Maps of Nyingchi City, the Chinese Swiss Alps in Eastern Tibet
Lying in the eastern part of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Nyingchi City is one of the most beautiful Tibetan cities, and is blessed with one of the most majestic panoramas in the world. In Tibetan, Nyingchi means “The Grand Throne of the Sun”, and this beautiful place really lives up to its name. Lying at an elevation of around 3,000 meters, Nyingchi is surrounded by ancient forests that have been preserved and make the area one of outstanding natural beauty. Known as the “Swiss Alps of Tibet”, this stunning region is home to many of the region’s holy snow mountains and is the entry point to Tibet from Sichuan Province of China, to the east.
Nyingchi Location Map
Nyingchi is located in the southeastern edge of the Tibet Autonomous Region, with Chamdo and Nagchu to the north, Lhasa to the west, and Shannan to the southwest. Its southern border is with India and Myanmar. The prefecture is also the home of the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, the largest canyon in the world, and the stunning Namcha Barwa Peak, which lies on the bend of the Yarlung Zangbo River, where it does a U-turn to head back the other way towards India.
Lying on the eastern edge of Tibet, Nyingchi is an important entry point into the region from southwestern China, a shorter and faster route to Tibet from central and southern China than the current main route by train through Qinghai Province in the far northwest. And with the continuing construction of the railway from Chengdu to Lhasa, once completed, this route will be a major step in connecting Nyingchi to the rest of Tibet and to Sichuan Province for both tourism and trade. - Check How to Get to Nyingchi by Flight, Train or Road
Nyingchi City and Surrounding Districts and Counties
Nyingchi is a prefecture-level city with one district and six counties, and covers an area of over 116,000 square kilometers. The main center of Nyingchi is in Bayi District, which covers the metropolitan area of the city, and is the seat of Nyingchi. Most of the area of Nyingchi is made up of mountains and valleys, which are some of the most fertile in Tibet, and are a source of some of the vegetables that can be found in the markets in Lhasa.
The seven administrative divisions of Nyingchi are: Bayi District, Gongbo'gyamda County, Mainling County, Mêdog County, Bomê County, Zayü County, and Nang County.
Bayi District: The administrative center of Nyingchi and includes Bayi Town, the administrative capital of Nyingchi. Located in the middle reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River Valley, Bayi County has an average elevation of around 3,000 meters.
Gongbo'gyamda County: Lying around 270 kilometers to the east of Lhasa, the main feature of Gongbo’gyamda County is the beautiful Basum Tso, a stunning green lake that lies more than 3,700 meters above sea level. The average altitude of the county is around 3,500 meters.
Mainling County: The home of the Nyingchi Mainling Airport, Mainling County is located in the central-west of Nyingchi, between the Himalayas and the Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains. With an average altitude of around 3,700 meters, the airport is one of the highest in the world.
Mêdog County: Also known as Pemako or Motuo, Mêdog County has an average elevation of around 2,500 meters and is one of the most isolated of all the areas of Nyingchi, lying in the south-central area of Nyingchi, on the border with India.
Bomê County: Bomê or Pomê County is located in the north of Nyingchi, bordering with Chamdo, and was once the seat of a quasi-independent kingdom known as sPo bo, which was only integrated into Tibet by the Dalai Lama in the early 20th century.
Zayü County: Bordering the northern edge of India and Myanmar, Zayü County lies in the mountainous region where the Himalayas and Transhimalaya transition into the Hengduan Mountains of Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces. Zayü has an average elevation of only 2,300 meters due to the drastic drop in altitude from west to east, with parts of eastern Zayü County lying at around 1,400 meters.
Nang County: The smallest of the seven counties in Nyingchi, Nang County lies in the southwest of Nyingchi, bordered by Shannan to the northwest and southwest, with a small border to India.
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Nyingchi Attraction Map
Lying as it does at a low altitude on the Tibetan plateau, Nyingchi is the warmest of all the areas of Tibet, and has a stunning landscape that attracts tourists from around the globe, as well as domestic tourists from mainland China. A part of the ancient region of Kham, one of the main attractions of the area is the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, the largest canyon in the world, as well as the stunning peach blossoms that come out across the area every spring.
Namjagbarwa Mountain (7,782m): The highest mountain in the Nyingchi Prefecture, Mount Namjagbarwa lies on the eastern edge of the Himalayas at the side of the world’s largest canyon.
