Woke up early at 5:10am to catch the sunrise by the lake, we were already beaten by the old Tibetan couple who ran the hotel as they were up making breakfast. Nothing wakes you up like a bumpy bike ride at 3200m above sea level, I promise. Our bums were still sore from yesterday’s ride….When we got to the lake, there were about 30 cars and hundreds of people with their decked out cameras and tripods all ready to take in the sunrise. We were the only ones on bikes though!
Afterwards, we hopped on a taxi to the next scenic spot, Bird Island (鸟岛), which was 70km away. Apparently, we were told that the route to Bird Island was one of the most scenic parts of the lake, but we realized our mistake. 1) There were no birds as the season isn’t right 2) There is no way for us to get out of this Birdshit Island 3) The route was not even that scenic!
Then came time for us to become true backpackers: hitch hike. We tried our way around the parking lot for about 2hours, asking tour buses, random families and taxi drivers. Most people were nice, but were unable to help as they weren’t going in the right way. We managed to hunt down a really nice couple who took us to the next big city so we can get a bus ride back to Xining. We shared with them our travel plans and a bit of our backgrounds, and they were rather skeptical of our travelling methods, especially learning that we’re not actually college students…. Either way, we got to our destination and walked to the bus station at 1:58pm, JUST managed to catch the 2:00pm bus.
So after a long day, we finally got our way around Lake Kokonor and back into the city…. Now, it’s time to take a shower.
Note 1: People of Xining and Lake Kokonor, from fancy sales people to shady taxi drivers at the bus station, everyone would actually help if you ask, and have no attitude!
Note 2: Somehow, a lot of places in China have solar-powered water heaters. As environmentally friendly as that sounds, there is one severe problem…. you have no hot water when you have no sun! Also, our hotel had no lamp in the washroom (in addition to no hot water)… Don’t judge, you won’t shower in that circumstance either.