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Manzhouli Hulun Lake:Cranes& Fish's Ultimate Sanctuary

Hulun Lake, the biggest lake in Inner Mongolia and the fifth largest freshwater lake in China, is the cradle of nomad civilization, the sanctuary of cranes and fish as well as an ultimate escape into north China. Top things to do here include boating, horse riding, camel riding, sunbathing, sand bathing, fishing, feast on a lavish “Fish Banquet” with 120 courses of fish, indulge in the bonfire party, hop on a wooden Mongolia-style Ox Cart to drink in the majestic grassland scenery as well as experience the peculiar winter fishing festival.

Brief yet enchanting, summer is the most beautiful season. At this time, this lake set against lush grassland inwrought with variegated blossoms, sparkles like an affectionate and stunning sleeping beauty. Though lack of the verdant greenery, spring and autumn are golden time to watch migrating birds. It will be a most fabulous experience to get lost amid an ocean of birds, listening to their chorus and saying hello to Red-crowned Cranes or sharing a photo with them. Even in the desolate winter, Hulun Lake still will impress you by the engaging fishing festival featuring a solemn ritual. Around 70% of the annual captives is harvested during this period.
hulun lakehulun lake
hulun lakehulun lake
hulun lakehulun lake

Detailed Introduction

During the past, Hulun Lake and Beier Lake, its sister lake, were frequented by large quantities of otters, which win them nickname as “Otter Lake” and “Male Otter Lake” respectively. The intimacy of these two lakes is romanticized by countless love stories, and even the Hulunbuir Grasslands, the icon of Inner Mongolia, derives its name from these two lakes. The size of Hulun Lake varies with seasons, and at its largest, it spans 2339km2. Its mineral-rich water nurtures a surprisingly rich supply of fish and shrimps. As a matter of fact, it is the biggest natural outdoor fishing pool in Inner Mongolia. With stable supply of food most of the time, Hulun Lake will lure over 241 migrating birds(one fifth of China’s birds)annually to its fertile shore.

During the past millennia, its wetlands have served as life-saving havens for assorted birds. Except for swans, egrets and wild geese, you can also spot golden egrets, white cranes, black storks, great bustards and red-crowned cranes, which are under national-level protection. Red-crowned Crane and White-naped Crane, the hermits among these pilgrims, belong to world-level endangered species.
The best birdwatching period falls on spring and autumn, and the best birdwatching site is Wulanpao (乌兰泡) or Wulannouer (乌兰诺尔), a strip of 70km-long narrow water embedded along Hulun Lake and Beier Lake. In spring, tens of thousands of cranes including swans, red-crown cranes and grey cranes from south China and south Asia, will flock in to breed. When autumn falls, they will head south for warmer habitats. Venturing into Wulanpao’s sea of reeds resonating with the mysterious chorus of birds is the highlight.
hulun lake white cranehulun lake golden eagles
White CranesGolden Eagles
hulun lake grus vipiohulun lake grus vipio
White-naped CraneWhite-naped Crane
hulun lake great bustardshulun lake red crowned cranes
hulun lake black storkshulun lake red crowned cranes
Black Storkshulun lake red crowned cranes

During each July and August, if you stare into Niaogang (one tributary directs its course from Hulun Lake to Beier Lake), you will see swarms of fish with extreme density congregating along fences, which is so tempting that one cannot help catching some for dinner.
hulu lake fishing festival

When November comes, Hulun Lake will freeze within several days. The ice age will last from middle November to May in the following year, the longest period in China. The thickness of ice will reach over one meter. The chilly northern wind from Siberia will lay waste to its shores and send the wildlife either to hibernation or migration, but underneath the water, a wealth of fish thrives. The biggest scale fish endeavor will occur, during which around 70% of the annual harvest, is accomplished at this period.
hulu lake fishing festival

Hulun Lake prospels a century-old fish industry. To protect the fragile eco system, fishing is only allowed during Novermber to May. An eye-openning ritual marks the prelude of Manzhouli Fishing Festival. With temperature plunges to 30 degrees below zero, local fish men need to equip themselves from head to toe. Equiped with furs, warm coat,anti-slippery shoes and tools, these “eskimos” will head out to dig and collect fish jointly. If lucky, a single net will capture ten tons of fish. To prevent them freezing into chucks, the fish men need to use blade to thrown them into middair, so each single fish will freeze alone, rather than by clusters. Against the sunshine, it forms the most marvelous scene.
hulu lake fishing festival
hulu lake fishing festival
hulu lake fishing festival

Insider's Tips

Admission Fee: 20 RMB
Advised tour time: two to four hours
Address: Xinbaerhu Left Banner, Hulunbeier, Inner Mongolia
Climate: belonging to temperate semiarid climate, it features long winter and fleeting spring and summer. It can be windy and dusty.

Get in: from the entry of Manzhouli frontier market, you can rent a minivan to Hulun Lake (20RMB round trip) or a Volga(round trip: 100RMB). One of the merits of renting a car is that you can enjoy freedom and inquiry information such as where to stay, what to eat

Accommodation: a wide selection of hotels can be found in Hailar, the average price is around 200RMB.
Food: Dalai Lake Restaurant nearby offers “Fish Banquet “. Prepared from 120 kinds of fish, this banquet will stimulate your taste buds and endow you with haunting memory. Hailar is a gastronomic paradise. In a middle-sized restaurant, a big plate of strewed lamp will cost only 80RMB.
hulu lake travel guidehulu lake travel guide
hulu lake travel guidehulu lake travel guide
hulu lake travel guidehulu lake travel guide
hulu lake travel guidehulu lake travel guide
hulu lake travel guidehulu lake travel guide
Author:  Sophia    Posted on June 21, 2013
Yuanyang Travel Tips
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