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Basum Tso Lake - Small Switzerland in Tibet

Basum Tso Lake (Basum Lake), also called Cuogao Lake in Tibetan, meaning the green water is the largest lake in eastern Tibet, located in Gongbo’gyamda County. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks and natural forest, Basum located far from city still be known from outsides by its primitive beauty and tranquility. Covering 26 square kilometers, the dark blue lake surface like a mirror clearly reflects the tall mountains and green plants in the lakeshore. Besides, it is also a holy lake of Tibetan Buddhism Nyingma sect, with a Nyingma temple sited in the center small island and the seeking-child hole nearby the south shore blessed by Padmasambhava (founder of Nyingma sect), which is quite effective for person eager for have a baby to be pregnant. Combining beautiful scenery and amazing legends, Basum Lake is such a holy and spectacular land to explore more and beyond.

Basum Tso Lake Facts


#19 of 34 Attractions in Tibet

Natural Site, Holy Lake
3,700 meters
Gongbo'gyamda County, Nyingchi Area, Eastern Tibet
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Basumtso Lake's Myth

Basumtso lake is a notable lake of Nyingmapa order of Tibetan Buddhism, the school of the old person and the so-called red caps. They find its beginning of Tibetan Buddhismus in 7th and 8th centuries on the Basumtso Lake shores. Another attractive reason to visit the lake is found on its northwest bank. Adventurous travelers find tremendous stone, which has a hole allowing one person to pass. Legend tells that passing through the hole is capable of curing diseases and misfortunes.

Basum Lake Highlights

Endowing the eye-popping sceneries of natural forest and snowcapped mountains, Basum Tso Lake is a great place to take photograph. As a holy lake of Nyingma sect, there are more scenic sites to tell its Buddhist culture. Nearby villages, you can take more time to join in the local authentic Tibetan life.

Basum Lake Natural Beauty

Unlike other holy lakes in Tibet, Basum Lake is totally encircled with profuse primeval forest. Following the jade blue water clear bottomed out, you can easily see through the lake and find groups of fish swimming happily. Frequently, there are sand gulls, white cranes, and other water-birds fly across the lake surface, searching for food or playing with each other in the air. Far from the lake, the endless mountains with snow covered in the summit are standing still and splendidly around the lake. Like an original ecological natural park, Basum presents the beauty of nature. In Spring, bunches of flowers blossoming on the lakeshore, on a par with the mountains make a harmony under the reflection. When it comes to Autumn, the whole area dress in red. The fire red maple leaves refracted the sunshine into the water, which is breathtaking and spectacular. With this simple beauty, Basum is a virgin land for visitors to discover its purity.

Tashi Island

Tashi, a tiny island sitting in the center of the lake is the most popular tourist resort of Basum, founded in the 17th century. Connected by the lakeshore with bridges on both sides, there are many prayer flags flying on the island. The wooden two-layer temple with over 1500 years’ history is another scenic spot here. Many Buddha statues enshrined here, including Padmasambhava, Avalokitesvara and Future Buddha. Walking clockwise, you can find more legendary stories about Nyingma sect and its founder.

Jieba Village

Featuring the simple ecological ancient life and atmosphere, villages in Nyingchi are other than Lhasa, Shigatse and Everest. Jieba Village as one example tells you the difference. Due to the different Tibetan religion to worship Nyingma sect not the Gelug sect, people living here have their own clothing, unique architectures, festivals and languages. With over 80 families, some of them are polyandry and polygamy, Jieba Village is a big village nearby Basum. The local villagers like to dress robes, wear black and white ruffled felt hat with flowers wrapped. Women like wear silver chain around waist and other jewelry.

Basum Tso Lake Jade-blue Basum Tso Lake Basum Tso Lake Walking Path around Basum Tso Lake Basum Tso Lake Jieba Village Near Basum Tso

How to Get to Basum Lake

Adjacent to No.318 national highway, Basum Tso Lake is convenient to transport from Lhasa or directly from Bayi Town by getting off at Nyingchi Airport.

Transfer from Lhasa: away from Lhasa for about 400 km, it spends four hours driving to Basum scenic area. On the way, you can pass through Mila Mountain pass. Or you can take the long-distance shuttle bus to Nyingchi and stop by the Bayi Town then transfer local vehicles heading to Basum, which will take 8 hours to go.

