Yambajan: Experiencing the High Altitude Hot Springs in Tibet

Taking a hot bath outside in winter can be considered somewhat rare. Taking a hot bath outside in winter at an altitude of 4,300 meters is indeed out of the ordinary! The amazing Yambajan in China’s Tibet offers you this possibility.

Tibet boasts the most hot springs in China. Yambajan, at an altitude between 4,290 m (14,100 ft) and 4,500 m (15,000 ft), is world-famous for its spectacular phenomenon of hot springs boiling on the cold plateau. It features all kinds of hot springs including highest-temperature hot springs, boiling springs and geysers as well as common hot springs, the area of which totals more than 7,000 square meters.

Yambajan Hot Springs

Surrounded by the glaciers, lush primeval forest and snow-capped mountains, Yambajan is located in the basin at the foot of Nyainqentanglha Mountains to the northwest of Lhasa. Driving down the windy and snowy Nyainqentanglha Mountains and near the entrance of the basin, you will feel heat puffing right on your face, warm and comfortable.

Yambajan in Tibet

The hot spring in Yambajan, which contains high content of sulfureted hydrogen, is therapeutic to many chronic diseases. Both indoor swimming pool and outdoor swimming pool are available. The bathing place is an open-air swimming pool. The temperature of the hot spring is too high; it needs to be cooled in two open-air cisterns before it is available for bathing. With the snow-capped mountains in the distance, it is really an enjoyment to have a hot-spring bath in the swimming pool; especially in winter when you can bath while enjoying the heavy snowfall.

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Yambajan features eight spectacular scenic spots.

1: Bread-Steaming Hot Spring. Bread can be steamed over the hot springs near Tsangpuqu River in the southeast Yambajan.

2: Fish-Cooking River. The melted ice and snow flowing down from mountains converges to be the water of Tsangpuqu River, which, when flowing across Yambajan, is boiled by the heat erupting from the riverbed. As a result, the fish swimming here are cooked, floating on the surface of the water and becoming the food of passing-by birds and animals.

3: Noodle-Cooking Hot Spring. Around a limpid stream in the southwest Yambajan bestrew a lot of small hot springs, from the mouth of which, the boiling water with the temperature of 90 0c bubbles out and can cook noodles and eggs.

4: Alkali-Liquor-puffing Fountain. In the southwest Yambajan, a big fountain with a diameter of 1.5 meters can puff alkali liquor.

5: Vinegar Boiling Spring. With a diameter of 1 meter and a depth of 4 meters, the milk-white acid boiling spring is as delicious as the Shanxi Vinegar (a famous vinegar in China).

6: Hot Water Lake. The lake, located in the northeast basin, is as big as more than 20 basketball courts. The highest temperature of the lake middle reaches 57.7 0c. There was a folktale about the lake. It was said to be a big natural bathing pool that Jade Emperor constructed for the female court attendants in the heaven, who would bath in the lake in the evening.

7: Warming Ditches. At the foot of a mountain in the north Yambajan, there are four ditches covered with soft grit. Getting off the bus and sitting on the soft grit, you will find yourself sitting by the fireplace, warm and comfortable all over.

8: Sulphur Ditch: A ditch with the healing properties of sulfur.

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The early morning in Yambajan is the most beautiful. In the cold morning, the hydrothermal fields are always suffused with white haze and the lake surface is always covered with great steam agglomerations, which is really fascinating and makes Yambajan a wonderland. If you are lucky enough, you may have a chance to witness the fantastic and splendid scene: the boiling water is erupting to the sky from the mouth of hot spring.

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Transportation

Yambajan, located between Lhasa and Namtso, is 87 kilometers (54 miles) from Lhasa. At the long-distance bus station in Lhasa, there are many scheduled buses to Yambajan. At the transport station in Yambajan or at the roadside of Qinhai-Tibet Highway, it is easy to get a lift or get on a scheduled bus. The swimming pool for hot-spring bath is about 8 kilometers away from the Qinhai-Tibet Highway and there is no taxi available, so you have to go on foot or by bus.

To have hot-spring bathing, you can also rent a car on the way back from Lake Namtso to Yambajan, but remember to discuss the renting price with the driver beforehand.

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