Covering an area of about 150,000 square meters, Yambajan, 87 kilometers away from Lhasa, is situated in the basin at the foot of Nyainqentanglha Mountains to the northwest of Lhasa.
Tibet boasts the most hot springs in China. Yambajan, world-famous for its spectacular phenomenon of hot springs boiling on the cold plateau, 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.
There are many hydrothermal wells distributed in the Yambajan hydrothermal area for generating electricity. And the Yambajan Hydrothermal Power Plant, jointly developed and constructed by China and the United Nations and completed in 1977, is currently the biggest hydrothermal power plant in China. The hydrothermal energy in the hydrothermal wells, transported by the pipeline, propels the turbines in the hydrothermal power plant to generate cheap and environmental electricity for Lhasa and the areas nearby.
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.
The hot spring in Yambajan, which contains high content of sulfureted hydrogen, is therapeutic to many chronic diseases. The bathing place is an open-air swimming pool. The hot spring, the temperature of which is too high, 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, it is very pleasant and romantic to enjoy the heavy snowfall by bathing in the hot spring.
Surrounded by the glaciers, lush primeval forest and snow-capped mountains, Yambajan is located in a basin covered with verdurous meadow and beautiful flowers, endowed with picturesque scenery. 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 features eight spectacular scenic spots. The first: Bread-Steaming Hot Spring. Bread can be steamed over the hot springs near Tsangpuqu River in the southeast Yambajan. The second: 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. The third: 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. The four: Alkali-Liquor-puffing Fountain. In the southwest Yambajan, a big fountain with a diameter of 1.5 meters can puff alkali liquor. The fifth: 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). The sixth: 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. The seventh: 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. The eighth: Sulphur Ditch.
30 yuan is charged for hot-spring bathing per person. Swimming suit needs to be self-prepared.
Yambajan, located between Lhasa and Namtso, is 87 kilometers from Lhasa. In 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 8,000 meters 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.
Beside the restaurant near the swimming pool for hot-spring bathing, there are two rooms with 7-8 beds for lodging, 30 yuan charged per day. The Yambajan Power Plant Guesthouse, a two-storied building, charges 25-30 yuan for a bed per day. Yambajan Army Station offers official guest rooms and ordinary 4-bed rooms, charging 100 yuan and 25 yuan per person per day respectively. Near the transport station, there are several guesthouses, which, however, are far from the central geothermal area. As a matter of fact, if you stay in Lhasa, you don’t have to take the trouble to find lodging in Yambajan, for a round trip from Lhasa to Yambajan only takes a day.
On the plateau, you need consume a large amount of oxygen. So when bathing in the hot spring, don’t do the exercise that requires too much energy, otherwise you may feel physically weak after finishing your bath. In addition, if you visit Yambajan on the way to Namtso, you’d better have the hot-spring bathing on the way back from Namtso, otherwise, you may miss the beautiful dusk scenery of Lake Namtso, and what’s worse, your Altitude Sickness may be aggravated as a result of physical consumption in the hot-spring bathing.