Qinghai 青海

On the Rooftop of the World.
Qinghai is a relatively recent and sparsely populated northwestern province of China. The province derives its name, meaning “blue sea”, from its huge inland lake. Qinghai Lake (known as Koko Nor). is the largest saltwater lake in the world. Bird Island located on its western side is the breeding ground for various bird species. Qinghai Lake has become a destination for large tour groups, but one may still enjoy a trip there. The best season to travel in Qinghai is summer, when the grasslands of Qinghai turn green and the entire province soaks in a colorful sea.
Qinghai is a multi-ethnic province. The lifestyle of Qinghai’s population is strongly influenced by the traditional culture of the various ethnic groups. In fact, Ethnic minorities make up almost half of the province’s total population. Most of the inhabitants of this province speak a northwestern Chinese (dialect similar to that spoken in Gansu).
City and capital of Qinghai, Xining, is located on the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau. Situated along the Silk Road, it has over 2 100 years of history. The city lies about 95 km from Koko Nor and is the political, economic, and cultural center of Qinghai Province.
Looking for an adventure? Travelling in a railway at an average elevation around 4,500m above sea level sounds exciting to you? Qinghai–Tibet railway is the world’s highest railway, which also happens to be the longest plateau railway in the world. It connects Tibet to the rest of China. A trip on the Qinghai-Tibet train is like being on the rooftop of the world – it is a one-of-a-kind experience.

Gansu (甘肃)

Clean energy fueling the transformation.
Situated in northwest China, Gansu has served for several centuries as an important thoroughfare, part of the route that would become known as the Silk Road. Provincial capital, Lanzhou, is named “the Capital of the Yellow River and the Famous City with Mountains-and-Waters”. The city, which has been a centre since early times, sprawls along the southern banks of the Yellow River. It is considered as one of the major points on the Silk Road and a major transportation hub.
From high mountains and glaciers to deep valleys and deserts – Gansu’s geographic diversity is quite astonishing. Almost 15% of the Gansu’s surface is covered by deserts. The Gobi desert spans over the northern part of the Gansu province. Despite harsh environment (in the desert regions of the province, which rarely see any rain, summer temperatures can reach 40°C.), habitants are building rows of eco-friendly greenhouses to help transform local farming.
Northwestern province of Gansu is rich in wind and solar resources. Solar thermal energy along with wind power turn out to be key to China meeting its climate commitments. The annual sunshine time of the northwest part of Gansu province is 3,300 hours. With plenty of sunshine, the solar panels are getting massive, especially in the Gobi desert. Wind is one of the unlimited sources of energy we have and the most impressive wind farm is located in China. Jiuquan Wind Power Base, also known as Gansu Wind Farm is the world’s biggest onshore wind farm. It is located in desert areas of the Gansu province and is capable of powering a small country (installed capacity of 8GW, with plans of expansion to 20 GW).
Author: Krysia Bragiel