Last updated by fabiowzgogo at 2017/7/18

Tourist’s Comments As a gem in south Tibet, Basomtso’s beauties inspire imagination of anyone who comes here. The flowers in spring, green trees in summer, golden fruits in autumn and white snow in winter all suggest that this is real “Jiangnan of Tibet” and a paradise for both the immortals and the human beings.

Like a shy girl, Basomtso never intentionally displays her beauty to others. She quietly lies in the embrace of the snow mountains and forest, just as the verse going “There are countless gorgeous places in the world, but only Basomtso never releases her true face.” Profile Basomtso, also called Cuogao Lake, is a fantastic lake that hides among the mountains and valleys in southeast Tibet.

Thanks to its humid weather and mountainous topography, Basomtso boasts a piece of very dense forest. Bored of snow mountains and bare Gobi, the locals like spending their holidays in Nyingchi. Thanks to its convenient transportation facilities, Basomtso is always the hottest destination for holiday’s goers. Basomtso, hiding in the deep valley of the upper reaches of the River Ba, 50 km from the the Gongbujiangda County Nyingchi, is a famous holy lake and land for the Red Sect (the Ninma Sect of the Tibetan Buddhism) at the latitude of over 3,700 meters.

It spreads like a huge crescent that goes 12 kilometers long and a few hundred meters wide. The lake, ranked as a 4 A (the highest ranking in China) scenic spot in 2000, has a land coverage of 25.9 square kilometers, the deepest point of which is about 60 meters. It was categorized as a world tourist attraction by the World Tourism Organization (WTO) in 1997 and the national forest park by the Chinese National Forestry Administration in 2002.

The scenic zone with the Cuogao Lake at its center includes two villages of Xueka and Cuogao; the major attractions are the Arpei Manor, the Watch Tower, the Changjing Stone Tablet the Cuosong Temple and the like. Its vast area and mild topography make the lake an ideal place for aquatic recreations like angling. Scenic Spots 12,000 meters long and several hundred meters wide, Basomtso (also called Cuogao Lake, which means three rocks and three jakes in Tibetan) shapes like a huge crescent set in the Grand Canyon.

Birds like the yellow ducks and white cranes flock here for the numerous fish in the lake. The reflection of white snow mountain on the crystal like the flowers, butterflies on the bank and wide animals in the woods make it a real paradise for all creatures. Different from other holy lakes in Tibet, Basomtso is surrounded by dense green primitive forest. As its name implies, the lake is as green and clear as pure jade in which the swimming fish can be easily seen.

The green peaks around the lake are permanently frozen and their reflection on the lake surface constitutes a very pretty watercolor. What matters most is that here is still isolated and free from the disturbance of the outside world. “Goat Back Rock”, an isle on the lake center, was formed by the ancient glacier movement and we still see the scratches left by the ancient glaciers today. The isle, also called Zhaxi, is believed to be empty inside. Put it different, its bottom doe not touch the lake floor or it is floating on the water.

Whether it is the case, the chance is yours to make a judgment on the isle. On the isle there is a small but exquisite temple called Cuozonggongbashi of 200 square meters only. Built 1, 500 years ago in the Zanpu Period of the Tubo Dynasty, the two-storied temple is a wood structure. Lots of Buddha and animals statues were carved out of the reefs on the isle.

In the main hall of the temple there stand the statues of 1,000 arms Kwan-yin, gold boy, jade girl and Lianhuasheng. At the foot of a Buddha’s warrior attendant there is a small round concave, which is said to be the mark left by King Gesa’s horse shoes. There go many other legends about the small isle: the sword mark left by king Gesa, the Tibetan Letter Tree, the footmark on the rock of Songzanganbu and the holy spring where Lianhuasheng used to wash his face … All these tales add more mystery and charms to this isle.

A pine and a peach tree have joined their branches together like “husband and wife” in the south of the temple, which adds some romance to this pure land. The pink peach blossom with green pine needles in summer is a special attraction here. The lamas and followers of the Cuozonggongba Temple all come and go by canoe.   

There is a mysterious cave called “Begging for a Son Cave” beside a brook in the southern bank of Basomtso. In the 20 cm wide and 40 cm deep cave on a big rock there is a small rock, which resembles the female sexual organ. It is said that it has been empowered by Master Lianhuasheng so women can come here to beg for a son. On the nearby sands there is the Lianhuasheng Practice Cave.

On the western bank is the location where King Gesa is believed to trial his arrows. The legend says that each year on the 15th of April Tibetan Calendar a long white ribbon will grow from the center of the lake bed, which is a hada (a Tibetan white scarf) as a tribute to King Gesa. There stands a huge rock in the northwest of the lake with a hole through its center.

The locals believe that to go through the hole will ward off bad luck. Being a holy lake of the Red Sect, each year Basomtso attracts a large number of people to make the circle-the-lake trip. Around the lake there live many Tibetan people. Going upstream of the lake, one sees many huge glaciers on the tributes and origins of the lake. Their long and big ice tongues go among the trees and the glacier, supplying abundant water for the neighborhood. Beside the picturesque lake there are lines of villas for the holiday village.

Solo Adventure Tips:


Basomtso lies in the Cuogao Village Gongbujiangda County, Nyingchi. It is in the valley of the upper reaches of the Ba River, 50 km from the Town of Gongbujiangda, 39.6 km from the National Highway No. 318 and 370 km from the Tibetan Capital Lhasa.

How to Get There?

The 370 km long highway from Lhasa to Basomtso is all high quality blacktop and the blacktop from the Ba River to the holiday resort may be the most ideal highway in Tibet. But one should take great care when driving on the mountain pass of Mila at the latitude of 5, 000 meters.

It costs about 2,600 Yuan to make a round trip from Lhasa by taxi while the price goes down to 240 Yuan if taking a bus. On the way one will come by the mountain pass of Mila, the County of Gongbujiangda, which is about 90 km from the final destination. If taking the route from Chengdu down the Sichuan-Tibet highway, one can book a taxi at the county government of Nyingchi. The whole trip is 128 km or so at a cost of 320 Yuan.

Ticket Price:

Opening Hours:
24 hours a day.

More Tips:

1. There is no bus here, only the lake is merely accessible by taxi.

2. The Cuogao Lake Holiday Resort Village accommodates tourists on different budgets. Besides normal hotel standard rooms and suites, some Japanese style sleeping rooms are available for option. All the rooms offer IDD and DDD, 12 TV channels, China Mobile service etc. In the teahouse the customs show takes place every evening.

3. You will be impressed by the delicious food here, to name just a few: the Tibetan Fragrant Pig, the mushroom cans, the catfish from the Ba River, the stewed Tibetan chicken with ginseng and so on, which are not only good in taste but also high in nutrition.

4. The best sightseeing season for the Cuogao Lake is the golden autumn when the tree leaves are painted yellow or red by the autumn wing. Its winter is burning cold while in July and August the lake area turns out to be a perfect summer resort.

5. On the 15th of April of the Tibetan Calendar comes the Circling Around the Lake Festival of the Cuogao Lake. At that moment here will be hustling and crowed by followers from everywhere.

6. The Zhongcuo Lake lies in the northeast of Cuoguo Village of the Cuogao Township, 15 km away whose water and vigor are derived from the Maimatang wetland. As the legend goes that it was the ground for King Gesha to practice archery. From October until March the following year the rare black neck cranes will stay in this area.

Information accuracy:

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