Lake Kokonor
Lake Kokonor
4.5
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Monday
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Tuesday
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Wednesday
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Thursday
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Friday
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Saturday
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Sunday
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
What people are saying
Majestic Lake
5.0 of 5 bubblesDec 2020
I visited Qinghai Lake in December 2020. Qinghai Lake (Koko Nor), China’s largest lake, changes according to the seasons. I wanted to see it in winter, the low tourist season. The lake is majestic, even in winter as the edges are iced over. I took alpine hiking gear but abandoned the idea when the temperatures hit minus 20 centigrade with strong winds blowing. Further away from the lake though it was only minus 12. At the touristy Erlangjian, only 1 of the 25 shops was open and I encountered only 6 other travellers. I saw more yaks & sheep than people. Still I walked for a bit around the lake and noticed a lot of small Tibetan Buddhist shrines and other things I could not identify. I booked a car & driver through a national Chinese tourist company to ensure a knowledgeable and licensed local driver with necessary insurance. We used a translation app to communicate. While only 130 km from Xining, the drive took nearly 3 hours as the driver thankfully drove slowly through the snowy roads. The scenery (photos uploaded) was spectacular, and he knew from experience where to stop and say “photo”. There were only two small towns enroute with distinctive Tibetan architecture. The driver informed me that Qinghai Lake is sacred to Tibetans and many pilgrims come here each year. I only experienced one section of the lake on a day trip and visited the famous Ta’er Monastery on the way home. I intend to visit the lake again in either Spring or Autumn and stay for 4-5 days, do some hiking, visit the mountains nearby and also Chaka Lake. Some Tips # This is a very remote part of China so careful preparation is needed if you do not join a tour group. # Hiring a licensed driver for a day or more provides you with greater flexibility but is more expensive. # Winter is not the best time for everyone. # There is a narrow bitumen bicycle path around the lake or sections of the lake but I’m not sure I would take by racing bike! # Definitely avoid Chinese national holidays unless you are comfortable with large crowds. # Read about its geography, history & religious significance before visiting as it might influence the type of experience you have. It’s a photographer’s paradise. # Remember that most of the land to the water’s edge is fenced, private, pastoral land which means “Keep Out”.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles597 reviews
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KodoDrummer
Buenos Aires, Argentina70,599 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
Stunning and amazingly beautiful views in this very scenic and serene landscape of the Tibetan plateau. A very beautiful and peaceful lake. Lots of great photo ops.
Written 13 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Gary, Australia
China79 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2020
I visited Qinghai Lake in December 2020. Qinghai Lake (Koko Nor), China’s largest lake, changes according to the seasons. I wanted to see it in winter, the low tourist season. The lake is majestic, even in winter as the edges are iced over. I took alpine hiking gear but abandoned the idea when the temperatures hit minus 20 centigrade with strong winds blowing. Further away from the lake though it was only minus 12. At the touristy Erlangjian, only 1 of the 25 shops was open and I encountered only 6 other travellers. I saw more yaks & sheep than people. Still I walked for a bit around the lake and noticed a lot of small Tibetan Buddhist shrines and other things I could not identify.
I booked a car & driver through a national Chinese tourist company to ensure a knowledgeable and licensed local driver with necessary insurance. We used a translation app to communicate. While only 130 km from Xining, the drive took nearly 3 hours as the driver thankfully drove slowly through the snowy roads. The scenery (photos uploaded) was spectacular, and he knew from experience where to stop and say “photo”. There were only two small towns enroute with distinctive Tibetan architecture.
The driver informed me that Qinghai Lake is sacred to Tibetans and many pilgrims come here each year. I only experienced one section of the lake on a day trip and visited the famous Ta’er Monastery on the way home. I intend to visit the lake again in either Spring or Autumn and stay for 4-5 days, do some hiking, visit the mountains nearby and also Chaka Lake.
Some Tips
# This is a very remote part of China so careful preparation is needed if you do not join a tour group.
# Hiring a licensed driver for a day or more provides you with greater flexibility but is more expensive.
# Winter is not the best time for everyone.
# There is a narrow bitumen bicycle path around the lake or sections of the lake but I’m not sure I would take by racing bike!
# Definitely avoid Chinese national holidays unless you are comfortable with large crowds.
# Read about its geography, history & religious significance before visiting as it might influence the type of experience you have. It’s a photographer’s paradise.
# Remember that most of the land to the water’s edge is fenced, private, pastoral land which means “Keep Out”.
Written 1 January 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stephen C
Singapore, Singapore1,145 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020 • Couples
This is said to be the biggest and most beautiful lake in China. In fact, if not for the fact that it is more than 3,000 meters above sea level, it can easily be mistaken as a nice blue ocean. The scenery is indeed breathtaking with a turquoise lake set against a beautiful backdrop of mountain ranges.

