comScore
Yamdrok Lake picture in Tibet
Namtso Lake picture in Tibet
Lake Manasarovar picture in Tibet
Yamdrok Lake picture in Tibet
Namtso Lake picture in Tibet
Lake Manasarovar picture in Tibet

Details

  • Hiking, Natural Wonders Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.1
Overall
US NEWS LOGO

Scorecard

  • Value
    4.5
  • Facilities
    2.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

Tibet's mountain ranges get a lot of love, but the region's many alpine lakes are just as noteworthy. In fact, the Tibetan people consider these lakes to be holy and take pilgrimages to them. The most popular (and the most sacred) are Yamdrok Lake, Lake Namtso and Manasarovar Lake.

Yamdrok Lake is a freshwater lake that is lauded for its vibrant blue waters. The color of the water varies depending on the position and intensity of the sun. The lake, which is surrounded on either side by rolling hills and mountains, is known to be a very pretty landscape. The best way to take in Yamdrok is to climb one of its hills for panoramic views of its grandeur (the lake is a whopping 45 miles long). 

Lake Namtso is another top pick among travelers for its majesty. Namtso differs in that it is a saltwater lake and higher in elevation. Because of this, you should not visit this lake until after you've acclimated to the altitude. Namtso, which means "heavenly" or "sacred" lake in the Tibetan language, lives up to its name, according to recent visitors. Its surrounding glacial mountains and vast nature (the lake is 760 square miles) left many travelers in awe. Plus, the locals that live around the area like to take their yaks out to play, so bring some extra yuan to snap a picture with the furry creatures.

The most sacred of all lakes is Lake Manasarovar, the highest freshwater lake in the world. Taking a dip in or ingesting the waters of Manasarovar is supposed to have healing and cleansing powers. But it's best to just observe it, should you decide to visit. While here, make sure to look for the nearby Mount Kailash, which Buddhists believe to be the center of the universe.

If you want to go to any of these lakes, it will have to be included in your tour to Tibet. Under the terms of the Tibetan permit, foreigners are not allowed to travel outside Lhasa independently. Lake Namtso and Manasarovar are located hours from Lhasa, with the latter close to the border of India. Despite the long journeys to reach these lakes, many recent travelers said the natural beauty was worth the lengthy travel time. 

Powered by Viator

More Best Things to Do in Tibet

Jokhang Temple picture in Tibet
Churches/Religious Sites Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Buddhas at Barkhor Street picture in Tibet
Shopping, Sightseeing, Neighborhood/Area Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Potala Palace picture in Tibet
Historic Homes/Mansions, Monuments and Memorials, Museums, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Sera Monastery picture in Tibet
Churches/Religious Sites Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Yamdrok Lake picture in Tibet
Hiking, Natural Wonders Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Mount Everest Base Camp picture in Tibet
Hiking, Natural Wonders Type
More than Full Day Time to Spend
Tashi Lhunpo Monastery picture in Tibet
Churches/Religious Sites Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
|

#1 Jokhang Temple Alongside Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple is one of the most important sites in Tibet. The Jokhang Temple was built in the seventh century to promote Buddhism in Tibet, and as ... Read more » Sino Images / Getty Images

#2 Barkhor Street After days of visiting temples, palaces and monasteries, treat yourself to some souvenirs on Barkhor Street. Barkhor Street is one big circular street that goes around Jokhang Temple and is ... Read more » bawanch / Getty Images

#3 Potala Palace It's hard to miss Potala Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This grand, imposing structure stands more than 12,000 feet above sea level on Marpo-ri, or Red Hill ... Read more » Rat0007 / Getty Images

#4 Sera Monastery One of the best places to immerse yourself in Tibetan Buddhism is the Sera Monastery. Situated about 5 miles north of central Lhasa, this monastery is one of the most ... Read more » dotstone / Flickr

#5 Lakes Tibet's mountain ranges get a lot of love, but the region's many alpine lakes are just as noteworthy. In fact, the Tibetan people consider these lakes to be ... Read more » MuYeeTing / Getty Images

#6 Mount Everest Base Camp A trip to Tibet would not be complete without getting an eyeful of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. Everest sits on the border of Nepal and Tibet ... Read more » benedek / Getty Images

#7 Tashi Lhunpo Monastery Like the Potala Palace, the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery holds a lot of significance in Tibetan Buddhism. Not only was the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery founded by the first Dalai Lama, but ... Read more » crystaltmc / Getty Images

Jokhang Temple picture in Tibet
Buddhas at Barkhor Street picture in Tibet
Potala Palace picture in Tibet
Sera Monastery picture in Tibet
Yamdrok Lake picture in Tibet
Mount Everest Base Camp picture in Tibet
Tashi Lhunpo Monastery picture in Tibet
Jokhang Temple picture in Tibet
Buddhas at Barkhor Street picture in Tibet
Potala Palace picture in Tibet
Sera Monastery picture in Tibet
Yamdrok Lake picture in Tibet
Mount Everest Base Camp picture in Tibet
Tashi Lhunpo Monastery picture in Tibet

Jokhang Temple is one of three UNESCO World Heritage sites in Lhasa. The temple is famous for housing Jowo Shakyamuni, a Buddha statue that is considered among the most sacred in Tibet. Sino Images / Getty Images

Barkhor Street is a great place to pick up religious motifs and statues, including Buddha.  bawanch / Getty Images

Potala Palace stands high above Lhasa at 12,000 feet above sea level. Because of the altitude, you should ascend the stairs slowly.  Rat0007 / Getty Images

A lot of travelers visit the Sera Monastery to witness its famous debating monks. Every day, monks go out into the monastery's courtyard to debate Tibetan Buddhism doctrines in a lively fashion. dotstone / Flickr

Yamdrok Lake is 45 miles long and is known for its vibrantly hued waters. The color of the water changes depending on the position of the sun and the season.  MuYeeTing / Getty Images

The Mount Everest Base Camp is pretty basic. Should you camp, expect bathrooms to be in separate tents, eastern toilets and electricity run by a generator.  benedek / Getty Images

The Tashi Lhunpo Monastery was built by the first Dalai Lama and acted as the seat of power for the Panchen Lama, the second most important leader in Tibetan Buddhism.  crystaltmc / Getty Images

×

See full list of Best Things to Do in Tibet »

Explore More of Tibet

Find the Best Price

Enter your check in and check out dates to find the best price

PriceFinder powered by TripAdvisor Primary Logo