Qinghai Lake Transportation

Qinghai Lake (Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture) Transportation Guide serves you detailed transport information and introduces buses to Qinghai Lake, tips for getting to Qinghai Lake and ways of getting around Qinghai Lake.

How to Get to Qinghai Lake

Qinghai Lake is about 130 kilometers or 80 miles from Xining and is about 3,205 meters or 10,515 feet above sea level. To get to Qinghai Lake, you usually arrive at Xining by plane or train, then you can choose to drive by yourself, charter a car or take a bus to get to Qinghai Lake.

Transfer from Caojiabao Airport

Xining is the capital of Qinghai Province, with convenient transportation, and can choose various modes of transportation, such as planes, trains and cars. Xining Caojiabao Airport is the nearest airport to Qinghai Lake. If you want to go directly to Qinghai Lake from Xining Airport, you are advised to take the airport bus at the Qiyi Bus Station so that you can directly transfer to the bus to Xihai Town. You can also charter a car from the airport to Qinghai Lake, but the price is higher, about 900 yuan.

Transfer from Downtown Xining

By Bus

The best way to get to Qinghai Lake from Xining downtown is to catch a Tourist Express at Ba Yi Bus Staion (located in Yongchang Mansion, 90 Ba Yi Road). The express here usually depart at 7:30, 8:15, 9:15, 9:30, so you’d better take the bus in the morning. The journey takes about 2.5 horus. The ticket fare for the single ride costs RMB 35 and RMB 45 for the return trip. You can easily get to Bayi Bus Station by taking the public buses no.2, 22 and 25.  

You can also take a bus from the main bus station in Xining just south of the train station. Several long-distance buses leave from Xining station for a little Tibetan town called Heimahe that is on the southwest corner of the lake. These buses depart from 7:30 to 9:00. The journey takes bout 3 hours. The bus driver will just stop and drop you off at one of the main tourist areas. To get back to Xining wait on the side of the highway and wave down a bus or minibus. Minibuses are a little more expensive but are quicker and more frequent. Another bonus of the minibus is that it will drop you off anywhere in Xining.


1. You should tell the driver where you want to drop off. Then the driver will stop at your destination. Otherwise he will drive directly to the terminal.

2. After having a view of the lake, you might find a bus or taxi going north from the lake to Bird Island, which is near to the lake and also a famous scenic spot in this place.

By Taxi or Charter Car

You can hire a taxi or private car at the price of about RMB 600. Or you may look for a shared car or van at Bayi Bus Station. Usually you pay RMB 100 for a shared van or RMB 150 for a shared car for a return trip to Qinghai Lake from Xining’s city center.

Private or shared car or van gives you much freedom in terms of getting off on the way to Qinghai Lake or back to Xining downtown. There are quite a  few scenic attractions and historical sites on route. You can ask your driver to stop for the site you are interested in, making your day trip more interesting and value-added.

Read More about Xining Transportation

How to Tour around Qinghai Lake

The best way to enjoy the lake is probably by camping and hiking around its edge. In fact, there is a special tourist site on the southern shores of the lake that will allow travelers access to boating, horseriding, fishing and other lake related activities. Besides the comfortable trip by a chartered car, cyclying around the the lake is the most popular way chosen by tourists. Qinghai Lake Tour routes and packages operated by travel agency are also good choices, especially for the first-time comers.

Please Check Qinghai Lake Tours

Tips for Qinghai Lake Transportation

1. Generally speaking, it is not recommended to take a taxi to the scenic spot at the beginning of the tourist season, because most drivers are accustomed to driving in Xining city, and cannot well adapt to the road conditions outside the city , which is easy to cause some unsafe accidents. This has happened in previous years.

2. If you decide to take a taxi to the scenic spot, you must verify the driver's license. If the driver does not drive his own car or does not have a formal taxi operation license, then on the one hand, it is very dangerous, and on the other hand, there is no safety guarantee in case of accidents.

3. The schedule of the chartered bus usually starts from Xining and passes through Riyue Mountain, Daotang River and 151 base. You can spend the first night at Heimahe Town, and watch the sunrise over the river next morning.

4. It is suggested to book charter service on formal official websites and travel agencies for your safety; Qinghai Travel Car Rental Network: http://www.laiqinghai.com/, this website has car sharing information and is suitable for tourists who go to Qinghai Lake alone;

5. Bicycle enthusiasts with good physical strength can rent bicycles from Xining to ride to Qinghai Lake and cycle along the road around the lake. The 70-kilometer picturesque highway from Heimahe Township to Bird Island is recommended.

6. Heimahe Town does not has bicycle rent service. You can rent at Base 151. There are bicycles for rent, about 160 kilometers from Bird Island.

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Tips Before Travel

Bring copies of your passport

Don't assume you're restricted to the main hubs of Beijing and Shanghai, our tours can start from any city.

Register with your embassy

For your safety, please register with the Embassy.

Always have local cash

Exchange some local currency for your trip

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