Located in mid-west of China, Qinghai is one of the most important provinces on the Tibetan Plateau. It is named after the largest inland salt water lake, Qinghai lake, in China. Qinghai lake, located within Qinghai, is the origin of the Yangtze River, the Yellow River, and the Lantsang River. Qinghai has many grand and marvellous views. There were already human activities here 6000 thousand years ago. Hence Qinghai is also famous for its ancient temples, castles, tombs and rock paintings. Apart from Han, various minorities including Tibetan and Mongol have been living here. It is recommended to visit Qinghai between May and October. Since it is plateau continental climate, there would be sand pollution in spring and autumn. In winter, the lowest average temperature would be – 20 degrees Celsius, and the highest would be just -7 degrees Celsius. There are many scenic spots in Qinghai. This series of articles is going to present you six places you must visit in Qinghai, started with its landmark – the Qinghai lake.
Covering around 4.5 square kilometres, Qinghai lake is around 3000 meters above the sea level. The depth is up to 38 meters. There are five islands within the lake. The view of Qinghai lake varies from seasons to seasons. In summer and autumn, with layers upon layers of trees surrounded and large golden cauliflower field nearby, along with cows, sheep and horses being here and there, the view would be quite refreshing. In winter, the view is magnificent with the snow covering everything and the water shining under the sunlight.
It is recommended to visit in July and August, during when the annual lake-round cycling contest would be held. If you are fans of birds, it would be better for you to come during April and May. Although the opening hour would be the whole day, the ticket is charged differently for different spots, which would be listed when the specific spot is introduced later.
Among the five lakes in the lake, the Bird Island is the most famous one, located in the west part of the lake. With the area of 0.11 square kilometres, it is the home of more than 10 types of birds, including bar head goose, Great Blacknearded Gull, and cormorant. The total amount of birds is more than 100 thousand. The reason why it has attracted so many birds is that the climate here is mild with flat land. More importantly, there are abundant fishes and water plants. Birds start to arrive at the beginning of April, and the amount reaches the highest between May and July, after that birds start to leave in August. However, if you would like to see whooper swans, it is recommended to come between November and February of the next year. The ticket sells at 22 RMB for the beach and 38 RMB for the Bird Island.
There are much to do and see around the Qinghai Lake, some of which would be introduced in the Part 2.