Bird Island

Island in Qīnghǎi Lake

This island (now in fact a peninsula) on China’s largest lake is the breeding ground for thousands of wild geese, gulls, cormorants, sandpipers, extremely rare black-necked cranes and other bird species. Perhaps the most interesting are the bar-headed geese that migrate over the Himalaya to spend winter on the Indian plains, and have been spotted flying at altitudes of 10,000m.

The island is located on the western side of the lake, about 300km from Xīníng. The best time to visit is from March to late May, when migratory birds have stopped over to nest.

A daily bus (¥66, five hours, 7.45am) leaves from Xīníng's main bus station. From Heīmǎhé, you can flag down a bus to Bird Island (roughly 11.45am) or hire a private car (¥340 return).