10 days Yunnan Lijiang to Tibet Lhasa overland
The overland tour from Yunnan to Lhasa (starting from Lijiang) is less difficult than driving from Chengdu to Lhasa, but the scenery along the way is also stunning beautiful. During this trip, You will visit the deepest gorges in the world - Tiger Leaping Gorges before arriving at Zhongdian Shangri-la. After passing by the holy Mount Kawakarpo you will meet with Sichuan-Tibet highway, this tour presents an amazing contrast to the landscape of the Brahmaputra valley and is distinguished by extremely rugged mountains in parallel ranges extending from northwest to southeast broken by very deep alpine gorges. The beautiful ranges are narrow and rocky with steep slopes and sharp ridges at some points. Breathtaking views of Rawu Lake and Draksum Tso Lake are incomparable tour.
But during summer time, it is very easy to get landslides, while winter time, it is with heavy snow. So the best time to take this trip is Spring and Autumn.
Drive from Lijiang to Zhongdian (Shangri-la), on the way stop to visit the First Bend on the Yangtze River with imposing gorge scenery and the deepest gorge in the world - Tiger Leaping Gorge(Middle part). In the afternoon explore Shangri-la old town. Overnight at Zhongdian.
Morning visit Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, the biggest Buddhism Gelugpa monastery in Yunnan, reputed as 'Little Potala Palace' which was built according to the complex of Potala Palace in Lhasa. Afterward driving to Deqin, it takes about 4-5 hours, along the way with beautiful landscapes including Baima Snow mountain and Benzilan the First Bend of the Jinsha River. Reach to Feilaisi in the early afternoon where you can enjoy the fabulous view of Mount Meili (Kawar Karpo in Tibetan)(6740m). If time is allowed, drive to see the beautiful Mingyong Glacier at the foot of Kawa Karpo - the main peak of Mt. Meili. Overnight at Feilaisi.
Go on northwards along the Lancang 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 Yarlung 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). 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 Min-la 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, 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 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 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 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.