Qinghai is well-know for the largest inland salt lake in China. Because of its specific characteristics of terrain, Qinghai plateau becomes the important distribution area of salt lake. There are more than one hundred salt lakes in Qinghai Province. They are distributed separately in Qinghai Lake, Chaidamu Basin - the main salt lake distribution area and Kekexili plateau - the minor salt lake distribution area. Plentiful salt lake resources are the first big resources in Qinghai，which also top the first in China. Among these salt lakes, the largest and the most famous salt lakes are Caka Salt Lake and Chaerhan Salt Lake, which are distributed in Chaidamu Basin, the salt of the world.
Caka salt lake means “the sea of salt” in Mongolian. It lies in the center of Caka Basin, the south of Caka town, which is 15.8 kilometers long from the east to the west and 9.2 kilometers wide from the north to the south with a total area of 105 square kilometers. Caka Salt Lake is a scenic spot of combining the scenery tourism with industry tourism, and the only national AAA scenic zone related to salt lake at present. By the preliminary estimates, the storage of sodium chloride is about 4.5 billion tons with 8 meters to 15 meters thickness of salt and it is edible for the population of the whole state for about 100 years. For it belongs to a typical chloride salt lake, the salt crystal in Caka Salt Lake is big, pure and sweet-smelling. Now it is extracted with modern technological process and some new production are developed such as iodine salt, cleaned salt, regenerated salt, zinc salt, refined salt and salt for domestic animals. They have been sold all over the country and exported to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Nepal and other districts or countries in the Far East and the Middle East. There tourists can watch the mining of salt and admire various salt crystals in the shape of pearls, corals, snowflakes and mushrooms. As long as people excavate the surface of the salt more than 10 centimeters thick, the natural crystal can be reached from below. The brine after mining can crystallize into salt again. Therefore, it is inexhaustible.
Although the tourism resources in Salt Lake have high ornamental value, it still lacks its well-known brands. With the exploration of Caka Salt Lake tourism sources, in 2010, the first salt carving art festival was held in Caka Salt Lake, artists from all over the country and all over the world created the giant salt sculptures by using different processes. The integration of salt sculpture with the manifestation of painting, ice sculpture, sand sculpture, clay sculpture and architecture crated the myth of Kunlun Mountains, the salt sculptures have a strong visual impact on people from all directions, and they. In 2011, Caka Salt Lake hosted “The Chinese salt carving art and folk culture art festival” successfully. The new artistic manifestation breaks the world record of the World Record Association and sets up a new world record of the largest art group of outdoor salt sculptures.
When is the best time to visit?
Caka Salt Lake Scenic Area is not big, sunny days is the best time to visit, and it is better to come after sunny days for several consecutive days, because at that time, the lake is very crystalline and you will see a layer of brine covering the white salt lake, if it rains for several days in a row, the salt layer in the lake may be diluted and dissolved, and the mud under the lake will be exposed and the scenery would not be as beautiful as usual.
When you travel to Caka Lake, you have to come to the gate on the north side of the scenic area to buy the ticket. The gate still has a distance from the playground, and you can drive in and start your travel.
What to see in the Salt sculpture area?
When you get out of the bus, you will see the sculpture of the Goddess of Salt Lake in the area. Besides, the other sculptures along the corridor, such as Maitreya Buddha and Genghis Khan, which is quite spectacular and lifelike.
Next to the salt sculpture area is a yoghourt shop, about 10 yuan a bowl, you can taste it.
The Travel Tips of Caka Salt Lake
1. It's better to prepare some wet paper towels before visiting the Caka Salt Lake to prevent damage to the skin.
2. The sunshine here is very strong, and there are reflections on the lake, so tourists need to be prepared the sunscreen product and a pair of sunglasses.
3. The scenic area has no restaurants, so you'd better prepare some drinks and snacks.
4. The altitude of Caka Salt Lake is about 3000 metres. So we should not do the vigorous exercise, in case of the high altitude reaction.
Best time to visit: Every June to October
Ticket Price of Scenic Spots:
Peak season: 60 RMB
Off season: 30 RMB
Peak season: 5.30AM to 10.00PM ( 1st May to 31st October)
Off season: 8.30AM to 6.00PM ( 1st November to 31st December)