Welcome to Qīnghǎi Lake

Plenty of Chinese tourists come in for whistle-stop one- or two-day guided tours, but the lake is now popular with more adventurous sorts who rent bikes for a more leisurely circuit around the lake. If the latter appeals, head to Xīhǎi Zhèn (西海镇) where you can rent good-quality bikes and gear.

Avoid the lake on the weekends and public holidays when traffic slows to a crawl. Sights are organised by proximity to Xīníng.

Top experiences in Qīnghǎi Lake

Travel guides

Starting at $45.49

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Qīnghǎi Lake activities

$39 Transfers & Ground Transport

Private Round-Trip Transfer to Qinghai Lake from Xining City Hotel

Your driver will pick you up at your hotel in Xining City then drive to Qinghai Lake directly. The ride to Qinghai Lake takes about 2.5 hours. Sit back and enjoy the sceneries along the way. Feel free to tell your driver, if you want to stop for photos. Starting the tour around 7:00am is highly recommended since you will have more time to explore Qinghai Lake when it is not very crowded. Once arrived at main entrance of the Qinghai Lake, your driver will assistance you to purchase your tickets (at your own expense), and tell you where he will be waiting for you, then you will enjoy your own time to explore Qinghai Lake. When you're ready, you will be returned back to your hotel/place of accommodation safely.  Qinghai Lake, in Mongolian language means blue lake. It is the largest inland lake as well as the largest saline lake in China. The source of Qinghai Lake relies on the direct runoff and rainfalls, as well, another over 40 rivers empty into the lake with the Buha River being the largest. Qinghai Lake is enveloped by lofty mountains, and it has two sub-lakes, a saline Gahai Lake and a freshwater Erhai Lake. You will have enough time to explore the whole area on your own. The Tour operator cannot guarantee an English-speaking driver. Due to their availability, you may have a Chinese speaking driver, but they know exactly where to pick you up and where to drop you off. Guest can use their phone to call local operator if need during the ride.

$2376 Cultural & Theme Tours

12-Day Tibet Nomad Adventure

Day 1: Arrive in XiningUpon your arrive in Xining Airport or Train Station, you will be transferred to Lete Youth Hostel and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure. Day 2: Drive to RebgongDrive to Rebkong; Morning visits at Upper and Lower Sanggeshong Monasteries where you will see some of the most well-known thangka paintings and Tibetan traditional arts. In the afternoon, visit Gomar Stupa and Rongwu Gonchen Monastery. It is the mother monastery of 35 other monasteries in the region. Overnight: Homestay in Rebgong.Day 3: Drive to LabrangIn the morning, you will drive 93 miles (150 kilometers) to Sanggchu (Xia’he) to visit Labrang Monastery. You can walk in the streets of Labrang and enjoy Tibetan market. Overnight: Baoma Hotel.Day 4: Drive to Taktsang LhamuDrive 4 hours to Taktsang Lhamu (Lang'mu'si). Overnight: Medium Hotel.Day 5: HikeA day of hiking in Langmusi both by foot and horse. (experience horseback riding). Overnight: Medium Hotel.Day 6: Drive to Shetso LakeDrive to Shetso Lake via Machu County and camp by the Shore of Shetso Lake. Meet the Yaks and Nomad Crew to prepare Nyenpo Yurtse trek. You could also walk along the shore and wander into nearby mountains on your own. Shetso Lake is the most beautiful lake in the geo-park. The shores are carpeted with wild flowers unleashing intoxicating perfume aroma. You camp here for the first night. Overnight: Camp.Day 7: Nyenpo Yurtse Trek Day 1Average altitude for today is 13,255 ft (4,040 m). Walking distance is around 6 mi (9 km). Overnight: Camp.Day 8: Nyenpo Yurtse Trek Day 2Average altitude is 12,467 ft (3,800 m). Walking distance is around 6 mi (10 km). Overnight: Camp.Day 9: Nyenpo Yurtse Trek day 3Average altitude is 13,429 ft (4,093 m). Walking distance is around 9 mi (15 km). Drive to Jigdril or Machen County once the trekking ends around lunch time. Overnight: Medium HotelDay 10: Drive to Qinghai LakeDrive to south shore of the Qinghai Lake. Overnight: Nomad Tent Camp near the lakeDay 11: Drive Back to XiningBefore driving to Xining, you will hike on Shala-pass 12,467 ft (3,800 m) for 1 to 2 hours where you will have a panoramic view of the Qinghai Lake and great scenery with animals and camp sites of Tibetan nomad herders. Drop in Lete Youth Hostel at arrival in Xining. Overnight: Lete Youth Hostel Day 12: Transfer to Airport or Train StationYou will be transferred to the Airport or Train Station in Xining where the tour concludes.

