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How to Get to Qinghai Lake - Xining to Qinghai Lake

Qinghai Lake, praised as the most beautiful lake by National Geographic, is a must-be-visited attraction in Qinghai. With a vast area of 4,500 square kilometers, it seems like a boundless sea. However, it's difficult to find a sea offering such a spectacular scene with green hills, extensive grassland, snow-capped mountains and flocks of herds. Many travelers are enchanted by Qinghai Lake, but traveling to Qinghai Lake is not as easy as traveling to some big cities in China like Beijing and Shanghai. This Qinghai Lake transfer guide helps you travel to Qinghai Lake efficiently.

Where is Qinghai Lake?

Qinghai Lake is located in the intersection of Gangca County, Gonghe County and Haiyan County in eastern Qinghai Province while Qinghai Province is located in northwestern China, bordering Gansu on the northeast, Xinjiang on the northwest, Sichuan on the southeast and the Tibet Autonomous Region on the southwest.

Qinghai Lake Location Map

How to Get to Qinghai Lake

Qinghai Lake is the premier sight of Qinghai Province and almost all travelers travel to Qinghai Lake from Xining, the provincial capital and tourist base camp.

Xining Domestic Flight Map

First Step: Get to Xining

As the capital of Qinghai Province, Qinghai Lake can be reached quite easily. It is convenient to take a train or a flight to Xining from most major cities in China.

Flights to Xining: There are available flights to Xining Caojiabao International Airport (the only airport in Xining) from major domestic cities such as Beijing (2.5h), Shanghai (3h10min-6h), Guangzhou (3h15min-5h), Xian (1.5h), Lhasa (2-3.5h), Chengdu (1h40min-4h), Chongqing (2h), etc. Besides, it also receives some international flights from some Asian countries like Thailand, Tokyo in Japan, Seoul in South Korea, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Siem Reap in Cambodia, Nha Trang in Vietnam, etc.

Xining High Speed Railway Map

Trains to Xining: Located on Lanzhou-Urumqi High Speed Railway, Xining can be reached by high speed train from Urumqi (9~10h), Turpan (8~9h), Dunhuang (6 h), Jiayuguan (3~3.5h), Zhangye (2h) and Lanzhou (1~2.5h). It is also available to take a normal train to Xining from other cities like Beijing (19-22.5h), Chengdu (12.5-15h), Chongqing (13.5h), Taiyuan (14.5-20h), Jinan (23h), etc.


Second Step: Drive from Xining to Qinghai Lake

Distance: about 150 km (about 93 miles); Driving Time: about 2.5 hours

Erlangjian Scenic Area is the essence of Qinghai Lake and getting to Qinghai Lake always means traveling to Erlangjian Scenic Area. There is no train operating to Qinghai Lake, so travelers can only transfer between Qinghai Lake and Xining City by driving and by long-distance couch.

Xining to Qinghai Lake Driving Map

Option 1: Private Driving from Xining to Qinghai Lake

Private driving is the most efficient and comfortable way to travel from Xining to Qinghai Lake. You can rent a car or use a private transfer from a local travel agency like China Discovery. It takes about 2.5 hours (150 km) to drive from Xining City (or Xining Railway Station) and about 3 hours (180 km) to drive from Xining Caojiabao Airport to Qinghai Lake. The road is in good condition and you need to cross a mountain with an altitude of 3,817 meters. The altitude may make you a little uncomfortable but the smooth drive of a skilled driver always gives an easier journey. It is advised to take a stop in Riyue Mountain on the way to enjoy the featured natural view – farming fields in the east and endless pasture grassland in the west.

Option 2: Long-distance Bus from Xining to Qinghai Lake

There are about 6 regular buses running from Xining Bayilu Bus Station (八一路汽车站) to Erlangjian Scenic Area. Most of them depart in the morning from 7:30 to 9:30, taking about 3 hours. The bus number might increase or decrease according to the amount of potential passengers. Besides, it might be a little crowded and you need to share the bus with many other travelers. It's impossible to stop for the scenery on the way, so we suggest you take a private tour.


Our Travel to Qinghai Lake specialty

If you don't want to wait for the bus or worry about the language barrier with taxi drivers, you can choose the private tour service provided by us. We provide comfortable and efficient transfer service for our clients who have booked one of our tour packages. No matter when your flight/train arrives, our friendly tour guide and driver will welcome you at the airport/train station, then escort you to your hotel or any location you want to visit with an air-conditioned and non-smoking vehicle. Great freedom will be given to you whenever you need to stop for sightseeing and photograph. You are sure to enjoy a comfortable, safe and efficient experience.

Far more than that, We is professional to provide high-quality customizable tour. Before your tour, our travel expert will communicate with you one to one and make an itinerary according your own interest, need and budget. Every detail – transfer, hotels, attractions, etc. will be arranged well for you and you just need to focus on sightseeing. Feel free to contact us to start your Qinghai Lake tour now!

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