Qinghai Province

Qinghai Travel Guide

Qinghai MapNamed after Qinghai Lake, the largest inland saltwater lake in China, Qinghai Province is located in the northeastern part of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau in western China. The province covers an area of more than 720,000 square kilometers (about 278,000 square miles), making it the fourth largest in China. Its total population is about 5.5 million, among which Han, Tibetan, Hui, Tu, Salar Uygur, Mongolian and Kazak minority ethnic groups are represented. Xining is the capital and also the largest city of the province.

Cities in Qinghai

When to Go

This province has a typically continental cool climate, with a large difference in its day and night temperature. Warm clothes are thus required at all times. Annual precipitation is low and comes mostly in summer. Characterized by short cool summers and long freezing winters, the best time to visit this place is from May to October. Due to its high altitude, long sunshine duration and a higher level of ultraviolet solar radiation, it is very important for visitors to come prepared.  Essential items to bring along are sunglasses, sunblock cream and sun visor to name a few.

Tibetans in Qinghai
Tibetans in Qinghai
Cole Field in Menyuan County, Qinghai
Cole Field in Menyuan County

What to See

Qinghai is a broad nature reserve, surrounded by snow-covered mountains, icy peaks, the Gobi deserts, and vast pastures. Over 250 wild animals found here are under national protection. They include wild camel, chiru, white-lipped deer, snow leopard, black stork and yak. In July, fields around Qinghai Lake are cover with yellow rape flowers, while flocks of rare birds, Tibetan Sheep and yaks will emerge before your very eyes. Visitors will not only be fascinated by the various traditional festivities and unique cultures of ethnic groups, but also by natural scenery of the plateau under the blue sky.

Whilst the vast Qinghai Lake is like a translucent sapphire sparkling under the sun, Kumbum Monastery (Ta'er Monastery) is considered one of the six great monasteries of Gelugpa in Tibetan Buddhism. With both considered as the highlights of the province, they attract people from all over the world who have a fascination with Buddhism as well as nature lovers who enjoy camping, hiking and bird-watching. Other places of interest amongst tourists are the 'Small Imperial Palace in Qinghai' called the Qutan Monastery, snow-capped A'Nyemaqen Mountain, beautiful Chaka Salt Lake, the best-preserved Hoh Xil Nature Reserve and the Highland Xishuangbanna Mengda Nature Reserve. 

Others that are worth mentioning here are, firstly, that Qinghai is also the Three-River Source Region where the Yangtze River, Yellow River and Lantsang River originate.  Secondly, the cultural Repkong Art shows the creative talents of local people through painting and sculpture. And finally, the Qinghai Lake International Road Cycling Race (UCI 2.HC) is held annually around July, attracting over 20 teams of about 150 participants from all over the world and plenty of media attention.

Nature has endowed Qinghai with both beauty and mystery. Indeed it is a paradise for adventurers.

It is waiting to welcome you with open arms!
Sutra Debating, Ta'er Monastery
Sutra Debating, Kumbum Monastery
Qinghai Lake
Qinghai Lake

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