Namtso Lake locates at 4700m above sea level. And you will need to avoid visit the late during December, January and February when the road is most likely blocked due to the heavy snow.
Namtso Lake locates at 4718m above sea level on the Qinghai Tibet plateau, surrounded by mountains which are covered by snow all year around. It is completely closed without any river flowing out. The special geographical features determine bring special weather and climate to Namtso Lake. As a semi-humid to semi-arid transition zone, Namtso Lake’s climate features are - much of wind, strong sunlight, heavy snow in winter, medium precipitation, and alpine-arctic. The air density there is around 0.72km/ m³. More than 65% days are sunny. Rain season is from June to October while the dry season is from November to May of next year. Strong winds usually occur in the afternoons and dusks of months from December to May of next year. Sudden change and snowstorms are very common across the Namtso Lake area. The warmest months are June, July and August when the normal temperatures are around 15°C, and can rise up to around 22°C. The coldest months are December, January and February when the lowest temperature can be low to -10°C.
Because of the frequent snow and much low temperature, Namtso Lake is usually frozen with thick ice covered in the winter and spring. It starts to snow frequently from November. Then all the surrounding mountains will be completely covered by snow. As the temperatures becoming lower and lower, the snows turn into thick ice covering on the lake. The ice only starts to melt in May when tourists can hear loud noise of the ice fragmentation.
When is the Best Time to Visit Namtso Lake?
To have a trip to Namtso Lake, you should avoid December, January and February when the attraction is usually closed for maintenance for the strong snow. The guest houses and restaurants also retreat during that period. You are suggested to visit Namtso Lake during June to September, especially August, when the temperatures are pleasant, the sky is pure and grasslands are green. Besides, you can enjoy a better condition of accommodation and dinning.
There are no distinct four seasons at Namtso Lake because of the high altitudes. Generally speaking, the winter and spring are much the similar - dry, cold and snow. While the summer and autumn also have too much in common – relatively warm, more rain, less snow, strong sunlight. You can only see the difference of seasons when the temperatures start to decline, and the snow gets often.
Winter and Spring
Winter is quite long at Namtso Lake. It usually starts from November to February. It is the coldest time at Namtso Lake. There is usually snow each week, sometimes strong snows. When the January comes, the lake starts to get frozen. It will be completely frozen when February comes. During the winter days, Namtso Lake will be closed for maintenance. Besides, the road to Namtso from Lhasa is too icy to drive during that period.
The spring (March to April) is like the extension of winter. But the temperatures will rise a little. The normal temperature in March is around 4.6°C and 8.1°C in April. The lowest temperatures still can be low to below 0°C in the nights. The ice on the lake usually starts to melt in April. If you want to take a walk on the ice, you can take the visit in April.
Generally speaking, you are not suggested to visit Namtso during winter and spring. Firstly the lake is closed in most months; secondly it is too cold to travel; thirdly there might be no place for accommodation in the winter and spring.
Summer and Autumn
The summer of Namtso Lake starts from May to August. It is as long as the winter, and perfect for an adventure at Namtso Lake. During the summer days, it won’t be hot even though the daytime temperatures increase a lot. The normal temperature in May is around 11.9°C. It starts to get high in June, and keeps a stable level in July and August when the normal temperatures are around 15°C, and can rise up to around 22°C. You will not feel chilly because the coldest temperature is only about 10°C. But there is a hug temperature gap between day and night. The green grassland is the biggest feature of summer. You can see the herds of local nomads scattering on the grasslands everywhere.
Autumn only lasts from September to October. The temperatures start to decline in September but not very obviously. So September is still one of the best months to visit Namtso. In the October, the daytime is not cold. But when the night comes, the temperature will decrease to about 1°C. The plants on surrounding grassland and mountains will start to perish.
Never have the idea to wear a T-shirt on the Namtso trip even if the temperature is more than 20°C. You have to wear for the cold air, strong wind, and possible change of weather, which means you should dress in layers that can be easily added or removed. A down jacket (better with hat) together with other warm-keeping clothing is necessary for the later afternoon and night. No matter you wear a jacket or a shirt , it should be long-sleeved. A pair firmed, water-proof, warm-keeping and well-fitting shoes are recommended. You can wear a hat and neckerchief to protect your neck from sunburn in the daytime.