A Soul Journey to the Qinghai 

Written by Oct 27, 2011 03:15
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Having heard of the beauty of the Qinghai Lake many times, I finally decided to go there. When I came back to Xian, I found that I had lost my heart at the Qinghai Lake......
Marnyi Stones

Roast Yak Meat
Niang Pi, a snack in Xining

In the evening of August 9, I set off my journey to Xining. Luckily, I got a sleeping train ticket from Xian to Xining. In fact, it was uncomfortable to sleep on the train. Considering of my journey to the Qinghai Lake, I forced myself to sleep to save energy for my trip.

In the morning of August 10, I arrived at Xining West Railway Station. I didn’t go to the Qinghai Lake directly. Instead, I decided to have a short trip to Ta'er Monastery, the center of the Yellow Hat Sect in Tibetan Buddhism. There I learned that the monastery is called “Gongben” in Tibetan. “Gongben” means 10000 Buddha figures. I am not a follower of the Buddhism. Thus, I didn’t spend much time in the monastery. After that, I went to the Qinghai Museum for a visit, trying to learn some history knowledge.
Taer Monastery 1
Taer Monastery 3
Taer Monastery 4

Qinghai Museum

My soul journey to the Qinghai Lake started in the morning of August 11. At first, I wanted to say that I didn’t take the same route like other visitors because it was a bit boring. Before setting out, I did some lessons and learned that Heimahe is another location where I could enjoy the grand beauty of the lake. “It is one of the best locations to appreciate the sunrise on the Qinghai Lake. What’s more, it is free for visit”, A travelogue says. I fully agreed on what the travelogue said.
Qinghai Lake
Sutra streamers by the lake

I got up very early because I had to go to the old Xining railway station. There is a bus station beside the railway station. I bought the ticket from Xining to Heimahe. The bus departed at 08:30 and arrived at 14:00. If I entered the Qinghai Lake at its entrance, I could get there before 12:00. But I didn’t.

By the way, you have to fully prepare for the difficult conditions in Heimahe if you decide to take the same route like me. There are some Sichuan style restaurants but the foods are expensive. The living conditions are very difficult for those travelers who get used to soft beds, showers and clean toilets.

I made some new friends on the bus. So we had a meal together and shared the bill. After the meal, we found a local’s house and decided to stay there. It cost just 50 yuan for a night and we could just walk to the lake in 30 minutes. The owner was kind. He offered us thick clothes for free when we appreciated the sunrise next morning.

In the late afternoon, my new friends and I walked to the Qinghai Lake to see the beautiful sunset. It was amazing.
Sunset at the Qinghai Lake 1
Sunset at the lake 2

If you decide to appreciate the sunrise, get up as early as you can. We got up very early. When we got there, we found that there were just us by the lake. The sunrise was magnificent and I couldn’t describe its beauty in words. Maybe, the pictures could.

Sunrise 2
Sunrise at the lake 1

If you dare ride the yak, you can take a great picture on the yak. Do not forget to bargain with the yak’s owner. I was attracted to the white yak. So I rode on the yak and took some nice pictures. I should tell you that there are tents by the lake. You may rent a tent to experience the local’s life.
White Yak
A lama by the Qinghai Lake

After having much fun in the Qinghai Lake, my new friends and I decided to visit the Chaka Salt Lake. Honestly, I didn’t know this place before. My friends just said that the scenery was awesome and I would have regretted if I hadn’t been there. So I made up my mind to see the salt lake with them. We charted a car and started our journey to the salt lake. The driver said that he could take us to the entrance of the Chaka Lake and the ticket was 50 yuan. He supplemented that he also could take us to a location where we could see the salt lake but we didn’t have to buy the entrance tickets. Finally, we took his first suggestion. He kept his promise and took us the entrance.
Way to the Chaka Salt Lake
Way to the Chaka Salt Lake 2

I was shocked when I got off the car and walked close to the salt lake. The blue sky reflecting in the tranquil salt lake! Amazing! Just remember that the sun is very strong so that you should wear a pair of sun glasses and use sun-block lotion.
Salt Lake 1
Salt Lake 2

the Road of Sky
Chaka Salt Lake
Staying at the salt lake for 1.5 hour, we decided to go back to Heimahe. None of us wanted to leave but we had to got back to Xining on the same day. The driver took us back to Heimahe and charged 200 yuan for this wonderful trip. Again, we didn’t catch the bus from Heimahe to Xining. So we stood by the road, waiting for a car to take us back to Xining. We did it and arrived in Xining at night.

