THE BEAUTY AND WILDERNESS OF WESTERN TIBET
Day 1 – Arrival in Lhasa
You arrive to the Lhasa Gonggar airport or the train station. The airport is 62 km/ 39 miles away from the city and it takes approximately 1 hour to get to hotel from there. On the way to Lhasa you will enjoy beautiful views of mountains. The train station is located in Lhasa and we will only need a short transfer to 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 in Lhasa. 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 Bakhor 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, relax, enjoy your day and allow some time for acclimatizing.
Day 2 – Lhasa city tour: Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple (Walking Tour)
We are visiting two most important religious sites in Tibet. The Potala Palace was the seat of the Dalai Lamas since the 7th century. We will go inside and spend approximately 1.5 – 2 hours there. You will see many of artifacts.
In the afternoon you will have lunch.
If you have time, you can walk around the Potala Palace. After that we will walk towards the Jokhang temple. It was build in the 7th century to display the Jowo Shakyamuni Statue of the 12 year old Buddha the time bore the enlightenment. The statue was created at the time when historical Buddha lived. It is elaborately decorated with gold, jewels and precious stones. After visiting the temple we recommend you walking around the Barkhor street.
Day 3 – Lhasa city tour: Drepung and Sera Monasteries
We are visiting two most important monasteries in the capital. First, we will visit Drepung monastery which once was the biggest monastery in the world with over 10,000 monks living there. It was the residence of Dalai Lamas before the Potala Palace was built.
We have lunch after the visit.
In the afternoon we are visiting Sera Monastery. It was founded by Tsongkhapa’s deciple in 15th century. Nowadays it is famous for monks debate that you can witness. Debates are a very important part in learning and understanding Buddhism. Monks gather in the court yard in the shade of trees to refine their knowledge.
Day 4 – Driving to Shigatse: Yamdrok lake and glaciers. (360km)
Today we will take some of the most beautiful roads in Tibet to drive to Shigatse. Prepare your cameras to capture the breathtaking views when we will be going up to the highest point of the day – Kamba la pass (almost 4800 meters). Our next stop will be at the Yamdrok Lake. It is one of the holy lakes in Tibet, and it is famous for it’s turquoise color water. After that we will heading towards Gyantse. On the way we will make a stop to see the spectacular glaciers.
In Gyantse, we will visit the monastery and the biggest stupa. After that drive to Shigatse only 90km distance from Gyantse. Finally, we will reach Shigatse late in the evening and stay there overnight.
Day 5 – Driving to the Everest Base Camp: night by the Everest. (360km)
In the morning we will visit Tashilumpo Monastery, the seat of Panchen Lamas. After that we will be driving through high mountain ranges, go through several high passes and Everest view points. We will reach tent camp near the Everest Base Camp in the evening. Depending on the traffic and weather conditions, we might have time to visit the Rongbuk monastery – the highest monastery in the world.
We will stay in the tent for the night. You can order dinner and breakfast there, there is an English menu.
Day 6: EBC–Saga (450km)
In the morning, we can enjoy the sunrise of the Everest at lodging area if weather permits; then As we head to saga, you can view of the world’s 14th highest peak Mt. Shishapangma (8012), and Turquoise lake Peoku Tso (4590m). If you are lucky enough, you are very likely to see wild animals like wild donkey, wild antelope etc.
Stay overnight in local guesthouse.
Day 7: Saga to Darchen, via Lake Manasarover (450km)
On the way to Darchen, you will have a chance to appreciate the stunning view of the Saga valley between Gangdise Range and Himayala Range. Meanwhile, the beautiful grassland and local’s villages can also be seen. As we cross the Mayumla Pass (5112M), you can enjoy the spectacular view of Mt. Naimonanyi (7694M). Then we are supposed to pass by the holy lake Manasarovar and finally arrive at the southern foot of Mt. Kailash, the most holy mountain in Tibet.
Staying overnight in local guesthouse
Day 8: Trek, 1st day: Darchen – Dira Puk (20km/ 12.4 miles)
We will start our trek very early in the morning. We will be walking around the Kailash in a clockwise direction. From Darchen we will head west towards the area with the main prayer poll and the sky burial place. It is the area where Tibetans celebrate the Saga Dawa Festival, commemorating the day of Buddha’s birth, his enlightenment, and death.
