Pilgrimage expedition -Tibetan tea horse caravan trail

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Tour Duration: 6 - 8 day(s)
Group Size: 3 - 6 people
Specialty Categories: Pilgrimage/Spirituality Cultural Journey
Season: April - October
Airfare Included: No

You will learn about the distinctive cultures and religions. The drives will bring you through the vast virgin forests and crystal blue lakes, and some formerly inaccessible routes which offer spectacular scenery as well as opportunities to come in contact with the primary village cultures of Yunnan and Tibet. The long and winding drive on unpaved roads is very challenging and arduous, but this will be an unforgettable, once in your lifetime journey.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Lijiang - Zhongdian (200 km, 4-5hrs)

After breakfast, we will drive to Zhongdian (Shangri-la). This is an extraordinary scenic mountain drive and there will be many opportunities to stop and observe both the natural beauty and traditional cultural practices. Along the way, we will stop and visit the spectacular Tiger Leaping Gorge – one of the deepest gorges in the world. Zhongdian is the capital of Dechen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. It is located in the south most part of Kham, or East Tibet – traditional land of the tall, turbaned Khampa houseman. Today, Zhongdian is principally a Tibetan township but has Han Chinese people as well as a smattering of Bai, Hui and Naxi minorities. Historically, the town was a trading center between Tibet, Burma and India. Mule caravans once made journeys to conduct commerce between regions. One of the major trade items was “brick tea” from Yunnan – in demand by Tibetan nomads and farmers.

Day 2: Dechen - Yanjing - Dechen (310 km)

Depart Dechen in the morning; we will travel along the north of Mekong River valley into Tibet. Along the way, you may be able to see the sunrise above Meili Snow Mountain (Kawagebo) 6,740m on a good day. Our first stop in Tibet will be at Yanjing (Salt Well in Mandarin). Yanjing was once the main source of salt for half of the Kham Tibetan area, which ranged from northwestern Sichun down into Yunnan. You will visit the salt fields, followed by a stop at the hot springs, where you may pick your own natural hot bath overlooking Mekong - certainly the best way to relax your bodies for the adventure ahead. The drive to Deqen is simply the best way to view great variety of landscape in the Great Rivers region.

Descending to the Yangtze Basin, we may stop at a beautiful small town named Benzilan and then continue ascending the scenic Baima Snow Mountain Nature Reserve (4,296m). Journey will continue where you may enjoy the far view of Meili Snow Mountain – the highest peak in Yunnan, with an altitude of 6,740m. This peak is called Kawagebo by Tibetan which means the white snowy mountain in Tibetan language. Regarded as one of the Eight Buddhist Mountains and the Divine Mountain and Holy Land, every year the Buddhist followers from Tibet, Sichuan, Yunnan and Qinghai trek thousands of miles to pay religious homage to it. We may visit the Ganden Dongzhulin Monastery along the way. In the evening, we will arrive in Dechen - the gateway town to Tibet Dongzhulin Lamasery, situated close to the border between Yunnan and Tibet.

Day 3: Yanjing - Markam - Zugong (368 km). Today you will cross two high passes, one at around 3,899m, the other, Mt. Dongdala, at 5,007m. Driving past local Tibetan houses scattered round the feet of snow-capped peaks, you will soon realize that you are one of the first foreign visitors to this isolated region. On the way you will cross the Mekong River and ascend the Dongdala pass before arriving at Zugong which is located at 3,802m, overlooking the Yu Chu River.

Day 4: Zugong - Ranwu (295 km). The drive to Ranwu is through alpine forest landscapes, through the deep valleys of the Salween River (Nu River) on the way, which is a long and tough journey. After ascending the Anjula Pass, the road will lead you to our destination - the Ranwu (Ngom Tso) Lake. Ranwu Lake is located on the shore of a spectqacular crystal blue lake, dramatically girded by snow peaks.

Day 5: Ranwu - Bomi (129 km)

Drive to Bomi and visit Tongmai, where some of the best Tibetan tea is made. You also visit a local tea factory and experience the comfortable, hospitable feeling of this area. We will wander along the Poto-chu Valley at Tramog (2,743 m/8999 ft), located deep in the thickly forested gorge of Parlung Tsangpo with glacial waterfalls streaming from the mountainsides. We will go down several hundred meters in altitude as we reach the lowland jungle settlement of Tang-me where the Tsangpo and Parlung Tsangpo rivers meet.

Day 6: Bomi - Bayi (219 km). Awaken to the birds singing, and an unobstructed view of the majestic Nan Jiabawa peak. After a long 6-9 hours drive, you arrive in Bayi, the capital town of Linzhi Prefecture.

Day 7: Bayi - Basong Lake - Gongbujiangda - Lhasa (355 km)

First we will drive 30 kms to visit the Lamaling monastery which an important monastery in Ningchi. And then drive to the crystal clear Basong Lake, which will seem like an oasis to you (also known as Draksum-tso) - another place you would be reluctant to leave. Enjoy the wonderful views of the 6,000m mountains that surround the lake. Some short hikes or a boat trip will be arranged. Afterwards, continue on to Gongbujiangda. Before arriving to Lhasa, we will visit the Ganden Monastery, the first Gelugpa Monastery (built in 1409) that has remained the main seat of this Buddhist order ever since. From the monastery, there are wonderful views of the surrounding Kyichu Valley.

After the long challenging overland trip you will understand why Tibetans regard the journey to Lhasa as one of the most sacred of pilgrimages. Some of them even sacrifice their lives on this pilgrim trip. We shall arrive at Lhasa (3,650m) around late afternoon, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. The city of Lhasa is situated on the bank of Kyichu River and has long been the “Holy Land” of Tibet. We will arranging the Min-bus for the Travelling - Group Tour.


Price Includes:

- Transportation (Min-bus or land cruiser 11seaters)
- Tour Guide
- Accommodation at Hotel(local guest).

Price Excludes: meals and other extra charges.

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