Unbeknownst to most outsiders, Tibet boasts the most hot springs of any region in China. Chief amongst these hot springs is Yambajan, a grandiose sprawl which offers up a steaming trove of hot springs and geysers. The entire region spans over 7,000 square meters, and this collection of hot springs is so immense that, as you drive down the winding roads along the snowy Nyainqentanglha Mountains near the entrance to Yambajan, you will be able to feel the heat of the hot springs enveloping your face in a warm caress. Surrounded by a cluster of glaciers, lush primeval forests and enigmatic snow-capped mountains, Yambajan sits on the low-ground, nestled in a meadow basin sheltered by the elements. Yambajan is at its best early in the morning, when the sun slowly awakens, casting the steam emanating from the hydrothermal fields in a trickling cascade of light to create a swirling white haze which envelops the entire area, interrupted by a gurgle or eruption here or there as the occasional water jet lets loose.
The hot springs of Yambajan contain large amounts of sulphureted hydrogen, which is therapeutic for aching joints and eases the burdens of many chronic ailments. While most of the spring water is too hot to directly sink into, open-air cisterns are available to cool down the water. Immersed in the sweltering yet comforting heat of Yambajan’s rejuvenating waters, you will be pleasantly sheltered against the unrelenting cold and aridity of the Tibetan plateau, and as you gaze out at the distant snow-capped mountains you will feel a newfound connection with the region. Yambajan is located approximately 87 kilometers from Lhasa, and sits between Lhasa and Namtso Lake, and proper care should be taken when bathing in the region’s hot springs, as the combination of warm water and high altitudes may leave you feeling lightheaded.