China’s largest lake, Qīnghǎi Lake (青海湖; Qīnghǎi Hú; Lake Kokonor; elevation 3600m) is nearly six times the size of Singapore and a huge draw for large tour groups. While it can be maddeningly difficult to get to the actual shoreline, views of the lake backdropped by mountains still make the trek out worthwhile.
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.