Namtso Lake, one of the holy lake in Tibet is an ideal place to take a spiritual journey.
General Info of Namtso Lake
Namtso Lake located in the northwest of Lhasa, which is the highest saltwater lake in the world with an altitude of 4,718 meters above sea level. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and thousands of acres of open grasslands, Namtso Lake is a favored pasture for local nomads with their yak herds.
Take a Spiritual Trip to Namtso Lake
Namtso means “heavenly lake” in Tibet language which is the closest lake in the world to the heaven. Among the three holy lakes, Namtso is a popular place for pilgrims. Surrounded by many sacred mountains, Namtso Lake is sure to be sacred as well by Tibetans. Namtso was considered as the home of protective god who is invested with special, spiritual power. There are five uninhabited islands in the lake, as well as a few rocky outcrops which have long been used as spiritual retreats for pilgrims. Every year, many devout Buddhists travel to these sacrosanct lakes to walk around the lake’s perimeter that known as a holy “kora”. Pilgrims will spend the summer on the island with enough food they carrying and walk across the lake’s surface in winter when it is frozen.
Look for the Ruddy Shelduck in Namtso
The largest island, sitting in the northwest corner of the lake is a home to many kinds of migrating birds that travel there twice a year, such as the Ruddy Shelduck and several species of cormorants. The island is over two kilometers long, only three kilometers from the shore.
Visiting the Tashi Dor Peninsula
There are also five peninsulas that just out into the lake from the shore. With Tashi Monastery, several karst caves on the land, the Tashi Dor Peninsula seems to be the largest peninsula in the lake. The karst caves are quiet grottos that are different in shape. Some are long and narrow, just like the subways of New York, while others are vast and domed, which filled with stalactites and stalagmites. The stone forest in the peninsula is a masterpiece of nature, comprising of dozens of natural stone peaks. Some of those peaks resemble tree trunks and some even look a little human in shape. These stunning shapes can really spark the imagination. With the caves, the stone forest, the natural stone bridges, and ladders, Tashi Dor Peninsula is filled with mystery and enchantment.
Best Time to Travel to Namtso Lake
Summer is the best season to visit Namtso when the grasslands are at their greenest and growth stages. And alongside the lake, wild animals such as black bears, yaks, wild donkeys, and marmots can often be found leisurely grazing. While the best photography time is before and after sunrise or sunset within half an hour. At sunrise, you may able to see the golden snow mountains of Nyainqentanglha and at sunset, you may see the north lakeshore of Tashi peninsula
How to get to Namtso Lake
Over 240 km from Lhasa, there is no direct bus to get to Namtso Lake. Hiring a car seems an excellent and convenient way to get to the lake. However, the road to Namtso is not very good and you should hire a suitable car, a 4WD is recommended. Meanwhile, due to the poor condition of the road, you shouldn't hire the car alone. You'd better hire the car together with other travelers.
Recommended Tour Itineraries Including Namtso Lake
The tour will take you to some great cities in Tibet and show you the dreamy natural views and the origin of Tibetan Buddhism. After a 4-day visiting in Lhasa, you will head to the east and discover the symbols of the Tibet culture then enjoy the two of top three holy lakes.
This journey starts from exploring Lhasa city, then drive to Namtso for a ‘Heavenly Lake’ experience. On the way, you will enjoy the vast grassland and charming natural scenery. The last station is to head to Tsedang for discovering the "cradle of Tibetan civilization" and Samye Monastery, the first monastery in Tibet.
This is relatively an easy route for travelers. After 2 days of essential sightseeing tour in Lhasa, tourists will go to Shigatse passing through Gyantse, then stay overnight at the lakeside of Namtso - the holiest lake in Tibet. At last, enjoy a hot spring bath in Yampachen on the way back to Lhasa.
Lhasa - Tsetang - Nyingtri -Pomi - Nyingtri - Lhasa - Lake Namtso - Ali - Darchen - Mt.Kailash - Lake Manasarovar - Saga - EBC - Shigatse - Gyantse - Lhasa
This exciting tour covered most of the tourist attractions in Tibet. It’s a great chance to gain insights into the beautiful views, culture and Tibetan Buddhism of the holy land. As a long adventure on the high Plateau, this journey is for warriors who are strong-willed and fearless.
It’s a good idea to take a train to Lhasa from Beijing, the heart of China. Not only for the much cheaper price comparing with flight, but also for the awe-inspiring scenery along the way. The train crosses from the north to southeast of China, which shows you the half splendid landscape of this mysterious country within 40:53 hours. It’s quite attractive, isn’t it?