$275 Multi-day & Extended Tours

Private 6-days Cycling Trip around Qinghai Lake from Xining

Day 1 Xining-Xihai TownYour private guide will meet you at 9:00am at your hotel lobby, and then you will take your private car to Kumbum Monastery, it is one of the six great monasteries of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism. After you have visited this Monastery, you will take your private car to Xihai Town to prepare the Cycling trip tomorrow. Overnight in Haibei Hotel.Day 2 Xihai Town - Qinghai LakeAfter Breakfast you will ride your bike to Er Lang Jian shore of the Qinghai Lake, also called 151 base. You will see beautiful grass land, sandbeach and different animals like deer and birds.Overnight in Qinghai Nuobulinka Hotel, nearby Qinghai LakeDay 3 Qinghai Lake - Bird IslandAfter Breakfast you will ride your bike to Bird Island, about 120KM, in the evening you will arrive Bird Island. Overnight in Bird Island Hotel.Day 4 Bird Island - Gangcha TownAfter Breakfast you will first visit the Bird Island, you will see hundreds of thousands of migrant birds.After that you will ride your bike to Gangcha Town,about 65KM. Overnight in Gangcha Honghu Hotel.Day 5 Gangcha Town - Xihai TownAfter Breakfast you will ride your bike back to Xihai Town, about 90KM. Overnight in Haibei HotelDay 6 Xihai Town - XiningAfter Breakfast you will be transferred back to your hotel in Xining.

$1778 Multi-day & Extended Tours

10-Day Trip: The Headwaters of the Yellow River

Day 1 → Arrive XiningArrive Xining airport (XNN) at 2,300 meters by afternoonSettle into hotelOpening Tibetan Dinner in XiningTour officially begins at 5:00pmDay 2 → Day Hike to Youning Monastery and Buddhist Meditation caves to 3,700 metersDay 3 → Xining - Qinghai Lake, China's largest salt lake at 3,200 meters and an icon of Tibetan historyDay 4 → Qinghai Lake - Serdzong Monastery, explore the craggy cliffs behind a remote monasteryDay 5 → Serdzong Monastery - Madao, drive through high altitude grasslands to see nomadic culture to one of the highest towns on the the Tibetan Plateau at 4,300 metersDay 6 → Headwaters of the Yellow River, explore the pristine alpine lakes: Kyaring Lake and Nyoring Lake.Day 7 → Mighty Amnye Machen, follow the path of pilgrims to one of Tibet's holiest mountains. Today we discover the glaciers at the base of Mount Amnye Machen at 6282 meter/20,610 feet.Day 8 → Machen - Zeku, explore the expanses that make this a herder’s Shangri-la!Day 9 → Zeku - XiningThis is our last day immersed in the wonders of one of the last truly nomadic cultures in the world. Take in the sights of a high pass as prayers flags flap in the breezes of the rolling hills. Take in the scents of burnt offerings of juniper and barley offered to local deities at nearby altars. Then we drop off the high altitude plains through coniferous forests and rushing rivers into Rebkong, a town famed for its intricate, colorful Buddhist paintings known as Thangkas.Lunch in Rebkong and then we head back to Xining at 2,500 meters.Day 10 → Depart XiningToday we say our goodbyes as we leave with a lifetime full memories and hearts aching for more of these beautiful, kind Tibetan people.Tour price includes all meals, lodging, transport, guiding and entry tickets from Day 1 afternoon to Day 10 afternoon.Tour price does not include flights to and from Xining, China, visa costs, tips for guides, and souvenirs. 

Qīnghǎi Lake in detail