Sayram Lake (Sailimu Lake) is the largest and highest alpine lake in Xinjiang. It features transparent water with changing colors, snow-covered mountains, numerous kinds of wild flowers as well as breathtaking sunrise and sunset, which together make for some of the most spectacular sights on earth. Visiting Sailimu Lake is a memorable eyes-feasting and mind-relaxing experience.
Type: Nature, Lakes, Parks
Altitude: 2,073 meters
Best Months to Visit: May ~ Early October
Recommended Visiting Time: 0.5~1 Day
Opening Hours: 10:00 ~ 21:00
Tickets: CNY 70/person for admission, CNY 75 for round-trip park bus
Address: Bole City, Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang 新疆维吾尔自治区博尔塔拉蒙古自治州博乐市
Sayram Lake, also referred to as Sailimu Lake, is Xinjiang’s largest alpine lake and largest lake above sea level. Lying in the high mountain basin of Heavenly Mountain, it is known as Lake on the Mountain Range by local people. Besides, it also gets many other titles like AAAAA Nation Scenic Spot, National Historical Site, A Pearl of the Ancient Silk Road, etc. People call it the Last Tear of the Atlantic because it is the last place that the warm and humid Atlantic air currents linger. It is most attractive with its breathtaking scenery, including dazzling sapphire-like lake, verdant forests, snow-capped peaks, thriving grassland, and most charming wild flowers if you visit in late spring to early autumn.
It is said that Sailimu Lake is formed by the tears of a couple of Kazak lovers. In the legend, there was no lake but only grassland with beautiful flowers in the Sayram Lake area. A beautiful girl and boy are in deep love but a greedy devil kidnapped the girl. When the boy came to rescue the girl but found she had jumped into an abyss. In enormous sorrow, he jumped into the abyss as well to meet her. In an instant, billowing water gushed out of the abyss and formed Sayram Lake. Though it is just a fictional loving story, it adds more mysterious atmosphere to Sayram Lake.
Besides, Sailimu Lake also enjoys a highly imaginative veil for many other tales, such as lake monster, wind tunnel in the heart of the lake, eddy in lakebed magnetic field, etc.
Sayram Lake integrates the aesthetic characteristics of magnificent, strange, secluded, beautiful and open. For a long time, legends such as lake monsters, wind tunnels in the center of the lake, whirlpools and submarine magnetic fields have been circulated in Sayram Lake, which cast a layer of imaginative mystery on the beautiful Sayram Lake. In addition, there are a lot of historical remains of grassland ancestors on the shore of Sayram Lake: rock paintings, Wusun ancient tombs, temple sites, stone inscriptions, ancient post sites, etc. In a word, visitors can fully appreciate the romantic feelings of returning to nature and the unique ethnic culture.
There are 3 ways to Sayram Lake Scenic Area: Flight, Train, and Driving.
1. Drive to Sayram Lake from Urumqi
Sayram Lake is located in Bortala Prefecture in the west of Xinjiang, close to Huocheng and other places in Ili. It is about 600 kilometers away from Urumqi by car. Most tourists will come here when visiting the west line of Xinjiang (i.e., the Ili line).
2. Go to Sayram Lake Scenic Area by air
a. Flight from Urumqi to Bole Airport ( Tianjin airlines operation ), the airfare is from 150-300usd/pp include tax.
b. Bole Airport is about 18 kilometres to the east of the city, 425 kilometres to Urumqi, and the flight time is about 1 hour.
3. Go to Sayram Lake Scenic Area by Train
Take the train from Urumqi - Jinghe ( the train fare is 62.5 - 166 CNY/pp include tax ), you can go to Jinghe railway station first, and then take a bus or taxi to the Sayram Lake National Scenic Spot. Jinghe station is about 143.7 kilometres (1hr.46mins ) away from Sayram Lake Scenic Area.
Sayram Lake has a large area and beautiful scenery. After enjoying the sunrise and the natural landscape, tourists can go to Huocheng, Yili, and other places for sightseeing.
Just like many other areas in Xinjiang, Sayram Lake belongs to a temperate continental climate with long cold period, short hot period, long sunlight hours and big temperature gap between day and night. Sayram Lake is open to tourist all year round and it offers quite different sceneries in different seasons. No matter it is blanketed in snow, or covered with multi-colored flowers or decked out in autumn colors, Sayram Lake is a special place to visit. But if you want to enjoy the most comfortable climate, we suggest you visit Sayram Lake in May ~ early October.
Spring (March ~ May): The average temperature of spring is about 7°C. In the late spring, it is still a little cold and the temperature rises gradually in the middle and late spring. Snowscape can be still enjoyed in March and April. In May, the snow and ice have not been completely melted, but the grass and flowers have already break through the soil.
Summer (June ~ August): The temperature is much higher in summer, but it is never too hot in Sayram Lake. The average temperature is about 22°C and the highest temperature reaches about 31°C. It is the peak season to enjoy Sayram Lake and almost all the top ten scenes are shown in summer. If you want to capture the best view of Sayram (like blue lake, endless grassland, wild flowers, flocks and herds…), just visit in summer.
Autumn (September ~ November): Autumn view is not the biggest highlight of Sayram, but it is worthwhile to visit Sayram Lake in autumn as well, especially in September and early October when the weather is still comfortable. The grassland turns into a golden blanket with some scattered wild flowers. In November, it will be quite cold and remember to always keep warm.
Winter (December ~ next January): Winter is the coldest season and the tourist off-season of Sayram Lake. The average temperature of winter is about -17°C and the lowest temperature is -26°C. In winter, visiting Sayram Lake throws you into a world of ice and snow. The lake usually freezes in late December and the ice can be 1 or 2 meters deep.
In Ancient Mongolian, Sayram Lake was called "western clean sea" or "Sayram Zhuoer," meaning the "lake on the mountain ridge." As Elezhuyitubomu military base (Santai) was established on the eastern bank of the lake in the Qing Dynasty, local people called the lake as Santaihaizi. There is a legendary love story about The Sayram Lake. It used to be converged by tears of a young couple committing suicide for love. Therefore it was also called "Tianchi" and "Ruhi."
The Region enjoys the temperate continental climate that is characterized by arid weather, long sunlight hours and great temperature variations between day and night. Its annual average temperature falls around 3.7-7.4℃ (38.7-45.3℉).
In the spring, summer, and autumn, the sapphire water of the lake seems to meet the sky in the distance. Ine pasture is a charming scene of flourishing trees, waving grass, and wildflowers that are reflected in the clear water of the lake. In the winter, snowfalls and the water of the lake turns to ice. We can enjoy a small portion of the lake in the vast whiteness of the ice and snow.
Annual Temperature of the Year/℃ ( High-Low )
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