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Yamdrok Lake

Nagarzê County, Shannan, Tibet, China
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Liquid Turquoise Shannan  China

Liquid Turquoise

I’m an urban creature. I live and breathe in the hustle and bustle of city life every day. But when I travel, I often like to escape outside my comfort zone and head to remote parts of the world where little is familiar to me. On one of those trips, I stood on a mountain bluff and took in views of a very stark and stunningly beautiful landscape. Something so dramatically different from what passes before my eyes in my everyday life that I had to pinch myself to remind me it was not in my imagination.

This is Yamdrok Yumtso, a mountain lake nestled high up in the Tibetan plateau. The lake sits at an elevation of 4488 meters and is located about 100 km southwest of the city of Lhasa.

The waters of the lake really were this magnificent shade of turquoise blue! Barren hillsides framed the lake and the fluffiest of white clouds hung above in a steel blue colored sky. The air was crisp, clean and so still that there wasn’t even a single ripple in the water - the lake’s surface gleamed like glass. At first, the whole scene felt disquietingly calm for an urbanite like me – no movement, no noise. That is, until I felt my mind and every muscle in my body relaxing. I stood on the bluff as long as I could to take in the moment.

There is a Tibetan monastery, Samding, located on the shore of Yamdrok that you can visit followed by a lakeside walk. From Lhasa, it takes about a hour’s drive to get to Yamdrok. I would recommend hiring a taxi to take you there and back.