Nam-tso Lake

Nam-tso Lake Travel Guide, Nagqu, Tibet



Located in Damxung county of Nagqu Region, some 480km north of Lhasa and 60km from Damxung city, Namtso means "holy Lake" in Tibetan. The charm lies in its turquoise-blue melted into the sky at a distance and the vast grassland around. Fabulous scenery aside, Nam-tso is also a sacred Buddhist site with a temple at Tashi Dor (Zhaxi peninsula). Thousands of Buddhism disciples will come over Nam-tso to worship in each Tibetan "sheep" year. They take the clockwise circuit around the Nam-tso Lake to pray.

Renowned as one of the most beautiful places in the Nyainqêntanglha mountain range, its cave hermitages have been the destination of Tibetan pilgrims  for centuries.  At an elevation of 4720m, Nam-tso is one of the highest-altitude salt lakes in the world and the 2nd largest in China (after Qinghai Lake) with an area of 1960 sqkm, the largest and one of the 3 holy lakes in Tibet. Nam-tso Lake was honored as one of the 5 most beautiful lakes in China by CNG (Chinese National Geography Magazine) in 2005.

Best time to visit

May to October,especially July, August and Sept., when the Nam-tso lake area is full of lives and activities. Wild yaks, hares and other wild animals hunt for food at leisure along the lake shores. Countless migratory birds fly here to hatch and feed their young; Fishes jumping in the lake. Grouped flocks and herds dwell in the green grassland, Gauchos' singing echoes in the valley.

Getting there & away

There is no direct buses to Namtso Lake. The best way is to hire a taxi or a mini bus from Lhasa. Or, catch a public transportation from Lhasa to Dangxiong county, then charter a car from Dangxiong to the lake.

Admission Fee: ¥120 for high season & ¥60 for low season 


From April to October every year, local villagers set up barrack nearby the lake for around Y30~50/bed. A sleeping bag is strongly recommended, for either sanitation and warmth purpose. A few of the lodging places also provide basic food.


  • The elevation of Namsto Lake is 1100m higher than that of Lhasa, please drink enough water and don't overexert yourself.  
  • The weather at Namtso is subject to abrupt sudden change and snowstorms are very common across the Nyainqêntanglha range.
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