Ngari Overview

Ngari Overview will help you have a more comprehensive understanding of Qamdo city from the basic information, geographical location, climate, transportation, culture, shopping, economy, natural resources and so on. Located in the west of Tibet, Ngari is as ""the Ridge of the World's Ridges" and “the most Tibetan part of Tibet”. The Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar  in Ngari area are regarded as the "sacred mountain" and "holy lake". In this land, sacred mountain, holy lake, mysterious ruins of Guge Kingdom make up the charm and mystery of Ngari.

Basic Information of Ngari


Lying in the western part of Tibet, Ngari is nestling at an altitude of 4500 m above sea level. Ngari neighbors Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on the north, the Nagqu Region on the east, the Xigaze Region on the southeast, Kashmir, India and Nepal on the west and south. Along the 116-kilometre border line, there are over 60 mountain passes leading outside. Among the seven counties under Ngari,  Gêrzê County,  Coqên County and Gê'gyai County are pure pasture lands, while Gar County, Burang County,  Zanda County and Rutog County also have agricultural lands.

Ngari History

The Ngari Plateau, formed millions of years ago due to the rising of Kunlun Mountains and the orogenic movement of Himalayas Mountains, is called the “roof of the world”. The early history of Ngari civilization dates back to the periods of Zhangzhung Kingdom, Tupo Kingdom, Guge Kingdom, and so forth.

Ngari is the cradle of the ancient Zhangzhung Culture and the homeland of the Tibetan religion of Bon. Zhangzhung Kingdom (from 2nd to 7th century) was founded in the western part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau as early as the 2nd or the 3rd century. During the 7th century, Liyifu, the King of Zhangzhung Kingdom married Semaka, daughter of Trison Detsanm, King of Tupo Kingdom (629 A.D~842/846 A.D), thus starting the alliance between Zhangzhung Kingdom and Tupo Kingdom. However, Prince Semarka’s marriage ended up in divorce. Then Tupo Kingdom waged a war on the Zhangzhung Kingdom and dethroned Liyifu. In 644, Tupo conquered Zhangzhung by force.

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Ngari Climate  

With an average altitude that exceeds 4,500 meters, Ngari is one of the highest areas of Tibet, and is the furthest prefecture from the Tibetan Capital of Lhasa. Due to its high altitude and wind region, Ngari features in frequent strong winds and low precipitation. However, seasonal rain is concentrated from early July to September that the rainfalls are about 80% of annual precipitation. The temperature varies greatly during a day. It can be over 20℃ in the daytime of summer, then drops to below 0℃ at night. The temperature difference during a year is slight. It is the coldest area in Tibet with an annual average temperature of 0℃. There is high ultraviolet radiationthin and dry air all the time. 

Best Time to Visit Ngari

Ngari is windy all year around. More than 149 days of a year have winds which reach at least level 8. It is the coldest area in Tibet with an annual average temperature of 0℃. There is a huge temperature gap between daytime and night. Ngari has less rainfall mostly of which happen during summer and early autumn.

Considering weather and road conditions, May, June, and the period from mid-Sepertember to early October are probably the best times to go to Ngari when the climate is mild and warm. From late October or early Novermber until early April next year, Drolma-la on the Mt Kaliash Kora is normally blocked with heavy snow. Some roads will be extremely muddy which is quite difficult for driving.

Administrative Divisions

As of 2012,  Ngari has jurisdiction over 7 counties, 7 towns, 37 townships, and 141 village committees. The Regional Administrative Office is located in Shiquanhe Town, Gar County.

7 counties: Gar County(噶尔县), Burang County(普兰县), Zanda County(札达县), Rutog County(日土县), Gê'gyai County(革吉县), Gêrzê County(改则县), Coqên County(措勤县)

Ngari Transportation

Transportation in Ngari is not as that convenient as Lhasa. Highway transport is the main transport in Ngari. Ngari borders Nepal and India in the west, which makes it very convenient for pilgrims from Nepal, India to traveling to Ngari. Outer transportation in Ngari mainly relies on highway transport. However, airlines are also available for some destinations such as ChengduXi’anUrumqiKashgar. You may also arrive in Lhasa first and then take a plane from Lhasa to Ngari Gunsa Airport. It is very easy to get to Ngari from Lhasa by plane since there are direct flights from Lhasa to Ngari. Taxi and private car rental are the most convenient ways to get around Ngari since there are not many city buses and suburban buses in Ngari.

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Ngari Culture

Ngari ethnic culture is mainly contributed by the Tibetan ethnic group living there. The art and culture of Ngari area is the important part of ancient Zhangzhung civilization that created many myths about the nature. Zhangzhung culture is famed as the root of Tibetan culture and its vestiges penetrate into every aspects of Tibetan culture. Nagri culture tour will guide you to know about the ethnic culture by visiting local Tibetan families and join in festivals and activities in Ngari such as  Saga Dawa Festival,  Wangguo Festival and Xiangxiong Cultural Festival, etc.