I said “goodbye” to my friends and began seeking a place for sleeping. Maybe, I was too tired. I had a sound sleep and got up around 10:00 in the morning. My train back to Xian departed at 21:00. Thus, I planned to go somewhere in the afternoon. Finally, I decided to see the Qinghai Wildlife Park. There I didn’t see the giant pandas but I did see the lesser pandas (also called red panadas). They were very cute.
Red panada or Lesser Panada

I got out of the park at around 18:00 and then headed for the railway station directly. When I got to the railway station, I found a restaurant to feed my stomach. After that, I bought some local specialties and took the train back to Xian. I wasn’t sleepy on the berth because my head was full of the amazing scenery of the Qinghai Lake and Chaka Salt Lake.

I swear I will go there again, I promise.

 More Qinghai Travel Reviews
Comments (9)


May 11, 2017 10:19 Reply

Ms.KAREN from United Kingdom said:

Hi there, I'm planning to go to Qinghai lake this June and been reading a lot on how to get to Qinghai lake from xining. Is it best to hire a driver or take the bus? Do I need buy bus ticket in advance? I'm only in Xining for a day then plan to go to Qinghai lake for 2 days and stay overnight. do u think I need to book the accommodation in advance or it is easy to get accommodation when I arrive at the lake? I'm worried it will be full as june is a peak season to go and visit Qinghai lake! Your advice would much appreciated!


Sep 16, 2016 20:20 Reply

Mr.ALX from australia said:

Is it relatively easy to find tent stays?
And how much should we be expecting to pay for tent?
How do we find a local's house when we arrive at Heimahe.

Thank you for your post.
Amazing pictures!

Sep 18, 2016 02:48
Mr.JACK from China replied:

Yes, it's easy to find tent stays. There are many tents for rent or tent hostels near Heimahe Town. A bed costs around CNY 30 and the rent for a tent which can hold two persons is about CNY 120.


May 22, 2016 02:15 Reply

XUEYING07 said:

Hi, if I reach Xining Railway Station before 0700, is it possible to go to Qing Hai lake and Chaka salt lake within a day and be back the same evening to catch another train at 2050? What will you recommend instead? Thanks!

May 23, 2016 21:50
Mr.YES NO NO replied:

Well, I don't advise you to go to the Qinghai Lake and Chaka Salt Lake within a day. The plan is too rushed. A single trip from Chaka to the downtown area needs about 5 hours, and about 1.5 hours should be spent to enjoy the scenery there. Only this adds up to nearly 12 hours!

If you only have one day, you are adivised to only visit one of the two lakes. If possible, it's better to charter a car or share a car with others.


May 14, 2015 08:12 Reply

Mr.NICO from Argentina said:

I am a bit confused about the way of going and coming back to and from Heimahe (starting from Xining).

I am a bit time constrained in my trip (I have a week before going to Lhasa and I want to go to Zhangye and Daxia mountains as well). I think I can make it, but I need to be sure of bus/shared vans or whatever that would do the trip. Can you help me witht this? They told me it's online but only for chinese speaking people (and also, shared vans are probably not there...)


May 14, 2015 21:17
Mr.YES NO NO replied:

Nico, then I think you should find some travel companions before you go or after you arrive in Xining. Then you can charter a car to do Qinghai Lake trip. It's the most convenient way.


May 12, 2015 11:25 Reply

Mr.NICO from Argentna said:

Great stuff ! Thanks. So, am I to understand that:
1) There is a bus back from Hemaihe to Xining in the evening?
2) It is possible to staye at Hemaihe but it is also possible to stay at the lake in one of the tents
3) How much was the taxi from Hemaihe to the lake? If I go and stay in the lake ( tent) is it possible to catch a taxi from there to Hemaihe or other places in the lake the next day?


May 12, 2015 22:25
Mr.YES NO NO replied:

1) There is no direct bus from Heimahe to Xining. If you are lucky, you can get the regular bus that passes by Heimahe. Otherwise, you need to hitch a ride. It isn't free.
2) Yes, you can choose to stay at the tent near the lake. However, you should be prepared for the difficult accommodation condition. If you go there in peak season (July and August), you need to pay much for renting a tent nearby the lake.
3) There is no taxi from Heimahe to the lake. The distance isn't far. I walked from my hostel to the lake. It tooke around 30 minutes. Of course, you need to walk back to your hostel. If you don't want to walk, you can just find a hostel located close to the lake.

Usually, people go to Chaka Salt Lake from Heimahe. You should be able to charter a car in Heimahe. It's good to share with other travellers so that you can save some money. Luckily, I met two other travellers. We paid CNY 200 for a round trip.

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