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2006-02-21 16:09:34

Yangbajing, the highest-altitude hot springs in the world, is 87 kilometers north of Lhasa in Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. It is famous for its richness in terrestrial heat. Yangbajing owns not only common hot springs and fountains, but also various geysers, boiling springs, and hot-water lakes, which is rare in the world.

Since the smooth and resilient bathing water makes it the ideal place to refresh travelers and to cure diseases, many tourists' conservatories and bathing spas have sprouted up. The power plant, which supplies a large part of Lhasa's electricity, is the first and biggest thermal development in China, established in 1977. Now it has a thermoelectricity plant, green houses, and hot spring baths, attracting more and more tourists.

It was said that a long time ago, before the sky and the earth were separated, the whole world was in total darkness. People living at the foot of the Nyainqen-tanggula Mountains were suffering.

One day, a golden phoenix flew to the area, and, determined to create brightness by itself, threw one of its bright eyes onto the ground. A fairy caught the eye, and then a bright lamp arose in the air. Snow capped peaks of the Nyainqen-tanggula Mountains appeared, grassland like huge carpet emerged, and happiness came to the Tibetan people.

However, a greedy man near Yangbajing coveted the lamp. He took a witch man's idea to sharpen his hatred into an arrow to shoot the lamp. He shot the arrow, breaking the lamp. Then the pieces of the lamp dropped onto the ground, turning into hot springs and burning the man to his death. People said that the hot springs were the fairy's tears.

The town sits atop a high and cold plateau. However, people approaching will see some hot springs blowing out smoke into the sky. While the surrounding area is barren and extremely cold, Yangbajing is green with grass and highland barley growing exuberantly. Steam emitting from the springs cover the sky above the small town.

It is a wonderful enjoyment to take a bath in the high-quality hot springs; but it is an even greater experience to relax oneself while viewing the far-off snow-covered Nyainqen-tanggula Mountains in its majesty or while strolling in this vast Northern Tibetan Grassland on horseback. (Photo source:

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