China's largest inland saltwater lake is expected to attract a large number of tourists as ice begins to melt on the lake surface.
The Qinghai Lake, situated in northwest China's Qinghai Province, goes into a "frozen period" every mid-December and completely melts in mid-April.
"The west side of the lake and several rivers to the lake's north are beginning to melt," said Wu Yonglin, with the protection station of the southern bank of the Qinghai Lake National Nature Reserve.
A visitor rides a horse along the Qinghai Lake in northwest China's Qinghai Province. /VCG Photo
As the frozen period is over, the ice on the lake surface is beginning to thin, break and melt, turning itself from an icy land into vast green water. As temperatures rise, some icy layers are broken by ferocious winds and pushed to the shore. The view often attracts many visitors.
Dubbed the "most beautiful lake in China," Qinghai Lake plays an important role in the ecological security of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The lake had been shrinking since the 1950s, but combined efforts of conservation and changes to the regional climate turned things around in 2005.
Qinghai Lake in the summer season. /VCG Photo
The best time to visit the Qinghai Lake is from April to August when numerous rapeseed flowers blossom alongside it, forming breathtaking scenery. In addition, May and June are the best months for bird lovers.
(With input from Xinhua)
(Cover: A Tibetan yak lying beside the Qinghai Lake in northwest China's Qinghai Province. /VCG Photo)