Introduction of the Namtso
Situated approximately 260 km. (162 mi.) northwest of Lhasa, and requiring about 4-5 hours’ single way drive. Namtso is the second-largest saltwater lake in China and the largest in Tibet. With the altitude of 4,718m above sea level, it also holds the record of the highest altitude saltwater lake in the world. Famous for its high altitude, vast area, and beautiful scenery, Namtso is definitely a touching place that should not be missed for any travelers who visit Tibet. Its purity and solemnness are symbols of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
The word "Namtso" means the Heavenly Lake in Tibetan, and it is regarded as one of the three holy lakes by local people (The other two are Yamdrok Lake and Lake Manasarovar). The pure water of the lake is a crystal-clear blue. Clear skies join the surface of the lake in the distance, creating an integrated, scenic vista. The soul of every visitor who has ever been here seeming to be cleansed by the pure lake water.
The sight to see in Namtso
Namtso Lake was formed by the ancient glaciation and maintains its levels from the melted snow flowing from the Nyachen Thang-la Mountain and other high mountains on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Five bylands stretch into the lake from different directions. Tashi byland is the largest one and it is famous for a large number of bizarre stone peaks. Some of them are like trunks; some look like human beings; some resemble trees. Various kinds of vivid shapes can easily arouse your imagination. At the same time, there are also five islands scattered on the lake, which resemble five splendid pearls inlaid in the pure mirror. Discovering the grottos is also full of fun while visiting this holy lake. Some grottos are narrow and long like subways; some are full of stalactites; still, others are like louvers. Queer rocks, steep peaks, natural stone ladders, and other landform wonders present a picture filled with mystery and enchantment to all the visitors.
Best Season to Visit Namtso
Summer is the best time to see the beautiful scenery of Namtso Lake. You can see lots of wild animals living in harmony with nature. Wild yaks and hares leisurely look for food along the expansive lakeshores; countless migratory birds fly here to lay eggs and feed their young; sometimes lovely fishes in the lake jump out of the lake water. This is the time of the year that Namtso is full of life and activity, the time you can sit on the grassland and immerse yourself into the warmth of the sunshine. Therefore it is no wonder that the local people believe that Namtso is the Goddess of godliness and happiness. Really Namtso is a blessing from nature on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
Besides the beautiful scenery in Namtso, it is also a famous sacred Buddhist place. There is a Tashi Dor Monastery in Tashi byland. In every Tibetan sheep year, thousands of Buddhism pilgrims will come here to worship. As a rule, they will walk clockwise along the Namtso Lake in order to receive the blessing of the gods.
Useful Travel Tips:
- The entrance ticket of Namtso Lake is 120CNY per person, and for conservation protection, visitors are required to take the Eco-sightseeing bus to enter the scenic area with an additional charge of 110CNY per person.
- It is not recommended to visit Namtso Lake from November to the next mid-April, because the weather is extremely cold and the frequent heavy snowfall will easily block the way to Namtso Lake, especially when passing the highest pass en route - Nagena Pass (5,190m).
- It is advisable to have a 2 days trip to Namtso Lake from Lhasa as the single-way drive needs about 4-5 hours. On the way back to Lhasa, you may have a stop at the famous Yangbachen Hot-spring to enjoy the hot spring there. The admission fee for this hot-spring is 180CNY per person.
- Due to the urgent needs of environmental protection of Namtso Lake, it has been not allowed to stay overnight at the lakeshore of Namtso Lake since 2019 and all the accommodations there have been moved out, hence, after enjoying the spectacular sunset at Namtso Lake, travelers will be driven back to Damxung for overnight.