Golmud, Qinghai

Golmud Facts

Chinese Name: 格尔木 (gé ěr mù)
Population: about 300,000
Area: 118,954.18 square kilometers (45,928.47 square miles)
Location: in the west of Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, west China
Area Code: 0979
Zip Code: 816000
GDP (2018): CNY 368.58 billion (USD 55.70 billion)
Nationalities: Han, Tibetan, Mongol, Hui

Key Hub of Qinghai-Tibet Railway

Located in the western part of Qinghai Province, Golmud is a county-level city managed by the Mongolian and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Haixi and the second largest city in Qinghai. It is composed of Chaidamu Basin area and Tanggula Mountain area. Golmud Qinghai is the transportation hub of west and central regions of China connecting Tibet, Xinjiang and Gansu. Golmud is also the new starting point of the Qinghai-Tibet railway and the place where the three main highways of Qinghai-Tibet, Qinghai-Xinjiang and Dunhuang-Golmud meet together. Golmud is a multi-ethnic settlement, with 34 ethnic groups including Han, Mongol, Tibetan and Hui Nationalities. It owns stunning natural landscapes such as the source of the Yangtze River, vast salt lake, snow-capped mountains, endless desert and beautiful populus euphratica forest.

Best Places to Visit & Top Things to Do in Golmud

Qarhan Salt Lake
Qarhan Salt Lake is the largest salt lake in China and one of the most famous inland salt lakes in the world. As soon as you enter, you will first see a Salt Lake Museum, which shows the formation history and mining process of the Qarhan Salt Lake. In the scenic spot, there is a salt road called Thousand-Zhang Salt Bridge extending to the lake. Both sides of the salt lake are white salt crystals, and the water is crystal and green. It is a great place to photograph on sunny days as the surrounding scenery, blue sky and white clouds are all reflected in the lake.

Qarhan Salt Lake
Qarhan Salt Lake
Kunlun Mountains Pass
Kunlun Mountains Pass

Kunlun Mountains Pass
Kunlun Mountains Pass is the only way from Qinghai and Gansu to Tibet by road trip. The Kunlun Pass is 4,767 meters (15,640 feet) above sea level. For most travelers to Tibet, the Kunlun Mountain Pass is the first place to challenge the altitude response. The Yuxu Peak and Yuxian Peak, snow-covered and fog-shrouded all the year round, stand on the east and west sides of the Kunlun Mountain Pass

Golmud Populus Euphratica Forest
Golmud Populus Euphratica Forest is the only populus euphratica forest in Qinghai and the highest in the world, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) away from the central area of Golmud. All the year round, populus euphratica forest has its own characteristics but the golden populus euphratica looks most beautiful. October is the best time to shoot the golden populus euphratica forest. The mighty Kunlun Mountains and the desolate gobi also can be seen near the forest.

Traveling to Tibet by Qinghai-Tibet Railway
Visitors who travel to Tibet by Qinghai-Tibet Railway need to handle Tibet Travel Permit in advance. Visitors can take a triangle at Qarhan Railway Station to Lhasa, taking about 14 hours. You will be impressed by the changing landscape and scenery along the way, such as snow-capped mountains, Gobi, grasslands, lakes and canyons.

Experiencing Local Minority Culture
From July to August, visitors can attend the Nadama Fair which is an annual grand festival for the Mongolian people in Utumein Township. The fair mainly includes wrestling, horse racing, archery, horse racing, Mongolian chess and other traditional national events. Besides, the Tibetan customs are also one of the highlights of Golmud, involving horse racing, cattle racing, Tibetan chess, duet, Tibetan dance, Tibetan opera, etc.

Best Time to Visit Golmud

The best time to visit Golmud is in summer and October. The summer time in urban area of Golmud Qinghai is from June to August. It is pleasant with an average temperature of 17.5℃ (63.5℉). And the best time to visit Golmud Populus Euphratica Forest is October. But the average temperature of Tanggula Mountain area is -15℃ (5℉) from December to February and is 7℃ (45℉) in summer. Golmud Qinghai is also wet in summer and the annual precipitation in Tanggula Mountain is about 10 times than that in Qaidam Basin.

Golmud Weather Forecast



Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province, is 777km (483 mi) away from Golmud. Visitors can take a flight to Golmud Airport from Xining, Xi'an and Chengdu, Zhengzhou and Lhasa. Or one can take a bullet train from Xining Railway Station. It takes 6.5-7.5 hours by train from Xining to Golmud. The coach from Xining to Golmud departs at 14:00 and 16:00 every day, taking 8 hours.  

The transportation means in Golmud Qinghai mainly depend on buses and taxis. It charges CNY6 for the first 3km and CNY1.3/km for the subsequent distance. In Golmud Qingahai, many scenic spots are in remote places where traffic may not be convenient, so it is recommended to rent a car to visit. The car rent is CNY400-600 per day.

Best Golmud Food to Try

Boiled Mutton, Yogurt, Beef Offal Soup, Sheep Intestine Noodles and Roasted Mutton cannot be missed in Golmud Qinghai.

Recommended Restaurants

 Zhonghao Hilton Yilin Hotel Western Buffet: Steak, Shrimp, Cake
Address: 1/F, Zhonghao Hilton Yilin Hotel, No.15-02 Kunlun South Road

 Yak Bone Soup Restaurant: Yak Bone Soup, Yogurt
Address: Intersection of Bayi Middle Road and Zhongshan Road

- Last updated on Apr. 08, 2021 -
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