As for our tour route from Lhasa to Basum, we offer private transfer service for free. During the way, you will visit Ganden Monastery and take rest to stretch your legs. What’s more, if time permitted, you will enjoy more attractions on the road.

Transfer from Nyingchi: Nyingchi Airport located in Milin County, is another location to enter Tibet, especially when you transfer from Chongqing and Chengdu. With airport shuttle bus to Bayi Town directly, you can save much time to get to Basum scenic spot.

No matter which way you go, you will see the booking office for Basum Lake nearby the Bahe Bridge, where is about 40 km from Basum Lake and 37 km away from Basum scenic spot with paved road along the way.

Note: (1) by taking shuttle bus, you may stop at Bahe Bridge and seek a lift or rent a car to reach Basum scenic spot for about 1 hour; (2) after entering the scenic spot, there are 3 km away from Basum Lake. There is tourist bus offered for you to transfer within 10 minutes, or you can choose hiking through the natural forest to get to Basum.

Basum Tso Lake Tashi Island of Basum Lake Basum Tso Lake Basum Bridge to Center Island

Useful Travel Tips

● Best time to visit: the best season to visit Basum Lake is the Autumn, especially in the months of September and October. With blue sky and clear clouds, Genial sunshine, gentle breeze, mountains and forests all tinged, the whole lake presents an enthralling view of autumn, which is the best time to take pictures under your lens.

● Tickets Notice: by opening 09:00-18:00, Basum Lake is visited with admission fee, vary from different mouths - from May to October is for 120 rmb; from November to next April is for 60 rmb.

● Local Tradition: if you are Buddhism believer or want to find something different, the seeking-child hole (if you are in need) and the giant stone in the northwest of lake, allowing one single person through to pray for health are interest sites to try out.

● Make a short hiking: along the lakeshore, there is a path for pilgrims to make their Kora during the April 15 in each year of Tibetan calendar. Visitors also can follow the path to explore more beautiful scenery and make a short hiking leisurely.

● Accommodation: after visiting Basum for a couple of hours, you may drive back to Lhasa to stay overnight. Or if you want a further stay in Nyingchi, find a local hotel nearby Basum Lake scenic spot or make a drive to Bayi Town to stay overnight is a great choice.

Basum Tso Lake Visit Basum Tso Lake Basum Tso Lake Basum Lake Temple

How to Plan A Tibet Tour

Tibet is too vast to be visited in one single trip, but planning ahead of time can make most of your holiday. A classic Tibet tour always takes about 4 ~ 8 days. Apart from 2 days for arrival and departure, it usually needs 2 other days to explore majestic Potala Palace and other landmarks in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. With a day trip’s distance from Lhasa, Namtso Lake is another perfect tour extension if you visit Tibet from May to October.

☛ 4 Days Holy City Lhasa Private Tour - Heart of Tibet

☛ 5 Days Lhasa City and Holy Lake Namtso Tour

To explore further, it’s strongly recommended to travel from Lhasa to Mount Everest via Gyantse and Shigatse, which usually needs 4 more days. It is an unforgettable sightseeing trip with lots of attractions to visit, such as Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier, Kumbum Stupa of Palcho Monastery, Tashilhunpo Monastery, etc. Of course, the biggest draw must be gazing upon the unparalleled north face of the world’s highest peak – Mount Everest.

☛ 6 Days Lhasa Gyantse Shigatse Historical Tour

☛ 8 Days Everest Base Camp Tour - Top of the World

☛ 9 Days Tibet Discovery Tour plus Everest and Namtso Expedition

For Buddhist followers and hiking lovers, you are suggested to travel to Ngari to join the kora around the holy Mt. Kailash and sacred Lake Manasarovar, which usually takes about 5 ~ 8 more days from Lhasa. The wild nature of Ngari is spectacular as well.

☛ 13 Days Mt. Kailash & Lake Manasarovar Trekking Tour

☛ 16 Days Mt.Kailash Pilgrimage Private Tour

If you have your own needs or interest, just feel free to contact us to customize a trip of your own!

Potala Palace Lhasa, Namtso, Mount Everest and Ngari are four most popular destinations in Tibet

Recommended Tour Packages

Escorted by a skilled private drivers and companied by a professional local tour guide to organize all the activities, all you have to do is to enjoy your fantastic Tibet journey. Time can never be wasted waiting for a group, hopping on and off buses or negotiating unfamiliar destinations.

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