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Nagchu Tour Guide

Time: 18-11-2019 This Article is Composed by BudgetTibetTour

Nagchu is located in northern part of Tibet, and it sits on the edge of Changtang, a bleak town of mud and concrete, but it still plays an important role on both the road and railway line between Qinghai and Tibet. Nagchu is one of the highest, coldest and most windswept in all of Tibet. Nagchu is the largest area in Tibet, accounting for nearly 47 percent of the region's total land area, but its population is less than 20 percent, mostly are nomadic herders. Nagchu, in the northern part of the Tibet Autonomous Region, is a sparsely populated area with more animals than people. This is an unspoiled grassland and protected wildlife, which is the culture of the most remote place in Tibet. Northern people warm and cheerful, bold and generous, special skills. Reading this guide will help you learn more how to prepare a Nagchu tour well.

Nagchu Tour  
Nagchu Tour

Tip 1. Nagchu Facts

Chinese name: Nàqū(那曲)
Location: Northern Tibet autonomous region
Altitude: 4,500m (14,764ft)
Area: 369,674 square kilometers
Population: 503,700
Administrative Division: 1 district, 10 counties

Nagchu Area  
Nagchu Area

Tip 2. When & How to go to Nagchu

Nagchu region from November to March of the next year, is a period of arid and windy, dry climate, low temperature, oxygen sand, long duration. From May to September it is relatively warm. It is the golden season for grasslands during that time. In a mild climate, the weather is warm and sunny, accounting for 80% of the annual rainfall. Green plant growing season in this year about 100 days, when the grassland is green, prosperous.

Nowadays, the traffic in Nagchu is more and more convenient, you can go there by train or driving.

Driving to Nagchu: For the tourists who plan to arrive in Lhasa by plane firstly, you may choose drive from Lhasa to Nagchu. The distance between Nagchu and Lhasa is about 330km and the driving time is nearly 6-7 hours. Although the driving time is a little bit long, you can stop for sightseeing or photograph whenever you want.

Train to Nagchu: With the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, travelling to Lhasa by train has become a popular choice for domestic and foreign tourists. Qinghai-Tibet Railway, with a total length of 1956 kilometers, starts from Xining, passes through Kunlun Mountain, Tuotuo River, Tanggula Mountain, Ando, Nagchu and Yangpachen, and finally reaches Lhasa. You can also choose to take train the train from Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu or Chongqing to Lhasa. All the trains between Lhasa and these cities will stop at Nagchu railway station. You’ll have an unforgettable train journey, viewing a variety of landscapes, such as grassland, desert, snow mountains. It takes about 17 hours from Xining to Nagchu by train, while train riding time is about 3.5 hours from Lhasa to Nagchu.

Nagchu Train Station  
Nagchu Train Station

Tip 3. What to See & Do in Nagchu

Nagchu is the soul of the grassland in northern Tibet, located in the northern part of the Tibet Autonomous Region, at the northern foot of Tanggula Mountain and Nianqing Tanggula Mountain. The average altitude here is above 4500 meters. Nagchu not only has beautiful grasslands, but also a variety of scenic features, the source of the magical Yangtze river is here. Due to the harsh natural conditions, few people can reach here, so many of the scenery is original appearance, the scenery here is very magnificent, snow mountains, grassland, blue sky reflected in the river, constitute a refreshing natural beauty. The scenic spots worth seeing are Changtang Grassland, Nyenchen Tanggula Mountain, Horse Racing Festival.

Changtang Grassland - Located among the Kunlun, Tanggula and Gangdise Mountains, Changtang, one of the five pastures in China, a paradise for wildlife and rich in fertile soil and sediments. The average elevation of Changtang grassland is over 4,500 meters, which is the largest pure natural grassland in Tibet. There are a variety of landscapes such as desert, grassland, lakes, mountains. In recent years, with the continuous improvement of the ecosystem, the Changtang National Nature Reserve has become a paradise for wild yak, Tibetan antelope, Tibetan dzigettai and other wild animals. There are more than a thousand kinds of wild life in this area now. In the endless grassland, yak, sheep and tents are everywhere. Because the altitude of Changtang grassland is over 4,500 meters, although it is rich in vegetation, it is a plateau after all, and the oxygen content is relatively low. Therefore, tourists should pay attention to the high altitude sickness and bring anti-altitude sickness medicine when you come to the Changtang grassland.

