This 8 days cycling tour starts in Lhasa. First, we will spend three days in the capital of Tibet. You will explore the highlights: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Sera and Drepung Monasteries. This time will also allow you to acclimatize to high altitude of Tibet.
Main Attractions: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Drepung and Sera Monasteries, Barkhor Street, Yamdrok Lake, Brahmaputra River.
Duration: 8 days
Maximum Elevation: Kamba La Pass 4794 meters
Best Time to Travel: April through January
Day 1. Arrival in Lhasa
You arrive at the Lhasa Gonggar Airport or the train station. The airport is 62 km/ 39 miles away from the city, and it takes approximately one hour to get to the hotel from there. On the way to Lhasa, you will enjoy beautiful views of the mountains. The train station is located in Lhasa, and you will only need a short transfer to the hotel.
Depending on the time of your arrival, you might have some free time to spend in Lhasa. Our guides will be happy to advise you on what you can do with your time in Lhasa. Remember, that Lhasa is located at 3,650 meters/ 12,000 ft above sea level and you will need some time to acclimatize.
After you check in the hotel, you are welcome to explore the city, visit nearby temples, do some shopping, try delicious Tibetan food in one of the local restaurants, or just take a rest.
Walking around Barkhor Street can be an excellent choice for your first day in Lhasa. You will join crowds of pilgrims, local Tibetans, and monks circumambulating the Jokhang Temple.
Most importantly, on your first day in Tibet, be sure to relax, enjoy your day and allow some time for acclimatizing.
Day 2. Lhasa City Tour: Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple
This tour visits the two most important religious sites in Tibet.
The Potala Palace was the seat of the Dalai Lamas since the 17th century. First, the guide will take you to the Chak Pori Hill to take photos of the majestic Palace. We will then go inside and spend approximately 1.5 – 2 hours there. While there, you will see many of its most famous artifacts.
There will be free time for lunch after visiting the Potala Palace.
Time permitting, you can walk around the Potala Palace and join many of the local Tibetans.
Next, we will walk towards the Jokhang Temple. It was built in the 7th century to display the Jowo Shakyamuni Statue – the statue of the 12-year-old Buddha before his enlightenment. The statue was created at the time when the historical Buddha lived. It is elaborately decorated with gold, jewels, and precious stones.
After visiting the temple, we recommend taking a walk around Barkhor Street.
Day 3. Lhasa City Tour: Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery
We are visiting the two most important monasteries in the capital.
We will first visit Drepung Monastery, which once was the largest monastery in the world with over 10,000 monks living there. It was the residence of Dalai Lamas before the Potala Palace was built.
There will be free time for lunch after the Drepung Monastery.
In the afternoon we are visiting Sera Monastery. It was founded by Tsongkhapa’s disciple in the 15th century. Nowadays it is famous for monks’ debate that you can witness. Debates are a very important part of learning and understanding Buddhism. Monks gather in the courtyard in the shade of the trees to refine their knowledge.
Day 4. Lhasa City to the foot of Kambala pass
Distance: 85 km
Today we start our cycling tour. The first day will be short to warm up before the long journey. We will head towards the Friendship Highway that runs across the Tibetan plateau. The road we take is smooth and the elevation is approximately consistent.
Once we leave Lhasa, you will cycle by the impressive Buddha Rock Carving, and along the beautiful Lhasa River ( Lhasa Kyichu) and Brahmaputra River to the foot of the Kamba La Pass (3700 m).
Yarlung Tsangpo River (Brahmaputra) is one of the longest rivers in Tibet. It is also a holy river. It originates in Mount Kailash region, the holiest mountain for Buddhists and Hindu. That’s why Tibetans and Hindus believe that the Brahmaputra is a holy river.
We will set us our camping tent at the foot of Kamba La pass.
Day 5. Cycling towards Yamdrok Lake via Kamba La Pass
Distance: 55 km
In the morning we have to cross the first high pass on our way. Power up for the steep climb uphill to reach the Kamba La Pass (4794 meters). The zigzagging road overlooks beautiful valley and mountains and is decorated with thousands of prayer flags. Before we reach the top of the hill, prepare to take photos of the breathtaking views.
After taking a short break at the top, enjoying the view, we start descending. First, we will get a sweeping view of the Yamdrok lake (4490m). It is one of the holy lakes in Tibet, and it is famous for its turquoise-colored water. We will continue cycling along the lake until we reach its shore. We will camp there overnight.
Day 6. Yamdrok lake Pelde town back to foot of Kamba-la pass
Distance: 55 km
In the morning, you will enjoy the sunrise of Yamdrok Lake and view of the Kamba-la Mountain. Today in the morning if you have enough time, you can visit Pelde Nunnery monastery from there you can get very nice view of Yamdrok lake, after that cycling back same road from Yamdrok lake (4488m) towards Kamba-la pass (4794m) within 10km after the pass it is easy cycling downhill but please be careful and ride safely because we are cycling on the main road. Camping at same place foot of Kamba-la pass.
Day 7. From the foot of Kamba-la Pass to Lhasa
Distance: 85 km
Today cycling on same road back to Lhasa and it is easy and flat road.
Day 8. Lhasa to Airport/Train station
Please prepare in advance for your departure. It takes approximately one hour to drive to the airport and around thirty minutes to reach the train station. We will arrive at the airport three hours before your departure flight if you are traveling to Nepal and two hours before any domestic flight.