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Tibet is well known as the location in China with the most hot springs, and Yambajan hosts some of the most spectacular ones in the area. This gorgeous natural site is one of the most magical and impressive places in China and should be a must-see on every Nagqu traveler's list.
Yambajan covers more than 7,000 square meters, and features unique geology that allows for the existence of various types of hot springs. The entire area is a high-elevation cold plateau, and hosts boiling springs, common hot springs, and geysers. Yambajan itself is inside a basin next to the snow-capped Nyainqentanglha (Nianqing Tangula) Mountains.
The beauty of Yambajan stems from its location in the midst of glacier-clad mountains. The heat from the hot springs melts the abundant snow here and creates a 40-square-kilometer area of lush and verdant growth. This lovely meadow area and the accompanying lake make this a destination worth visiting. In the early mornings, a gentle mist rises off the surface of the lake to create a magical scene.
In addition to the immense natural beauty of the area, Yambajan is also home to hydrothermal wells that produce clean, cheap energy for Lhasa. The largest hydrothermal power plant in China, the Yambajan Hydrothermal Power Plant was completed in Yambajan in 1977.
There are multiple options for those who want to take advantage of the health-promoting aspects of the hot springs of Yambajan. Guests can enjoy both indoor and outdoor pools, which contain water with a high concentration of hydrogen sulfide. These pools are believed to provide relief for a number of chronic conditions.
Because of the high temperature of the water, the spa features two open-air cisterns to cool it off before being released into the bathing pools. During the winter, guests may experience the beauty of a gentle snowfall while they bathe in the outdoor pools.
Yambajan boasts eight incredible scenic areas unlike those found anywhere else in China or the world. These include:
1. Bread-Steaming Spring: In this location, in the southeast of Yambajan near the Tsangpuqu River, the hot springs are so hot that bread can be steamed over them.
2. Fish-Cooking River: This section of the Tsangpuqu River becomes so hot that it boils, cooking the fish that swim through it. The cooked fish float to the surface and feed local birds and wildlife.
3. Alkali-Liquor Fountain: This large geyser shoots alkali-liquor up into the air in a stream reaching 1.5 meters in diameter.
4. Hot Water Lake: This lake in the northeastern part of Yambajan reaches temperatures of up to 57 degreed Celsius. Legends surrounding the lake claim that it was the bathing pool of the female attendants of the Jade Emperor.
5. Noodle-Cooking Hot Spring: This bubbling spring in southwest Yambajan reaches up to 90 degrees Celsius, a temperature that can thoroughly cook a wide variety of noodles.
6. Warming Ditches: At the entrance to northern Yambajan, four grit-filled ditches provide soothing warmth and comfort for visitors.
7. Vinegar-Boiling Spring: This spring in Yambajan produces acidic liquid said to rival the taste of the famous Shanxi vinegar, one of the most well-known types in China.
8. The Sulfur Ditch: A ditch with the healing properties of sulfur.