Changtang Grassland  
Changtang Grassland

Nyenchen Tanggula Mountain - Located in the south of Namtso Lake and about 100 kilometers north of Lhasa, it is the highest peak in Nagchu region. It is 1500 kilometers long and 80 kilometers wide with an average altitude of 5000 to 6000 meters. It is enveloped in fleecy clouds and mist, snow covers all year round. Nyenchen Tanggula Mountain is one of the most sacred mountain ranges in Tibet. Nyenchen Tanggula Mountain and Namtso Lake are not only the most remarkable sacred mountain and lake in Tibet, also the lovers and couples who depend on each other for life and death. The holy mountain has attracted thousands of believers, pilgrims and tourists to observe and worship Buddha, and becomes the largest religious shrine and tourist landscape on the roof of the world. From all sides of the plateau, and especially from all sides of the lake, there is magnificent view of the peak. Nearby is the highest railway station in the world - Tanggula Railway Station at 5,067 meters above sea level.

Nyenchen Tanggula Mountain  
Nyenchen Tanggula Mountain

Horse Racing Festival - The town holds a large horse-racing festival, which usually falls at the beginning of August, when Nagchu swells with up to 10,000 nomads and their tents from all over the Changtang. In addition to herdsmen and traders, many domestic and foreign travelers also come to enjoy the annual horse race. During the activities of the jockey club, you can not only witness the bold and heroic knight demeanor of northern Tibet, but also enjoy the authentic folk atmosphere, and participate in various folk singing and dancing activities to experience the local cultural customs. Nagchu is about 320 kilometers far from Lhasa, it takes you about 6-7 hours to drive to Nagchu. If you want to have an unforgettable experience and take some quality photos, you should prepare at least three days for this festival.

Horse Racing Festival  
Horse Racing Festival

Tip 4. Where to Stay in Nagchu

Nagchu accommodation is mainly concentrated in Nagchu county - capital city of Nagchu region. There are no luxuries hotels available in Nagchu, only some ordinary hotels for staying. These hotels will provide you with a clean and comfortable accommodation environment, while the facilities are very simple, you may not expect too much from your local hotel. In Nagchu, many hotels don’t have licenses to receive foreigners. Here we'll show you some of the better hotels in this area.

Nagchu Hotel (那曲饭店)

The best-value of the hotels that can accept foreigners, this hotel has smart clean rooms and decent bathrooms with 24 hours hot water and squat toilets. Nice touches include mist-free bathroom mirrors and oxygen canisters and altitude sickness pills for sale in each room.

Nagchu Hotel  
Nagchu Hotel

Post Hotel (邮苑宾馆)

Next to post office, place is a bit on the grimy side, but tends to have the cheapest rooms available for foreigners. Common bathrooms have no shower, but if you want a private bathroom, you’re much better off going to Nagchu Hotel. The Post Hotel is on the right before Nagchu Hotel.

Tip 5. Necessary Permits for Nagchu Tour

Wherever you are going to visit in Tibet, the Tibet Travel Permit is a must, and it’s issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau. Foreign tourists are not allowed to apply for Tibet Travel Permit on their own, it can only be applied by travel agencies. If you decide to go to Tibet, book tour with a travel agency like us, then we’ll apply for Tibet Travel Permit for you before you enter Tibet. Without Tibet Travel Permit, foreign tourists are not allowed to board plane or train to Lhasa. Besides,  Aliens’ Travel Permit is also necessary for Nagchu tour. This permit can only be applied after entering Tibet. Moreover, your tour guide will apply it with your Tibet Travel Permit and passport.

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Travelers' Questions Might Help

The questions raised by our past customers can help you get a more clear picture about tours to Tibet, read them or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side, our specialists will reply you within 24 hours.

user portrait Mr. Ju*** from: 4 Days Lhasa Holy Landmarks Express

Hi, I plan to arrive in Lhasa on the 9th of March in 2020 by train and would like to do a 4 day tour. Unfortunately there are no tours scheduled between January and April, will there be tours added or are there not any planned?

Kind regards

Julian Franz

Answered by Helen

Hello Mr. Ju***,

    Thanks very much for your inquiry. We currently have no group tour in February and March, if you would like to travel Tibet in these months, we are able to arrange a private tour for you. While there are several confirmed departure date for the group tour in January and April, if your time is flexible, you may consider joining a group tour in April. I will send detailed itinerary to your email, please check it. Warm regards.

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