Top 10+ Reasons for an Adventure in Ngari, Western Tibet (Mt.Kailash & Guge Kingdom)

April,13 2020 BY Lobsang Tsering 0 COMMENTS

Unlike the frequently-visited eastern and central region of Tibet, the remote and sparsely-populated, western Tibet is the highest part of the Tibetan plateau, and still has stretches of virgin landscapes open for discovery. Remote as it may be, there are a lot of good reasons to visit this high-altitude region of the Roof of the World.

Enjoy the Otherworldly Landscapes That Only Can Be Seen Here

Western Tibet not only has a very high altitude, compared to the rest of Tibet, but is well-known for its more unusual landscapes and geographical formations. Remote black mountains lie next to twinned freshwater and saline lakes, and this part of Tibet is renowned for its “lost” civilization of the Guge Kingdom.

Zanda Clay Forest in Ngari, TibetZanda Clay Forest, the largest tertiary strata earth forest in the world.

One of the most outstanding visions of unnatural and strange landscapes is the stunning Zanda Clay Forest, located along the Langqen Zangbo River in Zanda County of Ngari. Composed of clay and limestone, this unique landscape is formed into waves of rocky spurs and deep canyons that spread for miles in all directions. The largest tertiary strata earth forest on the planet, this unique landscape offers unlimited opportunities for adventure and exploration, as well as for amazing photographs.

Join Local Pilgrims for Amazing 3-day Kora around Sacred Mt. Kailash

The unique kora around Mount Kailash in Ngari Prefecture of western Tibet is one of the most sacred pilgrimage rituals in the world, and is renowned as a sacred pilgrimage in four religions - Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism, Jainism, and Bon. Mount Kailash is known as the world’s most sacred mountain, and to perform the kora pilgrimage around the mountain is the ultimate pilgrimage for Tibetans. A truly spiritual experience, even for international tourists hiking the route, the three-day trek around the sacred mountain is unlike any other trek in the world.

Mount Kailash, the  most sacred mountain in the world.Mount Kailash, the most sacred mountain in the world.

If you really want to experience the most outstanding and arduous trek in Tibet, then this awesome hike around Mount Kailash is the perfect opportunity. We can offer you excellent services, professional and experienced guides, and an awesome adventure on our classic 15-day Mount Kailash tour from Lhasa.

Marvel at the Turquoise Lake Manasarovar from Chiu Monastery

Lake Manasarovar is the freshwater lake in Ngari that is twin to the salty Lake Rakshastal. Lying just to the south of Mount Kailash, this sacred lake is one of the three most sacred lakes in Tibet, and is one of the most popular lakes for kora pilgrimage on the plateau. Not only is it believed that Buddha was conceived here, Hindus also believe it has the power to cleanse the sins of an entire lifetime, and come here to drink or bathe in the waters.

Lake Manasarovar in Ngari, TibetLake Manasarovar is one of the three most sacred lakes in Tibet

Sitting on the northwestern corner of the lake, the Chiu Monastery offers one of the best views of the lake, from a position above the lake’s water level and with a view across the whole lake. And there is nothing like a stroll along the shores of one of the most sacred lakes on the planet as the sun sets behind you.

Explore the Ruins of Lost Tibetan Civilization - Guge Kingdom

The famous Guge Kingdom of Ngari rose to its height in the 10th century, after the fall of Buddhism in Tibet and the death of king Langdarma, the last of the Tibetan kings of the Tubo Empire. Formed by one of his grandsons in the farthest corner of the plateau, this healthy Buddhist kingdom flourished for more than 600 years, despite being attacked for centuries from across the Ladakhi border. After a particularly brutal invasion from Ladakh that saw the king taken prisoner, the kingdom vanished, its people mysteriously disappearing from the region, and the stunning palace and city left to crumble into ruins.

Guge Kingdom in Ngari, TibetGuge Kingdom is one of the highlighted attractions in Ngari, Tibet.

One of the most amazing sights in Tibet for photography, the city of the Guge Kingdom was partially carved from the rock of the cliff it sits on, many of the lower houses being carved out of the very caves of the mountainside. The pinnacle of the city was the luxurious palace, which now lies crumbling and dusty. A wonder of architecture for 10th century construction, this is not the only wonder of the Guge Kingdom. The unique caves at Dungkhar and Piyang host relics and murals from the temples built there in the tenth century by the second Guge King, Yeshe O.

>> Join the 17 Days Kailash Manasarovar Full Moon Tour & Guge Kingdom Exploration

Visit the Historical Tholing Monastery, Ngari’s Most Famous Monastic Complex

Renowned as one of the oldest true Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, the Tholing Monastery in Zanda County was built in the 10th century by the second king of Guge. One of the first temples to be built after the start of the second diffusion of Buddhism in Tibet, the monastery was home to the great Indian master, Atisha, for three years. One of the most significant monasteries in Tibetan Buddhism, Tholing is filled with ancient and well-preserved frescoes that have been painted on the walls over the last 1,000 years.

