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Home Travel in Qinghai Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture
Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture
Travel in Qinghai

Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture

Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (hǎi xī méng gǔ zú zàng zú zì zhì zhōu 海西蒙古族藏族自治州) is an autonomous prefecture in northern Qinghai province of Western China. It has an area of 325,785 square kilometers (125,786 sq mi) and its capital is Delhi. The name of the prefecture literally means "west of Qinghai Lake". Geladandong Mountain (gé lā dān dōng shān 格拉丹东山), the source of the Yangtze River, is located here.


Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous PrefectureHaixi Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture is situated in the northern part of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the western part of Qinghai Province. It connects Tibet in the south, reaches Gansu Province in north, and stretches Xinjiang in the west. Thus it is a communication center of Xinjiang, Tibet, Qinghai and Gansu provinces. Currently, Haixi prefecture governs two cities and three counties, namely Delingha City (dé lìng hā shì 德令哈市), Gomud City (gé ěr mù shì 格尔木市), Dulan (dū lán xiàn 都兰县), Wulan (wū lán xiàn 乌兰县) and Tianjun counties (tiān jùn xiàn 天峻县). Delingha is the capital city of the prefecture. There are 29 ethnic groups living in this region, including Han, Mongolian, Tibetan, Hui, Tu and Sala people. Especially, the Mongolian and Tibetan are the major residents.


In ancient times, Haixi Prefecture was the residential area of the Qiang people, a minority group from northwestern China. It used to the territory of Tobo Kingdom (tǔ bō guó 吐蕃国) from the Eastern Jin (317 - 420) to the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), with the Yuan Government (1271-1368) taking partial control of the area during the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

HaixiAfter 1949, the People's Government of Dulan County was founded and the area was renamed Dulan Autonomous District (dū lán zì zhì qū 都兰自治区); in 1954, Dulan was renamed Haixi Mongol, Tibetan and Kazakh Autonomous District (hǎi xīměng zàng hā sà kè zú zì zhì qū 海西蒙藏哈萨克族自治区) and in 1955, Haixi Mongol, Tibetan and Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture (hǎi xīměng zàng hā sà kè zú zì zhì zhōu 海西蒙藏哈萨克族自治州). In 1963, it was renamed as Haixi Mongol, Tibetan and Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture (hǎi xīměng gǔ zú zàng zú hā sà kè zú zì zhì zhōu 海西蒙古族藏族哈萨克族自治州). In 1985, after the Kazakhs had returned to Xinjiang, it was again renamed Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.


Belonging to continental plateau climate, Haixi is dry and seldom rainy all the year round. Seasons of this area are not clear. Winter is chilly and long, while summer is cool but short. Most of the rainfall concentrates on the period from May to September. The average temperature of Haixi is -5.6 to -5.2 degrees Centigrade (21.9 - 22.6 ℉). The average amount of rainfall is 16.7 to 487.7 millimeters (0.66 - 19 inches). The climate type of Haixi belongs to the typical highland continental climate.


Haixi GeographyThe main landform of Haixi is the Tsaidam Basin, one of the four major basins of China. It leans against Mount Aerhchin and Mount Chilien in the north and is adjacent to Mount Kunlun in the south. Its total area is 325,800 square kilometers (125,792 square miles), covering 45.17 percent of the area of Qinghai Province. The average elevation of Haixi is 3,000 meters (9,842.5 feet) and the highest point is the Bukadaban Peak, with an altitude of 7,720 meters (25,328 feet). The lowest point lies in the Dabuxun Lake Area, with an elevation of 2,675 meters (8,776 feet).

Lying on the 'World Roof' and the continental geographical location contribute to the unique natural scenery and human landscapes. Most of them are world well-known, such as Tuotuo River (tuó tuó hé 沱沱河)-the source of the Yangtze River, the Yadan Landform, the endless Gobi, the grand mirage, the millenarian glacier, the thousand-mile long salt bridge, the Taoist holy land-Mount Kunlun, the Lady Queen Mother's Jasper Lake, the cave of the Er-Lang God, the tombs of the Tubo Kingdom as well as the Dulan International Hunting Land. Nowadays, more and more visitors from home and abroad are attracted to travel here.


