16 days Chengdu to Lhasa via Daocheng Yading and Mount Meili overland tour
The overland drive from Chengdu to Lhasa via Yading Nature Reserve and Yunnan Mount Meili is a really adventure trip with stunning scenery! High Plateau mountain ranges, grasslands, nomad herders, snow-capped holy mountains, alpine forests, holy lakes, local Tibetan villages,etc will make you have a memorable trip!
Chengdu airport picking up, Check-in and have a good rest. Overnight at Chengdu.
Morning drive from Chengdu to Danba by using the new tunnel at Balang mountain, it shortens the driving time to 6 hours, on the way you may stop at Rilong to visit one of the valleys at Mount Siguniang National park which are famous for the four snow-capped peaks and the three beautiful valleys stretching from Rilong with the landscapes of alpine forest, grasslands, lakes, etc.
Danba sits in a deep valley at the confluence of two rivers, with another three river valleys joining the first two nearby. Each of these five valleys is equally stunning, with rugged Tibetan villages clinging to steep, fertile mountainsides above a brown river streaked with white in places where swift currents collide.
Today you will be driven to Zhonglu village for overnight. The rest of the day is to explore Zhonglu village, crops fields and wait for the sunset. Overnight at Zhonglu local farmer's guest house.
After the sunrise at Danba Zhonglu village, then you will hike from Zhonglu to Suopo Tibetan village to see the splendid watchtowers, it is a nice 3 hours moderate hiking by crossing one pass where you will have nice views of villages and the river at the foot of the mountain.
Meet your driver at Suopo and drive to Tagong for 3 hours, the landscapes on the way is good. Upon arrival, you will be arranged to visit Tagong monastery, a nice example of a typical Tibetan monastery, with its statues, painted walls, thangkas, incents smells and plenty of monks dressed in their carmine robes. After enjoys the sunset over Yala holy mountain, another 40 minutes drive to Xinduqiao, the heaven for photography. Overnight at Xinduqiao.
Morning cross over the Gao'ersi pass (about 4,410m high) to Daocheng, from where follows another two high passes (about 4,700m high) - the Jianziwan & Kazila, the landscape on the way is very good including deep valleys, snow-capped mountains, pastures dotted with sheep and yaks. With its 4010m altitude, Litang county is no doubt the highest city in the world. In addition to its beautiful scenery & spectacular local Tibetan customs, another tourist attraction is the Horse-racing Festival every August. Therefore, if you are here at the very right time, you'll never miss the chance for the hose-racing & dressing show. Another 146km ride to Daocheng will be continued after the visit to a Tibetan monastery. Daocheng is a county that you will enjoy because of its rich soil & Tibetan culture and a good place for recharging yourself before Yading. You may relax by bathing at the hot spring & the Tibetan local dancing show.
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Riwa (Shangrila town), where you need to take local sightseeing bus heading to Yading village, from Yading village you can choose to walk or take a horse-riding to Chonggu Temple, enjoy the scenery of Chonggu Temple and the holy peak of Xiannairi. From Chonggu Temple trekking up or ride a horse to Drolma-la Tso ( Pearl Lake), the best place to view the holy peak Xiannairi. Later afternoon return to Yading village for overnight.
Enjoy the sunrise at Chonggu Temple, then take the local battery cart to Luorong Pasture. It is the best location to worship the three saint peaks of Xiannairi, Yangmaiyong, and Xialuoduojie. You may also continue your trip up to Milk Lake and Five color lake by foot (roughly 4-5 hours round trip) or horse trekking (about 3-4 hours, fees on your own). Late afternoon get back to Yading village and take the local sightseeing bus to Riwa where you will meet your driver and head to Daocheng. Overnight at Daocheng.
Departs at Daocheng early morning, pass Sangdui village to Xiangcheng along with different plateau forest scenery and local Tibetan villages. From Xiangcheng continue the way to Derong and then Benzilan where you will see the First Bend of Jinsha River. Overnight at Beizilan.
Walk to visit the famous Jinsha River bend, then start driving to Deqin Feilai Temple by passing Snow mountains. Feilai Si is the best place to see holy Mount Meili, which is one of the most sacred mountains of Tibetan Buddhism. 'Kang Karpo Peak' means the God of Snow Mountain in Tibetan, and is a holy land for worshiping. Pilgrims from Tibet, Qinghai, Sichuan, and Gansu travel to the mountain at the beginning of each winter to worship. Thousands of devout pilgrims worship together and encircle the holy mountain, adding even more mystery and loftiness to the mountain. In the afternoon drive to visit the Mingyong Glacier at the foot of Mount Meili. Overnight at Feilaisi.
Go on northwards along the Lang Cang river valley, the upper reaches of Mekong River. Pass the border between Tibet and Yunnan at Yanjing, arrive at Markham after another 111km and meet with the Sichuan-Tibet Southern route. When at Yanjing, visit the salt pans along the Lancang Jiang River. Overnight at Markham.
Cross Lancang river, pass over the highest pass- Dongda which is 5,008m. Markham offers spectacular scenery, with two riotous rivers 'Lancang River and Jinsha River'. The road running up and down through mountains and gorges makes the 265 km driving full of surprise and excitement. After getting to Pomda, the landscape changes to stretching grassland. Anther 94 km's driving, you get to Pasho. Overnight in Pasho.
The scenery east of Pomi is particularly beautiful. The road heads up the Parlung Tsangpo valley, passing a gorge and several stunning side valleys before you get your first magical views of the blue waters and sandy beaches of Rawoktso (Ranwu Lake), then visit Midui Glacier. After days of driving on the dusty roads, you'll feel so refreshed once get to Pomi, a town embraced by snow mountains and deep forest with pleasant views. Overnight in Pomi.
This part of the road continually surprises you with incredible scenery. One saying describes it best: four seasons a day, the diverse climate in ten miles. Stop at Lulang to view the grand peak of Mt.Namche Barwa (7,756m). Overnight in Bayi.
Morning visit Bayi Cypresses Park, afterward continue the way to Lhasa along the beautiful Niyang River, one the way to make a detour to Draksumtso (Basumtso). The lake and its surrounding views are beautiful and the site is also connected to the semi-mythical ruler of the Kham region and Guru Rinpoche. The joint board floating bridge is the only way to the Tsodzong island and visit the Tsodzong Monastery amid of the trees, most probably the highest attraction of this site. Then keep driving along the Niyang River, cross over Mila pass (5100m) to Lhasa. Overnight at Lhasa.
Today you will be arranged to visit Jokhang temple and Potala Palace. 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. 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 Tibetan world, multitudinous pilgrims are circumambulating and prostrating in their strong faith. Overnight at Lhasa.
Today you will visit Drepung, Sera monasteries and Summer Palace Norbulingka. 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 7,700 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.
Your guide and driver will see you off at the airport or train station, end of the trip.