Nakchu lies in the north of Tibet, embraced by the Tanggula, Nyainqentanglha and Kangdese Mountains. The snow-capped Dargo Mountain in the west and the Burgyi Mountain in the east guard the treasure land. It is the transport hub connecting the northern Tibetan with other parts of the region, bisected by the Xining-Lhasa, Nakchu-Chamdo and Amdo-Shiquanhe highways.
With a size of 400,000 sqkm, the area is high in the west at an elevation of over 4,500m and low in the east. The vast Changtang grassland commands unique geological features and changing natural landscape. The great force of nature has shaped the gorgeous mountains and rivers of this region. Lake Nam-tso,Tangra Yumco and many others are scattered over the grassland and gobi desert. There are numerous hot springs and geothermal spots.
The region also has rich resources of wildlife and alpine vegetation. There are over 20 animal species under level one or level two national protections. Such rare animals as wild yaks, Tibetan antelope, and Tibetan wild donkeys are being well preserved in the area.
The natural wonders and the special folk customs offer distinctive tourism resources. The local people have created colorful religious legends for the mountains, lakes and rivers, which have retained their natural appearance.
At the town of Nakchu sits the famous Shodain Monastery with a long history. Every year, the town will host the Nakchu Kyaggen Horse Race that is sure to draw crowds of local people. During the one-week horse racing festival, different kinds of sports activities will be held such as tug-of-war, carrying rocks, archery shooting and yak racing. Song and dance troupes from all parts of Tibet add to the fun.
There are still more places worthy of visiting. Tourists will be impressed by the great grassland, the holy lake of Nam-tso, and the mysterious depopulated area in the northern Tibet. The Tsangdain Monastery at Sog County , the ruins of the Hor King's palace, the Duoduoga Skull Wall in Biru County are all worthy of visiting.
Summer and autumn are the best seasons to visit Nakchu. Winter without snowstorm is also a good time for sight seeing.
Getting there & away
The highway from Lhasa to Nakchu is part of the Qinghai-Lhasa highway, covering a distance of 330km of 4~6hrs journey, passing Damxung County on the way.
Road from Lhasa to Yambajan is in good condition. After leaving Yambajan, tourists will enter the grassland of northern Tibet. Some part of the road is in poor condition but the splendid landscape never fails to fascinate the tourists.
Winding to the left from the fork in the road at Damxung County, it's the holy lake of Nam-tso, 60km away and the journey takes about 1~2hrs.
There are regular buses from Lhasa to Nakchu. Prices range from Y60~100 depending on vehicle types. You can also charter a land cruiser for a sightseeing in northern Tibet.
Remote places like Geladandong (the place of origin of the Yangtze River) are not accessible by regular buses due to the terrible road conditions. You may have to rent a vehicle or consult the tour agents to include them in the itinerary.