Bönri Mountain (4,500m): The most famous mountain of the ancient Bon religion in Tibet, Mount Bönri lies on the banks of the Yarlung Zangbo River, and is one of the most famous mountains of the ancient Bon legends.
Nyingchi River and Lake
Niyang River (2,420m): The longest tributary of the Yarlung Zangbo River, the Niyang River is more than 300 kilometers long and joins the Yarlung Zangbo in Cemeng, Nyingchi, more than 2,800 meters lower than its source.
Yarlung Zangbo River: The longest river in Tibet, and the upper region of one of the longest rivers in the world, the Brahmaputra, the Yarlung Zangbo River flows all the way through Nyingchi, forming the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon before turning to head south to India.
Draksum-tso Lake (3,538m): One of Tibet’s most beautiful scenic spots, Draksum-tso lies in Gongbo’gyamda County and is an alpine lake on the mid-upper reaches of the Bar River, the largest tributary of the Niyang River.
Nyingchi Forest Park and Nature Reserve
Lulang Forest (3,700m): Known as the long Kong Valley, and meaning “a place that will make you forget your home”, Lulang Forest is one of the most stunning plateau mountain meadow areas in Tibet, and is a fairyland of breathtaking natural beauty.
Giant Cypress Nature Reserve (3,000m): An amazing site not far from the city center, the Giant Cypress Nature reserve is the only place in the world where you can see ancient giant cypress trees, the highest reaching more than 52 meters tall and being more than 3,000 years old.
Sejila Forest Park (4,700m): A world of silver and white, the Sejila Forest Park is the home of Mount Sejila, and lies in the east of Nyingchi, one of the sub-peaks of the Nyenchen Tanglha Mountain. One of the sacred mountains of Tibet, it is the site of many pilgrimages in Tibet for Tibetan Buddhists.
Motuo County Scenic Resort (3,767m): One of the most untouched places in Tibet, the Motuo County Scenic Resort lies in Medog County, and is known as one of the most inaccessible parts of China. A natural paradise, this area abounds in mystic beauty and mystery.
Chayu County Scenic Resort: Lying below the snow line of the mountains in Zayü County, below the Demla Pass, Chayu County Scenic resort is a stunning vista of lakes, mountains, and lush green meadows.
Midui Glacier (6,800m): One of the six most beautiful glaciers in China, Midui Glacier lies above Midui Town in Bome County. The glacier is famous for its giant ice basin and frequent avalanches, and the giant ice cascade is around 700 to 800 meters long.
Nyingchi Monastery and Buildings
Lamalin Temple (3,000m): A magical and mysterious monastery at Bujiu Town in Bayi County, the Lamalin Temple is a sacred monastery in Nyingchi, and an important monastery for the Nyingmapa School of Tibetan Buddhism.
Buchu Monastery (3,000m): Lying 28km to the south of Bayi Town, the Buchu Monastery is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, dating from the 7th century. One of the famous “eight demoness-subduing temples” of Tibetan legend, the ground floor is filled with images of the eight manifestations of Padmasambhava.
Xiuba Ancient Castle (3,200m): Lying around 55 kilometers to the northwest of the county seat of Gongbo’gyamda County, the Xiuba Ancient Castle site actually incorporates five castles of the original seven built here, the oldest of which was constructed from wood and stone in the 4th century. This site is the most famous scenic resort in the Niyang River Scenic Belt.
Tashigang (3,400m): A stunningly beautiful small village a few kilometers to the east of Lulang Town in Bayi County, this is one of the most perfect places to go for a homestay visit with a real Tibetan family. The endless countryside of fields filled with green barley and yellow rapeseed make it the most picturesque village in Tibet, made up of a handful of small Tibetan block houses.
Attractions around Nyingchi on Map
Potala Palace (3,900m): Lying on its hill overlooking the city of Lhasa, the Potala Palace was the center of government in Tibet for more than 100 years, and is now the Winter Palace of the Dalai Lama.
Jokhang Temple (3,600m): The most sacred temple in Tibetan Buddhism, Jokhang Temple was built in the 8th century by Songtsen Gampo to house the statue of Buddha brought to Tibet by his wife, Princess Wencheng.
Barkhor Street (3,600m): One of the most amazing places in Tibet, not only is the famous Barkhor Street kora route around the Jokhang Temple, but it is one of the most stunning shopping streets in the world, with a wealth of authentic Tibetan handicrafts.
