Namtso Lake གནམ་མཚོ་ཕྱུག་མོ also known as “Heavenly Lake” is located to the north of Lhasa and east end of Changtang Plateau. It’s the second largest salt lake in Tibet after Qinghai Lake / Lake Kukunor in Qinghai Province. The lake has 70 kilometers in length from east to west and 30 kilometers in width from south to north. Being the largest lake in Tibet Autonomous Region, Namtso Lake offers the beautiful vista of Tibetan Plateau you can imagine, the crystal clear lake is surrounded by the snow caped mountains and vast grasslands.
The above picture is sunrise view of Namtso Lake on the rocky mountain above Tashi Dor Monastery.
Namtso Lake lies at altitude of 4700 m. There is a bird sanctuary in the eastern corner of the lake which is home for Black-necked cranes and some other wild life. While it is a popular place to visit in the summer, there are ways of making the trip unique — for example, take a short hike up a nearby mountain for a great view, challenge the nomads to a game of pool, and get a picture riding a yak.
Namto lake is considered as one of the four holy lakes in Tibet Autonomous Region along with Yamdrok Lake, Lhamo Lhatso Lake and Manasorovar Lake. There is a small monastery on the peninsula which stretches into the southeastern of the lake called Tashi Dor Gompa. This Monastery has a number of hermitage caves including one cave said to be of the famous Indian master Padmasambhava and his consort Yeshe Tsogyel.
Today the caves still host many meditators and yogis across Tibetan Plateau. The Namtso Lake guesthouses are on the peninsula between 2 rocky mountains, both of these rocky mountains are great place for hiking and taking pictures. From here you can also enjoy the view of the lake and snow covered mountain Nyenchen Tanglha (7162 m). If time permits, there is a 1.5-2 hour pilgrimage circuit around the rocky mountain which is highly recommended. By followinglocal pilgrims, you can visit hermit caves and other holy sites.
All the guesthouses have optional to stay in a twin beds room or dorm room. No shower but guesthouse owner provide hotel water.
Namtso Lake is 220 km from Lhasa. You can do a day trip from Lhasa, but spending one night at the lake is advised as it gives you a chance to see the spectacular view of sunrise and sunset. There is a natural hot spring in Yangpachen on the way to Namtso Lake, where you can dip in hot mineral water.
Overall, if you don’t have much time for a longer trip, Namtso Lake is a great place to visit within your Tibet journey.
Tours related to Namtso Lake: