Nam-tso Lake, Tibet:
Because longer excursions outside of Lhasa were too expensive for independent travellers and students such as us, we could only afford a day trip to Nam-tso Lake with a minibus and a couple of other tourists. In any case, this short journey offered us the possibility to see more of the vast Tibetan landscape and was definitely worth it! Mountains and valleys inhabited by nomads and their cattle passed by the car window. We stopped at Laken Pass where a couple of Tibetans with their yaks waited for tourists to take photographs for some small change. At an altitude of more than 5000 m, walking uphill became a breathtaking activity! Nam-tso Lake itself is a popular spot near Lhasa, where visitors can ride on yaks at the shore and take their photographs in front of the mighty Nyenchen Tanglha with a height of more than 7000 m looming on the opposite side of the lake. A small tent village even offers hot meals and the possibility to stay overnight and experience a night in the open Tibetan countryside. With a surface area of around 1900 km², Nam-tso is the second largest salt lake of China. Originally, the area has been used for spiritual retreats: at the end of the winter, pilgrims walked across the ice to small uninhabited islands where they would spend the summer without access to the outside world. Another destination for pilgrims is the Tashi Dor monastery at the shore of the lake.