Before noontime, we left Shigatse behind and headed northeast towards the sacred Namtso Lake (གནམ་མཚོ་ 納木錯). It would be another long day on the road. We would not reach our destination until 8pm in the evening. It was a journey of mixed feelings: being excited about seeing the famous sacred lake and troubled by the fact that Namtso would be our road journey’s final stop before returning to Lhasa for the last day of our trip. Unlike the past, the road conditions had significantly improved throughout Tibet, but the distances between sights are enormous. In 2005, a paved road had been constructed to the Tashi Dor Peninsula (扎西半島) at Namtso Lake, where most tourists including us would stay the night right by the lake. This would offer us the opportunity to enjoy the night sky and sunrise by the sacred lake.
“Namtso” in Tibetan literally means “Heavenly Lake”, so as the Mongolian name “Tenger nuur”. Given its high altitude, sublime scenery, and pristine deep blue water, there was little surprise why the ancient Tibetans and Mongolians would consider Namtso “heavenly.” With an area of 1920 sq.km, Namtso Lake is the largest lake in the Tibet Autonomous Region. The famous salt lake is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, notably the magnificent range of Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains (གཉན་ཆེན་ཐང་ལྷ 念青唐古拉山). At an altitude of 4712m, the lake surface is frozen for over six months in the year. During summer, the lakeside lush green plains offer great pastures for cattle and sheep.
The first part of the road journey passed along the valley of Yarlung Tsangpo River (ཡར་ཀླུངས་གཙང་པོ་ 雅魯藏布江).
The railroad along Yarlung Tsangpo River (ཡར་ཀླུངས་གཙང་པོ་ 雅魯藏布江) stood out from the landscape. It was probably Tibet’s only rail service between Shigatse-to-Lhasa.
We also passed by many narrow strips of Highland Barley fields on the steep slope above the river.
At 4pm, we were approaching the lush green valley plains of Yangbajain (羊八井).
At the green valley plains of Yangbajain (羊八井), yaks and sheep grazing in front of the 700km Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains (གཉན་ཆེན་ཐང་ལྷ 念青唐古拉山).
Yangbajain (羊八井) is also famous for the geothermal fields and hot spring resort. We stopped by the hot spring resort but decided not to take a dip.
15 minutes before 7pm, we reached Lakenla (那根拉山口) at 5190m.
At 5190m, the Lakenla Mountain Pass (那根拉山口) offered us a glimpse of the Namtso Lake from a distance.
Time was getting late. Under the late afternoon sun, the Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains welcomed us at the gateway into the Namtso Lake area.
After over eight hours on the road, we finally reached the Namtso Lake.
With Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains (གཉན་ཆེན་ཐང་ལྷ 念青唐古拉山) to the southwest, our car headed over to the tourist accommodation and restaurant area on the Tashi Dor Peninsula (扎西半島) in full speed.
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More blog posts on Tibet 2017:
JOURNEY ABOVE THE CLOUDS, Tibet 2017 (西藏之旅2017)
DAY 1: TOUCHDOWN ON THE ROOF OF THE WORLD, Lhasa
DAY 1: TRICHANG LABRANG HOTEL (赤江拉讓藏式賓館), Lhasa
DAY 1: KORA AT BARKHOR STREET (八廓街), Lhasa
DAY 2: FIRST GLIMPSE OF POTALA (布達拉宮), Lhasa
DAY 2: KORA OF DREPUNG MONASTERY (哲蚌寺), Lhasa
DAY 2: DREPUNG MONASTERY (哲蚌寺), Lhasa
DAY 2: JOKHANG MONASTERY (大昭寺), Lhasa
DAY 2 : SPINN CAFE (風轉咖啡館), Lhasa
DAY 2: NIGHT VIEW OF POTALA (布達拉宮), Lhasa
DAY 3: POTALA PALACE (布達拉宮), Lhasa
DAY 3: SERA MONASTERY (色拉寺), Lhasa
Day 4: KORA OF GANDEN MONASTERY (甘丹寺), Lhasa
Day 4: GANDEN MONASTERY (甘丹寺), Lhasa
DAY 4: TEA HOUSE AND FAMILY RESTAURANT, Lhasa
DAY 5: ON THE ROAD IN TIBET
DAY 5: MORNING IN SHANNAN (山南)
DAY 5: SAMYE MONASTERY (桑耶寺), Shannan
DAY 5: SAMYE TOWN (桑耶鎮), Shannan
DAY 6: YAMDROK LAKE (羊卓雍錯)
DAY 6: PALCHO MONASTERY (白居寺), Gyantse
DAY 6: WORDO COURTYARD (吾爾朵大宅院), Shigatse
DAY 7: ROAD TO EVEREST BASE CAMP (珠峰大本營)
DAY 7: EVEREST BASE CAMP (珠峰大本營)
DAY 7: STARRY NIGHT, Everest Base Camp
DAY 8: PANG LA PASS (加烏拉山口), Mount Everest Road
DAY 8: SAKYA MONASTERY (薩迦寺)
DAY 9: TASHI LHUNPO MONASTERY, (扎什倫布寺) Shigatse
DAY 9: ROAD TO NAMTSO LAKE (納木錯)
DAY 9: EVENING AT NAMTSO LAKE (納木錯)
DAY 10: SUNRISE AT NAMTSO LAKE (納木錯)
DAY 10: LAST DAY IN LHASA, Tibet
EPILOGUE: FACES OF LHASA, Tibet