17 days Mount Kailash, Guge kingdom and Everest Base Camp tour
The journey start from the holy city Lhasa and then to Shigatse, where you can feel the different lifestyle and existing culture on the roof of the world. Monasteries and shrines are the centre of their religious practice, which plays an important role in their day to day life since from thousand years. Then rest of the days the journey come across the great Jangtang (Northern Plain) into Far-west Tibet passes through a land greatest extremes of dryness. The landscapes are huge and like a treeless moonscape. Lone groups of nomads dwelling in low, black tents, tend flocks of sheep and goats as well as herds of the yak. Heavily eroded sandstones and sand-dunes are beautiful along the road. The extraordinary peak of Mount Kailash is the prime focus of the journey, which lays at the heart of the region. It is the pilgrimage destinations of Buddhists, Bon, Hindus and Jains. Further within the heavily eroded sandstone canyon and valleys of the upper Sutlej River are numerous ruins of ancient cities that once comprised the kingdom of Guge, temples in that area are still intact and contain exquisite murals and decorative motifs having history of more than 10,000 years. On the way return, with a stop to the Base Camp at the north face of Mount Everest.
Upon arrival at Lhasa airport or train station, to be met and transferred to your hotel / hostel in Lhasa. Afternoon have a good rest to acclimatize the high altitude. Overnight at Lhasa.
Today is your first day of sightseeing on the high plateau, so we have purposely arranged only to visit Jokhang temple and Potala Palace. Jokhang temple is the most scared shrine in Tibet which was built in 7th century and located at the heart of old town in Lhasa, the circuit around it called Barkhor street, which is a good place to purchase souvenirs. Potala Palace is the worldwide known cardinal landmark of Tibet. The massive structure itself contains a small world within it. Mostly it is renowned as residence of the Dalai Lama lineages (Avalokiteshvara). Both of them are the focal points of pilgrims from entire Tibetan world, multitudinous pilgrims are circumambulating and prostrating in their strong faith. Overnight at Lhasa.
Today you will be arranged to visit Drepung, Sera monasteries and Summer Palace - Norbulingka palace. Both Drepung and Sera monasteries are Gelugpa (yellow hat) sect monastic colleges. Drepung monastery was the seat of the Government prior to Potala, it was once the world largest monastery in the history with 10,000 monks hailed from different monasteries all over Tibet. Sera monastery is famous for its Buddhism philosophical debate practice, the clapping sound and aggressive expression of the monks are well worth to see. Norbulingka is the summer palace of Dalai Lama, you can visit the residences of different lineages of the Dalai Lama. The park is crowded with picnickers and traditional activities during the Shoton (Yogurt festival) in August. Overnight at Lhasa.
Morning drive up to Kampala pass (4794m), you will have a glimpse of Yamdrok-tso and spectacular views of Holy Mount Nyenchen Khangsar in the distance, the turquoise coloured Lake Yamdrok Yutso is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet, the unforgettable vista of pincer-shaped turquoise water of the lake and amazing spectacle of Mt. Nyenchen Khangsar glacier from Karo la pass is wonders of the day. Then along the Friendship southern Hwy drive to Gyantse, visit the famous stupa - Gyantse Kumbum, the most stunning architectural wonder in Tibet. Late afternoon drive to Shigatse. Overnight at Shigatse.
Morning you will be arranged to visit Tashilunpo Monastery and the spectacular tombs of Panchen Lamas, monks of this monastery are nice looking with their home-made traditional shoes. Then drive to Sakya, visit Sakya Monastery, which is the main monastery at Sakyapa, hike around the monastery northern ruins then drive to Lhatse in the late afternoon. Overnight at Lhatse.
Today drive from Lhatse to Saga, pass several high plateau lakes, towns, herders tents and along the route with plateau mountain ranges, diverse forms of mountains are overlooking through the valley. Overnight at Saga.
Morning drive from Saga to Paryang, you weave your way through small dusty town of Zhongba amidst enchanting panoramic views, dotted nomads tents are mingled with their herds of animals on the open plateau. Pass numbers of villages and camps of Yak herders with the distance view of snow capped mountains, cross the Mayun-la pass (5,216m), if lucky might see many wild animals at the plateau grasslands. Check in at Darchen and prepare for the following days trekking.
The first day's trekking is starting from the Sershong and a gradual walk with multitudes of other local pilgrims chanting and praying. From the valley you can see the Choku Monastery up on the hillside. The trail leads to few ups and downs till you reach the camp at Dirapuk (4,750 m). You will meet many more Bon pilgrims going in the opposite direction (Anticlock-wise), because Mt. Kailash is being worshipped by four different religions,viz Buddhisms, Bons, Hindus and Jains. Overnight at Dirapuk guesthouse or camping.
Today your trekking leads to much higher side of the holy path just beneath the Mount Kailash. The walk will bring you to one of the highest point at Drolma La(5200m), and the pass is quickly descending to the gradual field towards Dzutul-puk for the overnight camp, Dzutul Puk in Tibetan and which means magical cave, this small monastery is connected to a interesting story of talend competition between Great Yogi Milarepa(Buddhist) and Naropa(Bon). Overnight at Dzutul-Puk guesthouse or camping.
The winding gradually comes out of the valley and the river allows to follow in to the Barka plain, the trekking stops at Trangser Trangmar and your car take you to Darchen. After a short rest at Darchen, then start driving to Zanda, firstly drive along the Xinjiang-Tibet Hwy, then off the main Hwy after 150Km, go across a few mountain passes, you will see the magnificent Tholing Forest. Overnight at Zanda.
Morning drive to Tsaparang Guge Kingdom ruins, in the vast valley of Sutlej river you can find ruins of ancient famous Guge kingdom among the remarkable sand-dunes, a number of temples are still intact and contain exquisite murals and decorative motifs, some are dating back more than 10,000 years, make a half day tour at there. Afternoon drive back to Zanda and have a rest or look around Zanda town. Overnight at Zanda.
After breakfast, retrace the road back to Lake Manasarovar, one of the three holy lakes in Tibet. In Buddhism and Hinduism, Manasarovar is the lake of compassion, tranquility and bliss. Climb up to Chiu monastery and have a good view of the lake or wonder along the lake shore to have a relaxing afternoon. Overnight at local guest house (dorm bed).
Today start drive back to Saga, you will have a last view of the Mt.Kailash on the way. Overnight at Saga.
Today cross the Bramaputra River and continuous drive through sandy plain, nomads herders with their yaks and sheep also can be seen along the road, at the middle of the way you will take a stop at the stunning view of Pelku Tso Lake on the left and Mt. Shishapama(8012m) on the right, further driving through the pasture meet you with friendship highway and then to Old Tingri, from there you can see the mighty peaks of Mt. Everest(8844m) and Mt. Cho Oyu(8201m) far in the distance to the south. Continue another 100km to reach Rongbuk where the Everest Base Camp located. Enjoy the stunning sunset at your guest house. Overnight at monastery guest house or tent guest house. (dorm bed)
Morning you can choose to hike to Everest Base Camp (2 hours) or take the local sightseeing bus. Afterwards start driving back to Shigatse. Overnight at Shigatse.
Morning drive back to Lhasa via northern friendship highway, along the body of Bramaputra River, various landscapes will attract your attention, afternoon free on your own in Lhasa, enjoy the last day of the holy city Lhasa and its beauty. Overnight at Lhasa.
Morning Lhasa airport or train station dropping off, the time come to say your farewells to your guide and driver, end the trip.