Chaka Salt Lake | 茶卡盐湖

Chaka Salt Lake (or Caka Salt Lake) is translated as “saline lake” in Tibetan. The lake is small, with a nominal area of 105 square kilometers, but during the “rain” season swells to approximately seven times this size. It has mined the playa for salt since the Western Han Dynasty. The plant produces different types of salt for domestic consumption and export.

The Salt Lake is located in the eastern part of Qai-dam Basin Chaka Town of Ulan County, near Korko Nor Lake. It is an extremely important site of the ancient Silk Road. It is also a must pass when traveling from Xining to Tibet by train or overland. The distance is about 300 kilometers west of Xining which is a 4 hour drive.

The Salt Lake Facts

  • The Salt Lake is a natural crystalline salt lake in the Qaidam Basin. It is thought to be as China’s “Mirror of the Sky,” The production of salt of this lake is sufficient for the whole nation to use for 75 years
  • There are many scenic salt sculptures for visit, it is also available to take the little train for a sightseeing tour into the deep area of the Salt Lake
  • Tourists are allowed to walk to the lake with barefoot viewing and photograph their own reflection on the lake, if lucky enough, the mirage formed on the lake can be visible even in daytime
  • If there is rainy days in a row, the salt in the lake may be diluted to dissolve, and the mud underneath will be exposed and the lake can not be played
  • There may be many of small black hole in the lake, which in fact is a “trap”, do not step on, and the more dark the more dangerous

Address & Contacts

Add : No. 9 , Salt Lake Road, ChaKa | 乌兰县茶卡镇盐湖路9号
Contact : +86 977 824-0129


3,060 meters above sea level

Entrance fee

RMB 70.00 per person
Little Train: RMB 50.00 per person (one way)

Opening hour

07:00am – 18:30pm

Chaka Salt Lake Location

How to get there

The Salt Lake is located at the Chaka town of Hai Xi Mogolian & Tibetan Autonomous Region, it is 300 kilometers west from Xining, and 70 kilometers from Hei-Ma-He (黑马河乡). From Chaka town to the salt lake is about 5 kilometers, there is no public transportation, the only possible way to get to this salt lake from Chaka town is by taxi or walk; the taxis that transport between the salt lake and town are usually park by the Cross road of Salt Lake

Departing from Xining

-1), There is one bus departs at 12:00 pm from Xining Xining Road Bus Terminal to here, it is about 5 hours’s drive, with rate of RMB 60.00 per person
-2), There are about 4-5 buses depart from Xining to Wu Lan County, which all pass through Chaka town, it is about 6 hours’s drive, with rate of RMB 70.00 per person
-3), chartered vehicle : it usually costs about RMB 1,400.00 – 2,000.00 for a one day round trip

Xinning Road Terminal | 新宁路客运站(旅游集散中心)
Add: No. 19, Xinning Road, Xining | 西宁市 新宁路19号 ;
Contact: +86 971 615-5795 / 615-5800 (service line)

Departing from Hei-Ma-He

There is no bus from Hei-Ma-He to Chaka, by taking the salt transporting vehicle to Chaka town is possible which may cost RMB 50.00 per person; by chartered vehicle that charges RMB 200.00 one way

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