateau for its beautiful scenery, it is also one of the most attractived sits in Yunnan. 

Three Islets, four lands and nine caves are the famous sites in the lake. Besides these spots, the lake also has some other attractions such as Shadows of Three Towers, Nine-Arched Stone Bridge, and Jade Dragon Playing in the Water, etc. 

Looked from Mt. Cangshan, the lake like a crescent lying between Mt. Cangshan and Dali City. In a sunny day, the crystal water of Erhai Lake and the snow mantled Mt. Cangshan radiate with each other forming a beautiful picture.

Most Famous Lakes in China-Dali Erhai Lake

Lugu Lake, Yunnan

Lugu Lake is located about 300km away from Lijiang. The middle of the lake forms the border between Yunan and Sichuan Provinces. It is a plateau lake with a total area of 52 square kilometers, 2,685 meters above the sea level. Embraced by mountains, this lake is called the "mother lake" by Mosuo People that lives along the lake shore. Actually, The lake's shores are inhabited by many minority ethnic groups, such as the Mosuo, Norzu, Yi, Pumi and Tibetan. Mosuo People, who said to be a sub clan of the Naxi People, still well kept the ancient social family structure which called as the "matriarchal society".
There are five islands situated in the lake, the most beloved one is the Holy Gemu Mountain (the Lion Mountain). The local people worship it as their Goddess Gemu.

Many cultural sites and scenic spots are scattered along the lakeside. They are Mosuo villages, plateau hot springs, the underground maze- Lucky Cave, the Chieftain's Palace, Zhamei Lama Temple, Riyuehe - The Ruins of the Yuan Army Quarters when Kublai Khan was on his south expansion and Yongning - the key town on the Ancient Tea-horse Road.
Most Famous Lakes in China-Lugu Lake in Lijiang

Yamdrok Lake, Tibet

Yamdrok Lake is one of the three sacred lakes in Tibet. In Tibetan language, Yamdrok Lake means “jade lake” or “swam pool”. Surrounded by grand snow-capped mountains, this lake is fed by numerous small streams. With an area of 621 square kilometers, this fan-shaped lake with vast lakeside grassland, is also a fertilized highland pasture. According to local mythology, Yamdrok Lake is the transformation of a goddess.

There are shoals of fish living in Yamdrok Yumtso lake, which are commercially exploited by local population. From April to October, fish caught from this lake are sold at markets in Lhasa. Besides, the lake's islands serve as rich pasture land to local herdmen.

► Recommended Best Tibet Tour: Tibet Tours
Most Famous Lakes in China-Yamdrok Lake in Tibet

There are 5 great freshwater lakes in China.

No.1 Poyang Lake

Poyang Lake is the largest freshwater lake and the third largest lake of China. Located on the south bank of Yangtze River, to the northern part of Jiangxi Province, it is fed by the Gan, Xin, and Xiu rivers and some other small streams, all of which contributed it a surface area of about 3,500 km², a volume of 25 km³ and an average depth of eight meters during the abundant period.

It is an important habitat of precious migrating waterfowls like White Crane, White Naped Crane and Black Stork, etc. It is also one of the important wetlands in China.
Most Famous Lakes in China - Poyang Lake

No.2 Dongting Lake

Situated in the northern part of Hunan Province, Dongting Lake is the second largest freshwater lake, and the fourth largest lake of China, with an average about 2,820 km². The lake is fed by four major rivers, which are Xiang River, Zi River, Yuan River and Feng River, and also some other small rivers.

Originally it was the largest lake in China, due to the development of local farming, it has been separated into several parts and gave its place to Poyang Lake. This large and shallow lake is a flood-basin of the Yangtze River.

The area is well-known in Chinese history and literature. Dragon boat racing is said to have begun on the eastern shores of Dongting Lake as a search for the body of Qu Yuan, the Chu poet (340-278 B.C.), and a dragon-king is said to live at the bottom of the lake.
Most Famous Lakes in China-Dongting Lake in Hunan

No.3 Taihu Lake

Taihu Lake, or Lake Tai, is the third largest freshwater lake of China, and also the largest lake in the Yangtze Delta plain. It lies on the border of Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces, with an area of 2,250 km² and an average depth of 2 meters. Enjoying superb natural beauty and pleasant environment, it is a well-known tourist attraction of eastern China with several in-lake islands. 

