China is abundant with mesmerising lakes, and it is impossible to sift through all of them in our life time. We try to round up some of the best lakes in China in terms of its Mother Nature and the interesting tales or history behind.
You may use our Top 10 List as your inspirational trip ideas to plan ahead for your next trip to China.
1. West Lake in Hangzhou 杭州西湖
Location: West Lake is located on the west of the city center of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province. It is surrounded by the hills on three sides: north, west and south with its east side abutting the city center. West Lake is 3.3km long from north to south and 2.8km wide from east to west with a circumference of 15km. West Lake ws listed as world cultural heritage in June 2011.
Check out my following articles for more information on the West Lake：
Top 10 Attractions in Hangzhou
When is the best time to visit Hangzhou
The Pure and Fresh Winter Beauty of West Lake in Hangzhou
West Lake Sunrise and Sunset
Snow Turns West Lake Hangzhou into a White Fairyland
Night View of West Lake in Hangzhou
The Best Place to View Sunrise over West Lake Hangzhou
The Best hiking trail around the West Lake in Hangzhou
I put West Lake in the first place is very subjective largely because I’m from Hangzhou. More specifically I was born and grew up with West Lake, which is always lingering in my mind and takes its root in my heart. For me, West Lake is the most beautiful lake in China. It is located within a modern city, easily accessible, close to people with more human nature like a delicate beauty, a gleaming pearl dropped from the heaven.
2. Kanas Lake in Xinjiang 新疆喀纳斯湖
Location: Kanas Lake is located 855km northeast of Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang. Kanas Lake, or more exactly, Kanas Scenic Area, Kanas Geopark and Kanas Natural Reserve.
Best Travel Time: September and October
Just read my another article Burjin – Kanas Lake – Jiadengyu for more information.
The Kanas Lake (Kanasi Hu) means “beautiful, rich and mysterious” in Mongolian. The lake is nestled in the deep forests and mountains of Altay. The lake is 1,374m above sea level and covers an area of 45sqkm (10 times bigger than Tianchi on Bogda Mountain) with the deepest point of 188m. The long bean-shaped lake reflects the surrounding snowcapped mountains. Legend has it that huge monsters live in the lake. They often has take away horses and camels drinking into the water by the lake and later swallow them, a similar story of “Nessie Monster” in Scotland.
3. Qinghai Lake in Qinghai 青海湖
Qinghai Lake is located 151 km west of Xining’s city center, in Qinghai Province. 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.
Check out my another article How to Visit Qinghai Lake for more information.
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.
4. Namtso Lake in Tibet 西藏纳木错
Location: Namtso lake is located 240km to the northeast of Lhasa. Namtso literally means “heavenly lake”. Namtso Lake is in the rectangle shape, 70km from east to west and 30km from north to south with an area of 1920 square km and 4718m at the sea-level.
Best Travel Time: June – September.
Read my another article Lhasa Namtso Road Trip for more imformation.
The lake is composed of 5 islands with the largest island of 1.2 square kilometers. It is said by the Buddhists that they are the avatars of five Buddhas. The lake is rich in all kinds of fishes, snow lotus, caladium and the place for wide animals dwelling. The lake is clear, flickering blue light under the sunshine, which seems to wash your soul cleanly.
5. Lugu Lake in Sichuan 四川泸沽湖
Location: Lugu Lake is located 260km north of Lijiang City, a border lake between Yunnan Province and Guizhou Province. The lake has an area of over 50 square km with a sea level of 2690m, the highest lake in Yunnan Province.
Best Travel Time: May and June.
Lugu Lake is woven with beautiful legends and teemed with poetic landscape. Lugu Lake is pure and azure without any pollution, 11 meters visible, which is very rare. The lake area is inhabited by many minority ethnic groups, such as the Mosuo, Norzu, Yi, Pumi and Tibetan. the Mosuo people (“Moso”), are said to be a sub clan of the Naxi People. The lake is also well-known as the region of “The Kingdom of Women” . where the Mosuo women have the the dominant role in their society.
6. Tianchi Lake in Mt. Changbai in Jinlin 吉林长白山天池
Location; Heaven Lake is a crater lake on the border between China and North Korea. It lies within a caldera atop the volcanic Baekdu Mountain, a part of the Baekdudaegan mountain range and the Changbai mountain range. It is located between Ryanggang Province, North Korea and Jilin Province, northeastern China.
