Tibet, located Northeast of the Himalayas, is part of the China region. With the increasing demand in tourism, there are more flights flying into Tibet these days. Due to its untouched nature, many places remain charming and breath-taking. Close your eyes for a second to visualize clean turquoise water beneath a clear blue sky in front of you. This is exactly what you can expect at Draksum-Tso lake. It is one of the most beautiful and serene lakes in the world.
Sustainability of the lake
Located 7 hours away from Lhasa, capital of Tibet, foreigners will need a permit to get to the lake. There are police officers at every stretch of the road to check your passport and permit. To avoid hassle or getting into potential trouble with the local officers, you should go with a tour guide who can speak the local language.
Car and coaches are not allowed to get into the vicinity of the lake. This is to avoid pollution of the place. You would need to take a green tram to get in.
The tram is commonly filled with tourists but there are also some locals who may be visiting the temple in the area. In Tibet, you could see the locals spinning Tibetan prayer wheels, which consists of a metal cylinder inscribed with Buddhist sculptures and a handle. The wheel shall be spun clockwise while the devotees chant their prayers. If you are interested to get one home as a souvenir, you can get them easily at the stalls in Lhasa. You should avoid “playing” around with it in Tibet because this is a sacred item to the locals.
Stepping into a dream-like paradise
Tibet is blessed with clear blue skies. Seeing the peaceful turquoise lake for the first time, you might experience a great sense of tranquility. The lake is calm and time seems to stand still while admiring it. It is perhaps one of the most scenic spots in the world.
Photography is allowed and the vicinity offers tons of great opportunities for good pictures against the blue skies or snow-capped mountains far beyond.
Expect noise from the tour group
Since this is a tourist attraction, do expect noise especially from large tour groups. Given the serenity and beauty of the lake, most visitors are encouraged to observe silence so everyone could enjoy the beautiful lake. At the front of the lake, there are many fishes and you can purchase some breads from the locals to feed the fish. While it is fun doing so, avoid overfeeding the fishes, especially if you see a large tour group throwing tons of breads to the fishes. That would sadly pollute the water, so let’s avoid doing that.
Understanding the local traditions and beliefs
Besides being a scenic spot, there is a local temple in the area. On certain days during a celebration or festive season, the temple will be crowded with locals and you would have no chance to get in. It is interesting to see the locals leaving their belongings such as bags outside the temple on the trees or benches unattended. This is probably something that none of us would do but the concept of belonging is very simple to the locals. In their mind, they have nothing valuable to be stolen and the sense of trust is very strong in the Tibetan culture.
As you walk around, you would also notice that there are money notes on the trees. Please do not attempt to take them as these are placed by the locals for religious purposes. If you looked down the slope as you passed by these “money” trees, you would notice some colored cloth. These are the Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags that you will notice around Tibet. It was explained by a local Tibetan guide that infants who passed away due to sickness are buried by the lake to be close to nature. The burial ceremonies in Tibet come in many forms including sky and water burial where they believe in returning back to nature when after death.
A get-together ground for the locals
Near to the exit is an open field where locals gather to have picnics. The variety of their local snacks is very simple, i.e. milk, plain water and pancakes. Despite the simplicity of their picnic snacks, everyone has a calm and happy smile on their face while enjoying the presence of their family and friends, and watching the tourists passing by. Many are friendly and would wave at you! They may even offer you some of their home-made snacks so do try if you are being offered.
There are also several street hawkers selling fruits and food, mostly the locals will buy from them.
The calmness and serenity of the lake will leave the deepest impression on you even after you leave the place. Green turquoise water over a clear blue sky isn’t a scene that most city-dwellers get to enjoy often.
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