Archive for the ‘Xining Travel’ Category

Sunrise Over Qinghai Lake

Friday, July 10th, 2015
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When you are planning your Qinghai Tour either for sightseeing or on business, Qinghai Lake will definitely linger in your mind, a gem 151 km west of Xining City – the capital city of Qinghai Province. Qinghai Lake is the largest inland saline lake in China with a perimeter of 360 km and an average depth of 21 meters.

Every year Qinghai Lake entices a consistent flow of tourists home and abroad, attracted by its azure sky, limpid water, white clouds, green grassland and yellow sea of rape flower. For how to visit Qinghai Lake, you check out the link – How to Visit Qinghai Lake from Xining.

If you are a sunrise photography enthusiast, Qinghai Lake will offer you a delightful photography experience. The best place to see the sunrise over Qinghai Lake is Hei Ma He Township (黑马河乡) , 220 km to the west of Xining City. Hei Ma He Township is on the west edge of Qinghai Lake, a perfect place to view the sunrise over the lake.

You’d better off first visiting Qinghai Lake during the daytime. Before you go to Hei Ma He Township for taking pictures of sunrise over Qinghai Lake, you should check out the weather condition and the sunrise time. Then drive to Hei Ma He Town for overnight stay . There are some family inns, hostels in the township.

It is not a bad idea to put up in a tent or an inn near the west bank of Qinghai Lake in Hei Ma He Township.

Get up early to catch the rising sun. Wear warmly for it still feels chilly in an early morning even you may come here in summer. Get your camera and tripod, trying to locating a place to clearly see the sunrise. It is not surprising that you will see a”human wall” on the west lake shore for many people like you flock here shooting pictures of sunrise over the lake.

The Sun is appearing above the lake.

The Sun is appearing above the lake.

The Sun is appearing above the lake.

The rising Sun is up under clouds.

The rising Sun is up under clouds.

The rising Sun is up under clouds.

 

The sky and the lake are all blanketed by the new and fresh “Red Sun”.

The sky and the lake are all blanketed by the new and fresh "Red Sun".

The sky and the lake are all blanketed by the new and fresh “Red Sun”.

Add on
How to visit Qinghai Lake from Xining.

Any questions,  just drop line.

How to Visit Qinghai Lake from Xining

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
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No matter you are in Xining for sightseeing or on business,  having a day trip to Qinghai Lake is a delightful must if you come to Xining for the first time on your Qinghai Tour.

Qinghai Lake is located 151 km west of Xining’s city center. It is the largest inland lake and saline lake as well in China with a circumference of 360 km and average depth of 21 meters. Qinghai Lake is formed by Datong Mountain and Riyue Mountain of Qilian Mountain Ranges, and South Mountain in Qinghai and fed by over dozens of rivers and streams.

Qinghai Lake has long been one of the biggest draws in Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province which lies on the northeast of Tibetan Plateau. At the altitude of 3200 meters, Qinghai Lake boasts great charms – Blue sky and water, white clouds and green grassland, and amazing rape flowers, a wonderful summer resort and mesmerizing landscape.

Summer ( July-August ) is the best time to visit Qinghai Lake. September and early October is also a good time to have a glimpse of the lake though most of the grasslands have turned brown.

Then how to go to Qinghai Lake from Xining’s city center? Basically you have three ways of transport – taking a public bus, hiring an exclusive car or van, and take a shared car or van.

Bayi Passenger Transport Station ( 八一客运站) has regular buses going to Qinghai Lake – first bus leaves at 6:00am and the last bus  back at 3:30pm. You can easily reach Bayi Bus Station by taking the public buses no.2, 22 and 25.  The bus fare for the single ride from downtown costs RMB 35 and RMB 45 for the return bus ride.

You can hire a taxi or private car at the price of 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.

Generally the 151 km overland ride is a scenic drive, passing by massive valleys, alpine meadows, limpid rivers, historical sites and remote towns. Well, follow me to drive into the wonderland of Qinghai Lake in late September.

The 151km ride is mainly composed of three parts: Xining Downtown to Huangyuan County (湟源) 50km; Huangyuan – Daotanghe Town (倒淌河) 50 km and Daotanghe – Qinghai Lake 50 km.

