You are here: HomeTibet DestinationsLhasaNamtso Lake

Namtso Lake - The Best Place for Photography

Namtso Lake, located the northwest of Lhasa is the highest saltwater lake in the world with an altitude of 4718 meters. As the second largest saltwater lake in China (next to Qinghai Lake), it covers an area of 1,920 square kilometers, with 70 kilometers in length from east to west and 30 kilometers in width from south to north. In Tibetan, Namtso means Heavenly Lake, also considered as one of the three holy lakes in Tibet, together with Yamdrok Lake and Lake Manasarovar. Consisting of over 1500 lakes and five big islands, which used to be the spiritual retreat, Namtso is the paradise of nature and a wonderful place for photo taking, especially in summer time. The Tashi Peninsula, the biggest island here stretches long and wreathed Namtso into its center, providing tourists a land for spiritual refreshment and hiking around.

Namtso Lake Facts


#3 of 34 Attractions in Tibet

June to September
Holy Lake, Religious Site
4,718 meters
Damxung County, Lhasa City
———————————— ————————————

How to Get to Namtso Lake

Located in the junction of Lhasa and Nagqu, with a distance of over 240 km from Lhasa, the Namtso Lake is surrounded by the Nyainqentanglha ranges in the south and Transhimalaya in the north. The other sides are vast plateau hilly region, which makes it like a huge mirror lie in the grasslands of northern Tibet.

Transfer from Lhasa

There is no direct bus from Lhasa to Namtso and the most popular way to go is car rental for about 5 hours driving. The paved road along the way is easy to drive, and you can enjoy the landscape and the Nyainqentanglha ranges scenery along the way to Damxung County. From Damxung to Nsamtso, there is another road about 60 km, during the way, you will climb across the Nagenla Pass with about 5200 meters above the sea level, where is the land mark of Namtso Lake . Many tourists would like to take photo here to memorize their coming, as the Namtso Lake is just around the corner. >>Check 5 Days Lhasa to Holy Lake Namtso Tour Itinerary.

Namtso Map
Namtso Location Map

Namtso Lake Features

It’s quite common for tourists who are awestruck at the Namtso at the first sight. With the snowy mountains in the background, the crystal-clear dazzling blue water, Namtso is stretching to the horizon. There is no wonder why it was called “Heavenly Lake”. With hundreds of colored prayer flags, attached to the rugged, spiked cliffs facing the lake, Namtso seems more than just a scenic spot. The sound of prayer wheel, fluttered in the strong wind to remind its holiness.

Namtso Lake Scenery

Namtso’s beauty begins from May, in which time the frozen ice breaks up. The water comes out a startling blue, integrated with the water-reflected clear sky and snow peaks surrounded in the distance. In summer time, there are yaks, cattle, sheep, birds and more animals dotted along the lakeside natural grassland. The multicolored flowers, the flying pray flags, the solemn marnyi stones, all enhance the beauty of Namtso Lake and add a sense of vitality. No matter which direction you standing beside Namtso, you will gladden the heart and refresh the mind.

Namtso Lake Kora

As the holy and sacred lake in Tibet, Namtso is one of the important sites of pilgrimage. Pilgrims from the Tibetan Plateau keep coming here every year, especially in the Sheep Year of Tibetan Calendar, when thousands of pilgrims undergo the hardships to pay their homage to the holy lake, in the April month of Tibetan Lunar Calendar. There are different ways for Namtso Lake Kora, including car-driving (about 2 days), trekking with prayer wheel rolling or walk with prostrate kowtow, which will last 20-30 days to finish one round. There is another pilgrimage way- Trekking the Tashi peninsula, which only takes several hours to complete one round.

Namtso Picturesque Landscape of Namtso
Namtso Kora along with Namtso


Known for its natural scenery, Namtso Lake is an ideal destination for photography and from May to September are the best months to take the extraordinary pictures. Among the different stunning views, the twinkling stars over the night sky and the stunning sunrise or sunset are the scenic splendors and more jaw-dropping. Therefore, for photographers and amateurs, stay overnight to catch the beauty is worthwhile.

The Yingbin Stone, Gassho Stone and Good and Evil Hole are some great locations to shoot the lake scenery. And the Hilltop on Tashi Peninsula is a high point to shoot the beautiful sunrise and sunset of Namtso Lake and Nyainqentanglha Range. With an altitude of over 5000 meters, along the paved road up to the top is quite challengeable. Besides the Namtso itself, the pilgrims, the colored prayer flags, marnyi stones, all added more cultural characteristics. A gust of wind blowing, those flags dance with the wind, flying along the hillside, suddenly the whole lake seems to move up with a sense of dynamic beauty. You can still take a picture with a yak or a local person, which will cost you between 10 and 20 RMB.

Learn more about Namtso Lake Photography >

Namtso Namtso photographing

Useful Travel Tips

● Best time to go: from May to September is a great time to visit Namtso Lake with different scenery, especially in the summer months. From January to April and November to December, Namtso will be covered with snow ice and closed for visit. Learn more about Namtso Weather and Climate >

The ticket info: 120 rmb per person for Peak Season (May to October); 80 rmb per person for Off Season (November to April).

● With a changeable weather and strong wind during the day and night, you’d better bring some warm clothing, like down jacket, even visit in summer time. And remember to take sunscreen and sunglasses with you.

● With the high altitude of about 5000 meters, prepare some medicine to avoid the altitude reaction. Meanwhile, do not act too fast or move quickly, especially when you taking photos at Tashi peninsula.

Accommodation & Dinning: for tourists who want to stay overnight here, there are many guesthouses in the Tashi Dor but the accommodation service is quite basic. Each room has 4 single beds or more and hot water and electricity are offered, but without independent bathroom. Also there are camps provided. As for the dinning, the food is quite pricey as for the high costs of transportation. Therefore, it’s needed to prepare enough snacks, some high-calorie food and water.

● If you want to experience the hot spring in the Tibetan plateau, the Yangpachen Hot Spring near by the Namtso is a great choice when you drive back to Lhasa. Please contact our travel consultant for more details.

Namtso Local Family in Namtso
Namtso Peaceful Morning in Namtso

Recommended Tour Packages

Escorted by a skilled private drivers and accompanied 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.

Have a question? Get answers from our travel experts soon!

  • Your Question:
  • Your Name:
  • Your Email:
  • Submit