Some 90 islets, large or small, plus the presence of many fleets of fishing junk boats add to its landscape, making it a remarkable spectacle.
Most Famous Lakes in China-Taihu Lake in Wuxi

No.4 Hongze Lake

As the fourth largest freshwater lake of China, Hongze Lake located in Jiangsu Province, on the alluvial plain of middle reach of Huai River. Hongze Lake has a very special layout that like an elegant swam, which is fed by 4 main rivers, the Huai, Sui, Bian and An River, etc. It is a typical shallow-water lake with a mix depth of 5.5meters. 

Hongze Lake is renowned for its superb scenery that attracted tourists from all over the world. What's more, it is also rich in natural resources, the crabs from the lake are so delicious that many people travel to Hogze Lake just for a taste. People living near the lake make the most of it by developing the tourism and fishing industry.
Most Famous Lakes in China - Hongze Lake

No.5 Chao Lake

Chao Lake is one of the 5 great freshwater lakes of China that located at the juncture of Chaohu and Hefei cities in Anhui Province. Surrounded by green mountains, this lake has a surface area of about 2,069 km², enjoying unique natural environment. Vast clear water surface, soft and calm waves, hot springs and precious flowers are the 4 wonders of this lake. 

The famous tourist attractions around the lake include Mount Mu, Zhongmiao Temple, Tongyang River, Mount Yinping, and the Immortals Cave. The silver fish, shrimps, and crabs of Lake Chao are called the Three Treasures, and it also enjoys the grand name of "Land of Plenty".

There are also 4 grand saltwater lakes in China. Most of them are located in the west of southwest of China.

No.1 Qinghai Lake

Qinghai Lake, or Koko Nur in Mongolian which means “a blue lake”, is the largest salt lake and the largest inland lake of China that with a surface area of 4,583 km². It locates about 100 kilometres (62 mi) west of Xining, the capital city of Qinghai Province, is one of the most popular attractions of the area. It is fed by over 40 rivers, mainly by Habu River, Inverted River and Gbagbolan River, etc.

At the tip of the peninsula on the western side of the lake are the "Bird Islands" (Cormorant Island and Egg Island), which have been bird sanctuaries of the Qinghai Lake Natural Protection Zone since 1997. The lake often remains frozen for 4 months continuously in winter from Deb to Mar the next year.

Recommended Package Tour that cover Qinghai Lake: Xining Tours
Most Famous Lakes in China-Qinghai Lake in Xining

No.2 Namtso Lake, Tibet

With a surface area of 1,920 km², Namtso Lake is the second largest salt lake in China, located on the border between Damxung County and Baingoin County, Tibet. The lake lies at an elevation of 4,718 m, thus it is also the highest lake of this kind on earth.

Namtso is renowned as one of the most beautiful places in the Nyainqêntanglha mountain range with pure clean water which reflected the color of the sky. Thus the local people named it Nam as in Tibetan language, Nam means “Sky”.

This lake is one of the 4 scared lakes of Tibetan Buddhism. There are 5 islands lie on the water, which is said that they are embodiments of gods. Every year, hundreds of thousands pilgrims come here to worship the Holy Spirit it represented.
Most Famous Lakes in China-Namtso Lake in Nagqu

No.3 Sêrling Co

Sêrling Co or Siling Co, as the third largest salt lake of China, is a large deep-water lake on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau with an altitude of 4,530 meters. In Tibetan language, Serling Co means “the demon lake”, it has a surface area of over 1,640 km². Connected with some other lakes nearby, it formed the largest inland lake system in Tibet, the drainage area is up to 45,5330 sq.m.

No.4 Ulungur Lake

Ulungur Lake, also known as Ebinur Lake, is one of the 4 grand salt lakes of China that located in Fuhai County, Altai Prefecture, Xinjiang Province. It is a triangle-shaped lake with a surface area of 827 km². This lake is rich in fish resource, especially with abundant economic fish stock like snapper, carp, Leuciscus baicalensis, bass and roach, etc.
Most Famous Lakes in China - lungur Lake
These are the most famous lakes in China. Tianchi Lake, West Lake, Erhai Lake and Lugu Lake are the most visited ones by toursits.