Best Travel Time: July August and September.
Tianchi Lake has a surface elevation of 2,189m. The lake takes an area of 9.82 square km with a south-north length of 4.85 km and east-west length of 3.35 kilometres. The average depth of the lake is 213m and maximum depth of 384m
7. Jingpo Lake in Heilongjiang 牡丹江镜泊湖
Location: Jingpo Lake is located southwest of Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang Province. The lake occupies an area of 1200 square meters. It is a famous scenic spot as well as an ideal summer resort of North China. The lake has been called “West Lake of North China”.
Best Travel Time: July August and September
The northern side of the river runs down the Diaoshuilou Falls, a 40 meter waterfall caused by the lake. Jingpo Lake is well known for its craggy limestone cliffs and its azure waters containing 40 types of fish and fresh water coral.
8. East Lake in Wuhan 武汉东湖
The East Lake is located in the eastern suburb of the Wuchang City of Wuhan. Built into a park after the founding of new China, it was listed among the first batch national key scenic resorts by the State Council in 1982.
The East Lake Park covers an area of 87 square kilometers, of which the water area is about 33 square kilometers. The lake has bending banks. The park can be divided into 6 parts, namely listen to rotes, Mill Hill, fallen wild goose, white horse, piping, and Luohong, among which scenic spots in the listen to rotes area are near each other.
Check out Top 10 Attractions in Wuhan for more information.
Entrance Fee: CNY 40 (Moshan Area); free (Tingtao Area)
Opening Hours: 07:00-19:00
How to get there: There are many buses can take you to the East Lake Park: Buses No. 515, 36, 402 or 413 can take you to Moshan Area; Trams No. 14, 102, 537, 578, 605, 701, 411 or 108 can take you to Tingtao Area.
9. Yamdrok Lake in Tibet 西藏羊卓雍错湖
Location: Yamdrok Lake is located 105km to the southwest of Lhasa. Yamdrok-Tso Lake is 130km long from east to west and 70km wide from north to south with a total perimeter of 250km and the surface area of 638 square km, average depth of 20-40 meters. It is the largest lake at the north foot of the Himalayas.
Best Travel Time: June – September
Check my another articlet My Trip to Yamdrok Yumtso Lake for more information.
Yamdrok Yumtso Lake is a kind of low salt lake formed by the snow melted water from the snow capped mountains nearby. The lake looks like a holy sapphire. Under the clear azure sky, the clean water of the lake is as smooth as the surface of fine blue jade. Yamdrok Lake is said to be be the female Guardian of Buddhism in Tibet. Every year, many local Tibetans and visitors from Lhasa and from other places would come here for pilgrimage or sightseeing.
10. Qiandao Lake in Hangzhou 杭州千岛湖
Location: Qiandao Lake is located 129km in Chunan County in the southeast of Hangzhou and 140km to the northeast of Huangshan Mountain. It is a “backyard garden” both for Hangzhou and Shanghai. Qiandao Lake means “one thousand lakes” which characterize the 1078 isles in the lake itself.
Best Travel Time: September and October
Again Qiandao Lake is from my hometown Hangzhou and I naturally give more attention. But objectively Qiandao Lake is worth the praise and applause from travelers who have made trips to the lake. Qiandao Lake is well known for its clear, and drinkable water in some places where the renowned Nongfu Spring brand of mineral water is produced. It also accounts for green forestation and exotic islands. Qiandao Lake’s population include Snake Island, Bird Island, Monkey Island, Lock Island and more.
Tip: Hassle-free China Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours, here are some options for China guided tours:
Top 10 Places to Visit in China
10 Fascinating Facts about China
How to Pack for your China Trip
Plugs and Sockets in China
China Tour Packages
Learning Useful Chinese Phrases for Travellers
How to Recognise Chinese Currency
Top 10 Travel Experiences in China
10 Most Scenic Drives in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Mountains in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Lakes in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Grasslands in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Rivers in China
Top 10 most beautiful waterfalls in China
Top 10 Places to See Autumn Leaves in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Villages in China
Top 10 Old Towns in China
The 10 Most Beautiful Museums in China
Top 10 China Tourist Scams
Top 10 Souvenirs in China
Any questions, just drop a line.