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Da Qaidam

Known as the “Maldives of China” and the “Lake of Two Colors,” Taiji Nai’er Lakes are surrounded by the Yardang geographic phenomenon. Here, you will have the opportunity to fly your drones and capture the best images of the crystal-clear blue and light green waters. In addition, in Da Qaidam you can explore the “City of the Devil,” full of geographical elevations and mysterious sounds that will make you shiver. Of course, during your visit, do not forget to try the famous lamb from northwest China, more tender and delicious than ever.

Things to do +

Go to east (东台吉乃尔湖) / west (西台吉乃尔湖) Taiji Nai’er Lakes.

Description: both lakes are in the Qaidam basin, and were formerly a single lake, but there was a retreat and it split in two.

East Taiji Nai’er Lake:  The color of this lake is different from Qinghai’s due to the high copper content, which makes it have a bright green hue and the shore is covered with white crystals. Around the lake you will see Yardang’s reliefs, while in the center of it there’s a road you can walk through. It is commonly referred to as the “Maldives of China” for its beauty and color. The lake has an area of ​​121.3km².

West Taiji Nai’er lake: this lake is divided by a road and has a color on each side: green and blue. For this reason, it is called “Lake of two colors” (双色湖). The lake has an area of ​​126km².

Once you come to visit these destinations, if you have a drone, you can take aerial photographs and you will see how incredible the multicolored landscape is. In case you want to rent it, the price will be approximately ¥300, and the professional staff would make videos for you.

In East Taiji Nai’er you can take a boat trip that will drive you to the inside of the lake, where you can sunbathe and relax. The ticket is ¥30.

Estimated visit time: 2-3 hours.

There’s no need to buy any ticket to see the lakes.


Visit Yardang on water (乌素特水上雅丹).

Description: it is in the northwestern part of Qaidam’s basin. After tens of thousands of years of geological movement and temporal and spatial changes, this largest and most spectacular Yardang ensemble in the world has been formed, covering an area of ​​21,000 km2. Formerly it was not like that, so it was basically formed thanks to floods that submerged part of the phenomenon.

By foot you can access areas such as Golden Beach (黄金沙滩) and Haiguiwan Port (海龟码头码头). If, on the other hand, you decide to do the bus tour, the vehicle will make stops at different points where you can get off.

Watching the sunset at Golden Beach is not a bad idea, in addition, this place will be the point where you can best witness the sun setting. Many also come here to enjoy the incredible starry sky at night, a unique landscape that you cannot miss.

Also, there’s a specific area where you will be able to ride a buggy or camel.

Yardang on water tickets: 60¥ per person. If you decide take a bus tour, there’s a package which costs ¥120.


Ride a camel or buggy: 100¥ y 150¥ per person respectively.

Estimated visit time: 3-4 hours.


Explore the “City of the Devil” in Da Qaidam (大柴旦魔鬼城 / 南八仙魔鬼城)

Description:  this phenomenon is widely distributed in many areas of northwestern China. Due to its peculiar and grotesque landforms, the mysterious wind gusts that generate strange sounds and the strong geomagnetism, this place is also called “Ghost Town”.

There’s no need to pay any entrance

Estimated time of visit: 1-2 horas.


Try typical dishes in local restaurants: above all, we recommend you try traditional niangpi and lamb, typical of Qinghai and other destinations in northwest China.

How to get +

Public transport: there are buses that leave from other cities such as Dunhuang. Since Da Qaidam is a very small destination, it does not have its own airport or train station, so public transport is not very developed and is very inconvenient.

By car: for those who are visiting other destinations on Xibei route, going by private or rented car may be the best option.

Travel tips +


Our advice is to not travel by public transport, since there are many unconnected points that cannot be reached without driving your own car. Therefore, we recommend you rent a car with a local driver, since many times there is no signal on the road, so it is very likely to get lost. The rental price would be around ¥150-300 a day.

Important: Do not touch the road that passes through the middle of Taiji Nai’er Lake because, due to its high salt content, it can be very dangerous. Bathing is not recommended since you must protect the environment and you cannot leave any residue either. Also, due to its salinity, it can damage your skin. It is also not a good idea to drive the car on roads that are not open to traffic, since it is very possible that the vehicle sinks.

Do not walk freely in “City of the Devil” due to the risk of getting lost.

Gastronomy +

Kang lamb chops (炕锅羊排): this dish is prepared with a specific pot with thicker walls typical of Qinghai. The main ingredient in this dish is lamb chops that come from the grasslands of northwest China. In a Kang, it is prepared with complements such as corn, potatoes, grated peppers, among others.

Qinghai Yogurt (青海酸奶): We all have tried yogurts, but Qinghai yogurt is different from what we usually buy in supermarkets. In this case, it is very thick, has a golden layer on the surface and its sweetness and flavor is incomparable to the yogurt we normally eat.

Niangpi (青海酿皮): Niangpi is a traditional Qinghai dish that you can find in any alley. To prepare it, a series of complements are added, and warm water is used to knead it and, once it is fine, it is steamed. When it is ready, it is cut into strips and vinegar, oil, garlic puree, etc. are added (according to taste) and it would be ready to serve.

Accommodation +

Pai Hotels: is a hotel that is located near a commercial area in Haixi (Da Qaidam’s prefecture).

Estimated price per night: ¥100-120 each person.     

Address: Nº1, Renmin Road, 817300, China.

Reservations available on Agoda.

dContact: 0977-596-9999.

DoubleTree by Hilton: hotel located in the residential area of Huanghe Road.

Estimated price per night: ¥450-500.

Address: Nº15-02 South Kunlun Road, Golmud Haixi, China, 816000.

Reservations available on Agoda.

Contact: 0979-896-9999.

Useful contacts +

Xining tourism Bureau: 0971-611-6265.

Dachaidan Executive Committee People’s Hospital: 0977-828-1248.

Inquiris Yardang on water: 1351-907-999.

Public security: 110.