Kunlun Mountains

Kunlun MountainsThe Kunlun Mountains (kūn lún shān 昆仑山) has been known as the Forefather of Mountains in China. The name of the mountain can be found in many Chinese classics, such as The Classics of Mountains and Rivers, Commentary on the Waterways Classics, and Canonization of the Gods (or Gods and Heroes). As legend has it, the goddess of Kunlun is Queen Mother of the West. The adobe of immortals in many ancient books is said to be the Heihai, or the Black Sea (hēi hǎi 黑海) - the source of the Kunlun River (kūn lún hé 昆仑河), 4,300 meters above sea level, with an area of 60 square kilometers. The river region is an ideal home to birds and wild animals, such as wild donkeys, sheep, and brown bears. There are precious murals in Yeniugou (yě niú gōu 野牛沟), or Wild Bull Ditch. Textual research shows that this is where Taoist rites were performed during the late Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).

Location: Middle section of Kunlun Mountain, 160 kilometers away from Golmud
Tel: 0977-8222015
Transportation: Reach to Golmud by plane from Sining. Then drive to the Kunlun Mountain pass.
Opening Hours: The whole day
Admission Fee: Free

Qarhan Salt Lake

Qarhan Salt LakeQarhan Salt Lake (chá ěr hàn yán hú 察尔汗盐湖) is located in Tsaidam Basin in Golmud City, west of Qinghai Province. 750km away from Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province, the lake is the biggest one with the solid and liquid salt in China and is the most well-known inland salt lake in the world. With an altitude of 2600 meters and an area of 5000 square kilometers, it is the biggest production base of potash fertilizer in China.  The lake enjoys Tsaidam desert droughty and extreme droughty climate and has an annual average precipitation of merely 24.7 mm, forming the unique landscape and attracting lots of people coming to visit.

"Qarhan" is Mongolian which means the marsh of salt. The lake is 160 kilometers long from east to west and 20 to 40 wide from north to south. The salt bed is around 2- 2o meters thick and sodium chloride storage comes up to 500 billion tons which can allow the people under the sun to use for 1000 years. It is rich in carnallite as well, which is sparking and crystal-clear. Besides, it is also abundant in potassium, salt, magnesium, lithium, boron, iodine, etc.  The road bed of Qinghai-Tibet road and railway is fully made from the salt and is 32 kilometers long, which is called Lofty or Bottomless Salt Lake and Iron Rainbow respectively.

Location: About 60 kilometers north of Golmud
Transportation: Visitors can take airplanes or trains to Golmud first, and take the buses or mini buses at Golmud Long-distance Bus Station to Chaerhan Wuyi Market (chá ěr hàn wǔ yī shì chǎng 察尔汗五一市场).
Recommended Golden Season: From April to October
Opening Hours: 9:00—17:00
Admission Fee: CNY 100 for adults
Travel Tips: The sunlight of Qarhan Salt Lake is very strong. Tourists had better protect themselves from the sunburn.

Dulan International Game Land

Dulan International Game LandDulan Hunting Ground is located in Barum (bā long 巴隆) and Gouli (gōu lǐ 沟里) Communes, Dulan County, Qinghai Province. It consists of two parts: Barum with an area of 19,000 ha, and Gouli with an area of 25,000 ha. The altitude at Barum is around 4,000 m (13,123 ft.) above sea level and a little higher in Gouli. Dulan Hunting Ground is in the central part of Qinghai, along the southeastern edge of the Qaidam Basin. The habitat is open alpine mountainous region with spare vegetation of grasses and low, sporadic patches of scrub. The weather is dry, windy and cold. The annual average temperature is 3.8°C. In spring hunting season (March - May) there is less rain or snow and the wind slows down, but the ground is still frozen. From late September to the end of October is the best season for hunting there when it is mild, windless, and dry without rain and snow, and the temperature rarely drops to -2/-8 °C at night.

Dulan International Game Land (dū lán guó jì shòu liè chǎng 都兰国际狩猎场) covers an area of over 44,000 hectares (170 square miles), and these game lands feature two structured hunts. The game land is opened to the public every year between April and May and September thru October.