Later we will reach the first tea shop on the trek where we will stop for lunch.
In the afternoon we will continue to the Dira Puk Monastery and stop there for the night (at a guesthouse). From the guesthouse, you will get a spectacular view of the north face of the Kailash Mountain.
Day 9: Trek, 2nd day: Dira Puk – Zultiul Puk (22 km/ 13.6 miles)
On the second day, we will start the trek very early to go through the highest pass. First, we will walk to the tea house to have breakfast and prepare for crossing the pass. After we are done eating, we will start ascending the pass. The Dolma La Pass is 5,630 meters/ 18,600 ft. high.
Once you reach it, you can see the stunning views of the mountains and the lakes below. There are many colorful prayer flags that people hang there to spread their prayers with every gust of wind.
On the way down, we will cross the river and continue to the next tea shop for lunch and a short break.
After that, we will walk to the Zutiulpuk Monastery where we will be staying overnight (in a guesthouse).
Day 10: Trek 3rd Day: Zultiul Puk-Darchen (14 km/ 8.7 miles)
Today will be our shortest and easiest day. We will be walking through a gorgeous valley following the mountain river. Throughout the day we will see the east side of Mt. Kailash.
We will be staying overnight at the hotel in Darchen. (A hot shower available for an additional fee).
Day 11: Darchen-Manasarovar (60km)
In the morning, we drive to the holy Lake Manasarovar(4558m). The rest of the day is at leisure. You can relax around the lake shore and experience the natural beauty of the lake. In summer, flocks of swans will gather on the lake, bringing grace and life to the area. You can also see so many Tibetans and Hindus praying and circling around the lake shore for the whole day, snow capped mountains on the background and hundreds of swans gathering on the lake, attracting hundreds and thousands of tourists from all over the world.
Stay overnight at Chiu Monastery (Guest house, dorm bed)
Day 12: Manasarovar – Tsada: Guge Kingdom and Torling Monastery
Today we are driving to what was known as the Guge Kingdom. The distance is not very long (290 km), however, it takes time driving on the zigzagging mountain roads. The present name of the area is Tsamda county and we will reach it in the late afternoon. The capital of the county is Torling famous for its large monastery. Richen Zangpo founded Torling monastery in 10th century, and it became the most important religious center of the Guge Kingdom.
Later, Guge kings moved the capital closer to the trade routes between India and Tibet. However, the Torling monastery remained an important cultural heritage of Ngari, Western Tibet.
Day 13: Tsada – Shiquan River: Clay Forest, Xiangquan River Canyon
Today, we are expected to travel from Tsada to Shiquanhe town. The 200km’s scenic drive would be your lifetime experience. You will be able to see the stunning Clay Forest formed by crustal movement in Xiangquan River Canyon. Shiquanhe town is the capital city of Ngari prefecture as well as the last big town during the big loop tour of Ngari region. Later, Tourists can tour the Shiquanhe town and buy some supplies for the following travel.
Stay overnight in Shiquanhe Town
Day 14: Shiquan River – Pangong Tso – Shiquan River: Pangong Tso, Rutog Rock Painting
The focus of today’s tour will be the Pangong Tso Lake (4242m), or known as the “long-necked swan”. It is the world’s highest birds’ habitat. In the lake are over a dozen of islands and it is home to more than 20 kinds of wild birds, including Bar-headed goose, Brown-headed Gull, etc.
On the way back to Shiquanhe Town, we will stop at Rutog County to visit the famous Rutog Rock Painting. The paintings involve the sun and moon, mountains, horses, cattle, antelopes, houses, and locals, vividly presenting the livelihood of ancient Tibetan nomads around Pangong Tso Lake. After that, we will head back to Shiquanhe Town. Tourists can buy some supplies for the following journey.
Stay overnight in Shiquanhe Town
Day 15: Shiquan River-Gerze: Changthang grassland,Tibetan Wildlife, Salt Lake
Starting from Shiquanhe Town, we will pass Gegye and travel all the way to Gerze. Shortly after we venture into the Changthang Grassland of Gegye County, we will enjoy packs of Wild Tibetan Donkeys, Tibetan Antelopes, and Tibetan Gazelle, etc. Besides, a great number of nameless lakes, mountain passes, and snow-capped mountains make picturesque scenery. On the way, we can also see a big salty lake and trucks preparing to load supply from here. And finally finish the over 200km’s drive from the salt lake to Gerze.
