Home : China Attractions: Yellow River: Scenery

Sand Lake

In a northwestern area of China stands Helan Mountain , located in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. At the foot of the mountain lies a vast desert while next to the desert a blue green lake ripples. The lake area is known as Sand Lake (Sha Hu) Scenic Resort and is a miracle of sand, water, reeds, lotus flowers, birds and mountains.


The Sand Lake Scenic Resort, located in Pingluo County which is near to Yinchuan, the capital city of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, covers an area of 80.10 square kilometers (about 19,793 acres) including a water area of 45 square kilometers (about 11,120 acres) and a desert area of 22.52 square kilometers (about 5,565 acres). It was awarded the first National Group of 4A Tourism Scenic Areas in 2001.


The first attractive area is Bird Island, where varieties of precious bird species such as swans, white and grey cranes, black storks, and wild geese live. It is one of the largest and best areas for watching birds in China. When boating on the lake near Bird Island, one can take in the beautiful scenery—several white gulls hovering in the sky against a backdrop of golden sandy hills. A large area of reeds covering 3.33 square kilometers (about 824 acres) provides the birds a natural environment where they can dwell.


The second scenic area worth visiting is the Lotus Scenic Resort, located in the east of Sand Lake where water lily, reed bamboo and other water plant grows. When the water lilies are in blossom, one can take in the smell of a sea of flowers giving out their fragrance. One can also pick the lotus seeds while on the boat, under the guidance of the local people.


On the south bank of Sand Lake there is an area called International Sand-carving Artistic Area which gathers together numerous classical works of art such as sand-carvings of Pyramids and Sphinx. These succeed in calling to mind the great treasures of the Nile and Egypt. In the desert not far away camels can be seen walking in time to the beat of their bells around their necks.


Finally we come to the lake itself. The water in the lake is so rich in its blue-green colour that it could almost be mistaken for the ocean and makes the lake look like a resplendent pearl nestled in the Ningxia Plain. There are many kinds of fish in the lake if visitors wish to take part in fishing. However, there is one precious species of fish called giant salamander which is protected and therefore lives in the aquarium located on the south bank of the lake which one can visit.


Helan Mountain raises high above the lake. Due to the difference in temperatures at the top and bottom of the mountain, rain can easily freeze into snow at the top of the mountain and pile up layer upon layer, causing 'Helan Bright Snow' which was listed as one of the Eight Scenes in ancient Ningxia.


Sand Lake Scenic Resort offers many other pursuits for the more active tourists, such as parachuting on water, motorcycling on water, surfing and the most exciting of all - sand sliding on the ropeway.


Admission Fee:
CNY 80 (including the boat fee)
Opening Hours:
8:00-18:00
Time to Visit:
May to October