Situated in the vast prairie of the north of Tibet, Namsto Lake is the second largest saltwater lake in China next to Qinghai Lake. On the south of Namsto is the Nyainqentanglha Mountains, and on the north and northwest is the gentle rolling Northern Tibetan Plateau.
Namsto Lake means “Heavenly Lake” in the Tibetan language. Namsto Lake is renowned for its high altitude and natural scenery. Occupying 740 square miles (1,920 square kilometers), Namsto Lake is the largest lake and also one of three sacred lakes in Tibet. The melted snow from the Nyainqentanglha Mountains is the primary source of water for the lake. The water is crystal-clear blue. The clear and blue sky reflects on the surface of the lake in the distance, creating an integrated, scenic vista.
Namsto Lake is like a large precious mirror besetting on Northern Tibetan Grassland. The founder of Tibetan Buddhism once studied Dharma beside the lake in the Year of Sheep according to the Tibetan calendar. Every 12 years, thousands of believers flock here and walk around the lake thanks to its sacred nature in the minds of most Tibetans.
With luscious grass and sweet water, the grassland around the lake is a haven for sheep and yaks. When roaming around Namsto Lake, herds of sheep and yaks come into sight. Here also is a natural habitat for rare water birds like swans, egrets, and sand birds. Namsto Lake is also home to multiple species of scaleless fish. Some wild animals like foxes and black bears inhabit the area around the lake.
The most outstanding scenic spots in the area of Namsto Lake include Receiving Guest Stone, Folding Palms Stone and Good and Evil Cave. Receiving Guest Stone is regarded as the Door God. According to the legend, Namsto was a goddess who took control of the wealth of Northern Tibet. So business men were required to come and pray for successful business. The Folding Palms Stone is considered as the symbol of faithful love.
If you want to visit Namsto Lake, you must come before the rainy season from June to September. In October or November, the mountains are closed off due to heavy snow.
Admission Fee: 120RMB per persom (high season), 60RMB per person (low season)
Best Time to visit Namtso Lake: From June to September. In the late October, the snow cuts off the road there. In March and April of the following year, Namtso Lake reopens to the public.