Tibetan Rivers and lakes
A tributary of the Yarlung Zangbo, Lhasa River is a place for Tibetan to have a bath and wash their clothes in the seventh month of the Tibetan calendar. During this Bathing Festival from Garmagun in the east to Sahu in the south and Rainbow Spring at the foot of the Sera Monastery, people are enjoying their bathing and washing. A legend says during the festival the Lhasa River water is good as the holy water. If you like you can join the local people to have a bath in this holy water. In addition, on the southern bank of the river you can see a reflection of the Potala Palace in the river. Some photographers and funs wait here for this wonderful scene. The Tablet to Mark the Construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Highway stands on the bank in front of the Long-Distance Bus Station in city proper. Also visitors can hire a canoe sewn up with pieces of cattle hide to cross the river here.
Lake Paiko CO
In Nyalam County, the lake is the largest of its kind in Xigaze Prefecture and covers an area of more than 300 square kilometers. In the breast of three mountains, the lake is rich in fish resources. Its neighboring areas are inhabited by wildlife such as wild horses, wild donkeys and yellow ducks.
Lake Yamzho Yumco
In Nagarze County in Shannan Prefecture, the lake is 4,400 meters above sea level. It covers an area of 800 square kilometers and is 30-40 meters deep. Yamzho means upper pasture and Yum means green jade in Tibetan. In a bird's-eye view, the lake is like a big piece of sapphire inlaid in the mountains and is very beautiful.
The lake is rich in hydropower resources. Its surface is more than 800 meters higher than the Yarlung Zangbo River at the foot of the mountain. Also here stands the Yamzho Yumco Power Station well known for its high elevation in the world. To its south stands the magnificent Samding Monastery where Doje Pamo, the only woman Living Buddha in Tibet, stayed and presided.
(Tourists can take the regular bus from Lhasa to Xigaze or take a taxi. The Cereal Guesthouse in Nagarze County seat provides lodging service for 20-30 yuan each.)
The Hot Springs in Oiga
In a small pastureland in the Oiga Town there are seven hot springs. The spring water is effective for treating the stomach and eye diseases and welcomed by local people. Of these hot springs, the Choluka Hot Spring is exclusive for the Dalai Lamas of various historical stages. The hot springs in Oiga boast beautiful sceneries and a unique local folklore. In the spring and summer, flocks of people come here for bathing.
Lake Pagsum Co
Also known as the Lake Conggo, it is in Xoka District in Gongbogyamda County with an elevation of more than 4,000 meters. It is more than 300 kilometers away from Lhasa. In the middle of the lake there is an ancient temple of the Rnyingma Sect built in the 17th century. During the Walking Around the Lake Festival on the 15th of the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar, Buddhist believers from Nyingchi and other places come to walk around the lake.
(Holiday resort by the Lake Pagsum Co is the first of its kind in Tibet and is in individual- and villa-typed architectural style.)
The Big Turn of the Yarlung Zangbo River
The Yarlung Zangbo River originates from the middle section of the northern slope of the Himalaya Mountain with an elevation of more than 6,000 meters. It turns south suddenly in Mainling County and cuts the Himalaya Mountain into two sections. Then the river runs through a narrow passage between the two 7,000-meter-high peaks of Namjagbarwa and Jialabailei. Its flow averages 1,000 cubic meters per second year round. In one section less than 1,000 meters, the drop is more than 300 meters and its current velocity is more than 18 meters per second. Here is the Yarlung Zangbo Canyon, the first one in the world. Standing by it, you will feel the fascination of the nature, including the precipitous cliffs, hot springs, waterfalls, primeval forests, rare plants and animals.
(It takes one month to go through the Yarlung Zangbo Canyon. From July to October is the season for entering the canyon.)
Lake Ra'og Co
The lake is more than 3,800 meters above sea level, and is 26 kilometers long and one or five kilometers wide. On its bank grows ancient Salix mongolica. The Parlung Zangbo River originates from here. Around the lake are green pastureland and fields, like an area in the south of the Yangtze River.
