Seven Great Lakes in Asia

Who doesn’t like a great lake? No, not those great lakes, but any lake where you can see an amazing reflection or view that forces you to make your own reflection. Whether it’s a serene place or an amazing lake that has a story, these are great places to stop for a rest and think. Write in your journal. Or just relax – isn’t that what lakes are for?

Photo credit - Patrick Kiteley

Photo credit - Patrick Kiteley

Mirror Lake, New Zealand

Sunrise at the Mirror Lake in New Zealand, near Fox Village, is no mean feat. You must drive or bike a few miles from town, then trek in the darkness around the lake to get this view. But it is certainly a noteworthy goal, as a lake clear as glass and silent makes way for this surreal mirror image as light fills the sky. It is a must-see when seeing the glaciers in the area, and even during midday a walk around the entire lake is lovely.

If you’re looking for more reasons to visit New Zealand, look no further than our Dreaming of New Zealand photo blog.

Photo credit - Robert Nyman

Photo credit - Robert Nyman

Tonle Sap, Cambodia

The Tonle Sap is Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake, expanding many times its size during monsoon season. Because of the incredible change in landscape between dry and wet seasons, the people who live near here stay on floating villages – complete with televisions, petrol stations, and other typical amenities. It is a surreal sight to behold, especially since the far shore of the lake cannot be seen, leaving you feeling as if you are afloat at sea. It is possible to visit as a daytrip from Siem Reap.

There is more to this Asian country than sun-baked ruins and temples galore. Retreat to the south and experience Cambodia’s shore, full of beaches and off-beat sights to be explored.

Photo credit - Susonauta

Photo credit - Susonauta

Lake Biwa, Japan

Lakek Biwa is the largest freshwater lake in Japan; because of its location next to the historic capital of Japan, it is well known to Japanese historians, but the lake’s beaches are also popular to those not interested in history or literature. Other popular attractions include Ukimido, the floating temple, the Seta no Karahashi Bridge (especially at sunset!), and biwako Hana Funsui – the world’s largest water fountain.

Photo credit - Delirante Bestiole

Photo credit - Delirante Bestiole

Lake Baikal, Russia

Lake Baikal, just north of the Mongolian border in Russia, is a geological phenomenon. It is massive, containing 20% of the world’s surface freshwater and the deepest (and strangely, clearest) lakes in the world. Because of this and the hundreds of unique species that live here and nowhere else, Lake Baikal is actually a UNESCO World Heritage site. The resort of Listvyanka is also a UNESCO site and popular stopping point.

Not far from there, check out as well our exploration of Kamchatka, at the far eastern edge of Russia.

Photo credit - George Lu

Photo credit - George Lu

Lake Wuhua Hai, China

Wuhua Hai, meaning ‘five flower lake’ in Chinese, is one of several of the amazing lakes in the Jiuzhaigou Valley. The name is appropriate, because just in the span of a few meters the lake changes color, from blue to black to yellow to green and back again. It is surreal, spooky, and amazing. Don’t miss the other lakes here in the valley, such as China’s version of the Mirror Lake featured above.

Photo credit - Thomas Depenbusch

Photo credit - Thomas Depenbusch

Lake Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan

Would you believe the above photo was shot in Kyrgyzstan? Lakes are a popular tourist attraction in the mountainous countryside of Kyrgyzstan, and Lake Issyk-Kul is no exception. It’s hidden inside a deep valley, giving you endless views of the snowy peaks of the Tian Shan mountains. It was a popular resort destination during Soviet times, and although those resorts fell into disrepair, they are making a resurgence with foreign tourists.

Check out our recent series of posts, where we covered the four “Stans”, starting from Kazakhstan, Tajiskistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Photo credit - yeowatzup

Photo credit - yeowatzup

Inle Lake, Myanmar

Inle Lake in central Myanmar is the second largest lake in the country and one of its highest. An entire population of people, called the Intha, have built their lives and villages around this lake. Visit in September or October where you can experience Hpaung Daw U Festival, where Buddha images from the nearby Pagoda are paraded around the lake and there are dozens of boat races. This is followed by the Thadingyut festival of lights celebration.

Myanmar is also home to off-the-beaten-path Putao, a destination that is a veritable paradise on earth.

* Note: Some people seem to get held up with my definition of Asia. Asia = all of the destinations featured on Unearthing Asia, which includes places you might call “Australasia” or “Middle East.” Enjoy.

If you are planning a visit to Asia, don’t forget to check out Unearthing Asia, the best Asia travel portal focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. We have got some of the best Cheap Holiday Deal and inspirations in the region of Asia, such as this list of must-try Malaysian foods.

