Regarded as the “Pearl on Highland,” Lugu Lake, also referred as Bright Lake, is located in the northwest of Yunnan plateau in the center of Ningliang Yi Autonomous County in China, over 120 miles (200 kilometers) from Lijiang Old Town. It was listed as a 4A Scenic Area by the National Tourism Bureau in November 2009. With an altitude of well over 1 and a half miles (2690.75 meters), it covers almost 19 square miles (48.45 square kilometers) in area reaches just over 300 feet (93 meters) in maximum depth. Water in the lake is so blue that even objects 11 meters beneath the surface are visible.
Lugu Lake is the highest lake in Yunnan province, and also one of the deepest fresh-water lakes in China. Surrounded by lofty mountains, Lugu Lake is home to five islands, four peninsulas, fourteen bays and seventeen beaches, like a sparkling jade embedded in Yunnan Province. Algae blooms dot the surface of the lake, and Zhucao Boats, the only vehicle on the lake, float slowly, which makes Lugu Lake a great getaway for escaping the bustling world of nearby Lijiang.
Many ethnic minority groups reside along the lake, the Mosuo, Norzu, Yi, Pumi,and Tibetan people for example, among whom the Mosuo People are the most common.
Northwest of the lake stands the impressive Gemu Mountain, which is the incarnation of Gemu Godness that is worshiped by the Mosuo people. In the southeast of the lake is boundless meadow, where grass and sheep are found. In the shadow of the mountain, grow bushes and clusters of flowers that bend with the wind. When winter comes, tens of thousands of rare migrant birds, white swans and black-necked cranes, for example, flock to perch here. Standing on the shore of the lake, crisscross paths and acres of farmland come into view.
How to get there: From Lijiang or Kunming, take the bus to Ningliang County first. After arrival, take the bus bounding for Yongning County and get off at Luoshui Village. It takes 20RMB and 3 hours to get there.