Poyang Nature Reserve
Poyang Nature Reserve is part of the Tentative list of China in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
Situated in northern Jiangxi, Poyang Lake, the largest fresh water lake in China, lies to the south of the middle and lower reaches of the Changjiang River. Abundant natural resources provide a welcoming habitat for birds, attracting tens of thousands of migratory birds to spend their winter there, thus turning the Poyang Lake into one of the world's most famous migratory birds sanctuaries. The establishment of the Migratory Birds Reserve offers favourable conditions for both the protection of migratory birds and scientific research on wetland.
Map of Poyang Nature ReserveLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
Dislaimer: this Tentative WHS is ancient - hasn't been modified since 1996 and the data in their description is from the mid-80s. The main attraction of the lake, or rather Nature Reserve, are the migratory birds. They come in early December and stay until February. Well, this December there weren't really many to see. I am unsure they still come here. Yes, sure, maybe I came too early to judge but then I suppose the place is still not a good visit ANYTIME apart from January and February as you can read soon.
For starters the lake has been shrinking over the years. It could still lose the status of largest freshwater lake in China to Lake Tai. On a side note, the massive Qinghai Lake is not freshwater and the larger Xingkai Lake is shared with Russia so it "doesn't count" for the stats. Secondly, and I cannot confirm this, there are many labor camps around the lake. If true that would obviously be a bummer for WHS status. Even if it's not true, houses have been built around the lake that encroachment is a big issue now.
To visit the lake you have many options but the free ones would get you nothing. There is a famous bridge, for example, that you can drive through during wet season - cool? Maybe. I selected to visit the National Wetland Park - surely it would be the best bet! To get here you can take a bus to the nearby town of Poyang from any of the big cities. Nanchang is a good option, Jingdezhen another. The bus schedule basically had a bus every hour for those cities so don't worry about getting back. The tricky part is getting to the park because there is no public transportation. A taxi costs 40 kuai+ and to get back you can wait for the shuttle that only leaves when there are enough people or call the taxi that brought you here. I wouldn't rely on the shuttle. I think the driver would only leave at the end of the day and not do multiple trips.
As for the park, once you pay you can take a free electric Bus to the port even though it's only a 3 minute walk through the trees, then hop onto the next available boat going to the nature reserve. On the way you get info from a tour guide which includes talk about the birds, fish and other local stuff - we even got a nice song from the lady. Unlike what it says on the map the boat actually docks on the west side of the park and returns from there too.
Then in horror I saw that the "reserve" is a big canopy net that traps the birds in like an outdoor zoo. Why did I just spend my time and money to see this, you may ask. Well, I walked around looking at the sad birds. People do picnics here, feed the birds, harass them - let's just say I didn't stay long. The areas outside of the netting have boggy waters, a really sh*t museum, a hotel and what sounded like a more open area for birds to live in the forest but it was actually empty. The person driving the eBus was surprised I came back out so quickly. I feel so sad for the birds.
Highly NOT recommended.
1996 Added to Tentative List
At Bureau -needs Natural Park too
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