This is Bayi Passenger Transport Station which is located at Kangle (康乐) on East Avenue (东大街), many public bus lines reach the bus station. You should get off at the station of Kangle (康乐) for Bayi Passenger Bus Station.

Bayi Passenger Transport Staton

Bayi Passenger Transport Staton

It is a comfortable drive from Xining to Huangyuan (湟源), along an enclosed expressway. This the toll gate for the expressway.

Duoba Toll Gate and Start your day trip.

Duba Toll Gate

 

Driving along the expressway, accompanied by the mountains and Huangshui River.On route and accompanied by the mountains and Huangshui River

On route and accompanied by the mountains and Huangshui River

We finish the first 50 km drive and get to the downtown of Huangyuan County (湟源县). Your driver will stop at the entrance to the ancient Dan Gaer Ancient City (丹噶尔古城) for a brief visit.

Dan Gaer Old Town used to be a commercial center, a hub of the Tangbo Ancient Route ( a minor Silkroad), starting from Tang Dynasty and it reached its prime in Qing Dynasty. Many of the old city’s building are still well kept or have been restored.

The entrance to Dan Gaer Ancient Town.  The former Confucian Temple and Primary School in the ancient town. Free  entrance for the old town itself, but there are a few inside pay attractions.

The former Confucian Temple and Primary School

The former Confucian Temple and Primary School

After Dan Gaer Old Town, we continue to start our second leg of the trip from Dan Gaer to Daotanghe Town ( 倒淌河) ( a National Highway). It is an exciting scenic drive! It is a deluxe experience for people living in Beijing pestered by the annoying haze.

We stop by the side of the highway, surrounded by brown meadows, blue sky and white clouds for a while. I ask my driver to take a stereotyped picture by his van.

Take a stereotyped picture on route

Take a stereotyped picture on route

Snow capped mountains, brown grasslands and glazing sheep

Snow shrouded mountains, brown grasslands and glazing sheep

Snow shrouded mountains, brown grasslands and glazing sheep

We soon reach Daotanghe Town (倒淌河). We pass by the most essential pay attraction in Daotanghe – a wetland with beautiful landscape.

Daotanghe Wetland with beautiful landscape.

Daotanghe Wetland with beautiful landscape.

We drive through Daotanghe Town and start our last leg of our day trip from Daotanghe to Qinghai Lake, the last 50 km drive.

Daotanghe Town

Daotanghe Town

Before we get to the edge of Qinghai Lake, we get off at the rape flower fields by the highway. Grape flowers are cash crops for the local farmers. The rape flower seeds are essential eating oils. The best time to see the rape flowers falls on July through August. Today we are lucky to catch the last hues of the rape flowers.

Qinghai Lake is a well developed scenic area rated as AAAAA attraction, the highest grade by China National Tourism Administration. Several areas by the lake are open to visitors: Erlangjian Area, Sand Island, Bird Island and Fishing Harbor. We visit the lake at  Fishing Harbor (entrance fee: RMB 40) instead of the most commercial and well developed Erlangjian Area9 ( Entrance fee: RMB 100 + RMB 140 for cruise on the lake).

 

The Snow capped mountains with reflections on the lake

Snow capped mountains with reflections on the lake

Our driver gives us a pleasant surprise by driving up to the hilltop south of Qinghai Lake, easy for us to have a panoramic view of the mesmerizing lake.

The hill dotted with glazing sheep with the backdrop of Qinghai Lake

Qinghai Lake 2

Qinghai Lake 2

A bird-eye’s view of the commercial area – Erlangjian (二郎剑) with numerous restaurants and hotels and the distant view of Qignhai Lake.

Qinghai lake 3

Qinghai lake 3

After two-hour sightseeing around the lake,  we are on our way back satisfied and changed.

Qinghai Lake 4

Qinghai Lake 4

Further Readings


Top 10 Things to Do in Xining
Kumbum Monastery, Xining
Best Place to See Autumn Leaves in Qinghai

Any questions, just drop a line.

Xian Lhasa Flight Experience, Xian Lhasa Flight

Sunday, August 21st, 2011
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Plan your Lhasa Tour from Xian? At the time of writing, three daily flights connect Xian and Lhasa, which are operated by Eastern China Airlines and Sichuan Airlines respectively.

