Hulun Lake is one of the five largest freshwater lakes in China. It is located near the city of Manzhouli in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in northern China. The area around the lake has fantastic scenery.
Hulun lake is also called Chalai Nor and Dalai Nor. In Mongolian, the word "Dalai" means sea. Hulun Lake is located in the beautiful and vast Hulunbuir Plain, which is considered to be one of the world’s top three grasslands, and is known as China’s most unsullied grassland.
Hulun Lake covers about 2,339 square km (903 square miles). At its maximum length, the lake is 90 km (56 miles) long. The widest point of the lake is 27 km (17 mi) across. Two rivers flow into Hulun Lake. The Kerulen River flows from the west into it, while the Orxon River flows into the lake from the south. The smaller Lake Buyr drains into Lake Hulun through the Orxon River.
Hulun Lake has fish in plentiful numbers. There are over 30 species of fish living in it. The lake produces about 7,000 tons of fish and 100 tons of shrimp each year. In the spring, the fish swim down the Orxon River and lay their eggs in Hulun Lake. During the cold winter months, the fish migrate up the Orxon River to Lake Buyr.
The area also is home to a large number of bird species and plant species. There are nineteen species of rare birds protected by the state. Twenty-three birds of prey inhabit the steppes around the lake. About 428 medicinal herbs have been identified in the area.
Hulun Lake is a popular summer vacation destination for its cool climate, stunning scenery, and fresh air. The area is popular with birdwatchers, who are eager to see the swans, cranes, gulls, aigrettes, and wild ducks.
You can take a boat out or swim around in the lake. Sunbathing and watching the locals fish are also popular activities. You can go camping around the lake, but be sure to pack warm clothes, because the weather can get bitterly cold.
The area around Hulun Lake is sparsely populated with just a few villages around it, but visitors should try some of the specialties of the local cuisine. White melon seeds and black agraric are grown in the area.
Milk tea is a traditional hot drink of the local Mongolian people. Baked gigot, or lamb chops, is famous for being admired by Genghis Khan. Hand-torn mutton was an essential food for the herdsmen in the grasslands. Roasted whole lamb is a traditional Mongolian food eaten at dinner parties in honor of guests or big celebrations. The lamb turns a golden red color.
Popular fish dishes include coiled crucian, squirrel carp, and "twin dragons playing with a pearl".
The best place to start from to get to Hulun Lake is the city of Manzhouli. The city is 49 km (30 mi) to the north of the lake. It takes a little over an hour to get there.
Take the G301 out of the city, then turn right on Renmin Road. Next you will turn right on Central Street, then take a left on Manda Road and then another left on Tonghu Road. You can take a minivan or hire a taxi to get to the lake. Russian and Chinese tourist buses travel to the lake too.
Matryoshka Doll Square, the Russian Art Museum, and Genghis Khan’s Horse Pile statue are in Manzhouli. The Zhalainuoer National Mine Park is nearby too.