Things to Know Before Traveling to Ngari
- by Caroline
- Last Updated: 2022-10-27
Ngari is located in the western part of the Tibet Autonomous Region, in the northern part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (Qiangtang Plateau), with an average altitude of over 4,500 meters. It's a dangerous and charming place, known as the "Roof of the World's Roof". The temperature is low throughout the year and the climate is complex, making it the region with the worst climatic conditions in Tibet. It is said that if Tibet goes westward, it is the real Tibet. Ngari is the most mysterious place in Tibet. There is a world-class sacred mountain - Kailash, the top of the holy lake in Tibet - Manasarovar, and the ruins of the lost civilization - Guge Kingdom. Ngari's brutal plateau environment has discouraged many people and the journey to the mountain Kailash is difficult, and only those who have experienced it will understand whether it is a physical ascetic or a spiritual journey. Here're the things you need to know before traveling to Ngari.
The Best Time to Travel to Ngari
Due to the high elevation in Ngari, there are low temperatures, and large temperature differences between morning and night all year round. The climate is even more unpredictable, with strong ultraviolet rays and strong winds. From May to June/September to October every year, the minimum temperature at night is -10°C to 0°C. Even in the rainy season from July to August, the average nighttime temperature is around 0°C to 10°C, and it usually rains at night. Sometimes snowfall occurs. In general, from May to October is suitable for traveling to Ngari.
How Can I Get into Ngari?
There are two ways to get into Ngari. One is taking a flight to Ngari Kunsha Airport from Lhasa. Another is driving along with the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway, which is also the main way to Ngari for most travelers. Starting from Yecheng to Lhasa, Xinjiang-Tibet Highway is the highest highway in the world. But it not works all year round. Because it will be closed during the rainy season, which is from July to August, and the snowy season, which is from late October or early November to early April.
What Can You Eat in Ngari?
Ngari is sparsely populated, and it is difficult to supply materials, so things will be more expensive than in other areas. The quality of food along the way is not very high and the quantity is small. There are many Sichuan restaurants. In some places, you will encounter Tibetan restaurants. You can drink some Butter tea, sweet tea, air-dried meat, etc., which is helpful for adapting to cold weather and reducing the discomfort caused by high-altitude sickness. If you are not used to it, you can prepare some food before departure, such as bread, milk, biscuits, chocolates, canned food, quickly served noodles, etc. You can also take some food with vitamins, , such as vegetables and fruits. Try to slow down during activities, and do not jump or run. Please don’t forget the drinking lots of water. You can buy all the above food in Shiquanhe Town (where there is the Administrative Office of Ngari Prefectural) or Purang County or Lhasa before you go ahead to Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar.
Where to Accommodate in Ngari?
Please make your expectation of the accommodation in Ngari as low as possible. Located in western Tibet, the lodging condition of Ngari is really poor. You can only take a shower in a few hotels in Shiquanhe Town or the village of Darchen or the Manasarovar lakeside. The temples along with the kora route also offer basic lodging facilities, like dormitory beds. But if you visit Ngari during the peak season, please consider taking tents and sleeping bags for unexpected situations.
What Do I Need to Pack for Traveling to Ngari?
The average altitude of Ngari is over 4,500 meters (14,764 feet). It's said that highland trekking is equivalent to carrying 30kg weight in flatlands. Thus, please try to pack light, especially don’t carry all your belongings when visiting Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar. Because you will feel too tired to walk on the plateau. Besides, although Ngari is warm in the daytime of summer, the temperature could go down to below Zero at night. So, the following stuff should be on your must-carry list.
Sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm, winter clothes, flashlights, anti-cold medicine, and garbage bags, etc.
If budget permits, you can hire a porter to carry your luggage and save your energy, who you can find easily near hostels and rest houses in the town.
Money and Currency Exchange in Ngari
Although there are a few branches of Agricultural Bank or Postal Bank in most towns and counties of Ngari, where you can withdraw and exchange money, we still suggest you do it in Lhasa, where is more convenient. Please make sure you have some small changes which you can donate to the monasteries or beggars you meet on the street. Credit cards are only acceptable in some 3 or 4-star hotels in big towns.
Is It Possible to Connect to the Network in Ngari?
Well, there are not too many places offering internet access in Ngari. You can find some cafes or hotels in Shiquanhe Town. But the cost is much more than in Lhasa or mainland China.
How to Prevent Altitude Sickness in Ngari?
Ngari is a high-altitude area. If you are visiting Tibet for the first time, it is not recommended to choose the Ali route. Even if you have experience in the plateau, it is recommended to stay in Lhasa for at least two days to get used to the altitude and then move westward. You can prepare some glucose, ibuprofen (pain reliever), Suoluomabao Capsules (known as Hongjingtian Capsules in Chinese), oxygen bags, etc. to deal with mountain sickness. If the symptom is serious and there is no improvement after taking measures, you should evacuate the plateau in time.
How to Get to Ngari?
Ngari is a remote region in western Tibet. There're two ways to get to Ngari, by flight or by road. Driving to Ngari can lower of risk of altitude sickness.
Ngari is located in the west of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Check the detailed Ngari travel maps, tourist attractions, routes, nearby counties, etc.
The Best of Ngari You Can Experience
May to October every year is a very suitable time to travel to Ngari, especially from mid-June to mid-September, with higher oxygen content and humid climate.
The Fact of Ngari - the Most “Tibetan” Part of Tibet
Located in the west of Tibet, Ngari is known for its desolate off-the-beaten-path landscape. Let’s unveil this mysterious prefecture of Tibet.
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