Game Species: The major species are Tibetan blue sheep, Tibetan gazelle, red deer (Cervus elaphus macnerlli), White-lipped deer, and Mongolian argali. Other games include snow cock and chukor partridge.

Hunting Seasons: March to May in spring and August to December in the fall.

Facilities: Accommodations in hunting camp are large, warm. There are picturesque gers (yurts) with colorful inside decoration, single beds or cots with mattress for sleeping, small dresser cabinets, chairs, hot shower if requested early enough, coal stove, your private wash basin, boiled water and canvas floor. Thick cotton quilts, blankets, and bed covers are also provided. A separate ger with ample tables and chairs is provided for dining and food is abundant. There are cooks specially trained in Western cooking, qualified doctor, and serving hands. A generator provides electric light. Four wheel drive vehicles are possible for the whole hunting trip.

550 kilometers away from Xining
Tel: 0971-3631744 or 0971-6317928
Transportation: Round-trip flights are scheduled at present between Beijing and Xining. And the train runs from Beijing to Xining every other day. There is 600 km (373 ml) from Xining to the hunting camp. A 4x vehicle can cover that distance in 12 hours (including meals time), 7 hours on proper highway, but the last 5 hours will be spent on a stretch of dirt road whose only purpose of existence is to prove the feasibility of four wheels driven vehicle.
Opening Time: Dulan International Game Land is opened twice a year, and 7-9 days for each time.
Admission Fee: About CNY2000
Recommended Golden Season: April, May, September, October


GeladandongMt. Geladandong (gè lā dān dōng shān 各拉丹东山) is located in the Tanggula Mountains in the central region of the eastern Tibetan Plateau, and is the source region of the Yangtze River (the third longest river in the world). Grassland steppes lie to the south and east, and the regions to the north and west are arid. The place of origin of the Yangtze River has an elevation of 6,621 meters. It is famous as the origin of the rivers. Geladandong Peak is a snow-covered mountain (or massif) located in southwestern Qinghai province of China near the border of Tibet. It is the tallest mountain in the Tanggula Mountain Range of the Tibetan Plateau with an elevation of 6,621 meters (21,722 ft) above sea level. The source of the Yangtze River begins with glaciers on its surface.

Location: Geladandong is located in the administrative unit known as Tanggula Town (táng gǔ lā zhèn 唐古拉镇), an exclave of Haixi Prefecture, in the middle section of Tanggula Shan (the Tanggula Mountain Range).
Transportation: Travel along the Qinghai-Tibet Highway for 1,400 kilometers to Yanshiping (yàn shí ping 雁石坪). Then travel west along the Nanhegu (nán hé gǔ 南河谷) for 90 kilometers to the base camp of Geladandong.
Opening Hours: The whole day
Admission Fee: Free
Recommended Golden Season: June through August

Dulan Ancient Tibetan Tombs

There is a group of huge tombs of ancient Tibetan in early Tang Dynasty in Reshui area of Dulan, which is known as Dulan Ancient Tibetan Tombs (dū lán tǔ yù hún gǔ mù 都兰吐谷浑古墓). Among the 200 tombs in the necropolis, the largest one is about 11meters high, 55 meters long from the east to the west and 37 meters wide from the south to the north. There are three rounds of rocky wall in one meter high and 3 meters wide around the tomb.

Dulan Ancient Tibetan TombsBy the archaeological excavation, a lot of relics of leather boot, golden articles, wooden bowls and dishes, wooden bird animals, pottery, inscribed wooden slips of ancient Tibet are unearthed. Especially, the unearthed silk clothes with clear designs, bright colors are the scarce treasures. The main kinds of the silk cloth are the brocade, thin satin, tough silk and embroidery with design of birds and animals, flowers and plants, figures and carriages, among which those with beautiful designs of figures and hunting scene are the first time of excavation. The excavation of the tombs in Dulan is very useful for the study of the history of the civilization of ancient Tibet. It was classified as one of the most important discoveries by the Ministry of Culture in 1983 and 1996. It was under the state protection.

