Namtso Lake

Written by ivana Updated Jul. 27, 2021

Namtso Lake is the second-largest saltwater lake in China. It is about 4, 718 meters above sea level, so its name means the sky lake in the Tibetan language. Another explanation is from Tibetan historical literature. It says that the lake is as blue as the sky drop on the ground, so it is called “the sky lake”.

The shape of it is like a rectangle and is more than 70 kilometers (about 43 miles) long and more than 30 kilometers wide (about 19 miles). It covers an area of 1920 square kilometers, making it the highest large lake.

As the highest lake in the world, it is far from the pollution of modern civilization and maintains its natural state. The water in the lake, for the most part, arises from rains, is of melted ice and snow of the Nyenchen Tonglha Mountains, and from the inflow of crooks and streams.

The lake is very clean and fresh. When the reflection of the lake assimilates with the hues of the vibrant sky, the two seem to be one and undivided. It is not only a sacred lake to Tibetan Buddhists but a paradise for visitors.


Namtso Lake

The first highlight is the Namtso Lake itself. Every visitor coming to Namutso Lake will firstly be amazed by its pureness. Even they can feel their souls being washed by the clear and pure lake water. Standing by Namtso Lake, visitors will find them in a blue world. The blue lake and the blue sky blend into each other in the far.

The magnificent snow-topped peaks are partly hidden and partly visible in the distance. The weather on the plateau changes all the time: it is sometimes cloudy and sometimes sunny. When the sun shines on the lake, the lake ripples, glistens, and creates unique beauty.

Namtso Grassland

Visitors cannot miss the grassland when traveling to Tibet. The boundless Namtso Grassland is a must-see in the Namtso Lake scenic spot. Being on the vast grassland, visitors can see the vivid hares, wild yaks, and other wild animals leisurely and active around humans. On the grassland, the smoke of cooking gives out from the tents can make visitors be lost in wild and fanciful thoughts and gives visitors the feeling of nature.

Zhaxi Byland

There are five islands standing in the water area. Among them, Zhaxi byland is the largest in area of these five.

Visitors can find many odd stones on the byland. Some of them are like trunks; some look like human beings; some resemble trees. Various kinds of vivid shapes can easily arouse your imagination.

Namtso is also an ideal habitat for animals and birds. In the early summer, flocks of wild ducks fly to inhabit here and breed their offspring. Wild animals such as black bears, yaks, wild donkeys, bharals, foxes, roe deer, and marmots can also often be found around the lake. Highland thin-squama fish and non-squama fish are abundant in the waters as well.

Around Lake, Namtso grows some famous valuable medicinal plants such as Chinese caterpillar fungus, fritillaria, and hsueh-lien-hua (also called snow lotus flower). 

Travel Tips

The nights are freezing cold even during the summer and the wind can be extremely strong. Take warm clothes and a down sleeping bag if you plan to spend a night there, because the tents don't offer sufficient protection against wind.

There are no direct buses to the lake. The best way is to hire a taxi or a minibus from Lhasa.

There are no hotels by Namtso Lake. However, in the high travel season, local villagers will set up distinctly Tibetan camp hostels for visitors, charging prices ranging from RMB 50 to RMB 100 for a bed per day.

If you suffer from altitude sickness and do not adjust well, it is not a good idea to lodge by Namtso Lake, which is situated at a high altitude and may worsen your sickness.

According to Buddhists, when the Tibetan Year of the Sheep comes, Buddha and Bodhisattva hold Buddhist rites on Lake Namtso. If a Buddhist comes to walk and patter around the lake only once in this year, he will be much more blessed than he who does so 10,000 times in other years.

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