Yamdrok Lake, also known as Yamdrok Yumtso, is one of Tibet's three holy lakes and is known for its mysterious. turquoise-blue waters. Kambala Pass, sitting at an altitude of 4,990 meters above the lake, offers unparalleled views over Yamdrok Lake.
Yamdrok Yumtso, about 70 km south of Lhasa, is regarded as one of the most beautiful lakes in Tibet. The lake is at an altitude of about 4,600 meters and is surrounded by snow-capped mountains.
The drive from Lhasa to Yamdrok Yumtso takes around 2.5 hours. The journey winds through the Tibetan countryside, including traditional dwellings, mountains, and valleys, offering lots of picturesque scenery. As you progress into the mountains, the alpine views become even more breathtaking.
Just before arriving at the lake, you will first reach the Kambala Pass. Sitting at an altitude of 4,990 meters just above Yamdrok Lake, the pass is the best place to appreciate the holy lake at a distance and take in the beautiful aquamarine waters it is famous for. The colors are most breathtaking on sunny days.
After taking in Yamdrok Lake from the top of Kambala Pass, visitors can drive down to the shores of the lake and walk alongside the crystal-clear water. Yamdrok Lake is Tibet’s largest bird habitat and a paradise for rare wildlife, so you may spot many species of birds around the lake.
There are yaks and Tibetan Mastiff dogs at the pass and the shores of the lake with which you can take a photo for about 10 RMB. Be sure to ask before taking picture of these animals to avoid any possible conflicts, as this might be the primary way some of the locals benefit from tourism.
The toilets at Kambala Pass and along the roads are not very clean, so be prepared for less-than-ideal conditions and bring some hand sanitizer. A mask might help you deal with the odor in some of the worst places.
Restaurants are rare near the lake and along the route, so we recommend packing some snacks for the trip.
Tibetans do not fish, bathe, or go swimming in holy lakes. This is because water burials are common in Tibetan. Remember to respect the local customs while visiting Yamdrok Lake.
Please note that a trip to Yamdrok Lake will bring you to a maximum altitude of about 5,000 meters. It’s important to consult your doctor when planning a trip to this area, and be sure to pace yourself when climbing stairs at the pass.
Visitors who are going to Shigatse or the Everest Base Camp will pass by Yamdrok Lake. Visitors can also visit the lake as a day trip and return to Lhasa the same day. The drive from Lhasa to Yamdrok Lake takes about 2.5 hours one way and the road is winding and hilly, but is in good condition. Remember to allow time for some photo stops since the scenery along the route is amazing. We recommend hiring a private car so that you can stop periodically for nice views without throng of locals and tourists about.
Opening hours: all day
Entrance fee: free
Average time for this activity: 2 hours