Located about 62 miles (100 km) to the southwest of Lhasa, Yamdrok Lake is the largest lake in southern Tibet and one of the country’s three sacred bodies of water. More than 45 miles (72 km) long with depths of up to 197 feet (60 meters), this freshwater lake is a beautiful jade green color; the mirror-like surface reflects the clouds. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, it’s also a place of pilgrimage for the Tibetan people and is said to be the life-spirit of the Tibetan nation. Legend has it that if its waters dry up, Tibet will no longer be habitable. The waters of the lake are also rumored to make the old young again and improve the intelligence of children. Legends aside, Yamdrok Lake is known for commercial fishing and a variety of avian life.
Yamdrok Lake was also home to the Samding monastery, famous for the fact that it was the only one in Tibet to have a female abbot. The residence of the Dorje Pakmo (the highest female Lama), the monastery is currently inactive but is being restored.
It’s about a three- or four-hour trip from Lhasa to the summit of Kamba-la pass, which is 16,319 feet (4974 m) above sea level. From here, guests have the best views of Yamdrok Lake. If desired, they can travel down to the lake to touch the waters.