Qinghai Lake Travel Tips

Qinghai Lake (Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture) Travel FAQs and Tips introduce the city and zip codes, post offices, useful numbers, hospitals, banks for foreign exchange. When plan your trip to Qinghai Lake, view our answers to questions about Qinghai Lake travel to get better understanding of Qinghai Lake.

Useful Numbers

  • China International country code number: 0086
  • Xining city code number: 0971
  • Ambulance: 120
  • Fire: 119
  • Police: 110
  • Check Telephone Number: 114
  • Weather Report: 12121, 96121
  • Xining Railway Station Inquiry: 0971-12306
  • Railway Station Ticket: 0971-95105105
  • Traffic Bureau: 0971-6145660
  • International Ticket Reservation: 0971-8189098
  • Taxi Company: 0971-5132378

More about Xining Useful Numbers

Best Time to Visit Qinghai Lake

The best time to watch the birds is from May to July. If you want to the see the best view of the lake, then the best time is July and August. If you want to see the swan, then the best time would be from November to next Febuary. Generally speaking, July– August is the busiest season for Qinghai Lake travel, so lodging and other accommodations may cost more than usual.

What to Wear

Spring clothes are mostly used, summer clothes and autumn clothes have one coat. The temperature difference between morning and evening is large, and it is hot at noon.

A mountaineering jacket is necessary no matter which month you come. Even in July or August, the temperature is also can lower than 10℃ (50℉). And a rain will bring a cold day in Qinghai Lake in any season.

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.

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Where to Stay at Qinghai Lake

Xihai Town 西海镇,  151 Base, Erlangjian Scenic Area 二郎剑景区, Jiangxigou Town 江西沟乡, Heimahe Town 黑马河乡, Shinaihai Town 石乃亥乡, Bird Island 鸟岛,  Quanji Town 泉吉乡, Gangcha County and Ha'ergai Town 哈尔盖镇 are the places you will passby during the Qinghai Cycling Tour.  Hotels Closest to Qingai Lake, Hotels and Inns near Bird Island and Hotels and Inns in Gangcha County are recommended

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Qinghai Lake Dining Tips

Qinghai Lake is not as convenient as a big city in terms of food and beverage, but there are many restaurants along the Qinghai-Tibet Highway. There are also restaurants to choose from in the scenic spots. Residents around Qinghai Lake are mainly Tibetans and Hui, and their diet is mostly Tibetan cuisine and halal food, mainly dough pieces, noodles, beef and mutton. If you stay in a Tibetan gesthouse, you can also taste Tibetan delicacies such as Zanba, Yogurt and buttered tea. The Han cuisine in Qinghai Lake is mainly Sichuan cuisine with rich flavor. There are many restaurants in all villages and towns along the lake, but there are not many special dishes, most of which are beef and mutton.

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Things to Do at Qinghai Lake

There are many things for you to try for entertainment at Qinghai Lake, such as  beach motorcycles, sand sliding, horse riding, cycling around the lake, paragliding and archery. 

Top Attractions and Things to Do at Qinghai Lake

Scenic spots near Qinghai Lake are distributed along the lake, starting from Xihai Town. The main scenic spots are Riyue MountainQinghai Husha Island/Sand Island(Shadao), Base 151 (Erlangjian Scenic Spot), Bird Island and Gold and Silver Grassland. Among them, Shadao and Gold and Silver Grassland have recreational items such as beach motorcycles, sand sliding, paragliding and archery. All of the above scenic spots need tickets except for those outside Xihai Town. if you travel to Qinghai lake by chartered car, there is no need to visit the scenic spots which require entrance tickets.

Visit a Tibetan Family

Tibetans are the major ethnic groups living the areas near Qinghai Lake. Visiting a local family is a good chance to learn about their lives. Arriving at the local house, you may find the yak dungs piled in the yard. They are stored for fuel. Entering into the house, and you will be warmly welcomed by the family in Tibetan way. You may find it enjoyable to chat with the hospitable Tibetan people. Butter tea and Zanba will be served. Don’t forget to have a taste, or you could consult the owner how to make them.

Taking A Boat Trip on The Lake

Erlangjian Scenic Area is Qinghai Lake’s main attraction. It is located on the south shore of the lake and is home to a shopping center, restaurants, and hotels. The visitor site consists of two areas, the first of which is located near the entrance and provides a range of commercial facilities and a harbor for tourist boats. The other area is a narrow peninsula that stretches out over 10 km into the lake. Taking a boat trip on the lake is one of Erlangjian’s most popular activities.

