Lake Lhamo Nhatso

Lhamo Nhatso Travel Guide, Tibet



Located in Gyacha of Lhoka,130km northeast of Tsetang, Lhamo Nhatso is the most legendary lake in Tibetan area.

Lhamo Nhatso means "auspicious heavenly mother lake" or "numinous mother lake" in Tibetan. Standing at an elevation of 5,100m, the skeleton-shaped holy lake is gracefully embraced at the foot of the mountains and looks much like a mirror.

As an alpine fresh water lake, the surface keeps on freezing up about 7 months. After its thaw in summer, fantastic and mysterious scenes appear from time to time, red clouds gathering in the sky, waves coming up without wind, strange sounds heard...

Though with an area of only about 1sqkm, the lake takes a special position in reincarnation system of Tibetan Buddhism and it is revered by Buddhists, where visions on the surface of the water are believed to contain prophecies. Regents searching for the next incarnations of high lamas come here for clues and Dalai Lamas have traditionally visited for hints about the future.

Numerous Buddhist disciples make a pilgrimage here from April to June of each Tibetan calendar. It is said that people can see their future life from the reflections of the lake. The 4th year of ZhengDe, Ming Dynasty (1509AD), Qukejiesi /琼果杰寺 was built nearby by Gedun Gyatso, the Second Dalai Lama, which added more views to the unique views of the plateau.

Best time to go: early May to late August

Getting there & away

Though it's very inconvenient to reach Lake Lhamo Nhatso, it's still worth a visit for the beautiful scenery and the legend. Most travelers charter a jeep from Lhasa all the way down and visit a few other places in Shannan Region before Lhamo Nhatso. If you are travelling on your own by bus, you may need to take the route
Lhasa-->Tsedang-->Gyacha-->Lhamo Nhatso

Take a Lhasa to Tsedang bus in front of Bakhor square for Y40, the earliest one departing at 8:30am, arriving in 2.5hrs.

A daily bus runs from Tsetang to Gyacha for Y70, departing at 8:30am, the 128km journey takes 6~7hrs on a harsh road. A chartered minibus may leave when full for Y80~90 per person.

After arriving at Gyacha, you can take a minibus from the bus station to Cuijiu village, which stops at the foot of the mountain pass of the Lake for ¥32. The bumpy riding takes around 3 hours. From there, you need to walk uphill to the mountain pass of 5200m high for about 30 minutes, where the sacred lake is just in front of you.

Entry Ticket: ¥50


Most travellers stay overnight at Gyacha county. Minzheng Binguan (民政宾馆) is the best hostel available in town. ¥100/std. rm with hot shower.  There are a few restaurants along the main road, just facing to the hostel.

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