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Where is Qinghai Lake and How to Get to Qinghai Lake?

Qinghai Lake is rated as one of the five most beautiful lakes in China by National Geographic. Cycling Qinghai Lake has also become the long-cherished wish of many cycling enthusiasts. The scenery around the lake is majestic and magnificent, beautiful and charming. Qinghai Lake is the largest inland lake in China. The beautiful scenery and good road conditions around the lake make it a popular place for self-guided tours. So how to get to Qinghai Lake?
Qinghai Lake
Qinghai Lake

Where is Qinghai Lake?

Qinghai Lake (also known as Koko Nor in Mongolian and Tso Ngonpo in Tibetan) is located about 100 kilometers west of the provincial capital of Xining. It is situated in the northeastern part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, between the Hainan and Haibei Tibetan Autonomous prefectures of Qinghai Province and at the foot of the Sun Moon Mountain. This lake is the largest salt lake in China with an area of 5,694 sq km.

→ A is for Xining and B for Qinghai Lake

How to get to Qinghai Lake?

Qinghai Lake is about 130 kilometers or 80 miles from Xining and is about 3,205 meters or 10,515 feet above sea level.

The best way to get to Qinghai Lake from Xining downtown is to catch a Tourist Express at Ba Yi Bus Terminal (located in Yongchang Mansion, 90 Ba Yi Road). The express here usually depart at 7:30, 8:15, 9:15, 9:30, so you'd better take the bus in the morning. The journey takes about 2.5 hours.

Alternatively, visitors can take a bus at Xining Long-distance Bus Station (near to Xining Railway Station). Several long-distance buses leave from Xining station for a little Tibetan town called Heimahe that is on the southwest corner of the lake. These buses depart from 7:30 to 9:00. And upon getting on the bus, you should tell the driver where you want to drop off. Then the driver will stop at your destination. Otherwise he will drive directly to the terminal. The journey takes bout 3 hours. After having a view of the lake, you might find a bus or taxi going north from the lake to Bird Island, which is near to the lake and also a famous scenic spot in this place.

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If you do not have a limited budget, renting a car with an experienced driver and a tour guide companying with you would be a better way, but the price is much higher than taking a coach/bus at the normal bus station, but the trip would be more comfortable and flexible. TopChinaTravel can offer chartering car service. If you need, do not hesitate to contact with us.

Travel Guide

The best way to enjoy the lake is probably by camping and hiking around its edge. In fact, there is a special tourist site on the southern shores of the lake that will allow travelers access to boating, horseriding, fishing and other lake related activities.

July and August, when the Rape Flowers bloom, are the best time to view the most beautiful scenery of Qinghai Lake. In April and May Bird Island near Qinghai Lakebecome a paradise for bird-watching lovers. Qinghai Lake is also a holy place for cycling. Every summer, the hard-working figure of cyclists will become another unique landscape by the lake, and the  Tour of Qinghai Lake International Road Cycling Race is held here annually. Generally, April to October is the best time to travel around the lake, you can choose a month based on what you want to explore in this place.