Ngari Transportation

Highway transport is the main transport in Ngari. There are four roads leading to Ngari. One is the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway. The road starts from Yecheng, Xinjiang, and winds south 1,179 kilometers to the Town of Shiquanhe, the capital city of Ngari Prefecture. The road stretches through 10 snow-capped mountains of the Kunlun Ranges. It is the highest road in the world. Almost 1,000 km of the road is at an elevation 4,000 meters and 130 km of the road at an elevation of 5,000 meters. However, due to the harsh circumstances, it is still a difficult journey to Ngari along the road.

The beginning part of the second and third road is a same road, which starts from Lhasa and stretches west along the China-India highway. The road joins the Xinjiang-Tibet highway (the Yecheng-Lhaze part) until it enters the Ngamring County, where the road divides into the so-called northern and southern route: the 1,750 km long northern route [Coqen-Sang (the Sangsang District in Ngamring County) road to Coqen] passes Gerze, Ge'gyai and finally reaches Shiquanhe Town; the 1,300 km long southern road starts from Lhaze, passes by Zhongba and reaches Burang (the Lhaze-Burang Road) (The road passes Mt Kailash and Mapham Yutso Lake region and winds west, passes Mentu and reaches Shiquanhe Town).

The road condition of the southern road is better. There are no regular buses. It is only possible to travel by taxi or hitchhiking. It is a much longer distance to take the northern road and the road condition is worse. But the road passes by the Yamzhou Yumco Lake. [The lake, called the “jade lake” in Tibetan, is located in Zamar Lung Village, Baidi Township, Nanggarze County of Lhoka (Shannan in Chinese) Prefecture of Tibet. It is known as one of the “three sacred lakes” (Lhomo Namco Holy Lake, Mapham Yutso Lake and Yamzhou Yumco Lake are called as the “three sacred lakes” in Tibet). Being the largest inland lake at the northern foot of the Himalayas, Yamzhou Yumco Lake is at an altitude of 4,441 meters, with an area of 678 sq. km. The lake is 30 meters deep on an average, with the deepest part being 59 meters.] It is necessary to pass a 340-kilometer long part of the old road to reach the lake. The road condition is quite bad. However, when tourists reach the Kamba La mountain pass, it is spectacular to have a birds-eye view of the lake and it’s worth visiting.

Both the northern and the southern roads run through the depopulated area and the grasslands, the gobi, swamps and deserts.

The forth road, the Amdo-Shiquanhe road starts from Amdo in Nagqu of Tibet, passes through the Chiangtang grassland and stretches west. The road joins the above-mentioned northern road at Dongco and leads to Shiquanhe. Due to the poor road condition, the poor supply of oil, food and medical equipment along the road, and the harsh climate, the road is only available in August and September.


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