Most Complete Guide to Namtso Lake Tour
Tibet has acquired popularity all over the world as the most charming tourism spot that has the ability to leave the tourists awestruck by its mesmerizing views. Tibet not only comprises of high mountains with snow-capped peaks but also several grasslands and lakes. The mountains are indeed the charm of Tibet and so also the lakes and the foliages. The best known lake tour in Tibet is the Namtso lake tour.
Namtso lake is located in the northwestern side of Lhasa and is considered to be the highest saltwater lake. It is the second largest saltwater lake in China with the first being the Qinghai lake. Nonetheless a complete tour to the famous and spectacular Namtso lake is bound to leave the tourists speechless with the tour remaining etched in their memory forever.
How to Visit to Namtso Lake from Lhasa
Namtso Lake is situated in the northwestern side of Lhasa. It is situated at an altitude of 4718m being the highest saltwater lake in the world. It also is said to cover an area of 1920 square kilometers which is considered to be huge. It stretches in the length of 70km from east to west and at a width of 30km from north to south. Lhasa is however situated at an altitude of 3650m.
The total distance between Lhasa and Namtso lake is about 240km as it is located in the juncture of Lhasa and Nagqu. There is no direct bus route from Lhasa to visit Namtso, therefore the best way to visit Namtso is by renting a car. The journey by car takes almost five hours from Lhasa. First on the way, the destination can be Damxung County. From Damxung County there is another road leading to Namtso, involving a distance of about 60km.
On the way the tourists will come across the famous Nagenla Pass, with an altitude of about 5200m, which is considered to be the landmark of Namtso. The road being not so well developed and smooth between Lhasa and Namtso, it is advisable to select some strong big cars for the journey like Toyota and other such types of cars.
Highlights of Namtso Lake
The name Namtso in Tibetan language means ‘heavenly’. Indeed the site around Namtso with the lake within it evokes a celestial charm. It is surrounded by Nyainqentanglha ranges in the south and Trans-Himalayan ranges in the north. On the other two sides, the lake is covered by a huge plateau area that looks like infinite distances of stretching grasslands.
The lake is considered to be a holy lake in Tibet. There are kora routes around the lake, fascinating the pilgrims from all over the world. Hundreds of multi-colored religious flags can be witnessed around the lake facing it. This justifies the essence, the lake holds in the hearts of the pilgrims. The Namtso lake kora route comprises of either car routes or trekking routes. With the car, the route takes about two days to get completed. However by trekking or by using prostrate structures, it usually takes about twenty-thirty days to complete itself. There is the Tashi peninsula, another pilgrimage route, which takes about several hours to complete one round.
The water is deep blue in color and amidst the snow-capped mountains, the scene looks spectacular. Namtso lake area is mainly known for its mesmerizing scenic view around it. The lake is also place for lots of birds from different regions. Not only birds, there reside many other animals like Tibetan yak, cattle and other small animals in the grassland around the lake, observed particularly during the summer.
The best feature of the Namtso lake region is its heavenly scenery that makes it a favourite place for photography. The place is also a popular destination for the wedding photography. The spectacular sight of the night sky, twinkling with stars is the best moment to be photographed.
Other than this, the time of sunrise or the sunset, with the mountain tops adopting a spectacular golden hue, is also captured vividly. The kora route attracts pilgrims particularly during the Sheep Year of Tibetan calendar. During this time innumerable pilgrims show their utmost reverence to the lake. It mainly happens during the month of April in the Tibetan Lunar calendar.
Best Time to Visit Namtso Lake
The kora route around the Namtso lake remains busy during the month of April, according to the Tibetan Lunar calendar. However apart from this, the best time to pay a visit to Namtso lake in Tibet is from the months June to September. The weather does not remain very harsh this time, even though it is cold. During the daytime, the weather remains sufficiently comfortable to either do a trekking along the kora route or for photography or simply for enjoying the charm of the place.
The other seasons are inappropriate for travelling to Namtso as the road remains covered with snow. Visiting Namtso during winter is totally out of question. With such a high altitude, it is impossible to withstand the strong winds at that time. It is also said that this time of the year is the best time to do the photo shoots.
Namtso Lake Accommodation Condition
Namtso lake is a very popular tourist site of Tibet. However well-constructed hotels are scarce in number. The increased number of hotels might ruin the ecological balance of the region at such a high altitude. It is probably because of this reason, the number of hotels are less.
However there are facilities of tents. But the only negative aspect about the tents is their limited electricity and running water. There are some facilities of guesthouses at Tashi Dor. But there also, basic services are provided. The room usually consists of four beds and the bathroom facilities are less. The tourists have to share a common bathroom.
The Namtso Tent House is a very well known accommodation just on the bank of Namtso lake. There are three to four beds in each room and the facilities though meager are very well-maintained. The rooms are very clean and neat, arranged in Tibetan style. However, here also, the washroom facilities are not up to the mark. There is only one washroom just outside the tent, serving as the common washroom. This tent house is usually available from end of April to Mid-October.
The arrangement of food is even more problematic in this region. It is very costly like the transportation. Therefore it is better to take some high calorie snacks and dry foods along with you. Better to keep food always with you along with some water, as there is a scarcity of food too, being very pricey.
Tour Namtso Lake
It usually takes two days to tour Namtso completely. However if a person is indulged in kora or pilgrimage, it might even take twenty to thirty days. This long time span is specially required during travelling the kora route by trekking. The basic itinerary for touring Namtso lake can be-
• Visit Lhasa. Take a day or two off in Lhasa. It will help the body to get acclimatized. Visit the famous places in Lhasa like Potala Palace, Drepung monastery, Sera monastery and others.
• Thereafter visit Namtso lake via road, which will take maximum five to six hours.
• In the region of Namtso lake, besides the kora route and the scenic beauty, there is another spectacular tourist attraction. These are the meditation caves in Tashi Dor island. Also do not forget to visit the hot spring of Yangpachen that you will pass on the route or explore Dumxung county.
1. Positively take the sunscreens, sunglasses, and medicines. Do not forget to take warm clothes and raincoats as Namtso is characterized by rapid weather changes.
2. Take all the important documents including China tourist visa and Tibet Travel permit.
3. Arrange all the accommodations and conveyances beforehand as in Namtso they are not only scarce but also very expensive.
Recommended Tibet Tour including Namtso Lake
We offer you various Tibet tours including trip to Lake Namtso. Train tickets to Lhasa, Tibet are included, you can also tailor your own Tibet tour with us.
A. 8 Days Beijing to Lhasa Train Tour
(Train from Beijing - Lhasa - Namtso Lake - Lhasa)
B. 13 Days Chengdu Tibet Train Tour from Hongkong
(Hongkong - Chengdu - Lhasa - Namtso Lake - Yamtso Lake - Shigatse - EBC - Lhasa - Hongkong)