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“Qinghai lake in October”
Review of Lake Kokonor

Lake Kokonor
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Qinghai Lake Day Tour
Ranked #1 of 63 things to do in Xining
Certificate of Excellence
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Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
59 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Qinghai lake in October”
Reviewed November 2, 2013

We visited the lake at the beginning of October, and according to the hired driver it was still during the tourist season (the season was to be over in mid October and the prices were to be lower after 15.10). However, it is not the time to see the Birds Island as all the birds are gone already, and it is too cold to spend a night in Nomand tents because the tents are pulled down at the end of September. If you are to visit the lake at that time, according to the local people one day should be enough unless you want to see the sunrise at the lake. Our time was limited, so we took a one-day trip and hired a driver for 900 RMB at a local tourist agency in Xining. The driver, perfectly familiar with the most interesting spots, took us from one place to another (we started our trip in Xining and we visited Sun and Moon Mountain on the way) leaving us with as much time as we wanted for admiring the views - fields of yellow rape flowers, mountains covered with snow, Tibetan flags at the lakeside, sand dunes...of course each place welcomed us with a toll gate with a fee of 10-15 RMB/person. Unfortunatelly, the lakeside areas belong to the local people and it is impossible to enter there without paying the toll fee. However, although it was Sunday, the Qinghai lake area was almost empty and we could absorb its beauty without standing in a queue of tourists. Although the trip does not belong to the cheapests, the place is deffinitely worth seeing. It is some kind of mixture of Tibetan and Mongolian cultures - you can watch the Mongolian shepards, Tibetan monks, yaks or ships during the drive. The landscape changes rapidly from snow-covered mountains to empty steppes or deserts. Fortunately, the Chinese commercial tourism has not fully reached this place yet. Take water and some snacks with you as it is hard to find the place where you can eat something. It is also impossible to find a toilet there ;).

Visited October 2013
1 Thank appl459
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Long Beach, California
Level Contributor
446 reviews
282 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 246 helpful votes
“exposure to tibetan culture”
Reviewed October 25, 2013

For me what made this trip was the first time exposure to the tibetan culture, no not the temple but the way regular folks live here. you will see a lot of the tibetan tents, plenty of horsemen, and the multicolored tibetan structures with prayer flags

Visited July 2013
Thank Hoben01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“A nice spot you can make a visit by feet, a bike, or a car.”
Reviewed September 3, 2013

It's not convenient to take a trip of Lake Kokonor like a pilgrim, you still can find a way to visit few spots around the lake. I rent a car, started from the sunrise of Heimahe Town, visited tent of Tibetan by lake, had a gup of milk tea, visited big farm of Canola flowers, visited a town of nuclear weapon, called Xihai, and had sandboarding in a day. It's a different experience to have a visit ever for me in China.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank germanyplus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Relaxing, bigger than you imagine, and a bit touristy.”
Reviewed July 15, 2013

While Qinghai Lake can be done as a day trip from Xining or Lanzhou, I recommend spending at least one night at a lakeside hotel. We spent a night at a hotel on the west side of the lake with electricity, hot water, and its own private stretch of lakefront. (This wasn't a luxury hotel, because there's no such thing on Qinghai Lake) Thus, we didn't have the discomfort of sleeping in a yurt homestay (if you're into that, more power to you), and did not have to pay for lakefront access. I unfortunately don't remember the name of the hotel, as our driver took care of all of our accommodations.

If you do stay overnight at Qinghai Lake, be sure to book a hotel on the west side of the lake. This way, weather permitting, you'll be able to catch one of the more notable sights on the lake: sunrise, when the Lake gives birth to the Sun. Due to the size of the lake, its far side disappears over the horizon when viewed from the shore, which means that, at sunrise on a clear day, the sun appears to rise directly out of the lake itself. Nighttime/pre-dawn temperatures can be quite brisk, especially since the combination of high altitude and near-constant breezes make it particularly easy to catch a cold. Dress more warmly than you feel you need to, and drink plenty of fluids.

Qinghai Lake's lakeside highway is one of the more comfortable stretches of the Tour of Qinghai Lake cycling race, which is becoming increasingly popular as a spectator event in China. This means that, if you decide to pedal a partial circuit of the lake, or the full 600-km loop, you'll find lots of local company along the way during the summer months, usually decked out in full cycling gear. If you go in mid-July, you should be able to catch the local rapeseed crop blooming, which blankets virtually the entire area in fields of fluorescent yellow.

Visited June 2013
2 Thank Jack H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
112 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“A nice spot to visit during a weekend”
Reviewed July 1, 2013

The 2-hours trip by taxi to Qinghai Hu = Lake Kokonor, some 130 km west of Xining is the real highlight and especially the pass between Ri+Yue Mountains should not be missed. From the alternative route you'll see plenty of today'sTibetian culture.

Visited June 2013
Thank Wilf40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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