Have Fun on Qinghai Husha Island

Qinghai Husha Island is located in the northeast of Qinghai Lake. It’s a huge sand dune that extends into Qinghai Lake. This sand dune covers a very large area. The end of the desert is the broad Qinghai Lake, a uniquely majestic scene. There are two small freshwater lakes on the sandy island as well as reed strewn wetlands, for a beautiful environment. Here you can also enjoy sandboarding, sand motorcycling and other exciting options as well as the chance to see incredible sand sculptures. Various tour options are available.

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Other Travel Information for Qinghai Tours


The ethnic minorities in Qinghai Lake area are mainly Tibetans, followed by Mongolians and Hui. The local people can basically communicate in Mandarin, but with local Qinghai accent.


The network signal in Qinghai Lake area is not as good as in Xining. If you ride to sparsely populated areas, there may be no network signal. Better equiped hotels around the lake may offer broadband Internet access or wifi. Internet cafes are only availabe in Xihai Town, Haiyan county, Huangyuan County and Gangcha county.


  • Construction Bank of China  (Huangyuan Branch)
    Add:  No.5, West Street, Chengguang Town, Huangyuan County 湟源县城关镇西大街5号
    Tel: 0971-2432402
  • Agricultural Bank of China  (Haiyan Branch)
    Add: No.4, Heping Road, Haiyan County 海晏县和平路4号
    Tel: 0970-8631023
  • Construction Bank of China  (Xihai Branch)
    Add:  No. 32, Liu Yi Alley, Wenxing Road, Xihai Town, Haiyan County 海晏县西海镇文兴路六一巷32号
    Tel: 0970-8642639
  • Agricultural Bank of China  (Gangcha County Branch)
    Add: No.55,  West Street, Gangcha County 刚察县西大街55号 
    Tel: 0970-8652307 


  • Huangyuan People's Hospital  (湟源县医院)
    Add:2 Gonghe Rd, Chengdong, Xining 湟源县西大街35号
    Tel: 0971-2432792 
  • The First People's Hospital of Haibei Prefecture (海北州第一人民医院)
    Add:No. 2, Jintan Road, Xihai Town, Haiyan County 海晏县西海镇金滩路2号
    Tel: 0970-8642098
  • Haiyan People's Hospital (海晏县人民医院)
    Add:No. 188, Sanjiaocheng Street, Haiyan Street 海晏县三角城大街188号
    Tel: 0970-8631195
  • Gangcha People's Hospital (刚察县人民医院)
    Add:Opposite No. 5. East Street, Gangcha Street 刚察县东大街5号对面
    Tel: /

Post Offices

  • Haibei Post Office (海北州邮政局)
    Add: No.6. Menyuan Road, Xihai Town, Hiayan County (海晏县西海镇门源路6号)
    Tel: 0970-8644036
  • Haiyan Post Office (海晏县邮政局)
    Add: No.3, Heping Road, Haiyan County ( 海晏县和平路3号)
    Tel: 0970-8631989
  • Gangcha Post Office (刚察县邮政局)
    Add: No. 11, West Street, Gangcha County (刚察县西大街11号)
    Tel:  0970-8652412
  • Huangyuan Post Office (湟源县邮政局)
    Add: South Street, Huangyuan County (湟源县南大街)
    Tel:  0971-2431919

Travel Safety Tips

  • 1. Don’t stay in the grassland after sunset.
  • 2. Don’t walk into place without signs. There are many marshes in Qinghai Lake.
  • 3.  Don’t swim in the lake.
  • 4.  Qinghai Lake is a salt lake. Better to ensure your skin is not sensitive for that.
  • 5. If you choose cycling or hiking, better to get up early and begin early.
  • 6. When cycling around the lake, be careful for for vehicle on the express.
  • 7. Don’t step into the grassland that circled by others.
  • 8. The temperature between day and night is totally different. Better to check about the weather forecast before travelling. 

Dos and Don’ts in Qinghai Lake Trip

  • 1. Qinghai Lake is the holy lake in Tibetan Buddhism culture. Don’t swimming in the lake. Don’t touch the sacrifices around the lake. Visit the lake in clockwise.
  • 2. Sending Hada is the most elaborate welcoming etiquette for guests.Most Hadas are in white color. Some are in blue or light yellow colors. The general length is around 1.5 - 5 meters. The top level Hada is made in 5 colors (blue, yellow, green, red, white). It is used during the most serious Buddhism ceremonies.
  • 3. When have the butter tea, hold the bowl with your two hands when drinking
  • 4. In generally, Tibetan people not eat fish, crimp, chicken, and egg.
  • 5. Don’t touch other’s head by hands.