Namtso Lake in Lhasa

Chinese Name: 纳木错湖
English Name: Namtso Lake
Location: Located between Damxung County of Lhasa and Bango County of Nagqu region
Admission Fee: Free
Opening Hours: All Day

About Namtso Lake in Damxung County, Lhasa

Namtso Lake is the largest lake in Tibet, the second largest salt water lake in China, and the world’s highest lake. It is located between Damxung County of Lhasa and Bango County of Nagqu region. In the Tibetan language, “Namtso Lake” means “Heavenly Lake”. The lake surface is at 4,740 meters above sea level, measuring about 70 kilometers long and 30 kilometers broad, with a surface area of 1,920 square kilometers. 

The melted snow and ice of the Nyenchen Tangula Mountains from the main water supply of Namtso Lake. With lush grass growing on the vast land near the lake, the place is the best pasture land of northern Tibet. Wildlife creatures, especially precious birds, find the place to be an ideal habitat. Besides the five islands in the lake, there are five peninsulas reaching into the lake. The Zaxi Peninsula is the largest among the five. On the peninsula of 10 square kilometers are the Zaxi Monastery, karst caves, stone forest, naturally formed bridges and other special scenery.

When the ice melts in late April, the lake is a miraculous shade of turquoise and there are magnificent views of the nearby mountains. The wide open spaces, dotted with the tents of local drokpas, are intoxicating.

Every year, many pilgrims from Tibet and nearby regions will come here. The pilgrimage, which takes about 20 to 30 days to circle the whole lake, peaks in the Year of Goat on the Tibetan Calendar.

Ideal photography time

The prime photography time in Namtso Lake is before and after sunrise or sunset within half an hour. Shoot south bay of Tashi peninsula and golden snow mountains of Nyainqentanglha Range at sunrise and north lakeshore of Tashi peninsula at sunset.

Shoot Location

1.Yingbin stone
Yinbin stone is also called as Gods of Gate or couple stone of Namtso. The two huge rocks are hung with pentachromic prayer flags all year round, and surrounded by Marnyi Stones and Yak skulls, which is the perfect foreground for your photography.

2.Gassho stone
It is also called parents stone. Gassho stone is the incarnation of Nyainqentanglha Range and Namtso Lake according to a legend, which symbolizes their faithful love.

3.Good and evil hole
Tibetan Buddhism deems that god will know whatever you do, good or evil. It is just a warning bell by Buddha. This place is very close to Gassho stone and the only way to circumambulate Tashi peninsula in clockwise direction.

4.Hilltop on Tashi peninsula
The way to the hilltop is paved road. It is the commanding height to shoot Nyainqentanglha Range and Namtso Lake. Sunrise and sunset is the perfect time that you should not miss. In addition, the altitude of hilltop is at 5,000m above sea level and the wind is very strong. So it will be a strenuous climb.

Attraction Transportation: 

Visitors can take long-distance bus or choose self-driving from Damxung County or Lhasa. Namtso Lake is located between Damxung County of Lhasa and Bango County of Nagqu region. What’s more, please pay attention to weather conditions. In the rainy season (July & August), cars often get struck in the mud and delays happen frequently. 

Attraction Tips: 

• Traveling Hours: 2 or 3 hours

• Traveling Seasons: March to October

• The sea level is 1100 meters higher than that of Lhasa, therefore please bring lots of water and don’t over-exert yourself.

• Weather here is changeable. Bring your thickest clothes just in case there may be rains or hail stones.

• Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen and sunglasses with you.

• Staying at Namtso overnight is extremely worthwhile. The sunrise and sunset are breathtakingly beautiful. You would find the night sky filled with stars, and even see the nebula of the Milky Way.

• Some local people will lead a yak to charge if you want to take a photo with the yak. You’d better keep away from it to avoid unnecessary trouble.