Aydingkol Lake in Turpan

Why is Aydingkol Lake So Special?

Different from other lakes, Lake Aiding is full of salt shells. At present, its outer circle is lacustrine plain, the surface is hard saline soil, the middle circle is saline swamp, and the bottom is silt. It is difficult for people to enter except in winter. The center of the lake is full of crystal salt. According to research, as early as 20,000 years ago, Lake Aiding was a large freshwater lake. The lake contained a large amount of chlorine, sodium and potassium plasma. Minerals included halite, mirabilite, anhydrous mirabilite, gypsum, glauberite and a variety of potassium, magnesium salts, salt and mirabilite with a storage of about 300 million tons or more. It is the lake with the largest mineralization degree in China.

Where is Aydingkol Lake

Aiding Lake, a faulted lake in the southwest of Turpan Basin in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China, is located in Chatkal Township, 50 kilometers south of Gaochang District in Turpan City. It was formerly known as Jueluohuan, and its Uighur name is Aiding Kule, meaning Moonlight Lake.

History of Aydingkol Lake

In 1756 (the 21st year of Qingganlong), Qing generals He Guozong and Ha Qinga led a team to carry out an actual measurement of Lake Aiding. According to the “Map of Qing Dynasty” published in 1909 (the first year of the reign of Emperor Xuantong of Qing Dynasty), the water area of Lake Aiding at that time was 230 square kilometers.

In 1993, the bottom of the lake hardened and became a viable vehicle. The water surface for field investigation is 3 square kilometers.

Only 0.5 square kilometers were left in 2010. By January 2016, it had basically dried up and the exposed salinized area in the lake area reached 90 square kilometers.

In order to maintain the basic survival needs of the people of all ethnic groups in Turpan, since the 1960s, the exploitation of groundwater has increased year by year, with an average annual excess of 248 million cubic meters. The groundwater level has decreased year by year. The number of karez with water has decreased from more than 1,200 in 1957 to more than 200 today, and groundwater can no longer supply Lake Aiding.

Main Attraction of Aydingkol Lake

Lying 155 meters (about 509 feet) below sea level it does not quite compare with the Dead Sea which, of course is the lowest expanse of water on earth at some 283 feet below sea level. However, Aydingkol Lake, together with the Flaming Mountains and Grape Valley are three outstanding natural features in Turpan.

Shaped like the moon, the lake was so named by the Uigur. Aydingkol, means ‘Moonlight Lake’. It has a long history going back about 250 million years. Ten thousand years ago it was a freshwater lake and was 1,000 times larger than its current size. Natural forces affected its elevation and once it became land locked so mineral deposits began to accumulate. Today, the lake is comprised of three parts: the outer circle is an alluvial plane. The inner part is salt marsh while at its center the lake is pure white and glittering salt rime. Neither birds nor fish inhabit its hostile environs, but one may come across gnats and hares from time to time. Occasionally, mirages are created by the refraction of the sun light.

The lake is highly mineralized and contains rock salt, Glauber’s salt, glauberite, gypsum, etc. The reserves of salt and Glauber’s salt exceed 300 million tons, an important source of raw materials to chemical industries. There is now a chemical plant on the lake front. In addition to the natural views, the surrounding karez, beacon tower and residential sites are of great archaeological importance. The desolate and incult sight of the Aydingkol Lake will make a unique impression on visitors.

Recommended Xinjiang Tour Packages

Best Time to Travel Aydingkol Lake

The best time to come to Lake Aiding is every autumn, that is, August and September.

At this time, the weather began to cool and the fruits began to mature. This is a very suitable time to travel. At this time, most scenic spots began to hang attractive gold. Let’s travel in the golden ocean. The natural scenery around Lake Aiding is very beautiful. In our spare time, we take our family to play in Lake Aiding, eat delicious fruits and enjoy different local conditions and customs. I believe this is a very beautiful moment and a very happy memory.

How to Get There

It is more than 50 km south of Gaochang District in Turpan City. The chartered bus goes back and forth to about 100 yuan. There are many salt flats, alkaline land and sand dunes around Aiding Lake. The road is not easy to walk.

Useful Travel Tips

Admission Fee: 30 yuan/person
Opening Hours: 09: 30-20: 00 (April 1-October 14, Monday-Sunday)
10: 00-19: 30 (October 15-Monday-Sunday, March 31 of the following year)


  • There are birds, fish, wild camels, lake water, reeds, etc. Water must be prepared when entering scenic spots.
  • The lowest point in the world’s interior -154.37 meters, bicycles can be rented to scenic spots.

Nearby Attractions

Edited by Doreen/张洋