World's Highest Lake Welcomes Over 750,000 Visitors
The world's highest lake in Lhasa, southwestern Tibet Autonomous Region in China, was visited by more than 750,000 local and foreign tourists in 2015, the local government announced on Friday.
Namtso Lake (Lake Nam) attracted a record number of tourists last year, boosting its tourism by 31 percent compared to 2014. Local government officials revealed that they have introduced five new tourism products to increase tourist attraction and even unveiled a coach line that connects the downtown area of Lhasa and the lake.
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Known in the European literature as the "Heavenly Lake," Namtso Lake is not only the world's highest altitude salt lake but is also one of the favorite places that tourists visit. It has been featured in movies like Shangri-La, The Touch and even in American television programs like the 2004 BBC series Himalaya with Michael Palin.
Namtso Lake stands as high as 4,722 meters and has a surface area of about 1,920 km2. Its maximum length and width are at 70 kilometers and 30 kilometers, respectively, and has a max depth of 125 meters (410 feet).
The lake is composed of five inhabited islands. These islands used to be a spiritual retreat place for pilgrims. In the past, pilgrims, packing foods and supplies, crossed over the frozen lake to reach the islands and stay there for the entire summer. They only returned when the lake water froze again the following winter.
Aside from the lake, Namtso has other tourist attractions to offer including its cave hermitages, a celebrated, century-old place for many pilgrims; the Laken Pass, a mountain pass in the northwestern part of Lhasa; Tashi Dor monastery; and settlements including Dobjoi, Cha'gyungoinba and Donggar.