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Namtso Lake
Namtso Lake

Namtso Lake

Tibet

The Basics

The holy Namtso Lake, which translates to “heavenly lake,” in northwest of Lhasa is the highest salt water lake in the world. Travelers with a guide (required in Tibet) can visit on a long day trip from Lhasa, or on an overnight excursion—although the altitude, cold temperatures, and basic tent accommodations mean that an overnight stay is not for everyone. Those who spend the night have time to hike and admire the sunrise and sunset.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Come prepared with warm clothes, even if visiting for just the day in summer.

  • There is an entrance fee to enter the lake area.

  • Plan to walk out to Tashi Peninsula, known for its excellent views.

  • Expect a smooth journey as the road to Namtso Lake is in good condition.

  • Bring food with you, as options at the lake are limited and expensive.

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How to Get There

Namtso Lake is five to six hours’ drive from Lhasa, which involves crossing a mountain pass at 16,700 feet (5,100 meters). International travelers must visit Tibet on guided tours, which provide transportation. There are no direct bus routes from Lhasa.

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When to Get There

The road and pass to Namtso Lake is closed in the winter (December to March) due to snowfall. The warmer months of June to September are the best times to visit.

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Visit the Nagchu Horse Racing and Archery Festival

One of the closest towns to Namtso Lake is Nagchu (or Nagqu), 136 miles (220 kilometers) away. This prairie town is famous for its annual horse racing and archery festival, held in the seventh Tibetan month, which falls in July or August. During the event, visitors can watch racing, archery, folk dancing, fashion shows, and art performances.

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