Qinghai Lake, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China (with Map & Photos)

Qinghai Lake, also known as "Koko Nor" in Mongolian, is the largest saltwater lake in China. It's located in the northeastern part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, in the province of Qinghai. The lake is situated at an altitude of about 3,205 meters (10,515 feet) above sea level, making it one of the highest-elevation lakes in the world.

Qinghai Lake
Qinghai Lake

Here are some key points about Qinghai Lake:

1. Geography and Size

Qinghai Lake has an area of around 4,489 square kilometers (1,735 square miles), and it's surrounded by vast grasslands and mountains. The lake is fed by over twenty rivers and streams, but it doesn't have any outlet, so it's a closed basin.

2. Salinity

As a saltwater lake, Qinghai Lake is relatively saline, although not as much as some other saltwater lakes. Its salinity varies depending on the inflow of water and evaporation rates.

3. Importance

The lake has significant ecological and economic importance for the region. It supports a diverse range of wildlife, including various bird species that use it as a breeding ground. The lake's fish resources have also supported local communities for generations.

4. Tourism

Qinghai Lake has become a popular tourist destination due to its unique natural beauty and the surrounding Tibetan culture. Visitors can enjoy activities like bird watching, boat tours, and exploring the nearby grasslands and monasteries.

5. Environmental Concerns

Like many other bodies of water, Qinghai Lake has faced environmental challenges. Water diversions for agriculture and other uses, as well as changes in climate patterns, have led to fluctuations in water levels. There are efforts to manage and preserve the lake's ecosystem.

6. Culture and Religion

The area around Qinghai Lake is inhabited by various ethnic groups, including Tibetans and Mongolians. It holds cultural and religious significance for these groups. There are several monasteries and temples in the region that attract pilgrims and tourists alike.

7. Qinghai Lake Cycling Race

The Qinghai Lake International Road Cycling Race is a notable annual event that attracts professional cyclists from around the world. The race takes place around the lake and showcases the stunning landscape.

Qinghai Lake's beauty, ecological importance, and cultural value have made it a focal point for both tourists and researchers interested in understanding the unique ecosystems and cultures of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Qinghai Lake Map