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Lashi Lake

 Lijiang Attractions

Lashi Lake lies immediately west of Lijiang. A shallow pool, it is a vital part of the valley's environment for humans, because it supplies them with water and attracts tourists, and for other forms of life, among them hundreds of species of birds, migratoty and residents, and all the incredible biodiversity of the area.

Lashi Lake, covering an area of 9 square kilometers, is located at the basin in Hengduan Mountain Range, about 8 km west of Lijiang Old Town. In the Naxi language, Lashi means “New Basin”. This beautiful lake is not only a scenic spot but also an important habitat for over 70 species of migratory birds and various plants, fish, shellfish and river snails. 

With its rich environment, the watershed of Lashi Lake is covered with dense virgin forests, an extensive plateau lake and marsh where the Naxi and Yi ethnic groups have lived in harmony with diverse wild creatures for millennia. Excellent natural conditions have made the area so prosperous, noted as a “rich and popular land flowing with milk and honey” and a “heaven for migratory birds”. In winter, many wild birds stream here through the Valley of the Hengduan Mountain down from the cold Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. They perch in the grass and look for food in the streams. The warm climate here makes it possible for them to pass the long and cold winter in safety. By the next March when the spring comes and flowers bloom, the birds fly back north for reproduction. 

The story of Lashi Lake begins in the Mesozoic Age about 134 to 70 million years ago. Lashi Lake was an indispensible part of the ancient geosynclinals in northwest Yunnan province initially, and then the overwhelming Yanshan Mountain Uplifting Movement changed it into a plain. Thanks to the Hengduan Mountain Uplifting Movement, this plain has been divided into three basins amid the undulating mountain ranges with relative altitude of 100 to 200 meters. Lashi Basin, the highest basin here, harbors the picturesque Lashi Lake spanning over 265.6km2. A dam has been constructed to sustain this lake’s water level, even during dry season. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain casts reflection on this lake, whose water is so crystal clear that you will be enchanted. Each winter, more than 100,000 birds of 229 species will fly here. Among them, there are many rare and endangered species include Chinese Merganser, black-necked crane and black stork, etc. In 1998, this lake was ratified as a plateau wetland lashi lake nature reserve.

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