Location: 30 kilometers away from Dulan Country, Qinghai Province
Admission Fee: CNY50

Tanggula Mountain Pass (táng gǔ lā shān kǒu 唐古拉山口)

After running about 203 km (126 mi) southwards from the Tuotuo River Town, the train will arrive at the Tanggula Mountain Pass, which is the natural boundary between Qinghai and Tibet. This section is also the highest point of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. For many years, it had been an invincible barrier to Tibet due to its high altitude, thin air and atrocious weather.

At an altitude of 5,231 m (17,162 ft), the pass is the highest point of Qinghai-Tibet Highway, while the railway is at its highest point of 5,072 m (16,640 ft). The oxygen content is only 60% of that in the plains. Although the weather here frequently changes, the area can be icy resulting in dangerous road conditions. The railway station is the highest one in the world which is why there is oxygen access in the waiting room. It has no watch but with a viewing platform, the spot is the best point to see the Tanggula Mountain.

Tanggula Mountain PassTanggula Mountain literally means “mountain on the plateau” in Tibetan and “high mountain insurmountable by eagles” in Mongolian. It is connected by the Karakoram Mountains to the west and the Hengluan Mountains to the east, extending about 1000 km (621 mi) long and 150 km (93 mi) wide. The mountain is the watershed of the Yangtze and the Nu Rivers, and the seedbed of these two rivers and Lancang River (lán cāng jiāng 澜沧江). The source of Yangtze River C Tuotuo River just originates from its main peak, Geladandong Peak. Generally at the altitude of 5,000 C 6,000 m (16,404 C 19,685 ft), the mountain is capped with snow all the year round, with dozens of ancient glaciers racing down the side C a spectacular view.

Location: It is the boundary between the Qinghai and Tibet.
Tel: 0977-8222015
Opening Hours: The whole day
Admission Fee: CNY10


Thangka Paintings

Thangka PaintingsThangka painting (táng kǎ huà 唐卡画) is one of the foremost expressions of Tibetan religion, culture, and art. Present day artisans produce the magnificent works just as their predecessors did centuries earlier. Thangka, or scroll painting, is usually painted on linen cloth or cotton fabric and mounted by scroll of brocade, and aesthetically depict religious symbolism. It's a mark of Tibetan people's devotion to Buddhism and often serves as an object of worship at home. Invented during the 7th and 8th century, the art of Thangka became widely popular in the 12th century. Thangkas can last a very long time and retain much of their luster. Therefore, they are regarded as a living encyclopedia of Tibetan culture and art.

Licorice Root

Liquorice (gān cǎo 甘草) is the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra from which a somewhat sweet flavor can be extracted. The liquorice plant is a legume (related to beans and peas) that is native to southern Europe and parts of Asia. It is not related to anise, star anise, or fennel, which are the sources of similar-tasting flavoring compounds.

Licorice Root Licorice is used for various digestive system complaints including stomach ulcers, heartburn, colic, and ongoing inflammation of the lining of the stomach (chronic gastritis). Some people use licorice for sore throat, bronchitis, cough, and infections caused by bacteria or viruses. Licorice is also used for osteoarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), liver disorders, malaria, tuberculosis, food poisoning, and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Licorice is sometimes used along with the herbs Panax ginseng and Bupleurum falcatum to improve the function of the adrenal glands, especially in people who have taken steroid drugs long-term. Steroids tend to suppress the activity of the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands produce important hormones that regulate the body’s response to stress. Licorice is also used in an herbal form called Shakuyaku-kanzo-to (yào gān cǎo tāng 药甘草汤) to increase fertility in women with a hormonal disorder called polycystic ovary syndrome. In combination with other herbs, licorice is also used to treat prostate cancer and the skin disorder known as eczema. Some people use licorice as a shampoo to reduce oiliness in their hair.

Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture

Location: Haixi Mongol and the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture are located in the western portion of Qinghai Province, in the northern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The prefecture neighbors Gansu in the north and Xinjiang in the west. Government offices are located in Delingha City, 514 kilometers (319 miles) from the capital city of Qinghai, Xining.
Recommended Golden Season: May through September.
Tourist Complaints: 0977-8222015