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Yangbajain Hot Springs

Yangbajain Hot Springs

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At 14,764ft above sea level, Yangbajain hot springs are the highest on the planet and offer striking views of the Nyainqen Tanggula mountain range.

The Holy Medical Spring Resort boasts three pools (two indoor, one outdoors), each filled with water cooled from its blistering temperature of 158 degrees Fahrenheit.

The legend says that a long time ago, before the sky and the earth were separated, the whole world was in total darkness and people living at the foot of Mount Nyainqentanglha were suffering. One day, a golden phoenix flew over the area, determined to create brightness by sacrificing itself. The phoenix bird threw one of its bright eyes onto the ground which was caught by a fairy, and then a fluorescent lamp arose in the air giving place to the snow-capped peaks of Mount Nyainqentanglha; grassland like huge carpet emerged; bringing happiness to the Tibetan people. However, a greedy man near Yangbajain coveted the lamp. He sharped his hatred into an arrow to shoot the lamp. Once broken, the pieces of the lamp dropped onto the ground, turning into hot springs which burned the man to his end. From then, people said that the hot springs were the fairy’s tears.

Though not as famous as other scenic spots such as the Potala Palace in Tibet, Yangbajain attracts visitors for its unique hot springs. About 87 Km (54 miles) away from Lhasa and covering an area of 40 square Km (2,471 acres), Yangbajain gains its fame from the rich geothermic heat which provides people with much to explore. The generating plant, exploited in the 1970s, now provides up to 45% of Lhasa’s total electricity.

People are amazed to see that while in the adjacent regions the frozen soil is covered with ice for over half the year, in Yangbajain there exists a 40-square Km carpet of lush green grass. Many say that Yangbajain is most attractive in the morning when it offers visitors the illusion of a fairyland. In the early hours of a day, bodies of mist rise from the lake creating a sea of clouds.

Originally Yangbajain was grazing land. Now the area contains indoor and outdoor swimming pools, in which visitors can enjoy a bath in the heaven of the world for a price between CNY 40 to CNY 100. Sometimes people are lucky enough to experience snow falling while having a bath in hydrogen sulfide-rich waters.

Note. Strenuous sports are not recommended because of the amount of oxygen needed at an altitude of 4,300 kilometers (2,671 miles).

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by That Henry