As the highest lake in Yunnan Province, Bitahai Lake lies in the east of Shangri-La County of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. It is one of the core spots in Potatso National Park with an altitude over 3500 meters (about 3828 yards) above sea level. Covering an area of about 159 hectares (around 393 acres) with an average depth of 20 meters (about 22 yards), it is famous for its limpid water and its beautiful scenery which is set against the mountains and forests surrounding it.
Bitahai Lake is widely recognized as 'A Pearl on the Plateau' and the most attractive lake in Shangri-La. Legend has it that a goddess dropped her mirror carelessly to the earth when she was making up. The mirror was broken into pieces and they became lakes on the plateau. Among these pieces, the most beautiful piece with green jade turned into today's Bitahai Lake.
In the center of the lake stands an islet shaped like a boat sailing on the water surface. The islet is 30 meters (about 33 yards) above the water level, and is covered with rare plants and also includes spruces and rhododendrons. Here, birds twitter happily and flowers release their pleasant fragrances. When stepping on the islet, one feels as if they are arriving at Xanadu, and visitors have frequently remarked about how they have felt intoxicated by the aura, beauty and tranquility.
Bitahai Lake is fringed with rhododendrons of various varieties, which adds to its beauty. Every year around June and July, petals of the rhododendrons fall onto the water surface with the wind. When passing fish eat these rhododendron petals (which are slightly poisonous) they can be seen on their backs with their white bellies exposed as they float upside-down amongst the petals as if they are drunk. It is now the best-known sight of Bitahai Lake. It is also said that in the past bears in the nearby mountains often came out in the moonlight to catch these intoxicated fish.
Bitahai Lake is a place of legends. When visiting it, one can find that even a tree or a hill has a story. It is not only a feast to the eye, but also enhances our sense of beauty and our imagination.