Yamdrok Lake (4,441m): Shaped like a giant fan, and lying to the southwest of the capital of Lhasa, Lake Yamdrok is one of the Great Three Holy Lakes of Tibet and one of the most beautiful sights in Tibet, with its turquoise waters glinting in the sun.
Yumbulakang (3,700m): The ancient palace of the Tibetan kings for hundreds of years, this amazing palace was built by the first king of Tibet, and was the seat of Tibetan rule until the 7th century.
Samye Monastery (3,556m): The first gompa in Tibet, built under the patronage of King Trisong Detsen in the 8th century, its purpose was to revitalize Buddhism in the region.
Trandruk Monastery (3,700m): One of the earliest monasteries in Tibet, Trandruk Gompa contains the famous Thangka of Chenrezig, which is made up of more than 29,000 pearls.
Changtang Grassland (4,300m-5,800m): Lying far to the north and west of Tibet, the Changtang prairie is one of the lushest areas of grasslands in Tibet and is home to many of Tibet’s nomadic families.
Galden Jampaling Monastery (3,300m): Built-in 1436 after a visit to the area by Je Tsongkhapa, the Galden Jampaling Monastery lies on the high mesa where the Zhaqu and Ongqu rivers converge to make the Lancang River in Chamdo Town.
Nyingchi Weather and Climate
Lying in the east of Tibet, Nyingchi has a lower altitude than the rest of the plateau which makes the climate in the prefecture much milder than anywhere else. With more influence from the Indian Monsoon than the rest of Tibet, the temperature is somewhat balmy for most of the year, and even in the winter months, the temperatures rarely get down to freezing during the daytime. Temperatures range from 9 degrees in the winter months to around 23 degrees in the height of summer.
The best time to visit Nyingchi is normally from April to June and October to November, when the weather is warm and comfortable. The summer months from June to September, are the wettest months of the year, with an average of around 650mm of rain, and the monsoon is not the best time to be in Nyingchi, though it is possible to vacation there in summer.
Map of Nyingchi Hotels and Restaurants
When compared with other cities in Tibet, the facilities and hotels in Bayi are better than most places, with the exception of Lhasa and Shigatse. There are many good hotels in Nyingchi, from four-star and below, and they are comfortable and clean. While there are no luxury hotels, there are plenty of other hotels that come up to standard, with private bathrooms, or budget hostels for those traveling on a limited budget.
Dining in Nyingchi is an experience that you should not miss, and the many restaurants in the area provide a wide selection of traditional Tibetan foods alongside many types of Chinese cuisine and some western cuisines as well. The local specialty is a stone pot cooked chicken broth that is delicious.
Comfortable 4-star Hotels in Nyingchi
Chongqing Cygnet Hotel
Conveniently located in the commercial area of Bayi Town, close to the river, this four-star Chongqing Cygnet Hotel has 103 rooms, which includes 14 deluxe suites and one executive suite. Direct-dial international lines are provided in all rooms, as well as air-conditioning, 24-hour hot running water, and free internet access. The hotel has only one restaurant, which serves a variety of Sichuan and Cantonese cuisines, as well as a selection of local and international drinks.
Nyingchi Shangbala Hotel
A modern four-star hotel, the Shangbala Hotel has business and conference rooms, a café bar, a good restaurant, and 46 deluxe standard rooms, as well as three deluxe suites. All rooms are equipped with air-con, CCTV, sound systems, TVs, IDD telephones, and 24-hour hot water facilities. The restaurant offers a choice of Sichuan and Tibetan foods, as well as fresh seafood, and can seat 200 guests.
Nyingchi Impression Hotel
A good four-star hotel that has deluxe standard rooms as well as deluxe suites, the Impression Hotel is a comfortable hotel that has 24-hour hot water, free bottled water for guests, free Wi-Fi access, IDD telephones, TV, and private bathrooms. All rooms have a good view of either the mountains or the river, and the hotel gardens have peach trees that blossom in the spring. The restaurant offers local Tibetan foods and a variety of Chinese and Western cuisines.
Nyingchi Minshan Hotel
A ten-minute drive from the Natural Museum in Bayi Town, the Minshan Hotel is just 20 minutes from the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, and is ideally situated for touring around the area. The hotel has a selection of standard, deluxe, and luxury rooms, with air-con, IID telephones, and free internet access. All rooms have private bathrooms, and some have river views of the Niyang River, and the on-site restaurant serves local and western cuisines.
