Sand Island of Qinghai Lake

Sand Island of Qinghai Lake

Sand Island of Qinghai Lake
4.5
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Monday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Tuesday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Wednesday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Thursday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Friday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Saturday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Sunday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


4.5
50 reviews
Excellent
32
Very good
15
Average
1
Poor
1
Terrible
1

KodoDrummer
Buenos Aires, Argentina64,961 contributions
Jul 2020
A barren sand island built up of sand and chemical activity over centuries. Not as interesting as Qinghai Lake.
Written July 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ABU BAKAR A
Seremban, Malaysia109 contributions
Apr 2014 • Friends
Qinghai Lake the biggest inland salt lake in China. Located within the Qinghai Autonomous Province. A Province alienated by China from Tibet. Tibetan is one the ethnic , settling within the area en route and around Lake Qinghai. The famous Tibetan highland grassland located here. Yak, sheep and horses graze on this high grassland plateau. The scenic view en route to Qinghai Lake will captivate your eyes, scenic and natural scenery with snow shrouded mountain on one side and a river with crystal clear water flowing on the other side. Fantastic view of highland grassland of Tibetan Plateau where the ethnic Tibetan allows their domestic animal roam freely. Appreciate the majestic view of shrouded snow mountain. You will be surprised by the captivating view of high altitude Tibetan grassland. 
Written March 4, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Shanghyper
Shanghai, China458 contributions
May 2014 • Friends
Sand Island and Bird Island are two different attractions on Qinghai Lake, about 150km (90 miles) apart. I definitely recommend visiting both.

Sand Island (Sha Dao) is located on the northeastern shore, while Bird Island (Niao Dao) is located on the far western shore. Both have similar set-ups where you will park in the parking lot at the front entrance and pay your admission fee there, then small tourist buses will drive you in to the various points of interest at each place. (They don't run on a set schedule, you just take the next one that comes along when you're ready to move on.) They will cost you about $12 - $15 USD per person for tickets at each place.

SAND ISLAND

Sand Island is pretty cool, while simultaneously one of the weirdest places I've ever seen. Visiting there is more than a little surreal.

First off, it's a bit startling to see giant sand dunes suddenly appear after you've been traveling across the grassy tundra, or if you've descended from the snowy Qilian mountains to the north. Compounded with that, the attraction itself is full of strange sights: giant stone hieroglyphs in the sand, meandering wooden paths with driftwood arrangements, bizarre sculptures, snow-white statuary of random historical and mythological figures, playground equipment, several camels, colorful prayer-flag poles...and a big wooden ark (and that's all before you even get to the water's edge).

For us, adding to the other-worldly feeling of the place was the fact that it was off season and therefore mostly deserted. I must admit, I hardly knew what to make of it but I still liked it. It was such a curious and weirdly beautiful place! The brilliant blue of the water alongside the sand dunes, complimented by snow-capped mountains in the distance, make for some captivating scenery.

At the front entrance is a large building which houses a Chinese/Tibetan-style restaurant (it was surprisingly pricey but pretty good food). There is also a gift shop, a lounging area and restrooms. There aren't a lot of other options available in this neck of the woods, so I'd advise eating here unless you brought your own picnic lunch. FYI, it's a good bet no one will speak any English, so be prepared for that if you're traveling without a guide.

BIRD ISLAND

From Sand Island it is about a three hour drive to the east (around the top of the lake) to get to Bird Island, but it is a pretty straight shot along the highway. Again, after paying your admission fee you will get on small buses to visit different sections of Bird Island, and I'd encourage you to check them all out. You will see a lot of different birds in various settings -- it's really a wonderful place!

I would plan on spending 2 hours or so at either island, depending on your interests. You can easily do both in a day and still have time to make it back to Xining by nightfall if you're staying there (though I would recommend staying somewhere closer to the lake, as that's a long day of sightseeing). The weather will likely be chilly and windy, especially if you're visiting at any time other than high summer. Qinghai Lake is located on the Tibetan Plateau at around 3,200 meters (over 10,000 feet) above sea level, which is a not insignificant altitude; you may feel the effects of that, so be sure to stay hydrated and take it slowly.

It's a bit of a hassle to get to Qinghai Lake as it's not really near anything, but if you're anywhere even close to the area I recommend taking the time and trouble to get there. You will be seeing a part of the world that not too many Westerners visit, and you'll see some incredible sights.
Written September 22, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

