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Yamdrok Lake Travel Routes: how to plan Yamdrok Lake tour from Lhasa in one or two days?

November,16 2019 BY Master Kungga Dundruk 0 COMMENTS

As one of the three holy lakes in Tibet, Yamdrok Lake is always on the to-do list of most travelers to Tibet. Surrounded by rolling hills, Yamdrok Lake is like turquoise, reflecting different kinds of green and blue under the sunshine. Usually, the photos of Yamdrok Lake we see are just a part of it. Its actual area is much larger than what we have seen. With an area of 675 square meters, Yamdrok is the largest inland lake in the northern foothills of the Himalayas, with some small island, peninsulas and satellite lakes.

Here we are going to introduce you the most classic, as well as the in-depth travel routes to Yamdrok Lake, which will help you arrange your life-time journey in Tibet to explore the best of Yamdrok Lake.

Best Time to Visit Yamdrok Tso Lake

The best time to visit Yamdrok Lake is from late April to the end of June and September to mid-November, when it is less rainfall and the temperatures are relatively mild. Summer is the rainy season in Tibet. Though it always rains at night, in the daytime, the sky may be gray, so that you can hardly enjoy the amazing turquoise blue water of Yamdrok Lake.

In winter, it is quite cold and there is a strong wind at the mountain pass, where you can get a great view of the lake. But there are also some migrant birds migrating to the Yamdrok Lake. You can enjoy a different view of Yamdrok Lake in winter.

One-day Yamdrok Lake Panorama View Tour via Gampala Pass

The one-day Yamdrok Lake tour from Lhasa via Gampala Pass is the most classic travel route to visit this holy lake. The distance from Lhasa to Yamdrok Lake is around 207.6 km, which takes about 3 hours to go. Departing from Lhasa, you will first drive to Qushui County along the airport expressway. After passing through Qushui, you will move forward to Gampala Mountain.

The Gampala Pass is located between Nagarze County and Gongga County, with an altitude of 4,750 meters. Standing in the mountain pass, you can see the great view of the wind horse flag flutters in the wind, against the background of the majestic and desolate mountains. After passing over the Gampala Pass (4790m), you reach to the platform, where you can enjoy a far view of the Yamdrok Lake (4441m). Before heading back to Lhasa, you can go further to the Karola Glacier, which is about 2 hours away from Yamdrok Lake.

Yamdrok Lake Tour MapMap of Yamdrok Lake Tour Routes

In-depth Yamdrok Lake Day Tour with Zhen Co and Kongmu Co

Addition to the classic day tour to Yamdrok Lake, the in-depth travel route leads you to the most beautiful satellite lake of the holy lake - Zhen Co. Since the lake is very deep and quiet, here is the best angle for shooting reflections of the surrounding mountains. Through the clear water, you can see the fish swimming in the lake. There are a lot of waterfowl at the lake, such as the bar-headed geese, the red-yellow ducks and so on.

Detailed Itinerary

For Tourist Van: Lhasa - Gampala Pass - Nagarze - Zhen Co -Nagarze - Lhasa
For 4WD SUV: Lhasa - Gampala Pass - Nagarze - Zhen Co - Kongmu Co - Kalongxiang - Lhasa

Viewing Yamdrok Lake from Gampala PassOne of our clients enjoyed the stunning view of Yamdrok Lake from Gampala Pass.

The highlight of the in-depth Yamdrok Lake tour is the visit to Zhen Co and Kongmu Co. From Nagarze to Azhaxiang, you will go through the Zhen Co. The first two or three kilometers of this road are dirt roads, while the rest are all asphalt roads. You will pass through the Sangdingsi en route. If you are interested in Tibetan culture and religion, you can make a stop and visit the monastery.

At 19 kilometer away from Nagarze, there is a huge stone on the roadside, which is the best place to appreciate the most stunning view of Zhen Co. You can have a great shooting angle from here. After enjoying the view here, it is not suggested to complete the inner kora route. Because it is a long way to go and all you can see is a similar view of the lake, which will cause visual fatigue.

Kongmu Co is another satellite lake of Yamdrok Lake, and it is also the only freshwater lake in this area. On the way back from Zhen Co to Nagarze, there is an abandoned small house with an obvious narrow mountain road next to it. Following the small road to cross the mountain, you can see Kongmu Co Lake.

Notice: Only a SUV can pass the narrow road to Kongmu Co. If you take a van, it is recommended to return back to Zhen Co from here.

Food and Restaurants

There are many restaurants in Nagarze County and it is strongly suggested to choose those in the township, rather than the ones on the roadside. Some of the restaurants may sell so-called Yamdrok Lake fish. However, most of them are not real. And the price is quite high, it is not recommended to taste that. If you want to have more fun, you can prepare some picnic food in advance. It could be a wonderful experience to have a picnic at the lakeside. Don’t forget to bring your garbage away after your picnic.

