Chaka Salt Lake is a natural crystalline saline lake located in Chaka Town, Ulan County, Haixi, Qinghai in China. 298 kilometers away from Xining, the capital of Qinghai, it is one of the four largest salt lakes in Qaidam Basin. “Chaka” is actually a Tibetan word, meaning a salt pond.
Chaka Salt Lake belongs to plateau continental climate, making it a cool and dry place. The annual temperature is about 4℃, so you may want to bring more clothes. The lake lies at an elevation of 3100 meters, and has an oval shape of 105 square kilometers. As famous as Ta’er Temple, Qinghai Lake, and Mengda Tianchi, Chaka Salt lake is one of the must-go landscapes in Qinghai. An azure sky combines with the crystal blue water and a snow-white lake bed, winning it the name of “Mirror of the Sky.” Chinese National Geography entitled it as one of the “55 places a person must visit.”
Chaka Salt Lake has the longest history of exploitation (over 3,000 years) among all the salt lakes in the Qaidam Basin. Due to the large reserves, mining is not at all difficult as natural salts can be obtained by just uncovering the top layer of the lake. Large scale mining is done mechanically nowadays with many grades of salt sold around China and they are even exported to Japan and Nepal.
Be sure to leave enough space in your phones or cameras. Chaka Salt Lake is breathtakingly beautiful. Countless photographers make their way to the lake and wait for several days to take a fantastic photo. The best time for taking photos is before 9am and after 5pm.