Camp at Ngari Dark Sky Park to Capture the Incredible Galaxy

A star gazer’s heaven, the Ngari area of Tibet is believed to be the third most ideal star gazing site in the world. And this high dark region of Tibet is home to the amazing Ngari Dark Sky Park, an area that covers more than 34,500 square kilometers at an average altitude a little over 4,500 meters above sea level. The level of light pollution is zero in this dark and foreboding region of Tibet, which makes it perfect for viewing the night sky stars, and even our own fantastic galaxy, the Milky Way.

Viewing the night sky stars at NgariViewing the night sky stars at Ngari dark sky park

Admire the Rutog Rock Painting in Ngari

Rock painting is as ancient as mankind itself, and in Ngari’s Rutog County, the rock paintings are a unique record of the lives of the Tibetans that first inhabited this remote area of the plateau. Covering topics from hunting and herding to farming, sacrificial rites, and the sun and moon as deities, these ancient and artistic rock paintings are more than just cave drawings. Highly detailed and huge in both size and number, these amazing paintings are one of the most valuable archaeological finds in Tibet.

Explore the Serene Pangong Tso Lake and Its Birds Island in Spring

Pangong Tso is the longest lake on the plateau, and lies across the border between China and India, stretching out for 134 kilometers in both countries. Despite being a saline lake, the waters freeze in the winter months, and is the location of one of the most beautiful Bird Islands in Tibet.

Pangong Tso Lake, the birds island in NgariPangong Tso Lake, one of the most ideal places for birding in Tibet

While tourists can rent boats to go out onto the lake, landing on the island is strictly prohibited due to the huge number of species of rare birds and endangered species that reside there. One of the top locations for birding in Tibet, the drive to the lakeshore takes you around 130 kilometers from Shiquanhe, the seat of Ngari. - Check the birding tour to Pagong Tso in spring.

Meet the Locals Living on the Roof of the World in Gar, Capital of Ngari

Also known as Shiquanhe, Gar is the main town of Ngari Prefecture, and is located in Gar County. The town was once known as Ger, while Gar is the name now used for the whole county, and is gleaned from the local Gar River. Once a small town of just 400 people, this local administrative seat now boasts more than 20,000 inhabitants, mostly thanks to development of the town and the increase in tourism.

Shiquanhe Town, the capital of NgariYou can make friends with locals if you visit this samll Shiquanhe Town.

Gar lies at what is normally referred to as extreme altitudes, and the locals have come to adapt well to this very high altitude well. The area around Gar County is renowned for being dry for almost the entire year, with only a small amount of rainfall in the summer months. While this is not good for crops, the people here live full and active lives. And the festivals are hugely popular, especially the unique Gar Qiaqin Festival, which is held in the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar.

Encounter the Wildlife in the Wilderness of Ngari

Few people regularly visit the higher altitudes of northwestern Ngari, which makes it the perfect home for some of the plateau’s many species of wildlife. As the region has become more protected in terms of its indigenous wildlife, Ngari Prefecture has become one of the last vestiges of natural unspoiled landscapes for the wildlife of Tibet.

The wild yaks graze around the holy  Mount KailashThe wild yaks graze around the holy Mount Kailash

From the beautiful herds of kiang that roam the grasslands to the wild yaks that graze on the high pastures. This amazing landscape is also home to some of the largest herds of Tibetan antelope on the plateau, as well as both species of leopards in Tibet. For anyone planning a visit to the vast open prairies of Ngari, you will find more wild animals here than almost anywhere in China, many of which just graze along the roadside. Enjoy the loop tour of Ngri region to see these highland creatures and amzing landscapes.

To Visit All the Above Attractions in Ngari, You Need Local Experts’ Help

Venturing into the highest and some of the most remote regions in Tibet, you certainly need to be supported by a team of real experts. As a well-established and long-standing Tibetan travel agency, we are able to easily obtain all your permits, provide the most attentive and safest services with professional and experienced local guides, and make your trip to Ngari one of the best vacations you have ever had. We can help with hotels too, and even your train tickets to get to Lhasa from China. - Please feel free to reach us for travel consultation and tour booking.


Western Tibet’s Ngari prefecture is one of the most outstanding regions of Tibet, and is filled with ancient history and awesome legends. From the mystery of the Guge Kingdom to the sacred Mount Kailash and the wondrous monastery at Tholing, this is one part of Tibet that you should not miss visiting.

Lobsang Tsering

About the Author - Lobsang Tsering

I am a tour guide in Tibet an was Born in Kham Tibet, I am the father of 2 little girls, bachelor's degree. I have more than 7-years experience of being a tour guide in Tibet. I am a warm, friendly, knowledgeable and attractive guy.

Email me about your travel idea

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