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Namtso Lake

Heavenly Lake Namtso, Nakchu

In Nov. 14, 2005, Namtso Lake in the Tibet Autonomous Region was selected as one of the five most beautiful lakes in China by Chinese National Geography magazine. Namtso Lake's touching beauty should not be missed by any traveler who visits Tibet. Its purity and solemnness are symbols of Qinghai-Tibet Platean. In Tibetan, Namtso means 'Heavenly Lake.' It is considered one of the three holy lakes in Tibet. Namtso is famous for its high altitude (4720 meters (about 3 miles)), vast area (1961 square kilometers (about 757 square miles) and beautiful scenery.

Being the second largest saltwater lake in China only after Qinghai Lake, Namtso Lake is the biggest lake throughout Tibet. Meanwhile, it is the highest altitude saltwater lake in the world. The water here is a storybook crystal-clear blue. Clear skies join the surface of the lake in the distance, creating an integrated, scenic vista. Soul of every visitor who has ever been here seems to be cleansed by the pure lake water.

Namtso Lake maintains its levels from rainfall and melted snow flowing from high mountains. Five islands stand in the waters of the lake, among which the largest one is Liangduo island. In addition another five bylands stretch into the lake from different directions. Zhaxi byland is the largest in area of these five. A great many bizarre stone peaks can be found on this byland. Some of them are like trunks; some look like human beings; some resemble trees. Various kinds of vivid shapes can easily arouse your imagination. At the same time there are many quiet grottos which are masterpieces of nature. Some grottos are narrow and long like subways; some are full of stalactites; still, others are like louvers. Queer rocks, steep peaks, natural stone ladders and other landform wonders on Zhaxi byland present visitors a picture filled with mystery and enchantment.

Summer is the best time for Namtso Lake. Wild yaks, hares and other wild animals leisurely look for food along the expansive lake shores; countless migratory birds fly here to lay eggs and feed their young; sometimes lovely fishes in the lake jump out of the lake water, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine; sheep and cows herds are like flowing white blanks on the green grassland which can stretch as far as your eyes can see; the dulcet songs of Gauchos resound through the valleys. This time of the year Namtso Lake is full of life and activity. Therefore it is no wonder Tibetans take Namtso Lake the symbol of goodliness and happiness. Really Namtso Lake is a blessing from nature.

Besides the beautiful scenery in Namtso, it is also a famous sacred Buddhist place. There is a Zhaxi Temple in Zhaxi byland. In every Tibetan year of sheep, thousands of Buddhism adherents will come here to worship. As a rule, they will walk clockwise along the Namtso Lake in order to receive the blessing of the gods.

Getting there: There are no direct buses to Namtso Lake. The best way is to hire a taxi or a mini bus from Lhasa.
Note: The sea level is 1100 meters (about 1203 yards) higher than that of Lhasa, therefore please bring lots of water and don't over-exert yourself.

Admission Fee: CNY 80


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