Lake Namtso (Lake Namco)

Chinese name:
纳木错 (Na Mu Cuo)
Location: Namtso Lake is about 100 kilometers north from Lhasa.
Admission fee: RMB100/p.p (peak seasons from May 1st to 31st Oct.) and RMB50/p.p (off seasons, Nov. 1st to Apr. 30th.)
Opening time:
Best season to see the Namtso Lake: Visitors have to visit there during June to September although it is the raining seasons of Tibet, the visiting to the lake will be blocked in October or November due to the heavy snow. The weather on the Tibet Plateau is cold and dry from Nov. to May the next year so it is not suggested to visit there during this period.
Recommended time for a visit:
Stay overnight to enjoy the sunrise or sunset.

The Namtso Lake is a peaceful lake near Lhasa,people said that he who do not visit the lake, never have visited the real Tibet.

How to get there:

There is no common tourism shuttle bus available from Lhasa to Namtso Lake, tourist can only hire private car or join a tour group and take a coach to there, it takes about 4 to 5 hours driving from Lhasa to Namtso Lake.

Tips for hiring cars when traveling alone: Leave your message at the hotel board and let others know that you are willing to find partners, then driver and other backpackers will contact you soon. The price is not fixed maybe at about RMB100 Yuan per person if you depart from Damxung county (in the middle of Lhasa and Namtso Lake).

Introduction of Namtso Lake:

Namtso Lake is the highest salt water lake in the world and the largest lake in Tibet; it covers an area of 1920 square kilometers. It is the second largest salt water lake in China (Qinghai Lake is the largest one).

The lake is located between Damxung County (belongs to Lhasa) and the Baingoin County (he Nagqu area). The name of the lake means 'the Heaven Lake', 'the Jinnee Lake', 'the God’s Lake'; it is also a holy place for Buddhism, believers respect the lake as one of the four great lakes and the five islands in Namtso is the embodiment of the Five Dhyani Buddhas.

Namtso Lake is wide and full of natural resources; it is available to pasture all year round. Every summer, clustered wild ducks fly to the lake to rest and to raise up seed, wild yaks, write yaks, fishes, worm grass, etc.

The shape of the lake looks like a lying Tara (Tara is known to the Tibetans as The Faithful One, The Fierce Protectress), the tortoise beam, the peacock beam, and totally 18 beams are located in the south of the lake, 18 islands locate in north part of the lake, four temples was built around the lake and stands for the 'Gentle' 'Indignant' 'Power' and 'Rights' mentioned in the Buddhism.

Visitors,wild birds and the beautiful Namtso Lake.

Local customs and interesting things:

MaNi groups: The stacking stones can be seen everywhere in Tibet with a writing written by the stacking of the pilgrims who wish to worship. The Mani stacking is also known as "the stacking of god". These rocks and slates are mostly engraved with the truth, mantra eye, sculptures, various gods'auspicious patterns; they are also the Tibetan folk artist's masterpiece. People believe that the MaNi stacking will bring them luck and drive the misfortune away.

Prayer flags: The flags exist mainly exist on the top of the hill or between the two hilltops) with colors of blue, white, red, green, yellow, or a whole flag is with red or white color, usually the Buddha’s dharma is written on them. The order of the colors can not be changed and people will hang new flags and celebrate every year on certain days (usually a lucky day after Tibetan New Year). Every time when each flag is rotating, the scriptures are chanted, it protects the holy Tibet and pious believers.

Prayer flags, it is made with tandem 5 small flags, the order of the color is blue, white, red, green and then yellow.

Circle around the lake:

The Namtso Lake has about 280 kilometers of shoreline; a simple road is built there (about 320 kilometers). Choosing a trekking to circle around can be a great challenge although many local people do that on certain important days every year, to circle around the Namtso Lake takes about 7 – 10 days.  If you drive your cars to finish it, you need SUVs with good performance on off-roads and the driving lasts about 1 or 2 days under the direction of local guide.

Travel Tips:

1. Equipments: The Namtso Lake is a salt lake, traveling there is not an easy task especially for people who want to circle around the lake or stay overnight. Waiting for the sunset or sunrise is one of the most popular activities here but people need to have tent and other necessary equipments. The supplying for necessities is extremely hard at Namtso Lake as it is usually done by the yaks; do prepare enough water, food, clothes, etc.   

2. Altitude reaction: Don’t treat the preparation to protect the altitude reaction lightly, Lhasa is 3650 meters height above sea level but the height within the Namtso Lake areas is 4718! Many people can not adapt themselves to the new height, so it is suggested to adapt the height enough at Lhasa first before visiting the lake.

3. Accommodation and food: The best hotel at the Namtso Lake is the Namtso Heaven Lake Inn, the beds there are wet all year round so it is better to take your own sleeping bag with you. The inn is the designated inn to accept foreigners; it is located on the Tashi Island of Nam co. Many food here are worth to try, the dried meat, barley wine, buttered tea, local Tibetan Cakes, pot roast jimmy, the Tibetan yoghourt, glutinous rice cake, roast veal etc.

4. Drinking more buttered tea and having more beef or mutton helps people to adapt the height altitude. Resting more and have more fruits. Tibet is a special area, so please respect the local culture and believing.

The Heaven lake, Namtso lake and the white yak, you can take photos with the yaks.

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