Niao Dao (Bird Island) is a small island in Qinghai Lake. This is a haven for migrant birds, where tends of thousand birds from South China and Southeast China gather every year. Now a nature conservation zone has been established to protect the birds and their habitat.
The capital of Qinghai Province, Xining is located on the southern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. Hedged in on both the south and the north, the city spreads along the Huangshui River, a contributory of the Yellow River. The elevation of the city is 2,265 m or 7,430 ft. Historically, the Huangshui River valley was part of the frontier where the Chinese and the Tibetans encountered each other, and Xining developed as an important outpost on southern branch of the Silk Road that leads to Central Asia as well as trade route linking Tibet to interior China. Today, with the opening of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, Xining remains an important stop on the way to Southwest China. An city of immigrants, Xining is the home of 30-odd Chinese ethnic groups and religions such as Buddhism and Islam.
Dongguan Grand Mosque
The largest of its kind in Xining, Dongguan Mosque is also considered one of the four most important Islamic worship-houses in Northwest China. Occupying 1.3 hectares (3.36 acres) in area?the temple is large enough to allow several thousand people to pray together. Originally founded in the 14th century, the mosque was rebuilt and renovated several times later on.
Kanbula Geological Park
Located by the upstream of the Yellow River, Kanbula Geological Park (Kanbula Dizhi Gongyuan) is 130 km south of Xining. Over 150 sq. km in area, Kanbula Park is a showcase of what is known as Danxia Landform, typified by remarkably shaped reddish rock walls and towering that look like fortresses and castles. In the park there is also Nenzom Monastery, which holds a special place in the revival of Tibetan Buddhism.
Qinghai Lake (Qinghai Hu) is the namesake of Qinghai Province. This is a salt-water lake that lies about 150 km west of Xining. At the elevation of 3,200 above sea-level and comprising an area of 4,600 sq km (1,770 sq mi), Qinghai Lake is the largest lake of China. The lake and surrounding area is a natural sightseeing zone of the AAAAA class, which is the highest national rating) natural sightseeing zone. In winter, the lake freezes over and is covered with ice for six months. In summer, blue water, open sky and surrounding grassland make an impressive view. Since 2002, Tour of Qinghai Lake, a road-bicycle racing event has been held here, which is rated at the highest level by the Union Cycliste Internationale and has been part of the UCI Asia Tour since 2005.
Sun and Moon Mountain
Riyue Shan (Sun and Moon Mountain) is located 90 km southwest of Xining. With an elevation of 4,000 m, the mountain is the watershed of the rivers that flow east and those that empty into Qinghai lake to the west. Historically, the region was the frontier between China proper and Tibetan land, where trade and cultural exchanges took place. Legend has it that Wencheng, a Chinese princess who was on her way to be married to a Tibetan prince, dropped a mirror here, which broke into two halves and took the forms of the sun and the moon - hence the name for the mountain standing here.
Taer Monastery (Taer Si) is probably the most valuable tourist attraction in Xining and vicinity. The Buddhist temple was built in the 16th century, on the birthplace of Tsong Khapa (1357-1419), who founded Geluk-pa or Yellow-Hat Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Among his disciples were early Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama. Occupying 40 hectares (99 acres) land, Taer Monastery is considered one of the six most important temples in Tibetan Buddhist tradition. In the Tibetan language, the monastery is known as "Kumbum Jampa-ling" - "100,000 Buddhas Temple." Among Buddhist artifacts sheltered in the monastery are thousands of wall paintings, embroideries, and butter sculptures. Taer Monastery is located 25 km southwest of Xining.
Xining Caojiabao Airport is 29 km southeast of the city center. Transportation: shuttle buses and taxis.