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Nagqu Travel Guide

Tibet MapNagqu Prefecture lies in the north of Tibet. It neighbors on Chamdo on the east, Lhasa on the south, Ngari on the west and Xinjiang on the north. In this region, the far-flung Changtang Prairie and mysterious Northern-Tibet uninhabited area always make a very deep impression on tourists. The Changtang Prairie covers most of Nagqu. It is one of the regions that have good ecological environment.

Facts of Nagqu

Full Name: Nagqu Prefecture
Chinese Name: 那曲地区 (nà qǔ dì qū)
Population: 362,000
Area: 420,000 square kilometers (162,163 square miles) 
Nationalities: Tibetan  
Administrative Division: 10 counties (Nagqu, Lhari, Driru, Nyainrong, Amdo, Xainza, Sog, Palgon, Drachen, Nyima); 1 special district (Shuanghu Special District) 
Seat of the Regional Government: 24, Zhejiang Xi Lu, Nagqu Town, Nagqu County

History of Nagqu

Nagqu area was known as 'Zhuodai' in the historical records and means pasturing tribe, Nomads living there were called 'Zhuoba' of 'Qiangba'. Before the 7th Century, the Supi tribe governed this area. As the Tubo tribe became stronger and established its own regime in the 7th century, the area was brought into the sphere of the new dynasty. After the Song Dynasty (960-1279), it was one of the four major tribes in northern Tibet. 

Geography of Nagqu

Location: Nachu Prefecture stands in the vast land of northern Tibet Autonomous Region, neighboring Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Qinghai Province to the north. Within Tibet, it is bordered by Chamdo Prefecture to the east, Lhasa to the south and Ngari to the west.

Physical Features: The region is embraced by the mountains of Tanggula, Kangdese and Nyainqentanglha, guarded by snow capped Dargo Mountain in the west and Burgyi Mountain in the east. Its terrain slopes downward from the west to the east. The average altitude of the region is over 4,500 meters (14,764 feet). Its eastern part holds a river valley which is the only agricultural belt in northern Tibet. 

What to see in Nagqu?

Mt. Nyainqentanglha: Driving 100 kilometers (62 miles) northward after leaving Lhasa and traversing the Yangpachen, visitors can see the mountain right in front of you. The snow-capped mountain with clouds wafting around the lofty peak is spoken of as a famous religious patron saint in Tibet, which is considered to be the chief sacred mountain in northern Tibet. Both Bonist and Buddhist disciples venerate it as the ashram of divinities.  Namtso Lake and Changtang (Qiangtang) Pasture are all famous spots of this area.

Additionally, in the east of Nagqu, there are many unique Karst caves. The most marvelous one is the Maimo Cave in Baqen County. People nickname it Fairy's Private Apartment. On the both sides of the cave mouth stand two stelae like the guardians of the cave. Entering the cave, you can find natural stone ladders and small caves. The two biggest ones are Red and Green caves. They both are very very long, which are well worth exploring.

Other Scenic Spots: Dargo Snow Mountain, Tsangyang Gyatse Lake, Serling Lake.

Namsto LakeChangtang GrasslandSerling Lake
                  Namtso Lake           Changtang Grassland          Serling Lake


The Horse Racing Festival, held every August, is quite an occasion to admire the natural landscape and folkcustoms of the grassland of northern Tibet. The unpopulated area in northern Tibet is mysterious for tourists. Wild yaks and antelopes inhabit this land. Rock paintings discovered in the undeveloped virgin ground add more mystery and charms to the deserted landscape.

When to visit Nagqu?

Belonging to the second frigid climatic zone, the region is characterized by high altitude, coldness, lack of oxygen, dry and windy weather. Its annual average temperature falls around -3.3℃to -0.9 . November to March is the dry season.  The weather is warm during the period from May to September, and this is the golden season for the grassland there. 

How to get there?

Nagqu Railway Station is seated in Emadige Village of Mendi Township, which is about two kilometers from the county. Trains from Lhasa to Lanzhou, Xining, Chongqing, Chengdu and Beijing all make short stops at the station.
Nagqu is a main stop on the Qinghai-Tibet Highway. There are many regular buses to Lhasa and Qinghai Province. Visitors can find the bus station at 25, Zhejiang Dong Lu, Nagqu Town. For individual tourists arriving from Qinghai, the regular or state-owned bus fleet is quite dependable.

Nagqu Travel Tips

Special Local Products: dried meat of yak and sheep, ghee, cashmere, decorations.

Useful Telephone Numbers: 
Tourist Complaints: 0896-3820677 
Weather Forecast: 121
Zip Code Inquiry: 184
China Post: 149, Seni Xi Lu, Nagqu Town

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