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Ngari Shopping

Thanks to its special geographic location and diverse climate, Ngari offers you local specialties of good agricultural products, such as blood sausage and air-dried yak meat. Tibetan handicrafts are also recommended, such as prayer flags, Buddha figures, conch-shell trumpets, rosaries, amulets, fur hats, horse bells, bridles, copper teapots, wooden bowls, Tibetan knives, and jewelry inlaid with turquoise and other gems are all specially designed and they are great souvenirs that you can buy. Tourists can buy necessities and handicrafts from various scenic spots, hotels,  stores, supermarkets and crafts shops along the streets. There is famous market in Ngari - Burang International Market. It is known for the Mount Kailash and Lake Lake Manasarovar. Burang International Market is also a scenic spot now. The products sold there are mainly from Nepal and India. 

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Ngari Food

Ngari dining offers you local Tibetan food and Sichuan food, etc. Ngari is located in the western Tibet, and the food in Ngari is quite limited in varieties under the influence of a harsh climate. Especially vegetables and fruits are mostly imported from other places.  Therefore the food in Ngari is much more expensive than expected. Anyhow, it is lucky that restaurants still can be found in most towns and counties of this remote area. The restaurants supply traditional Tibetan food, Sichuan food and other dishes. Usually, the food served are fried rice, noodles and simple dishes. Famous Ngari food include blood sausage, air dried meat, Tibetan Curry, sweat tea and buttered tea, etc.

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Things to Do in Ngari

Located at the junction of Himalayas, the Gangdise, the Kunlun Mountains and Karakorum Mountains, Ngari is a dream destination for both travelers and pilgrims who share the magnificent landscape, inspiring culture and friendship of local Tibetan together.  It may well contain the most inaccessible part of the globe outside of polar regions.  Ngari houses the ruins of Guge KingdomMount KailashManasarovar Lake, pre-historic culture site, etc. Mount Kailash Kora or Tibet Kailash pilgrimage tour is the mostly chosen one among tourists traveling to Tibet. If you are a fan of trekking adventure, you can have a try. Lake Manasarovar and Pangong Tso Lake will give you a visual feast of the green lake scenery and magificent surrounding landscape, while the Site of Ancient Guge Kingdom provide you a window to the history of Ngari.

Mount Kailash Kora

Mount Kailash is located in Burang County, Ngari. Mount Kailash means King of mountains. The major peak Kangrinboqe in west is the most famous divine mountain in Tibetan Buddhism, which is famed as one of four sacred mountains. Every year, thousands of pilgrims finish thier pilgrimage to the Mount Kailash. If you've made full preparation, both mentally and physically, you may probably take the pilgrimage tour.

Ngari Festival Tours

You may also visit Ngari during the festival times to explore the culture of Ngari. April of  the Tibetan Calendar is the time to celebrate Saga Dawa Festival in order to commemorate Sakyamuni, who is the founder of Buddhism. Pilgrims spare no effort to walk around the holy lakes and mountains like Kailash and Lake ManasarovarXiangxiong Cultural Festival (象雄文化节) is a good time to visit the relics of Guge Kingdom, holy Mount Kailash, sacred Lake Manasarovar, spectacular Zhada Earth Forest, beautiful Pangong Tso Lake in Ngari Region. The Xiangxiong festival usually lasts for the whole August.


Ngari realized GDP of RMB 2.13 billion in 2011, representing a rise of 15.3% year on year. The prefecture's GDP accounted for approximately 3.5% of Tibet's total and ranked the last out of seven in the autonomous region. Agricultural sector, the smallest contributor to the prefecture's economy, generated value-added output of RMB 399 million in 2011, accounting for 18.7% of the prefecture's GDP. Animal husbandry is an important contributor to the city's agricultural sector. Service sector, the largest contributor to Ngari's economy, generated value-added output of RMB 1.14 billion, accounting for 53.7% of the prefecture's total GDP in 2011.

Major Economic Indicators (2011)

Land Area (km2) 304,683
Population (million) 0.08
GDP (RMB billion) 2.13
GDP Composition
Primary Industry 18.7%
Secondary Industry
(Industry & Contruction)
Tertiary Industry (Service) 53.7%
GDP Per Capita (RMB) 26,625
Unemployment Rate 4.3%
Fixed Asset Investment (RMB billion) 2.45
Utilized FDI (USD million) N.A.
Total Import & Export (USD million) N.A.
Export (USD million) N.A.
Import (USD million) N.A.
Sales of Consumer Goods (RMB billion) 0.503
Source Tibet Statistic Yearbook 2011

Natural Resources

Ngari is rich in natural resources including land resource, water resource, geothermal resource and animal resource. The Shiquan River and Yarlung Zangbu Geothermal Area, Kunlun Mountain and Kekexili Geothermal Area, and Gangdisi Mountain and Nianqing Tanggula Mountain Geothermal Area, are located in Ngari. Mineral resources such as salt, boron, aluminum, Glauber's salt, chromium, silver and gold are abundant. Grassland occupies approximately 87% of Ngari's total area.