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Namtso Lake (གནམ་མཚོ་)

Once every 12 years, Tibetan Buddhist believers go around the "Lake of Heaven" asking for the best wishes and getting rid of all their bad habits and pains. To this sacred lake, lovers visit it so that their love is eternal. At the same time, you should take the opportunity to see the landscape of the Sacred elephant’s Gate of heaven along with the clouds reflected on the crystal clear water. Once night falls, thousands of stars will "turn on their lights" to illuminate the sky, showing the Galaxy itself to humanity.

Things to do +

Go around Namtso Lake (纳木措)

Description: known as the “Lake of Heaven (天湖)”, it is a large salty mountain lake and one of the most famous of the Tibetan sacred lakes. It is 4718 meters above the sea, and is recognized as the highest lake in the world.

The best time to go to the lake would certainly be the year of the goat in the Chinese zodiac (every 12 years). In this year, many Buddhist believers visit and “go around” the Lake. If you do the tour that goes around the entire lake, it takes up to 15 days and it is quite long, but obviously, there are hostels and rest areas along the way. For this reason, today many Tibetans prefer to go around Tashi Dor (扎西半岛), a small peninsula that protrudes from the lake and it takes approximately 2 hours to go around it.

The goal of this is to pray for the gods of the lake and for good luck. Going around the lake, you will get countless merits and deep knowledge, also getting rid of all bad habits and pains. However, you have to remember you should always do an odd number of laps, and in case of only circling Tashi Dor, traditionally Tibetans make 13 laps.

This is a lake that especially lovers should not miss, since according to legend, couples who come to visit it will never separate, being a good blessing for the relationship.

 

Enjoy the landscape at the Sacred elephant’s Gate of heaven (圣象天门)

Description: as the name suggests, it is a huge natural elephant stone found on the north shore of Nam Co Lake, facing the Nyenchen Tanglha Mountain Range. The elephant’s trunk juts out into the lake, as if it is actually absorbing the sacred water from the snowy area. Between the trunk and the body, there is a large hole that represents the “Sacred Door to Heaven”, representing a sacred place of Tibetan Buddhism. This is the secret of the hidden horizon in the heart of ancient Tibet.

In this tourist attraction, you will have the unique opportunity to see very clearly the white sacred Nyenchen Tanglha Mountain range accompanied by the sacred lake, as well as being a perfect place to feel the local culture and beliefs. The water is so crystal clear that you will even see the shadow of the peaks reflected on it.

 

Watch the Galaxy in the night sky

Description: at night, and at any point ten minutes away from the center of Lhasa, you will be able to watch all the stars shining on you in the night sky.

You can go prepared with a tripod, a camera and many lenses to capture different perspectives and angles. Above all, for those who do not know the stars and their names exactly, it is recommended that you download some apps that just by pointing your mobile towards the sky, explain exactly what star it is, the zodiac, etc. So, your experience will be even more incredible.

 

See the Bay of the Moon (月亮湾) from the top

Description: on the shores of the lake, there are two inlets into it in the shape of a moon, one followed by another, representing another of the phenomena of nature.

To see it better, visitors usually climb the mountain just behind the bay, which has many different points that you can climb to see it. It is difficult to climb as it is quite steep, but the view of the lake and the “moons” will definitely impress you.

In addition, you can fly the drone that you take with you to capture the best images of the beach. If instead, you prefer to ride a horse or yak, there will be many people who can offer the service to you in the surroundings (with a price around ¥100 / 15 mins).

How to get +

In case you are foreign travelers, as we mentioned above, it will be necessary to go by transport prepared by the travel agency (such as a tourist bus).

For those who can travel on their own, it is highly recommended to go by car with a local driver. It is the only option to go to Namtso since there is no public transport there. It is about 6 hours from the old city of Lhasa, and in the middle of the road, the signal may be missing. So, in case you choose to drive your own rented car, it is very important that you have the maps downloaded before the trip and going slow because there are many curves that can cause the car to overturn or a wheel to explode.

The rental price of a car with a driver is around ¥700 per person per day or ¥ 1200-2000 per car.

Tickets and prices +

Namtso Lake ticket: ¥120 each.

Sacred elephant’s Gate of heaven ticket: 80¥ por persona.

It is recommended to book tickets 3 days before departing, as they sell out quickly and visits are limited.

Travel tips +

The temperature difference between day and night can be great even in summer, so you have to carry clothes in case it is airy at night.

In order to see the best starry sky and the best landscapes, it is important that the weather is very good. Before leaving, consider if it will be sunny and not cloudy or rainy to have a better experience.

On the way from Namtso Lake to the Gate there are no places to eat, so it is very important to carry snacks in your backpack. Above all, it can also help combat altitude problems, so it is a good idea to bring energy bars, cookies, chocolate