pectopah
Diego Garcia14 contributions
Jul 2014 • Couples
What I imagine was once a gorgeous lake in the high country has now been so exploited and haphazardly occupied that there was simply no way to get any enjoyment out of it.
The highway approaching the lake from Xining is one of the most chaotic, noisy, clusterfooks in China. Wealthy tourists stopping their cars in the middle of the highway at any point whatsoever to snap family photos. Massive cargo trucks barreling through. Swarms of idiotic cyclists trying to weave through the mess. And then you try to approach the lake, which is fenced in thrice, surrounded by greedy, hostile and disrespectful Tibetans.
No matter where you try to approach the shore, someone dressed in a hundred dollar hat or jacket will demand cash from you, even if the road is public. Even if you had already paid at a different location on the shore. If you refuse and walk away, they get hostile, shout threats at you and possibly get violent. One guy threatened to shoot us (if he had a gun).
These Qinghai Tibetans are notoriously aggressive, bigoted, spoiled rotten, disgusting and hate-filled. To which we responded, "and you call yourself a buddhist?" at which he flipped his top, lunging at us with his fist. All the while his toothless cohorts stood behind him with approving glares. And If you manage to get to shore, there's a layer of trash and excrement lining it.
Do yourself (and the rest of the world) a favor by not going to this lake and giving these criminals the satisfaction. Let them wallow in their own filthy hatred.
Written October 8, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sweetsophia L
sweetsophia L
Hangzhou63 contributions
Jun 2012 • Friends
Due to its enchanting natural beauty, rich Buddhism culture and excellent ecological environment, Qinghai Lake was honored as the most beautiful lake by China National Geography Magazine in 2006. You can watch the most splendid bird clusters, see the most magnificent cole flowers and join in various activities here such as Tour of Qinghai Lake, hiking and camping.

Admission Fee

Qinghai Lake: 100RMB during the peak season (April 15 to October 15), 50RMB during the off season.

Boat: 45RMB. Notice: it is not available during winter.

Niaodao Island: 115RMB Shadao Island: 70 RMB

Transportation

Flight: There is no direct flight to Qinghai Lake

Long distance Bus: The highway in Qinghai Lake is very good. Qinghai Lake is 80km away from Xining (4 hours’ drive). From Xining and Taermu, there are several long distance buses head to Qinghai Lake every day. You can take the long distance bus in Xining Long Distance Bus Station (south of the rail station) at 7:45am, and get off in Niaodao, the charge is only 35RMB. Then, you can rent a car heading to Niao Dao (Bird Island), the cost will be 50 RMB per car.

Train: Shanghai to Xining (Capital city of Qinghai). You can take the train T165 or K377, it will take 24 hours. Beijing to Xining: you can take train T151, and you will reach Xining in 24 hours. T27 from Beijing to Lhasa will cost 20 hours. Zhenzhou to Xining: you can take K889 which will leave at 2:15 pm and arrive in Xining in 8:12am the next morning. Chengdu to Xining: T22 or K1058: they will take 20 hours and 24 hours respectively.

Best Travel Season: During May to June, Qinghai Lake’s Niaodao (Bird Island) is densely distributed with bird eggs and newly hatched birds. This is the best period to watch the birds. During July to August,it is best time to see the cole blossoms in Menyuan County near Qinghai Lake, taverage temperature of this period is 18℃. Besides, you can see the Tour of Qinghai Lake Event during this period.
Written October 13, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Darnel-HDI
Jakarta, Indonesia2,111 contributions
Oct 2015 • Friends
This lake is the biggest salt lake in China. Hai it self means sea or ocean. According to our guide it was called "hai" because it was considered as the sea as they are very far to have one. It is located at Tibetian plateau about 150 kilometers from Xining the capital of Qinghai province. The view of the lake and the mountain was superb. We took the boat cruise over the lake.
Written November 11, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ecnfung
HKG92 contributions
Aug 2015 • Friends
we went there with a group of 8, and we were travelling by bike. it was a great experience, and we finished 386.5km in 5 days.
The lake is pretty, with magnificent view.
only downside was it's ruined by drivers or tourist flowing rubbish around the lake.
would properly takes years for local mainlanders to have self-discipline.. ..
Written September 2, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ChinaLittleTrips
Shanghai, China4 contributions
Oct 2012 • Couples
Don't listen to people saying that the Qinghai Lake is not worth visiting. It is actually one of the few places in China where you can enjoy a WONDERFUL scenery, without paying an entrance fee or anything. Just avoid the only tousitic place on the lake (150RMB fee) and you can have the lake for yourself! Sand Island is WONDERFUL, astonishing and really well-preserved : not one path, not one gate, it's like you are on your own island. You can easily camp for a night or two around the lake, both sunsets and sunrises are wonderful....
Take a driver from Xining (around 3 hours) that will guide you around the lake, or go by bus to the nearest city (and then by cab)!
Written October 15, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PB852014
spring mountain queensland 92 contributions
Jul 2018 • Friends
We had a great visit here its a very picturesque place. We camped next to waters edge and fell asleep to the sound of the waves which felt a little strange as its a lake, but a very big lake.
Written August 18, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andrea C
Verona, Italy289 contributions
Mar 2017 • Couples
Driving two and a half hours from Xining we reached the Sand Island (沙岛 Sha Dao) scenic area on the south east side of Qinghai Lake. In an inhabited landscape of grassland and sandy hills we arrived at this spot where high yellow sand dunes end into the salty waters of the Qinghai lake, which at the time of our visit is covered with an icy layer. Almost no humans and no tourist around, only birds and wild gooses and the blowing wind are heard around. Here and here wild horses breed on the still dry yellow grass. The lake is at 3200m altitude. Walk around and up the sand dunes and watch the wide silent landscape around. Good for the soul!
Written April 9, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Sand Island of Qinghai Lake - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)