While you can view the lake from afar while driving along the coast, to get near to the waters, you will need to pay an entrance fee to get into the park. There are quite a lot of activities available within the park, including cycling, jetski, and paddle boating. I believe those must be a lot more popular in summer as it was below 10C when I visited in October and therefore not many were in the water.

There are also plenty of shops selling food and drinks, as well as other souvenirs. Lastly, the Tibetan culture is also prevalent throughout the lake area.

p.s. Not sure why this place is listed under Lake Kokonor as nobody refers to that name nowadays. It is known as Qinghai Lake today.
Written 9 October 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ssz121
Shanghai, China28 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020 • Family
Very busy with local tourists. But nothing special: a large lake. There are lots of locals offering entry for RMB 10.
Written 3 August 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KodoDrummer
Buenos Aires, Argentina70,599 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020
Very impressive. China's largest lake, which also is a salt water lake. Surface area of the water exceeds 4,000 square kilometres. Nice clear, but chilly water. Very scenic. Lots of Tibetan fun activities. i rode a yak again.
Written 19 July 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

WorldGlutton
London, UK23,217 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2019
From Xining City , we sat through the drive with beautiful sceneries of misty mountain views, buildings, yaks and sheep scattered across the grasslands. It took us approx. 3 hours drive to stop at Mu Jia Kezhan Restaurant (Shepherd's Inn) for lunch. After lunch, it was 10 mins drive to finally arrive at Qinghai Lake Erlangjian Scenic Area carpark.

On the way in ,there are souvenirs shop, stone sculpture which attracted many to stop for photography. After the Erlangjian Scenic Area ticket entrance, we passed by souvenirs shop, hotels , restaurants. Beautiful flowers blooming in planter, buddhist temple, stone sculpture and plenty of birds on the shore.

It was raining and as it is a far walk for some, we paid battery car take us to jetty for boat cruise around the Large Lake in China. Lake Qinghai is classified as a saline and alkaline lake. Geographically it is located in the Qinghai Province on an endorheic basin and is approx. 3,025 m above sea level in a hollow of the Tibetan Plateau.

The journey during the boat drive to and fro the lake is calm and surroundings are impressive but due to the weather , there is not much we could do at the Scenic Area, we board their bus back to the car park to take our transport back to the city.

If time and weather permits, it might be worth the visit, however we enjoyed the drive and scenery better than Qinghai Lake
Written 4 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

inkworksak
32 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
This looked like a place designed for selfies. There's a fee to get in, and various random objects like a statue in the water, a VW van, a reclining Buddha figure, and some Tibetan prayer flags scattered around. It's a beautiful natural lake but the commercial development was run down. There are vendors with costumes you can dress up in for your selfie, and people with yaks you can sit on for a photo. Not recommended.
Written 30 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KodoDrummer
Buenos Aires, Argentina70,599 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
This is a place for the hardy and adventuresome. "Lake Kokonor" is the old English name. The current name is "Qinghai Lake." It is set up with a few tourist activities . . . such as, ride a horse, yak, camel, etc. . Likely best coming in the summer. It was -2C during our October visit.
Written 24 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dharma Tara
7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019
Amazing! Such a big salt lake at high altitude. You have several options to get out into the lake. By train, small train, walk, boat....you could easily spend a day here. Weird to come out of that beauty and into a 'buying city of vendors' at the end :P
Written 30 September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sherryl1232018
Frisco, CO38 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2019 • Family
We didn’t expect to see Lake Qinghai still frozen with no snow around on a beautiful sunny day the last day of March. Tehe place was practically deserted. It looked like a rundown creation for tourists. I’m sure in the summer it is a lot different especially for those who haven’t experienced a mountain lake. We paid a driver to take us there and my daughter and grandson had to pay to get in to view the lake and walk out on the dock. It is free if you are over 65 and have passport proof. We would have been happy to have just gone up to the Sun and the Moon temple and turned around. Didn’t feel it was worth it. But, taking a driver and getting out of the city was definitely worth it.
Written 31 March 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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LAKE KOKONOR (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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