Lake Napa Nature Reserve of Shangri–La, about 3270 m above sea level, is located about 400 km northwest of Kunming. Covering an area of 660 km2, Lake Napa is surrounded to the east, west and north by mountain peaks which, during winter and spring, are covered in snow. The lake which span roughly 23 km2 during the height of the runoff season may shrinks to about 1/5 of its size during late fall.
Why the Lake Napa is special
The Lake Napa boasts its natural beauty thus is adored by eco-tourists. Most of the area is marshy wetland that becomes dry from late fall to winter, but from spring through summer, the area becomes an expansive wetland that attracts countless flocks of birds, such as the bar-headed goose – as well as a number of other species of geese, including the common mallard, the Himalayan griffon, the egret and the white-tailed eagle.
Lake Napa highlights
What makes the lake more special is that the rare and endangered black-necked crane overwinters there, but this corresponds to the dry season, September to March. The majority of the world's entire population of black-necked crane exist only about 10,000 in all. There rare creatures add to the ecological value of Napa Lake.
In autumn, as the prairie begins to dry out, the color gradually changes into golden. Flocks of yaks, horses and sheep can be seen grazing there. You may also see a Tibetan shepherd his sheep. Lake Napa is one of the most majestic places in the world for horseback trekking during the dry season. Many locals will offer their horses for hire at a reasonable rate. At this time of year, the lake area becomes grassland instead of a wetland.
Besides the natural attractions, there are a number of small to medium-sized Tibetan villages around Lake Napa area. There you can get a chance to experience Tibetan life.