Kokonor lake is also called “Qinghai Lake” with elevation of 3200 m, it is the largest lake in China as well as the largest salt lake in Asia. It is regarded as holy by Tibetans and Mongolians because in 1578, the 1st Dalai Lama was created by the Mongolian King Altan Khan, whom gave this title to Sonam Gyatso at the shores of Kokonor lake. and this is also the sea offering site for Penchen Lama.
The south shore of the lake, which 150 kilometers from Xining, is the best site for viewing the beauty of this lake; and some 220 kilometers northwest of Xining is where the Bird island located; The average depth of the Qinghai lake is 25 meters and the deepest area goes down to 80meters. The shores of the lake and their environs are administered from four counties: Gang cha county in the west and northwest, Hai yan county in the northeast, Hhuang yuan county in the east and Gong he county in the south.
A small monastery called “Tsonyang” means “Heart of the lake” is located in the small island in the center of Kokonor lake, it is essential Tibetan Buddhism retreat hill. There are only handfull monks and nuns live on this hill and most monks are practice in the retreat caves.
Kokonor lake is also a breeding ground and a migration stop for countless bird species. The best time to see birds is between March and June.
Address & Contact
Add : By N-109 Road, Gong-He county
90 kilometers from Xining
Contact : +86 970 851-9658/8519-660;8519-688
Er-Lang-Jian Scenic Zone: RMB 100 | RMB 50 (low season)
Bird-island: RMB 100 | RMB 50 (low season)
Sand-island: RMB 70 | RMB 35 (low season)
Sun-moon mountain: RMB 25
Boat: RMB 45
*No boating in winter time
How to get there
The recommended way of visiting this lake is by chartered vehicle, alternatively, biking and by bus is also ok
The rate for hiring one vehicle usually cost RMB 600 – 700 per day, a duration of 2 days or 3 days are recommended for this enormous lake, or if you have tight schedule, a short excursion of half day for just one site is also doable;
There are buses to Er-Lang-Jian Scenic Zone; the bus to the bird-island shall be open for the high travel season;
There are buses departs Hatu (哈图), Dulan (都兰) and Wulan (乌兰), of which all pass through Qinghai lake, that you can tell the driver to get off, all this vehicle depart from Xining Bayi Bus terminal
Xining Bayi Bus Terminal Facts | 西宁八一路客运站
Add : No. 90, Ba Yi Middle Road, Chengdong District, Xining | 西宁市城东区八一中路90号
Contact : +86 971 812-3110