Yamdrok Lake (also known as Yamdrok Yumtso or in Tibetan: ཡར་འབྲོག་གཡུ་མཚོ་ and Chinese: 羊卓雍錯) is a freshwater lake in Tibet, it is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. It is over 72 km (45 mi) long. The lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains and is fed by numerous small streams. The lake has an outlet stream at its far western end and means turquoise in English due to its color.



Around 90 km to the west of the lake lies the Tibetan town of Gyantse and Lhasa is a hundred km to the northeast. According to local mythology, Yamdok Yumtso lake is the transformation of a goddess and this is the reason it is considered so holy.

The Yamdrok Hydropower Station was completed and dedicated in 1996 near the small village of Baidiat the lake’s western end. This power station is the largest in Tibet.

If you are traveling to Yamdrok Lake you will need to be part of an organized tour run by a travel agency in order to attain a Tibet Travel Permit.

Usually the lake is seen on a larger tour along the way to the north side of Mount Everest at Everest Base Camp.  When you drive from Lhasa to Gyantse (a distance of 260 km)  you will hit Yamdrok Lake right around lunch time.  The first site you will see the Lake at will be the Khamba La Pass at 4,700 meters.  This is an excellent place to spend 30 minutes to photograph the turquoise waters of the brilliant lake.

Other than a few vendors selling fried potatoes and instant noodles, there are no restaurants at this remote location so you will need to drive another 1 hour (on the way to Gyantse town) to the small town of Nygartse.  There really is only a handful of Chinese restaurants on Nygartse and most foreign tourists end up eating Chinese dishes at the “Lhasa Restaurant”. The bathrooms are pretty dirty here but it makes a nice stop after a long day of travel.