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Zanda Earth Forest

Zanda Earth Forest

  • Location: Zanda County, Ngari Prefecture
  • Altitude: 4500 meters
  • Opening Hours: All day long
  • Admission Fee: None
  • How to Get There: 1)Drive a car or take a tourist vehicle from Lhasa via Shigatse. 2)take a flight from Lhasa to Ngari Gunsa Airport first, and then transfer to Zanda Earth Forest.
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring and autumn is the best time to visit there. Try to avoid the rainy season in August as far as possible. The road is wet and the cars are often stuck in the mud. 

Zanda Earth Forest - The Largest Tertiary Strata Earth Forest in the World

Zanda Earth Forest is located along the river of Langqen Zangbo, Zanda County in Ngari. It has been viewed as the most typical and largest tertiary strata earth forest in the world with the total area of 2,464 square kilometers. It was classified as National Geological Park in 2007.


In the whole Zanda county, the various earth forests cover several hundred square kilometers and gorgeous background of the plateau. The earth forest makes one feel like in a quite different world. In a way, the earth forest here rings a far echo with the Grand Canyon of Colorado in the United States.


At dawn and dusk, the shining clouds on the horizon paint the many layers of the earth forest into a brilliant golden picture. As the night draws the curtain, the ancient pagodas on the banks of the Shiquan River appear mysteriously solemn.


The earth forest is called in Geology “the Level Terrane Physiognomy”, which is formed by the movement of Himalayas and the water corrosion as well as the deposit formation in ancient times. The valley is deep, even a canaliculus can reach 100 to 200 meters.


The earth forest is famous for different shapes, with some look like castles, some look like watchtowers, and some shapes as pagodas. Some are like warriors defending the mountain top; some are like thousands of horses galloping. From different view, you can get different wonderful scenery. Walking in the earth forest is like a walk in the ruins of an ancient kingdom, desolate but magnificent.

Recommended Tour Itineraries including Zanda Earth Forest

Zhada Earth Forest is often visited when tourists take a trip to Ngari, together with Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar, two famous attractions in this place. Tibet Vista provides a collection of tour packages including these tourist attractions in Ngari Prefecture at the best price.
Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse - Everest Base Camp - Saga - Darchen - Kailash Kora (3 days) - Guge Kingdom - Manasarovar - Saga - Sakya - Shigatse - Lhasa
from USD2,190
Lhasa - Everest - Saga- Manasarovar Lake - Kailash - Darchen - Guge Kingdom - Tsada - Shiquan River - Gerze - Namtso - Lhasa
Lhasa-Gyangtse-Shigatse-Mt.Everest-Manasarover-Mt.Kailash-Guge-Ali-Gegye-Gertse-Dong tso-Nyma-Banger-Namtso Round tour
Kathmandu-Lhasa-Namtso-Ali-Guge Kingdom-Darchen-Lake Manasarovar-Peiku-tso Lake-Gyirong Port

Know More about How to Visit Zanda Earth Forest

Restaurant and Accommodation around Zanda Earth Forest
You can have meals only in Toding town in Zanda County. The Sichuan-Guangdong restaurant is the most popular restaurant among travelers and shutterbugs, which mainly provides Sichuan cooking, casserole and hot pot with reasonable price.

Travelers usually choose to stay overnight in Zanda County. The Hongda guesthouse on the opposite of Zanda government has common rooms with CNY 35 per bed.
Recommended Shooting Locations of Zanda Earth Forest
a. Zanda Earth Forest Observatory: this is one of the best angles to photograph the Earth Forest, which is 30 kilometers away from Zanda County. The sunset time is at 9pm, and you should protect yourself from strong wind when you are waiting for the afterglow. Moreover, the road to the county is called the earth forest ditch, and the elevation plunges at least several hundred meters. You couldn’t be too careful to drive.

b. the ancient Guge Kingdom ruins: the Guge Kingdom ruin is 20 kilometers away from Zanda County with 40 minutes driving. Rising abruptly from the river bank, the ruins add much mystery to this area. If you stay overnight in Zhaburang village, then you can walk to Guge Kingdom before sunrise in the next morning. The kingdom is lightened by the sunshine very soon. Use telephoto lens to capture different shapes of earth forest at the same time.

c.around Toding town: red Tholing stupas and earthy stupas relics stand on the riverside of Sutlaj River in northern Zanda County. It is suitable to take good pictures at sunrise and sunset. The prayer flags, Marnyi Stone, stupas and the Earth Forest constitute the most characteristic regional landscape in Zanda.
Photography Plan of Zanda Earth Forest
The Zanda Earth Forest and the ancient Guge Kingdom ruins are the essence part of Ngari photographic journey. Generally, you need at least five days to reach Zanda from Lhasa by overland. Start your shooting on the Zanda Earth Forest observatory, which is 30 kilometers away from Toding town.

Then keep forwards to Zanda County to stay overnight. Set out to the ancient Guge Kingdom ruins in the next morning before dawn. Then after shooting the sunrise at Guge, you can drive to Zanda County and return to National Road 219 with shooting of Earth Forest again in the opposite direction. Of course, if you stay overnight in Zanda County and Zhaburang village, the time will be more abundant for you.

Tourist Attractions Nearby Zanda Earth Forest

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