(From Borne, it takes four hours to reach the lake by car.)
Gyaxing Valley Waterfall of Curtains
In Gyaxing Valley some 20 kilometers away from the Paggar Monastery, the waterfall is 25 meters high and drops from the top of the cave in three curtains. Around the cave grow ancient vines. The cave is quiet and zigzags. In addition, there are three hot springs in the valley and their water is effective in curing many kinds of diseases.
Lake Nam Co
Nam Co is the highest lake in the world and is 4,718 meters above sea level. It is 72 kilometers long from east to west and 30 kilometers wide from south to north. It has an area of 1,940 square kilometers. Some 60 kilometers to the northwest of Damxung County seat, it is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet and receives high respects among the local people. On the Tibetan year of sheep, pilgrims from faraway come here to walk around the lake. It takes more than 10 days to circle the lake once.
(Five or seven tourists can hire a minibus from Lhasa to go and back in three days for 1,700-2,000 yuan. The journey takes eight hours. The Zhaxi Monastery by the lake provides lodging for 15 yuan each bed.)
Lake Tangra Yumco
Close to the ruins of Yamtung Kingdom, the Lake Tangra Yumco was the place where the most respected Goddess Gangzhuoma of the Bon stayed according to a legend. The lake is 4,530 meters above sea level.
(Comai has guesthouses for tourists to stay. On the eastern bank there are a few residents but no people on the western bank of the lake. Camp articles and food are necessities.)
Geladandong, the Place of Origin of the Yangtze River
In Amdo County, Nagqu Prefecture, Geladandong is 140 kilometers away from Nagqu Town. It is very convenient to reach. The place of origin of the Yangtze River has an elevation of 6,621 meters. It is famous as the origin of the rivers.
In Tibetan, Geladandong means an ice carved Buddha group because the snow-covered peaks look like ice carved Buddhas. To its southwest stand glaciers and ice pagodas on the Janggainterug Mountains. These glaciers and pagodas in various shapes are of a high value of appreciation.
Ghost Lake La'nga Co
Next to the Sacred Lake Ìàðàò Yumco, Lake La'nga Co is famous as the Ghost Lake. But water in the Lake Ìàðàò Yumco is fresh and that in the Lake La'nga Co is a little salty.
Ghost Lake was connected with the sacred lake. Later they separated as the water decreased and water surface dropped. But there is still a small river to link them together.
Sacred Lake Ìàðàò Yumco
One of the three sacred lakes in Tibet, Lake Ìàðàò Yumco is a place respected by the Tibetan people. Lake Ìàðàò Yumco is 4,587 meters above sea level. The lake covers an area of 412 square kilometers and is 77 meters deep. On the slope of the mountain by the lake stands the Jiniao Monastery, a best place to overlook the lake.
(Tourists can take any passing buses from Burang to Shiquanhe and get off halfway for visiting the Jiniao Monastery. The travel is about 100 kilometers for 30 yuan or less. The road is poor. If you take the bus from Lhasa to Shiquanhe you have to get off at Bagag and change for another bus. It is 30 kilometers from Bagag to the Jiniao Monastery. It takes one day on foot. At the foot of the Jiniao Monastery Hill there are small hostels for 30 yuan per person.)
The Lake Banggong extends from Rutog of China to Indian-controlled Kashmir. In Tibetan, it is called the Com Ngangla Ringbo Lake, meaning a long-neck goose, for its narrow shape. It is 150 kilometers long and five kilometers wide with the narrowest section being only five meters. The lake covers an area of 604 square kilometers. In the lake there are a dozen islets on which inhabit various species of birds.
(Some 10 kilometers out of the county seat, tourists can see the lake. On the southern bank, there is a simple highway. Tourists can take a taxi to go. But it takes 40 minutes by boat to the Bird Islet in the lake.)