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Yamdrok Lake - The Clearest Lake of South Tibet

Yamdrok Lake about 4,441meters (14,570ft) above sea level is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet, together with Namtso Lake and Lake Manasarovar. Situated at the south of Yarlong Tsangpo River in Shannan Region of Tibet, this jaspideous lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains. Without an outlet, it seems like a natural reservoir with a perfect balance between the melted snow water and the evaporated lake water. By standing the hilltop around, you can have a far view of the fresh water under the sunshine reflected different colors of blue and the diverse lakeside grass and plants with yaks and birds dotted with. When comes to winters, there are a large numbers of birds migrate here. What’s more, the World's highest hydroelectric power is also located nearby Yamdrok Lake. As a holy lake, it is more like a natural reserve with the best ecological environment kept.

Yamdrok Lake Facts


#1 of 4 things to do in Nagarze County

Holy Lake, Natural Site
4,441 meters
Nagarze County, Shannan Area
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Yamdrok Lake Myth

According to local mythology, Yamdrok Lake is the transformation of goddess. Here goes the legend. Once upon time, Yamdrok Lake is a lake with clear water, and beside the lake there was a hamlet named Terre-Blanche. And in the hamlet lives a beautiful girl, who loves to take bath in the lake every night, therefore she is fair-skinned.

A fallen misfortune, a serf owner in the hamlet wants to take her as concubine, but she has fallen in love with a young handsome man, and refuses to marry the serf. One night, the serf hides himself in lake, when the girl takes bath in the lake; he comes out of water to hold her out of the lake and takes to his house. At this point, a Fairy appears standing on a colorful cloud, and she beats the serf to death with her beads, but the serf doesn’t loosen his grip though he is dead. Therefore the girl and the serf go to the bottom of the lake, and the girl has been drowning.

The following day, when people look for her, and come to the lake, shout her name, suddenly, there comes a white bird from the water. People believe the girl has transformed to a white bird. Since then, there are many birds living in the lake, and people regard Yamdrok Lake as a holy lake.

Yamdrok Lake
Yamdrok Lake Stone Mark

Yamdrok Lake Highlights

Yamdrok Lake Views

As the largest fresh lake in the northern of the Himalaya Mountains, it spreads about 675 square kilometers from south to north with depth of 30m ~ 60m. Regard as the turquoise earrings scattered of Goddess among Tibetan, you can easily find its beauty but never reveal its full sight. Only looked at map or from upper height, Yamdork with a shape of eardrop lay in the mountains side. Meanwhile, viewed from different moment in the same angle, she will present you extremely rich colors with various kinds of blue, like a dreamland. View from a distance, you can have a wider sight to find local animals wandering through the fertile lakeshores, and some small Tibetan villages inhabiting in the valleys close to Yamdrok Lake.

Yamdrok Lake Nature

Featured one of the clearest lakes without any pollution in Tibet, the lake water is as clean as crystal, and the glimmering water will shock you in sunshine. With it being branded as the crystal holy lake, one will always carry a sense of worship when standing beside the lake. There are shoals of fish living in Yamdrok Lake, every summer, the fish swim in shallow water to lay eggs, and even you can catch them with your hands. It is well known as fish base in Tibet. In the lake and the surrounding expansive pastures, animals and migrant birds grow with vitality. Shepherds ferry their sheep flocks to the islets during the herding season since no wild animals are found here and get the sheep back in winter. If you go there you would see the show of perching birds dancing with sheep.

Yamdrok Lake Nature View
Picturesque Scenery of Yamdrok Lake
Yamdrok Lake
Crowds of Tibetan Antelope by Yamdrok Lake

How to Get to Yamdrok Lake

With a distance of about 100 km in the south of Lhasa, Yamdrok Lake is actually located in the Nagarze County, Shannan Area. The most popular route to visit Yamdrok is along the way from Lhasa to Shigatse.

Without direct bus, the best way to choose is hiring a private car from Lhasa, taking about 2 hours to the Kambala Pass of 5030 meters elevation, which is one of the highest pass in Tibet and where to overview Yamdrok. If you want to get closer, you will be driven another 30 minutes down by following the switchback roads. During the way, you are getting closer to the lake with jaw-dropping beauty.

Kambala Pass nearby Yamdrok Lake
Kambala Pass Nearby Yamdrok Lake

Useful Travel Tips

● The best months to go are from May to July with relatively mild temperature and have clear sky across the country. With a changeable weather and temperature, try to take raingear and keep warm when go to visit.

● As there are some road checks sited along the way to Yamdrok, please take care of your travel documents, like Passport and Tibet Travel Permits to make a smoothly pass.

● There is an entry fee charged at the Kambala Pass before visit Yamdrok Lake for 40 rmb per person.

● When driving the up by snaked road from the Pass, don’t miss out the spectacular views, especially on the right side.

● If you are lucky to get a sunny day, there are full of opportunity of photography to freeze-frame the stunning turquoise water and spend more time walk around.

● If you want to take a picture with Tibetan mastiff dogs and yaks, or take a photograph with landmarks, like the huge stone had the height painted on it, you need to pay for it.

Tibetan Yak of Yamdrok Lake
Adorable Child Taking Photos with Tibetan Yak

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

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Tibet has too much to offer. And our aim is to bring you the best experience in Tibet. Following are some other recommended Tibet tour packages that you may be interested in. All of our Tibet tour packages are customizable to meet your personal requirements. You can also contact us to customize a trip if you want or check more Tibet Tours>

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