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Panorama of Yamdrok Lake in Tibet

Yamdrok is the freshwater lake in Tibet. It is located on the way from Lhasa to Gyantse. It is one of the largest lakes in Tibet, stretching over 70 km/ 45 miles in length. It is a sacred lake for Tibetans. They don’t swim in eat and they never do fishing. What makes it realy famous, is its incredible turquoise color that you can see on so many iconic photos of the lake.

Campsite on the trek in Tibet

Quick facts

Yamdrok Lake: Also called Yamdrok Tso, Tibetan name: ཡར་འབྲོག་གཡུ་མཚོ

Length: around 70km/ 45 miles

Elevation: 4,440 m/ 14,570 ft

Location: approximately 100km to the South from Lhasa and 90 km to the East from Gyantse

Itinerary with camping by the Yamdrok lake

You can visit Yamdrok lake following the itinerary below or use it in combination with other tours or treks in Tibet.

Need some customization? Contact us and we will assist you!

Day 1 – Arrival in Lhasa

You arrive at the Lhasa Gonggar Airport or the train station. The airport is 62 km/ 39 miles away from the city, and it takes approximately one hour to get to the hotel from there. On the way to Lhasa, you will enjoy beautiful views of the mountains. The train station is located in Lhasa, and you will only need a short transfer to the hotel.

Depending on the time of your arrival, you might have some free time to spend in Lhasa. Our guides will be happy to advise you on what you can do with your time in Lhasa. Remember, that Lhasa is located at 3,650 meters/ 12,000 ft above sea level and you will need some time to acclimatize.

After you check in the hotel, you are welcome to explore the city, visit nearby temples, do some shopping, try delicious Tibetan food in one of the local restaurants, or just take a rest.

Walking around Barkhor Street can be an excellent choice for your first day in Lhasa. You will join crowds of pilgrims, local Tibetans, and monks circumambulating the Jokhang Temple.

Most importantly, on your first day in Tibet, be sure to relax, enjoy your day and allow some time for acclimatizing.

Day 2 – Lhasa city tour: Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple

This tour visits the two most important religious sites in Tibet.

The Potala Palace was the seat of the Dalai Lamas since the 17th century. First, the guide will take you to the Chak Pori Hill to take photos of the majestic Palace. We will then go inside and spend approximately 1.5 – 2 hours there. While there, you will see many of its most famous artifacts.

There will be free time for lunch after visiting the Potala Palace.

Time permitting, you can walk around the Potala Palace and join many of the local Tibetans.

Next, we will walk towards the Jokhang Temple. It was built in the 7th century to display the Jowo Shakyamuni Statue – the statue of the 12-year-old Buddha before his enlightenment. The statue was created at the time when the historical Buddha lived. It is elaborately decorated with gold, jewels, and precious stones.

After visiting the temple, we recommend taking a walk around Barkhor Street.

More information about the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple

Day 3 – Lhasa Sightseeing: Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery

We are visiting the two most important monasteries in the capital.

We will first visit Drepung Monastery, which once was the largest monastery in the world with over 10,000 monks living there. It was the residence of Dalai Lamas before the Potala Palace was built.

There will be free time for lunch after the Drepung Monastery.

In the afternoon we are visiting Sera Monastery. It was founded by Tsongkhapa’s disciple in the 15th century. Nowadays it is famous for monks debate that you can witness. Debates are a very important part of learning and understanding Buddhism. Monks gather in the courtyard in the shade of the trees to refine their knowledge.

In the evening you will have some time to pack for our trek and prepare everything you might need.

More information about the Drepung and Sera Monasteries and other important places in Lhasa»

Day 4  – Driving to Yamdrok Lake

Today we will travel on some of the most beautiful roads in Tibet on our drive to Shigatse.

Be prepared to take photos of the breathtaking views as we go up to the highest point of the day – Kamba La Pass (almost 4,800 meters / 15,750 ft).

Our next stop will be at the Yamdrok Lake. It is one of the holy lakes in Tibet, and it is famous for its turquoise colored water.

First, we will reach the viewpoint shortly after the Kamba La Pass. From there you can get an awe-inspiring view on the lake surrounded by mountain ranges and small villages on its banks.

After that we will head towards the lake shore, where we will settle in a campsite.

Day 5  – Driving to Shigatse: Gyantse and Glaciers

Today we will travel on some of the most beautiful roads in Tibet on our drive to Shigatse.

We will have a breakfast at our campsite with the view on the lake.

After that, we will head towards Gyantse. On the way there, we will make a stop to see the spectacular glaciers.

In Gyantse, we will visit the Pelkor Chode monastery and Kumbum, the biggest stupa in Tibet.

Finally, we will reach Shigatse late in the evening and stay there overnight.

Day 6 – Shigatse to Lhasa

In the morning we will visit Tashilumpo Monastery, the seat of Panchen Lamas. This monastery was founded by the first Dalai Lama, and it is one of the most important monasteries in Tibet. You can take photos in some of the chapels for an additional fee.

We will take the Friendship Highway on the way back to Lhasa. It is the most direct route and usually takes around six hours to reach the capital. We will make several stops on the way in order to enjoy the views of the Brahmaputra River. In the afternoon, you might have some free time to prepare for your departure the next day.

Day 7 – Lhasa to Airport/Train station

Please prepare in advance for your departure. It takes approximately one hour to drive to the airport and around thirty minutes to reach the train station. We will arrive at the airport three hours before your departure flight if you are traveling to Nepal and two hours before any domestic flight.

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