Stay overnight in Gerze
Day 16: Gerze – Wanpo South Village: Wildlife, Zhari Namco Lake, Tangra Yumco Lake
As you enjoy the ride from Gerze to Wanpo South Village, you will have a rare chance to see a variety of rare wildlife that can only be seen in remote areas of western Tibet. Animals like Tibetan Gazelle, marmot, and Black-Neck-Crane, Wild Donkey, etc. will keep you company in Northern Ngari where there is little human presence. After we pass Tsochen County, tourists can see many colorful mountains, red, green, or yellow, largely due to the abundant mineral resources hidden inside these mountains. The road gets bumpier as we move from Tsochen to Zhari Namtso Lake. The lake is widely known as the largest Seling lake with the highest altitude in Ngari region and its favorable environment produces Tibetan cashmere goats.
In the afternoon, we will be arriving at Thara Yumtso Lake, which is the holiest lake in Bon religion. Many believe that its holiness is equal to that of Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarova. It’s said that the color of the lake can change three times within a single day. Having finished visiting Thara Yumtso Lake, we would move to Wanpo South Village.
Stay overnight in Wanpo South Village
Day 17: Tour Wanpo South Village
Facing Thara Yumtso Lake and Dagoer Snow Mountain, Wanpo South Village (4500m) is a secluded and picturesque place with charming pastoral scene. The local villagers here are half-nomadic and half-farming. They cultivate barely, potatoes, Rapeseed and Bok Choy, etc. Such peaceful , harmonious and pastoral scene is extremely rare at such altitude. that’s why it’s called the “Wanpo Paradise”. Tourists can have a good rest in the village and explore this village. If you are interested, you may visit Dangchung Monastery in Wanpo North village.
Stay overnight in Wanpo South Village
Day 18: Wanpo South Village – Nima – Bangkog – Namtso Lake: Tibetan gazelles, Seling Tso, Namtso
Today, we will have an early star. After we leave Nima, and you will find yourselves travel in the world of Tibetan Gazelles and finally we will reach Seling Tso around noon after passing numerous small lakes. Seling Tso is the second largest saline lake in northern Tibet, only next to Namtso Lake. In Tibetan, it is believed to be a “Demon Lake”.
In the afternoon, we are about to continue our journey to Namtso Lake. We will move close-wise along the north bank of Serling Tso and you will see many Tibetan Antelopes and Tibetan gazelles grazing or playing at lakeside. Around 3 hours’ drive we will arrive at Tashi Island of Namtso. Here, you can enjoy the stunning view of Namtso and climb the Tashi Island to have a panoramic view of the biggest salt lake in Tibet. Never miss the chance to view the starry night at the bank of Namtso Lake. It will definitely be one of the highlights of this long journey.
Overnight in Damshung
Day 19: Namtso to Lhasa
In the morning, we will head back to Lhasa. As we pass the Yangpachen Hot Spring, we will stop there for some time. You can visit hotsprings, it is optional and it is not included in the package. Hotsprings consists of several pools, some are outside and some are inside. The temperature in all of them is high.
Day 20: Departure From Lhasa
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.
MORE TOURS YOU MIGHT LIKE
15 DAYS GROUP TOUR TO MOUNT KAILASH
One of our most popular group tours, starting in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet and going to Mount Kailash for a three day trekking around this sacred mountain. During this tour we visit Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Yamdrok Lake, Gyantse monastery and Kumbum stupa, Mount Everest, lake Manasarovar, Mount Kailash, and much more.
2021 SAGA DAWA FESTIVAL TOUR TO MOUNT KAILASH
This special tour takes you to the sacred Mount Kailash during the biggest festival of the year. Saga Dawa Festival celebrated the day of Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death. It attracts thousand of pilgrims from all around Tibet, India and the world. You will see the greatest diversity of Tibetan national dress as people wear their best clothes for the festival.
17 DAYS: MOUNT KAILASH AND GUGE KINGDOM
A private tour taking you from Lhasa, the capital of Tibet to the most Western part of the country. The tour includes three days trekking around Mount Kailash and visiting the ruins of the Guge Kingdom on the West, in addition to Lhasa, Shigatse, Gyantse, and Everest Base Camp.