14 days Eastern Tibet loop overland tour
This trip almost covered all highlights in eastern Tibet. Start from cultural tour in Lhasa including Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, monasteries of Sera and Drepung. Then heading all the way to eastern, en route visit the gorgeous alpine lake of Draksum-tso, Lunang forests, have a good view of Namche Barwa and Gyala Pelri from Serkym la pass in a clear day, visit Rawok-tso nearby Pomi, drive up to Pasho along the Parlung Tsangpo River, pass the plateau pasture at Pomda and overnight at Chamdo, then drive through the northern Sichuan-Tibet route to Riwoche and visit the amazing Riwoche Tsuglhakhang, the grasslands of northern Tibet is the heaven of thousands of Tibetan nomads and their herds of yaks & sheep. Then the tour ended with the breathtaking view of Namtso lake and Nyenchen Thangla ranges in the north.
(Note: Due to the closure of Chamdo - the capital city of Chamdo Prefecture to foreign tourists, this travel route is not available currently. We suggest you consider to make the overland trip to Lhasa Tibet from Chengdu along the Sichuan-Tibet Southern Highway - the G318, the TTB has announced its openning for foreign tourists since this spring 2017).
Upon arrival at Lhasa airport or train station, to be met and transferred to your hotel in Lhasa. Afternoon have a good rest to acclimatize the high altitude. Overnight at Lhasa. (B)=breakfast
Today you will 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 entire Tibetan world, multitudinous pilgrims are circumambulating and prostrating in their strong faith. Overnight at Lhasa.
Today's highlight is 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 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.
After breakfast, drive from Lhasa to Nyingchi. On the way, you will cross over Mila Pass(5100m), enjoy the scenery along the Niyang River. Afternoon drive to visit Draksum Tso, also known as Basum-Tso. 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 trees, most probably the highest attraction of this site. Then retrace the way to the Highway that joins at Pahe village and continuous drive 79km further to Bayi. Overnight at Bayi.
After breakfast, visit Cypresses Park, afterward drive to Pomi. On the way, you will pass the Serkhym-la over 4500m, have a good view of Namche Barwa (7,756m) and Gyala Pelri. After the Serkhym-la the road descends past gorgeous alpine valleys lined with rhododendron bushes into the Rong-chu valley, that is the Lunang forest and more other snow-capped peaks are part of the day's interest. Overnight at Pomi.
The way from Pomi to Pasho, you will visit the beautiful lake Rawu-Tso, Midui glaciers, snow-capped mountains, forests, local villages. Overnight at Pasho.
From Pasho the road east passes picturesque villages, crosses the Ngul-chu and then starts a series of 72 switchbacks up to Zar Gama-la (4,618m), marking the highest single altitude gain of any memorable pass in Tibet. After the pass a while, cross Pomda glorious grassy plain and the Chamdo airport is built on this high plain, arrives at Chamdo. Overnight at Chamdo.
Chamdo is the major transport, administrative and trade centre of the Kham region. In the morning visit Jampaling Monastery on the hilltop, do pilgrimage circumambulation. Then drive to Riwoche, cross over the Zholpel La pass(4688m), this part of the road is recently built but still in a fair condition. Overnight at Riwoche.
Morning visit Riwoche Monastery Tsuglhakhang, then drive on a rough road to Tengchen. Tengchen is the center of the Bon-Religion, which is a primitive religion based on ancient witchcraft, they worship to god and ghost. Bon-Religion was spread through the whole Tibet before Buddhism was introduced into the Tibetan area. Visit Tengchen Zizhu Monastery. Overnight at Tengchen.
After master Tsuri La Pass (4,200m) and Shel La Pass (4750m) we arrive at Bachen and continue about 30km you will reach Sok. Sok means Mongolia in Tibetan. Overnight at Sok.
Morning drive to Sok Tsanden Zhol village, visit Nyimpa sect monastery Sok Tsanden Gompa (sometimes it is impossible to visit this monastery). After that cross over two passes and reach the city of Shakchuka. Then another 100km with two passes, you will reach Nagu. Overnight at Nagqu.
Morning drive on the vast Qiangtang grassland to Namtso, the northern grassland is homeland for the nomads and herds of domestic animals are can be seen along the road, short and cozy black tents are scattered throughout the plain, then from Damshong after crossing the 5150m high Nagenla pass you see the first view of Namtso Chukmo Lake. Afternoon free walking around the Tashi Do Peninsula. Tashi dor Monastery. Overnight at Namtso tent guest house.
The morning after the sunrise at Namtso, start to drive back to Lhasa, en route stop at Yangpachen for hot-spring, newly built Hotspring swimming poll is good for getting relief by soaking in it. Overnight at Lhasa.
Your guide and driver will see you off at the airport or train station, end of the trip.