Chaohu Lake

Chaohu Lake, also known as Chao Lake or Chao Hu, largely about Anhui's capital city Hefei, resembles a bird nest or "niao chao" in Chinese, hence its name Chaohu Lake. The lake is acclaimed as one of the five largest fresh water lakes in China, across three counties in Hefei in the middle of Anhui Province. Chao Lake has charms of its own namely Zhongmiao Temple, Mushan Island, Oxhorn Daxu, and Yinping Mountain.

Chaohu Lake lies at the downstream of Yangtze River system and there are 35 feeder rivers. Therefore, it extends 54 kilometers (34 miles) from west to east and averages 15 kilometers (10 miles) from north to south. When there is adequate rainfall, the water surface area can reach about 825 sq. kilometers (320 sq. miles). The lake is mostly calm and clear; when visitors walk along the embankment, a waft of cool air caresses their faces. Reeds at human height waver in the breeze. The beauty of Chaohu Lake is added to by its surrounding mountains. With its vast water and verdant mountains, the lake is a magnet to writers and scholars throughout Chinese history.

The huge lake is surrounded by lots of tourist attractions. On its north are Zhongmiao Temple, Binhu Wetland Forest Park, Changlinhe Ancient Town, Moonlight Bay Park, and Guishan Park. Oxhorn Daxu Ecological Garden is located on the west of the lake while Yinping Mountain lies to the east. On the southern bank you will find Sanhe Ancient Town and Shengqiao Ancient Tomb.

Zhongmiao Temple

At the north bank of Chaohu lake stands Zhongmiao Temple on a huge rock protruding over the lake. Initially built in the Han Dynasty (202BC – 220 AD), it has been renovated for several times. The present one dominates the huge rock and faces water on three sides. Along the 75 meters (80 yards) long central axis there are three grand buildings, including Gate Palace, Mahavira Hall, and Pavilion of Buddhist Sutra. These bright red temples are quite eye-catching against blue water.

Mushan Island

Facing Zhongmiao Temple is Mushan Island at the center of the lake, about 3.5 kilometers (2 miles) from the temple. You can reach the island by yacht or a sightseeing ferry, which dock north of Zhongmiao Temple. Mushan Island is an oval ait that covers an area of 85 hectares (210 acres). From the distance, it resembles either a snail or an oasis in the vast water. Now there are three pavilions and three gentle hills on the island. On the top of the highest peak someone has build the seven story Wenfeng Tower about four hundred years ago. It hosts 802 statues of the Buddha and 25 pieces of stone tablets.

Mushan Island is the largest island of Chao Hu. The ait was formed as the result of a violent volcanic action a hundred million years ago and a legend is associated with it. It is said that when the land collapsed and turned the place into a lake, an old lady named Jiao Mu forewarned the villagers of the danger, and then Jiao Mu ran to the mountain and survived the disaster. In her memory, the mountain is called Mu Shan and she is honored in the Zhongmiao Temple. The lake is also named Jiao Lake.


Most part of the broad road encircling the lake is equipped with excusive bike lane. So, don’t hesitate anymore and have fun cycling around Chaohu Lake! Bicycle rental spots are available near the lake. In springtime, rape flowers alongside the encircling road blossom, adding more delight.

How to get to Chaohu Lake from Hefei

Take a bus from Hefei Bus Station and it takes about 1.5h. Then, take local bus H101 to Chao Lake Scenic Area.
Entrance Fee Zhongmiao Temple: CNY 10
Mushan Island + yacht: CNY 75
Mushan Island + mechanical ship: CNY 60
CNY 15 cheaper for children between 1.2 and 1.4m (3.9 - 4.6 feet);
Free for children under 1.2m.
Opening Hours 8:00 - 17:00

 You may like: Top 8 Things to Do in Hefei
- Last updated on Apr. 25, 2023 -
Questions & Answers on Chaohu Lake
Asked by Evan Wall from CHINA | Nov. 01, 2021 09:16Reply
Is there any Camping in Hefei China?
My wife and I would like to go camping but I can’t find any camping spots in Hefei. Do you know if there is any camping near Hefei China?
Answers (1)
Answered by Mia | Nov. 01, 2021 11:07

As I know, Binhu Wetland Forest Park is a good place for camping. Hope helpful!
Asked by Matt from AUSTRALIA | Oct. 04, 2018 03:28Reply
Which side of the Chaohu lake would you recommend to cycle on
if travelling from Hefei to Chaohu town?
Answers (1)
Answered by Rena from USA | Oct. 10, 2018 19:50

You are advised to cycle on the following route:

Hefei city center - 17KM - Anhui Celebrity's House - 15KM - Changlinhe Town - 54KM - Chaohu city - 13KM - Skirmisher Town - 20KM - Huailin Town - 15KM - Shengqiao Town - 15KM - Baishan Town - 17KM - Tongda Town - 27KM - Feixi Town—17KM - Hefei downtown
Asked by irfan from CHINA | Sep. 26, 2014 10:04Reply
which bus goes to Chao lake from hefei?
Answers (1)
Answered by Bakes from INDIA | Sep. 26, 2014 22:33

In the Hefei South Bus Station, there are buses leaving for Chao Lake, you can take one. Then take a taxi to the scenic area.
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