Naqu Guide

Naqu, located in the northern part of Tibet Autonomous Region, is bordered by Chamdo  to the east, Lhasa , Nyinchi  and Shigatse  to the south, Ngari  Prefecture to the west, and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Qinghai Province to the north. Naqu means "black river" in Tibetan. It is called Qiangtang in ancient times. Due to its location in north Tibet, Naqu was called "Northern Tibet" in history. Naqu covers a total area of more than 400,000 square km, accounting for one third of the whole Tibetan region.  Naqu has a population of about 450,000, with Tibetan population making up 99%.

Naqu map

In ancient times, Naqu was under the rule of Zhang Zhung regime. It is called Yangtong in ancient Chinese historical records, but in Tibetan historical records it is called Zhuodai, meaning "nomadic tribe" or "northerner". In the 7th century, Naqu area was ruled by Supi Tribe. After the establishment of Tubo regime by Songtsen Gampo, Naqu became the territory of Tubo. In the 10th century, Naqu, Yangbajain, Bangcang (in Tangra Yumco and Lhanag-tso), and Langru (in Baingoin County) were called four tribes in the north. Till 1269, posts were set up in Baqing, Suo County, Biru, Naqu and Dangxiong, Mongolian soldiers were stationed there. In 1725 Qing government set up Amban of Qinghai and appointed Chijiajiqin, the twelfth king of Hor to govern 39 tribes under the direct administration.

Tanggula Mountains

Naqu lies among Tanggula Mountains, Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains and Gangdisi Mountains. The terrain is high in the west and low in the east. It is wide and flat in the midwest, mainly with hills and basins. The eastern part are river valleys with many high mountains and gorges. The average altitude is above 4500 metres. The average oxygen level is 60%. The highest peak within this area is Sangdankangsang Snow Mountain, with an altitude of about 6590 metres. There are crisscross rivers providing abundant water resource. Yangtze River and Nu River originated from Naqu. There are over 3000 lakes including Tso Ngön, Siling Lake, Shibu Lake and Namtso Lake  in Naqu, covering a total area of more than 10,000 square km. Namtso is the largest lake in Tibet and the second largest salt lake in China. Siling Lake is the second largest salt lake in north Tibetan Plateau. Naqu is located in subfrigid zone. It is high, cold, dry and windy and lack of oxygen, without frost-free period. The average annual temperature is -3.3~-0.9℃, and the relative humidity is 48%~51%, average annual rainfall is 380 mm, with rainfall from May to September accounting for 80% of the annual amount. The average annual sunshine duration is 2852.6~2881.7 hours. There are more than 110 kinds of wild animals such as monkey, wolf, lynx, argali, bharal, wild donkey, dwarf musk deer, leopard, bar-headed goose, fox, otter, Mongolian gazelle, snowcock, wild duck, yellow duck, black-necked crane, Tibetan antelope, wild yak, among which over 40 kinds are listed as key protected animals at national and municipal level, and more than 10 species were exclusively rare in Naqu.

Northern Tibetans

Northern Tibetans are enthusiastic and outgoing. They are good at dancing and singing, in particular tap dance and Guozhuang dancing which have a strong ethnic characteristics. Tibetan New Year and Horse Racing Festival are the main festivals for them. Tibetan New Year is the most grand and solemn festival for Tibetans. Most of nomads’ houses are civil engineering structure. They are settled or semi-settled. Their religion centres on nature worshipping and totem worshipping. They regard many mountains and lakes in north Tibet as sacred mountain and sacred lake, and worship the mountain and the lake every year.

Travelers' Questions Might Help

The questions raised by our past customers can help you get a more clear picture about tours to Tibet, read them or tell us your own questions please contract us, our specialists will reply you within 24 hours.

Ms. Ho*** from: When to get my Tibet permit
January 15, 2020 05:11

Hello, we are considering to travel in Tibet in summer. We are a family of 5, two adults and three kids, age 13(then), 10, 8. We are interested in the 10 days Mt. EBC & Namtso Lake Group tour. We are US citizens with valid 10-year Chinese multiple entry visa, which we have applied when we went to Beijing in 2019. We are currently living in South Korea.  


1. Are kids suitable (or even allowed) for this tour?  

2. If kids can join, are there any discount deals for kids?

Answered by Helen
January 15, 2020 07:54

Dear Ms. Ho***,

    Greetings from Helen at Budget Tibet Tour and welcome you to join our 10 days Mt. Everest & Namtso Lake group tour. For your questions: 1. Your kids are suitable for this tour. Travelling in Tibet is as safe for kids as it is for their parents. While the high Tibetan plateau may be the highest place on the planet, very often, the kids that visit this region are more adaptable and have fewer problems than their parents. We also have arranged wonderful Tibet tours for many families with kids such as a tour to EBC for a family with a 3-year-old son, a 9-year-old girl and a 11-year-old boy, they did have fun in Tibet and there is no problem for them. Or you can take some medicine under the guidance of doctor to prevent high altitude before enter Tibet. 2. If kids travel with you, we'll offer some discount for them, please check your email and find more detailed information. Thanks & Regards

Email to Helen about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

You might be also interested in

8 Days
From 827 USD
Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse - Mt. Everest Base Camp - Lhasa
Tour features:
1. Visit all the holy cultural landmarks in Lhasa
2. Four days acclimation before reaching EBC
3. Half day to explore base camp of the highest mountain in the world
4. Cheapest way to travel to the highest place you may ever reach in your lifetime
8 Days
From 950 USD
Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse -Sakya - Tingri - Everest Base Camp - Gyirong Port
Tour features:
1. Visit all the holy cultural landmarks in Lhasa
2. Five days acclimation before reaching EBC
3. Explore the base camp of the highest mountain in the world
4. Budget way to discover Buddhist kingdoms in the Himalayas
4 Days
From 440 USD
Lhasa city tour
Tour features:
1. Visit world heritage sites of Potala Palace & Johkang Temple
2. Stroll around the bustling Barkchor Street of medieval atmosphere
3. Learn Tibet Buddhism by visiting the two most important monasteries in Lhasa
4. Cheapest Tibet tour you could have