22 days Mount Kailash and crossing Tibet Changthang tour
Upon arrival at Lhasa airport or train station, to be met and transferred to your hotel in Lhasa. Have a good rest to acclimatize the high altitude for the rest of the day. Overnight at Lhasa. (B)=breakfast
After breakfast, you will visit Jokhang temple is the most sacred shrine in Tibet which was built in the 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. Then 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 the entire Tibetan world, multitudinous pilgrims are circumambulating and prostrating in their strong faith. Overnight at Lhasa.
Today you will visit Drepung, Sera monasteries and 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-colored 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. Late afternoon drive to Shegar, on the way after crossing over Gyatso la pass[5200m], you will catch the first sight of Mount Everest. Overnight at Shegar.
Early morning start driving to Rongbuk, from the top of the Gawu la [5250m] you will see the spectacular Himalayan Ranges and its glorious peaks viz Mt.Makalu [8463m], Mt.Lotse [8516m], Mt.Everest [8844m], Mt.Cho Oyu [8201m] and Mt.Shishapama [8020m], climbing down through numbers of switchback bends lead to the dry valley of Tashi Zom and then to today's destination - Everest Base Camp. Rongbuk is the highest monastery in Tibet and consists of both monks and nuns, it is still a good point to see Mt.Everest. Overnight at local guesthouse (dorm bed).
After a relaxing morning, then start driving down to Old Tingri, where you can see the mighty peaks of Mount Cho Oyu (8,201m) and Mount Everest in a distance, then continue driving along the frienship highway and travel off the beatean after Tong-la pass to a sandy and rocky land of Tibet, where you will see the stunning natural pieces such like Peiku tso lake and Mount Shishapa (8020m), nomads chasing herd of yaks and sheeps keep you wondering. In the late afternoon you will cross Bhramha Purtra River way to the typical Chinese and Tibetan town Saga. 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. Today our final destination will be lake Manasarovar, a lake of compassion, tranquility and bliss in Buddhism and Hinduism. Stay one night at the local guesthouse near Chiu monastery, where you can enjoy this holy lake and overlook of Mount Kailash.
Today have a relaxing morning at the Lake Manasarovar, walk along the lakeshore and enjoy the beautiful sunrise in this peaceful land. Afternoon drive about one hour to Darchen, the beginning point for the following 3-day trekking around Mount Kailash. Check into the local hotel at Darchen and prepare for the 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 a 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 (Anti clock-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 the much higher side of the holy path just beneath the Mount Kailash. The walk will bring you to one of the highest points 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 means magical cave, this small monastery is connected to an interesting story of talent 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. Then drive back to Zanda and have a rest or look around Zanda town. Overnight at Zanda.
Drive from Zanda to Ali, the 200km road will take about 5-6 hours. The road is equally scenic. Following the Sutlij river after the Guge Kingdom and turned north back into the clay canyons. Along the zig-zagged road up and cross over 3 high passes, you will enter the Gar valley flat where you will pass the new airport -Kunsha airport in Ali. Once in the valley join the tarred road, another 70km will lead you to Ali. Afternoon rest at Ali and your driver will recheck the vehicle for the following days crossing the northern Changthang. Overnight at Ali.
Today you will start your journey across the Changthang, the far north of Tibet plateau. This sparsely populated region is the home to Tibetan nomads and plenty of wildlife. Along the way, you will have plenty of chances to see wildlife such as gazelle, wild donkeys, Tibet antelope and more. Today the driving is pretty long, about 10 hours in the car.
The route from Gertse to Tsochen is quite beautiful going through scenic valleys with views of 6000 meter high mountains in the distance. Tsochen is a mid-sized Tibetan nomad trading town with a small monastery called Mendong.
Get up early today for a sunrise capture at Zhari Namtso Lake, located about 50km east of Tsochen, a huge salt lake on the wetland, it is the largest water lake in Ngari but also the third one in Tibet. After continue today's driving to Dangra Tso in the grasslands, a holy lake in Tibet to local Bonpa believers. On the way to the lake, you will see a lot of wildlife. Check into the local family-run guest house at Wenbu South village, a village located at the southeast bank of Dangra Tso.
After the sunrise at Dangra Tso, set off to Nyima, on the way you will stop to visit Dangqiong Tso, also the beautiful village Wenbu north village at the lake bank. Afterward continue the driving to Nima county, on the way enjoy the nature of Changthang grasslands and wildlife.
Spend your last day on Changthang Nature Reserve, enjoy the numerous lakes on the way. On the way to Siling-Tso, you can see much rare wildlife. En route, stop at Kanglung Tso lake for a visit. Seling Tso is Tibet's second-largest lake and the world's largest black-necked crane nature reserve. Overnight at Palgon.
Today the driving gonna be very smooth going as the road is paved very well. It only takes about 3 hours from Bange to Namtso Tashi Dor. Enjoy the natural landscapes and beautiful lakes of Bamu Tso and Namtso.
Enjoy the stunning sunrise at Namtso Lake, then hike around the Tashi Do Peninsula and enjoy the breathtaking views of Namtso lake and the snow-capped mountain ranges around the lake. Afternoon head back to Lhasa.
See you off at Lhasa train station or airport, the time comes to say your farewells to your guide and driver, end the travel.