The two daily flights by Eastern China Airlines are direct flights taking 3 hours and five minutes while the only daily flight by Sichuan Airlines is an indirect flight with one stopover at Xining ( the capital city of Qinghai Province) taking 4 hours and 50 minutes.

Timetable for the daily three Xian – Lhasa flights

Xian Lhasa  MU2333  07:45 – 10:55 ( Eastern China Airlines )
Xian Lhasa  3U8687 7:50 – 12:40  ( Sichuan Airlines )
Xian Lhasa  MU2335  11:35 – 14:40 ( Eastern China Airlines )

For various reasons, we were unable to get the direct flight by Eastern China Airlines from Xian to Lhasa for today’s flight. We use Sichuan Airlines’s flight 3U8687 taking off at 7:50 am.

Early this morning we have to get up around 4:30 am and leave our lodging hotel in Xian at 5:30am to catch the early 7:50 am flight since Xian Xianyang International Airport is approxi. 50km from the city of Xian, which take one hours’ driving.

Xian Airport has two terminals – T1 and T2. The airlines at T1 include China Southern Airlines (CZ), Xiamen Airlines (MF), Sichuan Airlines (3U) and Chongqing Airlines (OQ). The airlines at T2 include Air China (CA), Hainan Airlines (HU), Shenzhen Airlines (ZH), Shanghai Airlines (FM), Shandong Airlines (SC), East Star Airlines (8C), Lucky Air (8L), Kunpeng Air (VD) and Grand China Express (GS).

Make sure you have the right terminal when you use Xian Airport. So we go to the Terminal 1 for the flight by Sichuan Airlines, which is just next to the Terminal 2.

We first fly from Xian to Xining ( the capital city of Qinghai Province ). The 770km Xian to Xining flight takes takes us 1 hours and 10 minutes. At Xining Airport, we have to take all our carry-on bags, disembark, get temporarily boarding passes for the transit flight and wait in the lounge of Xining Airport. The whole flight transit at Xining takes about one hour. Then we board the same plane with the same seats again for the flight from Xining to Lhasa.

The 1238km flight from Xining to Lhasa takes us 2 hours and 20 minutes, which is the highlight of the flight experience from Xian to Lhasa. The 1238km flight route covers the Qinghai Tibet Plateau from northeast (Xining) to southwest (Lhasa), unfolding us the beautiful geographical landforms – snow mountains, desert, rivers and alpine meadows…

We arrive at Lhasa at 12:40 as scheduled. This is my second visit to Lhasa. Seeing the familiar Lhasa Airport reminds me of the my first Tibet Trip eascorting a tour group from Romania.

This time we are very lucky to use the just completed Lhasa Airport Expressway from the airport to the city of Lhasa. The newly finished Lhasa airport expressway shortens the old airport highway from 90km to 65km, taking us just one hour from the airport to Lhasa city.

Lhasa, I’m back! Tibet, I’m back!

See below some of the photos I take on my flight from Xian to Lhasa vis Xining crossing the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau:

The boarding gate for 3U8687 Xian Xining Lhasa Flight. Boarding the plane Airbus A319

Boarding the plane Airbus A319

Flying High in the sky on the way from Xian to Xining

Flying High in the sky on the way from Xian to Xining

Landing at Xining Airport

Landing at Xining Airport

In the Lounge of Xining Airport waiting for the transit flight from Xining to Lhasa

In the Lounge of Xining Airport waiting for the transit flight from Xining to Lhasa

Taking off from Xining Airport

Taking off from Xining Airport

Fying high over Qinghai Tibet Plateau

Fying high over Qinghai Tibet Plateau

Qaidam Basin in Qinghai Province

Qaidam Basin in Qinghai Province

Snow capped mountains

Snow capped mountains

Cotton flower like white clounds floating in the sky

Cotton flower like white clounds floating in the sky

Alpine Meadows

Alpine Meadows

Yalu Tsangpo River

Yalu Tsangpo River

Landing at Lhasa Airport

Landing at Lhasa Airport

Lhasa Airport

Lhasa Airport

Lhasa Airport Expressway

Lhasa Airport Expressway

Potala Palace in sight

Potala Palace in sight

Any questions, just drop a line.