Namtso Lake

Namtso Lake resembles a rectangle and situates between the Dangxiong County and Bange County, at the middle of Tibet and occupies over 1920 km2, about 70 km long and 30 km wide, over the sea level 4718m, renowned as the highest salty lake in the world. So the travelers who plan to explore here are suggested to stay in Lhasa few days ahead to fit in the plateau and avoid altitude stress.

Reaching the rolling hills at the north and the Nyenchen Tangula Mountains at the southeast, surrounding by the vast grasslands, the Namtso Lake is supplied the endless water by the melted snow and ice from Nyenchen Tangula Mountains. The water is transparent and blue, almost integrating with the same blue sky naturally, posing a breath-taking feeling to the travelers here with its soul-stirring beauty.

With the rich water resource from the snow mountain, the grasses on the lakeside grow well and make there a natural pasture, a place where schools of wild ducks and flocks of other wild birds nest and breed; bears, wild yaks, and wild donkeys usually can be traced; rare medicinal materials like Caterpillar fungus, snow lotus and fritillary grow here. The lake also nurtures the fishes with fine scales or no scales.

Namtso is an area between semi-humid area and semi-arid area, abounding in light, heat and water resource. The rainy seasons and dry seasons here are distinctive: the rainy season lasts from June to October while the dry season from November to the next May. Windiness is an outstanding feature of Namtso area and mainly occurs in the dry season. The ice period is a quite interesting and attractive thing here: the water would freeze in the winter and people, animals and even vehicles can pass the lake from the icy surface when it is frozen completely; after the May, the ice would melt and make loud clunking noise heard from miles away.

Namtso means “Heaven Lake” in Tibet language, renowned as one of the Three Holy Lakes in Tibet and regarded as the first Holy Lake by the followers of Bon Religion. This lake was the Bodhimanda of Tantric Yidam Cakrasamvara according to legend, and famous for its position as a holy place for Tibetan Buddhism. Zha Xi Monastery on the mid-lake island Zha Xi Duo receives hundreds of followers for pilgrimage in each Tibetan Year of the Goat.

It is also a holy lake to predict the future as it is said that people with special fate or powerful life would see the paranormal activities. Therefore, many lamas come here for pilgrimage and read future with the paranormal visions here. The founders of Taklung Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism had their tantric study here and started to circle the whole lake in the Year of Goat. According to the legends among the followers, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as well as Protective Gods would collect here and host Da Xing Dharma Assembly in every Year of Goat, and reciting when circling the lake would bring much more goodness than that in the common days. In each Tibetan Year of Goat, monks and followers collecting from the whole country traipse to circle the lake, which will come to climax at the 15th of the Tibetan April.

Open time: 06:00-18:00

Entrance fee: CNY120p.p in peak season (May to October)

CNY60p.p in low season (November to next late April)

Travel Tips:

  1. As Namtso has a quitehigh altitude, travelers are suggested to stay in Lhasa for several days to adjust themselves to the high altitude before setting off for Namtso.
  2. Considering there is a big temperature difference between morning andevening, strong ultraviolet light here, travelersneed to take warm clothing, sun cream and some medicine against the altitude stress. Especially during sunrise appreciation in the morning here, people should walk slowly but not run fast to avoid problems caused by high altitudes.
  3. People who drive or rent a car to Namtso should care about the traffic condition in advance about the Nagenla Pass with 5190m higher thansea level as it usually is covered by the heavy snow and ice due to the unsteadyplateau climate.
  4. There are many wild dogs hanging out at the lake bank, so travelersare suggested not take snakes to prevent attracting those dogs to come to you.
  5. The commodity condition here could not be as good as that in some big cities, so travelers are suggested to have a mental preparation for thatin advance. There is electric blanket but no air-conditioner, no independentbathroom.
  6. Taking pictures here with yaks or Tibetan mastiffs need pay for the local people.

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