Most Classic Two-day Yamdrok Lake Big Loop Tour

Detailed Itinerary

For Tourist Van:
Day 1: Lhasa - Qudesi Monastery - Donglaxiang - Zhangdaxiang - Lunbuxuexiang - Duoquexiang - Dalongzhen - Nagarze
Day 2: Nagarze - Azhaxiang - Azha Ferry - Yongbuduosi - Azhaxiang - Nagarze - Lhasa

For 4WD SUV:
Day 1: Lhasa - Jiedexiu Town - Langjiexuexiang - Zhangdaxiang - Lunbuxuexiang - Duoquexiang - Dalongzhen - Nagarze
Day 2: Nagarze - Zhen Co - Kongmu Co - Kalongxiang - Gampala Pass - Lhasa

The big loop tour around Yamdrok Lake follows another two roads except for the traditional way through Gampala Pass. The other two roads are from the Qude Temple Road to the Yamdrok Lake via the Garola Pass, and from the Jiedexiu Town through the Langjiexuexiang to Zhila Pass to Yamdrok Lake.

From Qude Temple and Garola Pass to Donglaxiang, the road condition are quite good for all are asphalt roads. From Donglaxiang to Zhangdaxiang, you can go to Riduo Temple, a small peninsula on the side of Yamdrok Lake. On the peninsula, you can have an excellent view of Yamdrok Lake. However, there is only one disadvantage of taking this way, as the scenery of Yamdrok Lake is relatively dull.

The other way is from Jiedexiu Town via Zhila Pass to Zhangdaxiang. You can see a very spectacular panoramic view of Yamdrok Lake at the Zhila Pass, but you need to get off the car at the mountain pass and walk for a few hundred meters to get the best angle of the lake. But the road condition of this route is relatively poor. Since the general vans are difficult to pass, it is recommended to take an SUV.

The loop around Yamdrok Lake is asphalt road. The scenery from Zhangdaxiang to Lunbuxuexiang is a little bit boring. But once you pass through the mountain pass, you can reach a small hillside, and appreciate the stunning lakeshore line with the beautiful heart-shaped lake bay and the tiny peninsulas. Continue to follow the road around the lake to pass the Bajiu Co Lake. Since it is on the left side of the road, it does not look so beautiful due to the backlight. After arriving in Duoquexiang, you can continue to see a beautiful island along the lakeside. If time is enough, you can also take a detour to see Phumagyumtso Lake and then return to Nagarze via Dalongzhen.

Taking ferry to Yongbuduo IslandYou can take the boat from Azha Ferry to Yongbuduo Island.

On the next day, you will travel from Nagarze County to Azhaxiang via Zhen Co Lake. Here you’ll have two options: catching the boat to Yongbuduo Island, and driving from Nagarze back to Lhasa (same as the In-depth Yamdrok Lake Day Tour by Van); visiting Kongmu Co, and returning from Kalongxiang to Lhasa (same as the In-depth Yamdrok Lake Day Tour by SUV).

Notice for Tourist Van: In order to catch the boat ride, it is recommended to depart from Nagarze before 8:00 in the morning. Following the clear road signs, you can easily get to Azha Ferry from Azhaxiang. Every day at 10 am, there is one boat from Azha Ferry to Yongbuduo Island. Most of the passengers are the monks and local Tibetan pilgrims to the temple. On weekends, there will be more boats to the island. Tourists shall pay a round-trip boat fee of 50 RMB/person. On the island, you can worship the Yongbuduosi, and see the shoal that is said to be the handprint of the Master of the Lotus on the opposite of the island. It should be noted that whether you can take a boat to Yongbuduo Island depends on the weather. When the wind is strong, the boat does not sail. Please prepare warm and windshield clothing for taking the boat as the wind and waves of the lake are strong. Also, remember to wear the life jacket provided on board.

Food and Restaurants

Two days of lunch need to be solved on the road, so you need to prepare food in advance. You can have dinner in Nagarze County on the first day. There are many restaurants in the county for you to choose from. And having a picnic at the lakeshore is also a nice try.

Accommodation and Hotels in Nagarze

Compared with the hotels in Lhasa and Shigatse, the living condition in Nagarze is quite basic. The best hotel here is Nagarze Hotel. Another option for you to choose is Yanghu Hotel.


Yamdrok Lake, as one of the three holy lakes in Tibet, is always a popular destination in Tibet. The best time to visit Yamdrok Lake is generally from late April to the end of June and September to mid-November, when you can get the most beautiful view of Yamdrok Lake with the finest weather.

To visit the beautiful Yamdrok Lake, the most classic way is to drive from Lhasa via Gampala Pass. It generally takes one day to finish the round trip from Lhasa to Yamdrok Lake. In fact, there are more travel routes for you to explore the lake area deeply. According to the road condition, some of the itineraries are only available for 4WD SUV. Please feel free to contact us for more information about how to arrange your own Yamdrok Lake tour.

Master Kungga Dundruk

About the Author - Master Kungga Dundruk

The Lhasa-born prodigy used to study business overseas, and got his Bachelor of Business in Nepal and India before moving back to his homeland.With pure passion for life and unlimited love for Tibet, Kunga started his guide career as early as 1997.

Responsible, considerate and humorous, he devoted his entire life guiding and serving international tourists travelling in Tibet.As a legendary Tibetan travel guru with 20-year pro guide experience , he once had an exclusive interview with the US media. Currently he is working in Tibet Vista as the Tour Operating Director. Whenever our clients run into troubles, he is your first call and will offer prompt support.

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