Mengda Nature Reserve

Located around 110km southeast of Xining in the Xunhua Sala Autonomous Prefecture, the Mengda Nature Reserve (Mengda ziran baohuqu) is a flourishing area of natural beauty, contrasting sharply with the great swathes of sterile land that cover Qinghai Province. The reserve, centered around the mountaintop Heavenly Lake (Tianchi) has forests of virgin trees, a large variety of exotic flowers and many wild animals, that make it good for hiking and boating.

Mengda Nature Reserve Mengda Nature Reserve
It is the climate here, both wet and mild, that has caused the nickname of the lake, the "highland Xishuangbanna", and the area deserves such praise. Within the reserve, there are varieties of plantlife including rare trees (Chinese Fir, Ridgepole and varieties of Pine) and herbs (Ginseng, Pseudo-Ginseng and Caladium) and from the highlight, the lake, there are a few roaring waterfalls that are sure to impress. The lake is also filled with a local fish, somewhat like a transparent shrimp, that can be caught with a sweep of the hand through the lake's green waters.

Mengda Nature Reserve Mengda Nature Reserve
In recent years the reserve has become a bit more popular on the tourist trail and so has not such a peaceful atmosphere as it once harboured. It is still possible to enjoy the place, however, protected as it is from mass tourism by its remote location. You can ride a horse from the foot of the mountain which will take you on a three hour round trip via the top (not counting getting off to boat, hike or do other activities).

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