Secret unveiled: Explore the mysterious 'China Water Tower'
Updated 09:35, 20-Apr-2019
Chen Kairan
When it comes to the "China Water Tower," what is your first thought?
I think most people's first reaction must be Yushu, but not far from Yushu, there is a little-known place that has silently contributed the protection of Sanjiangyuan, "China Water Tower," and that is Guoluo. 


Before I arrived at Guoluo, I knew little about this place that seldom being mentioned by media, I called my friend asking whether Beijing has a direct flight to Guoluo, and can I fly directly to there? But what I heard was a laugh on the other side of the phone.
Then I was told that the average elevation of this place is more than 4,200 meters. Visitors must first go through the elevation of more than 2,000 meters of Xining, in order to gradually adapt to the plateau environment. 
Guoluo Airport

Guoluo Airport

Located in the southeastern part of Qinghai Province, Guoluo is situated in the hinterland of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, while it is also located in the core area of Sanjiangyuan (means the source of three rivers), known as the "China Water Tower." The prefecture has a natural grassland area of 101.3 million acres with dense rivers, injected into the Yellow River and the Yangtze River respectively.
Due to the unique geographical location and climatic conditions, Guoluo has so far preserved the most complete primitive ecological humanities on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. Known as the "China Water Tower," "Source of Rivers," or "King of Mountains," it is a pure land of the snowy plateau.
In 2018, to protect the Sanjiangyuan National Park, the local government successively closed a number of related attractions. But this does not affect us to take a glimpse of these magical Chinese water towers that originate from the snowy plateau. Then follow me to explore this mysterious land and witness how magical this place is.

1. Nianbaoyuze 



Have you ever imagined that the Yangtze River and the Yellow River, which nurture the entire Chinese civilization, are only separated by a mountain? Yes, this unique phenomenon exists in Guoluo.
The main peak of Nianboyuze is 5,369 meters above sea level, and is the highest peak of Bayan Har Shan. It has a 650,000-year-old glacial address relic, as well as hot springs, ancient volcanic ruins. Natural landscapes that exist under various climatic conditions coexist in this place wonderfully and harmoniously. It has 3,600 mountain peaks, 360 lakes and is also the holy mountain of the Tibetan.
In April 2018, the local government temporarily closed the scenic area in order to protect the ecological environment there.
2. Anima Qingxueshan
      Anima Qingxueshan

      Anima Qingxueshan

Anima Qingxueshan is located in Maqin County, Guoluo Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, belongs to the Kunlun Mountains. It is about 14 kilometers long and four kilometers wide, the central peak is 6,282 meters above sea level, there are also three peaks over 6,000 meters. There are 57 glaciers at the foot of the Anima Qingxueshan, with a total area of about 126 square kilometers.
The legend of the Tibetan people – the Anima Qingxueshan and the Mountain Kangrinboqe in Tibet, the Meili Snow Mountain in Yunnan, and Mount Zhara Lhatse in the Yushu City, in southeast Qinghai – are also known as the "Four Holy Mountains" in Tibetan areas.
In May 2018, the local government closed the scenic area in order to protect the ecological environment.

3. Yellow River Source Scenic Area



"Don't you see the Yellow River come from the sky, rushing into the sea and never come back? " (A famous Chinese poem describing the splendid of Yellow River)
Tracing the source of Yellow River, it will come to the Maduo – the source of the Yellow River.
The Yellow River Source is located in the west of Maduo County, with a reputation of the "Thousand Lakes County." It has an average elevation of 4,500 meters, and it is also part of the Sanjiangyuan National Natural Reserve, composed of the plateau sister lakes – Zaling Lake and Erling Lake.
Tibetan Gazelle

Tibetan Gazelle

The Yellow River source scenic spot is a paradise for wild animals, not only perched in a large number of the black-necked stork, brown-headed gull, bar-headed geese, and other wetland waterfowl, but also perched in rare wildlife snow leopards, Tibetan wild ass, wild yaks, wildebeest and so on.
In a bid to protect the Sanjiangyuan National Natural Reserve, the scenic spot has been closed since May 2018. 


1. Plateau reaction

People who enter the plateau for the first time may experience different degrees of altitude sickness. It is best to prepare oxygen cylinders and anti-altitude drugs in advance. Strenuous activities should be avoided there.

2. Sun protection

Guoluo is located on the plateau, with strong ultraviolet rays and high wind and sand. It is best to use sunscreen and sand control measures in advance.

3. Respect folk customs

Please respect the local customs and habits of Guoluo, and do not act contrary to the practices of local ethnic groups to avoid misunderstanding.

4. Protecting the ecology

Guoluo is located in the core area of Sanjiangyuan, and its ecological protection is very important. Please do not pollute the environment and not litter. In addition, Guoluo is also a paradise for wildlife; please do not disturb and hurt the elves on these plateaus. Do not kill, chase, feed wild animals, and do not destroy the ecological atmosphere in which people live in harmony with wild animals.