Xining City Guide: Six must-see tourist destinations in and around Xining

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1. Qinghai Lake

The largest inland salt lake in China covers 4,500 square kilometres and is famous for its mists and blue water. It is surrounded by atmospheric grasslands where sheep, cattle and horses graze and has a bird sanctuary that is habitat for 100,000 migrating birds.

2. Sangjianyuan National Nature Reserve

 This is the largest and highest natural wetland in China, covering an area of 150,000 square kilometres and with inhabitants that include Tibetan antelopes, gazelles and yaks. 

3. Mengda Nature Reserve

This reserve is just over 100km southeast of Xining and is famed for its scenery and mild climate. Set up in 1980 it features waterfalls and the Mengda Heavenly Lake. 

4. Dongguan Grand Mosque


This mosque in Xining has a 600-year history and is the largest in northwest China, covering an area of nearly 12,000 square metres. Its prayer hall can hold up to 3,000 people and it is famed for its architecture which features a mix of Islamic and Chinese styles.

5. Ta’er Monastery

This monastery is said to be the birthplace of Zongkaba, the founder of the Gelugpa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Located on a mountainside 25km southwest of Xining, it dates back to the 13th century and includes scriptures halls, lamas’ residences and pagodas among a vast complex of more than 9,000 structures.

6. Huzhu Tu Ethnic Tourist Area

In the northeast of Qinghai, this area allows visitors to see the people and cultures of the Tu ethnic minority, famed for their singing and dancing and colourful traditional costumes. The area includes the Beishan National Forest Park, which is home to many rare birds and animals.

Published in conjunction with Xining Municipal People’s Government