Situated about 32 kilometers (about 19.9 miles) away from Zhongdian County, Bitahai Lake, a fault lake, is an intact natural attraction with various species of flora and fauna and, of course, picturesque landscapes. In Tibetan language, Bita means "a piece of land as soft as cattle hair felt". With an altitude of 3,539 meters (about 11,608 feet), the lake is the highest in Yunnan Province. Shaped like lively deer, it also covers an area of 166 hectares.
Famed as pearl in the highlands, the lake is surrounded by wooded mountains and resembles a beryl inlaid among them. The surrounding mountains are densely scattered with azaleas, and each year in late spring and early summer, when the flowers are in full bloom, the hillsides seem to be dyed red, echoing harmoniously with the clear waters in the lake.
Bitahai Lake's fish are as abundant as its natural beauty. Rowing a boat on the lake, one can see shoals of precious "Bitahai Double-Lip Fish" - an ancient species left over from the Fourth Glacial Age - swimming back and forth about 10 meters beneath the surface. The small streams beside the lake are home to amphibious "Codfish", which produce a valuable medicine.
Each year, when azalea blooms cover the mountains, the wind blows the petals into the lake, causing all of the fish to vie with each other to eat them. They eat so many that they seem drunk and float on the surface - an enchanting sight known as "Fish Drunk on Azalea's Petals. Around Bitahai Lake are vast meadows and deep forests - ideal habitat for rare animals including red-footed pheasant, silver pheasant, wild bull, leopard and lynx. Every April when the snow begins to melt, wildflowers bloom profusely in the meadows. The glorious colors shine like twinkling stars in a sky of fresh green grass. Local Tibetans pitch their tents in the pastureland and their loyal dogs round up any of the animals who try to stray. In the night, when the day draws to a close, a bright full moon arises above the eastern mountains and over the tops of the trees. From the small cottage of the forest ranger comes the sound of joyous singing and dancing.
Bitahai Lake is a place of legends. When one is here, one can find that even a tree or a hill around the lake has a story. It is not only a feast to the eye, but also enhances our sense of beauty and our imagination.
In the primeval forest on the north bank of the lake, many cabins are built there for the convenience of the tourists. Activities like horse riding, trekking and boating are available at the customer’s will. The Zhongdian County is 680 km from Kunming. It is possible to book for both seating bus or sleeping bus from any large bus stations in Kunming.