Chaka Salt Lake, which is also called Chaka, located in the Chaka town, Qinghai Haixi Mongolian Ulan county in Qinghai Province, its altitude is of about 3,059 meters. This lake is rich in salt with a heavy salt bed close to the surface of lake. Chaka river, Mo river, and Little Chahan wusu river which go out radically at the border of the Salt lake, and feed into the lake, and grow in the southern of the lake to supply ground water to Chaka Salt lake basin.
Titles of Chaka Salt Lake:
•The Eastern Sky Mirror •One of the 55 Must-go Places in the Life (National Geographic Magazine List)
Chaka Salt Lake is the smallest salt lake of Four Major Salt Lake in the
Qaidam Basin, and it is the first developed one with 3,000 years’ productive history. Chaka salt is easily to mine; people can get natural crystallized salt by lifting salt cover. As early as the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 25), the local people of Qiang ethnic minority have already known how to get salt. According to the record of
Han shu, there are places to get salt like the chamber of the Queen Mother of the West, Xian Lake, and Salt Lake in Jincheng County near the northern of Qiang and extended beyond the Great Wall. Xian Lake, which now are called Qinghai Lake，and Salt Lake which are called Chaka Salt Lake. There was a record in the
Xining mansion new daily record, five hundred meters away the west of the county, in the southwestern of Qinghai…there are two hundred meters range of salt, what made by nature, was infinite in use. Mongolia got it by iron spoon and sell to the market, and the citizen in this county depended on the salt. During Qianlong period of twenty-eighth years (1763), government organized to exploit the salt lake in a large scale, and laid down the salt law. The thirty-fourth years in Guangxu period (1908), government set up Dunker Salt Bureau, what means that Chaka Salt Lake had been operated in order.
Since 1980, Salt Lake tourism have been developed, many of the tourists from China inland, Europe and America, southeast Asia, Japan,
Macao and Taiwan are attracted. In the recent year, with the improvement of salt mining and salt making process, the Chaka Salt Lake scenic spot have developed into a 3A new scenic spot of ecotourism and industrial tourism. The difference of Chaka Salt Lake is that, Chaka Salt Lake is a brine lake which is the coexistence of solid and liquid, and it inlay in the mountainous grass –grown tracts but not in Gobi Desert. The water area of salt lake is quite large, and the water in the lake is clear and silver. The sky are blue, the mountain far away is high, blue sky, white clouds and snow mountains glass themselves in the lake, the scenery is so poetic and picturesque. The surrounding grass tracts are green, and the flock of sheep just likes the sprinkling pearl. Walking alone the lake, you will have a feeling of walking into a world of salt. In here, you can take a train to go deep into the lake for sightseeing; you can see the scene of jetting the pearl from salt lake by modern large barge for salt harvest; you can enjoy the gorgeous scene of sunrise and sunset; you can view growing vivid salt bloom of various shapes and sizes through the clear water to explore the mysterious underwater world; you can also see the wonder of great waves of salt after flood tide. Chaka Salt Lake is known for combination of salt production and tourism in the both country and international world and it is famous in the
Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It is one of the “four Qinghai scenery” with eponymous
Qinghai Lake and Mengda Tianchi. It is also awarded by National Geographic Magazine as one of the “55 obligatory visited places in people’s life” .
Along with the rising brand awareness of Qinghai tourism, the number of tourist is increases by years, Chaka Salt Lake industrial tourism draw great attention of many tourists. After knowing the salt mining history, tourist can experience the joy of mining salt from artificial mining to mechanized mining. There is going to build Brine Baths in Chaka Salt Lake, at that time you can experience the entertainment different from swimming in the fresh water and sea water, you will enjoy a different special health salt bath.
【Best Time to Travel】
Salt lake scenery: Summer & Autumn
• Salt mining scenery: Spring
• Salt lake snow scenery: Winter
• Salt Lake Worship Ceremony: the 15th day of the fifth lunar month
【Ways to Visit】
Small trains for sightseeing
• Boating for salt mining scenery
Chaka is 310 kilometers away from Xining. If you start from Xining in the morning, you can reach Chaka Salt Lake in the noon by midibus CNY 80 per person and CNY 300 by charted bus. You can also go to there by taking long trip bus forwarded to Chaka, Wulan, Delingha.