Located in northern Tibet, Nakchu Prefecture is a truly amazing landscape. For many reasons, it may not be an ideal place to visit, including its altitude, climate and cumbersome transportation, but there are many other reasons to go there including the culture, magnificent scenery, unique wildlife and mysterious religion. If a real Tibetan trip is desired, then the north can not be overlooked!
Owing its name to the nearby Nakchu River, the region is synonymous with the Changtang Plateau, which in Tibetan means 'northern plateau'. It covers a total area over 420,000 square kilometers (162,162 sq miles), approximately 1/3 of the entire Tibetan region, and has a population of 67,000. At an altitude of 4,500 meters (14,763 feet), the area is dry, cold (the average annual temperature is below zero) and oxygen starved.
It is the origin of Bon , the indigenous religion of Tibet. Its history dates back some 2,000 years when the ancient Shengshong Kingdom settled here. Ancient Shengshong Culture Ruins , located in Nyima County, Nakchu Prefecture, is said to be where the Shengshong Kingdom established its capital. The legend has it that the first king of Shengshong created Bon, and even now, Bon still has many followers in the Nakchu region, quite different from other regions in Tibet.
The town of Nakchu, where the administrative office is seated, is the economic and cultural center of this region. With Qingzang (Qinghai-Tibet) Highway making its way through the town, it is accessible from Lhasa, Golmud and Lanzhou. Lodging and dining are no problem in the town since there are a range of hotels and restaurants to choose from. Every year in August, the annual Changtang Qiaqing Horse Racing Festival is held in the town of Nakchu, a must-see spectacle if visiting northern Tibet.