About the Author. Andy Hayes. Andy Hayes is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. When not crossing the world to have his next Asian travel adventures, he is hitting the walking trails near home. To get in touch or see Andy’s other travelogues, visit his website, Sharing Travel Experiences.


22 Comments on "Seven Great Lakes in Asia"

  1. Cate on Fri, 4th Jun 2010 1:48 pm 

    Despite what people imagine China to be, it does have some magical lakes esp in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. So crisp and clean. Biwa is beautiful in autumn, the best time to go is around November.

    Good post Andy even if NZ has come under Asia for this one.

  2. Andy Hayes on Sat, 5th Jun 2010 6:31 pm 

    Thanks Cate. Until Nik decides to launch Unearthing Australasia, I will continue to lump them all together for my inspiration posts :-)

  3. flv converter on Sat, 12th Jun 2010 12:12 pm 

    The world’s deepest and oldest lake is so big that it would take all of the world’s rivers a whole year to fill it and one fifth of the world’s.

  4. Free directories on Thu, 17th Jun 2010 10:03 am 

    Yes, Baikal, on the Russia – Mongolia border is the world’s deepest lake and the second most voluminous lake (after Lake Caspian).

  5. walks of italy on Tue, 14th Sep 2010 12:37 pm 

    lakes in Asia are very great Nice that attracting me for travel trip ……

  6. Desna Arifa on Tue, 19th Oct 2010 2:45 am 

    Dear Andi,

    We have a good lake in North Sumatera, it is Danau Toba (Lake Toba), hope someday it will be one of the greatest Lake of Asia.

    Regards, Desna

  7. torasham on Tue, 30th Nov 2010 5:16 am 

    how about Toba Lake in North Sumatra, Indonesia..?
    This volcanic lake is about 3,000 square meters…
    isn’t great enough?

    just see :

  8. dendonny on Tue, 30th Nov 2010 6:47 am 

    Indonesia also has one of the most beautiful lake in the world, tht is Kelimutu lake in Flores, East Nusa Tenggara. It has three colours lakes which can change the colours.

  9. Jane on Fri, 14th Jan 2011 7:57 pm 

    Don’t forget the fresh sea lake (Danau Laut Tawar) in Aceh-Takengon Sumatra Indonesia. beauty and the cave that is there is very difficult to forget. unfortunately the area has not been popularized by the local government.

  10. desman on Sat, 15th Jan 2011 7:56 am 

    try to see in indonesia, we have many great lake.
    for example toba lake in north sumatra is a very great lake.

  11. IB Clever on Wed, 16th Feb 2011 8:24 am 

    I agree, please try and check “Lake Toba” in Sumatra, Indonesia. You can rent a bike or scooter for a cheap rate and go around the lake. There’s a striking view at the top of the mountain overlooking the fishing village.

  12. Travel+Style on Sun, 18th Sep 2011 6:42 pm 

    Wonderful pictures, I hope I will have one possibility visit all these beautiful landscapes!

  13. deepti ahuja on Mon, 10th Oct 2011 12:25 pm 

    Such a nice write up!!! the way the besuty of these lakes have been described, i have completely fallen in luv with these places and so want to visit them asap. I will call up and ask if they have any package for such places as well :)

  14. Sachin Tendulker on Sat, 17th Mar 2012 3:59 pm 

    These are all shitty lakes. The best lake of the world is near my home – thats natural lake because whole Bombay comes there to piss. Please do google “River Ganges” – Parnaaam to all..
    Om shaanti om

  15. Adarsh on Fri, 29th Jun 2012 5:56 pm 

    Hey..don’t forget to visit Pokara city in Nepal. There are 4 big lakes in pokhara. Lake fewa, Lake Begnas, Lake rupa..these lakes are located right under the great himalays..offering the scenic views of some of the tallest mountains of the world. And fewa lake is so big…u cannot see across it..And pokhara also has got lots of caves, water falls..very paranomic. definitely a must visit place for peoples who love lake and mountains..

  16. Taim on Thu, 2nd Aug 2012 12:05 pm 

    There are some really beautiful and magical lakes in the North of Pakistan. They are in fact the world’s most beautiful lakes! See it to believe it!

  17. Taim on Thu, 2nd Aug 2012 12:10 pm 

    There are some really beautiful and magical lakes in the North of Pakistan. They are in fact the world’s most beautiful lakes! See it to believe it!

  18. shantoy hades on Sun, 13th Jan 2013 7:55 am 

    Compared to Tonle in Cambodia, Lake TOba in Indonesia is away more beautiful. I wonder why you didnt put it on the list..

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  22. ashylnmolly on Wed, 6th Sep 2017 12:06 pm 

    Wow!Really Nice post, Thanks for sharing about seven great lakes in Asia.My favorite is Lake Biwa, Japan.

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