Tian Chi means “Heaven Lake”, and this natural haven 100km east of Ürümqi – the starting point of Vikram Seth’s book From Heaven Lake – almost lives up to its name, especially for travellers who have spent a long time in the deserts of northwest China. At the cool, refreshing height of 2000m, the lake is surrounded by grassy meadows, steep, dense pine forests and jagged snow-covered peaks, including the mighty Bogda Feng, which soars to over 6000m. The nicest feature of the area is that you can wander at will; there are no restrictions on accommodation (most people stay in yurts, with the semi-nomadic Kazakh population), and there is virtually limitless hiking. You need only to watch the weather – bitterly cold in winter, the lake is really only accessible during the summer months, May to September.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

China features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The roof of the world: a first-timer's guide to Tibet

The roof of the world: a first-timer's guide to Tibet

The ‘roof of the world’ has exerted a magnetic pull over travellers and adventurers for centuries. This vast, high altitude desert has spawned myths and leg…

10 Nov 2016 • Stuart Butler insert_drive_file Article
Video: 10 Taiwanese street foods you need to try

Video: 10 Taiwanese street foods you need to try

Street food in Taiwan has a charm that restaurants just can't match. There's a distinct pleasure to be found in wandering through the labyrinthine stalls glo…

24 Oct 2016 • Colt St. George videocam Video
Beyond the Jade Dragon mountain: stunning pictures of Yunnan, China

Beyond the Jade Dragon mountain: stunning pictures of Yunnan, China

After a few weeks exploring the region, Rough Guides travel writer and photographer David Abram shares some of his favourite images of Yunnan Province, China. …

18 Oct 2016 • David Abram insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month