Yamdrok Tso Lake
Introduction of the Yamdrok
Yamdrok-Tso Lake lies at Nangartse County, located about 100 kilometers to the southwest of Lhasa. It has an area of 675km² and an elevation of 4,441 meters above sea level. Yamdrok-Tso Lake is one of the three sacred lakes in Tibet, Tibetan means "Turquoise Lake". It looks like a coral branch, so it is also called "Upper Coral Lake" in Tibetan.
Yamdrok-Tso Lake is a plateau dammed lake. It was formed about 100 million years ago due to glacial debris flow blocking the river channel. Its shape is very irregular, with many bifurcations, the lake bank is meandering, and there are three small lakes. The mountainous area in the lake is suddenly redundant. There are 21 small islands distributed in the lake, each with its own independent water surface.
Tibetans adore Yamdrok-Tso Lake and regard she is not only the incarnation of the dragon girl but also the female god of protection in the Tsang Region. At the same time, Yamdrok-Tso Lake is also the residence of the protector god, so it has multiple functions and divine power and is known as one of the "three holy lakes" on the Tibetan plateau.
Best season to visit Yamdrok Tso Lake
Every year from June to October is the best time to visit Yamdrok-Tso Lake. At different moments of sunshine, the Yamdrok-Tso Lake will show different levels and extremely rich blue. The water source of the Yamdrok-Tso Lake comes from the snow water around the NyainqenTanglha Mountains. The inflow of snow water and natural evaporation reach one. A peculiar dynamic balance, the lake water changes with the light, changing into a complex of the color blue.
The sight to see in Yamdrok Tso Lake
From the summit of the Kampala pass [4794m], visitors will have the first glimpse of Yamdrok-Tso and spectacular views of the Holy Mount Nyenchen Khangsar in distance. It is a turquoise-colored lake, the unforgettable vista of the turquoise lake-water, and the amazing spectacle of Mountains.
Then you will travel down the long road along the lakeside, make a stop at the lakeshore, you will be amazed and lost in this sacred lake scenery. In addition, there are many stone piles set up by the lake for prayers. The Tibetans believe that the stone is spiritual. When passing by the stone pile, it is necessary to turn around the stone clockwise, and then put another stone to pray.
Yamdrok-Tso Lake is the closest holy lake from the capital city Lhasa, many travelers would make a day trip here for limited travel days. During the day excursion to Yamdrok Tso lake, travelers can choose either visit a local family at the lakeside which becomes a very popular program; or visit Samding Monastery which is located on the top of a steep mountain in the southwest of Yamdrok-Tso Lake with an altitude of 4,423 meters. It is associated with the Bodong and Shangpa Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism. It’s a monastery where monks and nuns live together. It is the abbot of Tibet ’s only female living Buddha, Dorje Palm, who was reincarnated and passed down to the 12th generations.
For Tibetans, it is the home to wrathful deities. Devout Tibetan pilgrims circumambulate the lake in around seven days. Most Western travelers are content with a glimpse of the lake from the Kamba-la and views from the town of Nangartse, where you can stay at night.
Yamdrok-Tso Lake has picturesque scenery, just like being in a paradise on earth. It is a unique natural scenic area integrating plateau lakes, snow mountains, islands, pastures, hot springs, wildlife, temples, and other landscapes. Surrounded by perennial snow mountain ice peaks, the highest reaches are more than 7000 meters above sea level. The lake, the snow peak, and the blue sky are integrated, making people forget to return.
The Yamdrok-Tso is also a rich natural "fish bank". There are many planktons in the lake and rich bait. Every summer, the fish swam from the deep water to the shallow water for food and spawning. Tibetans don't eat fish, and it has become a paradise for fish. The fish reserves can reach more than 800 million kilograms, which is known as the "Tibetan Fish Bank".
There are 21 small islands around Yamdrok, where various migratory birds live, making this the largest waterbird habitat and wild bird paradise in Tibet. In addition, there are many wild animals around the lake and the islands. There are snow pigs on the surrounding mountains at an altitude of 5000 meters, and occasionally wild sheep and foxes are encountered on the grass fields. Certainly, you will find the yaks raised by Tibetans by the lake, they are regular guests here.
Useful travel tips
- The admission fee of Yamdrok-Tso Lake is 120 CNY/ per person.
- The opening hour is from 08:00am -18:30pm.
- Taking a picture with the yaks requires paying a fee to local Tibetans. Be sure to negotiate the price before taking pictures.
- The best location for photography is Kampala Pass.