Qarhan Salt Lake

Last updated by meimeili at 2017/5/16


The Qarhan Salt Lake is situated in Golmud City’s Tsaidam Basin in Qinghai Province. It is 750 km from Xining City, the province’s capital.
The Qarhan Salt Lake is the largest lake with liquid and solid salt in the country and is also the most popular inland salt lake today. Covering an area of 5000 sq km and at 2600 meters altitude, it is the largest production base in China for potash fertilizer.

Highlights of the Qarhan Salt Lake


The Qarhan Salt Lake is formed by the ponds in Seniie, North Huobuxun and south Huobuxun along with Dabuxun Lake. Because of continuous evaporation, the lake surface is covered with hard salt rocks. The Qinghai-Tibet Highway and railway were built directly on the salt rock. The lake is rich in magnesium chloride, muriate, sodium chloride and other types of mineral salts. It is also a mining industry base and its total reserve can reach about 2 billion tons.

The legend 

Qarhan Salt Lake is surrounded by a fascinated legend. Long ago, Qarhan had various treasures. However, the ghosts and mountain deities were greedy. They fought often with one another with hopes of snatching the treasures. Serious disasters were caused due to the battles. The West’s Queen Mother lived in the Kunlun Mountain and knew of these battles. She decided to solve the problem once. The Water Deity was asked to drop water over the area and submerge this treasure so nobody could get it. This created the Qarhan Salt Lake. Scientifically, the Qarhan Salt Lake had been formed due to the movement in the crust of the earth.  

The scenery 

No green plants can survive in the area of Qarhan Salt Lake. However, the area does breed magic salt pinches which are known to be as translucent and beautiful as jade. The salt pinches are actually beautiful crystals forming due to the crystallization of salt in the Qarhan Salt Lake. Because the brine content, time range and thickness is different, the lake has salt crystals of a huge range of shapes and sizes. These salt crystals can be found towering over the lake, making it a natural wonder. 

The salt bridge 

The zhang salt bridge is a natural bridge which is 32 km long, 18 m thick and is often known as the ten thousands salt bridge. The surface of the bridge is flat and very smooth. The mountain and the lake reflect one another, creating a unique scenery. The salt bridge is like a jade belt without any guardrails. There is a stream under it and it divides the Qarhan Salt Lake surprisingly at the center in two parts. This beautiful work of nature attracts thousands of visitors each year. 

The salt flowers 

In the Qarhan Salt Lake are a variety of salt flowers in various shapes and interesting formations such as gems, ivory, constellation, flowers, pagoda and coral. These flowers are also known as blue flowers. The scenery is much like a fairyland. Qarhan Salt Lake produces pearl salt, often known as the King of the Salt Lake. The pearl salt glitters like jade and is as white as fresh snow. The Potassium Fertilizer factory of Qinghai is located near the lake and is one of the largest in China today. The factory produces an output of amazing 10,00,000 tons each year. 
April to October is the ideal time to visit the salt lake.

Solo Adventure Tips:


60 km north of Golmud 

How to Get There?

Mini buses and buses are available from Golmud. 

Ticket Price:

CNY 100

Opening Hours:

9:00 to 17:00

More Tips:

Best time to visit: April to October 

Information accuracy:

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