Economic 3-star Hotels in Nyingchi
Nyingchi Holiday Hotel
Located in the center of town, this 3-star Nyingchi Holiday Hotel is close to the banks of the Niyang River, and has great views of the surrounding mountains. With 80 rooms, which include luxury and junior suites, the Holiday Hotel can meet all the needs of their various guests, including budget rooms. Rooms all have air-con, 24-hour hot water, and internet access, and the hotel provides all the facilities you would expect.
Nyingchi Shanshui Hotel
A recently-built 3-star hotel, the Shanshui Hotel is located in Bayi Town, on Gongbu Road, and is ideally situated for both business and tourism. With 58 standard rooms, six suites, and three luxury rooms, that include private bathrooms, the hotel is well fitted for all travelers. The hotel has a good restaurant, beauty salon, tea house, nightclub, and sauna, and a souvenir shop for your last-minute gifts.
Nyingchi Fujian Hotel
One of the largest hotels in Nyingchi, the 3-star Fujian Hotel boasts luxury rooms for its guests, as well as deluxe and standard rooms in its 132-room building. All rooms are equipped with TV, air-con, internet access, and other modern amenities, and the hotel also boasts a nightclub, sauna, coffee shop, and its own Tibetan tea house.
Best Restaurants in Nyingchi
Lo Les Traditional Emotion Palace
A luxury restaurant in Bayi Town that has excellent features, traditional design and music, and comfortable seating, this is one of the premier restaurants in Nyingchi, serving a variety of Chinese and Tibetan foods, with a few western dishes as well. The restaurant is conveniently located on the Zhuhai Road.
One of the best local restaurants in the city, the traditional décor perfectly complements the dishes, and it is a great place to try traditional Tibetan food. Located close to the river, it has excellent views for diners, as well as great service.
Hengyuan Xiaochi Yeshicheng
The preferred place for Chinese delicacies, this small restaurant has a wide range of cuisines on offer from all over China. Located on the Fujian Road, it is convenient for travel from the city center.
Roads to Nyingchi Map
Nyingchi lies on the route from Sichuan to Lhasa, and is one of the most stunning areas of the Tibetan plateau to visit. Access to the area can be made from Sichuan Province, Yunnan Province, and direct from Lhasa.
Sichuan Tibet Highway
The main route from Chengdu to Lhasa, Nyingchi lies around half way long the famous G318 National Highway, part of the longest road in China that runs from Shanghai to Zhangmu. The route heads out of the Sichuan basin and up into the mountains that fringe the plateau, heading west and reaching altitudes of more than 5,000 meters at many points along its route.
Yunnan Tibet Highway
Yunnan Tibet Highway starts in Kunming, and heads north through the Hengduan Mountains to meet the G318 at Markam and continue along the G318 to Nyingchi. Once part of the famous tea Horse Road that ran from China to Tibet, the route actually goes through Shangri-La, so you can stop off in utopia itself.
Lhasa Nyingchi Expressway
Lhasa Nyingchi Expressway is a new road that has been constructed to improve travel from the Tibetan capital Lhasa to the lush lands of Nyingchi in the east. The route follows alongside the old G318, and has made travel to Bayi Town from Lhasa much faster and safer. Known as the Lhasa Nyingchi High-Grade Highway, the road starts in the Liuwu District of Lhasa and ends in Bayi Town, a distance of around 409 kilometers.
Lhasa Nyingchi Railway - Tibet railway extension and vital section of new Sichuan Tibet Railway
Due to open within the coming year, the Lhasa to Nyingchi Railway is a part of the proposed Sichuan Tibet Railway, much of which is still under construction. The stretch to Nyingchi from Lhasa was the first section to be started, beginning in 2014, and is expected to open by the middle of 2019. This unique railway line will cut down travel time to Nyingchi from Lhasa to around two hours, and once completed, will make tourism in Nyingchi much easier for international travelers.
Nyingchi Airport and Flights to Nyingchi
One of five airports across Tibet, the Nyingchi Mainling Airport is a domestic airport that offers flights to other airports in mainland China. Flights to and from Nyingchi can be taken from Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Xi’an, and Lanzhou.
The airport was opened in 2006, and lies in the valley of the Yarlung Zangbo River, to the southwest of Bayi Town. The third of the five airports in Tibet, it is known as one of the hardest airports to land at due to the valley location and the surrounding mountains, which make for a difficult approach. Subject to clouds and fog throughout much of the year, there are only around 100 days per year that are usually clear enough to make a landing at the airport.