Visiting: Lhasa, Shigatze, Gyantze, Mt. Everest Basecamp, Tingri
Best season: Mar to Nov
The tour includes all the important places of interest in central & south Tibet. We have two full days in Lhasa which gives us ample time to see the most important sites and allows us to acclimatize to the altitude in the comforts of the Hotel in the old town, and then really enjoy the overland trip through the Himalaya. The breathtaking view of Qomolangma Peak at the Base Camp fascinating region, the devout pilgrims making their way to Lhasa will make our journey an life-time trip.
Day 1 Lhasa(altitude 3, 670m)
Upon arrival in Lhasa, you will be greeted by our guides and warmly welcomed with a pure white katak scarf. As we drive the 100 kilometers into the city, we may stop occasionally for pictures of holy shrines or local village life. As we have just made a sudden ascent to 3,670 meters, the rest of the afternoon is free to rest and acclimatize. We suggest taking it easy, drinking lots of water, and avoiding heavy foods. If you are feeling up to it, you may find a stroll around the Barkhor in the old town an exciting introduction to the spiritual, and commercial, side of Lhasa. As our hotel is generally in the old town, we recommend you venture around Barkhor market, where you will feel you are at the very heart of Tibet. Stay in Shangbana Hotel or the similar(3*)
Day 2 Lhasa(B+L)
Today we will ride to the Drepung and Sera monastery. About 8km west of central Lhasa is the Drepung, once world's largest monastery with about 10,000 monks. Walking up to the hill is a pleasant thing, an easy break from the solemn ambience inside the halls and chapels. At the plat roof of hillside, you can have very good views of the whole Lhasa city and the distant mountains. Sera Monastery sits at the foot of the mountains. One of the three main Gelupka monasteries in Lhasa, Sera is an important spiritual center for Buddhist monks. We will visit Sera Monastery in the afternoon, because if we are lucky enough, we could watch the Lamas in their traditional theological exercise of lively debating. Stay in the same.
Day 3 Lhasa(B+L)
Your guide will pick you up from your hotel. This morning we visit the Potala Palace, a landmark of Lhasa and the political symbol of Tibet. You will join many pilgrims on your way to the top of a hill where this 13-storey architectural wonder stands. The approach to the Potala is not easy, and requires climbing many steep steps, so we take it slowly and allow ourselves to leisurely enjoy the Palace and its surroundings. We enjoy strolling through its winding corridors and peaking in some of its thousand rooms, and can only imagine what life here was once like. In the afternoon, we visit the Jokhang Temple, the spiritual center of Lhasa. As we make the inner circuit around the courtyard, spinning numerous prayer wheels as we go, we are swept up in the energy of the devout. From the rooftop, we get stunning views of the Potala, and the snow capped peaks off in the distance. Around the Temple runs the Barkhor, a holy circuit which pilgrims undertake and a bustling commercial market. Stay in the same.
Day 4 Lhasa – Gyangtse- Shigatse(about 435km, altitude 3,836, B+L+D)
Drive from Lhasa to Gyangtse (3,950 m or 12,956 feet) vs Yamdrok Tso Lake (4408 m),one of Tibet’s three holy lakes and located 110km outside of Lhasa. It takes three and a half hour to Yamdrok Tso Lake, most of the time we are driving on the mountain road, winding and bumpy. Climbing over the snow pass of Kambala (5030m), the dazzling Yamdroktso just lies several hundred meters below the road, and in clear weather is a fabulous shade of deep turquoise. Far in the distance is the huge massif of Mt. Nojin Kangtsang (7191m).After down from the mountain, there is about 30km road along lakeside, with barley fields on the other side of the road. A nice walk by the lakeside can be a great joy. At arrival at Gyantse visit the Pelkor Chode monastery and its associated Kumbum (three dimension mandala) temple. Gyantse is a relaxed town offering a splendid sight of the Kumbum Stupa situated at its Northern edge. Housed within the compound of a rather barren looking Pelkor Chode Monastery, Kumbun consists of 8 levels and a total of 75 chapels with wonderful murals revered by art scholars around the world.. Drive another 95km(about one hour) to Shigatse. It would be a long day for about 10 hours. Stay in Shigatse Hotel or the similar(3*)
Day 5 Shigatse (100km, altitude 3836m)-Tingri(about 200km, altitude 4200m, B+L+D)
This day can make you tired as you basically spend the whole day on the road driving(about seven hours on the way). On the way ,you will cross over Gyatsola Pass at 5,220 m. You will also visit Sakya Monastery and see Mt.Everest far away on the way. Tingri is the last stop before Everest Base Camp. Stay in Tingri.Hotel or the similar
Day 6 Tingri-Base Camp(about 100km, altitude 5150m, B+L+D)
Although it's just 100km from Tingri to Mt. Everst Base Camp, it takes about 5 hours since the cracked winding roads demand much caution. But the views are stupendous on a clear day, and feature a huge sweep of the Himalaya range including peaks over 8000, Makalu, Lhotse, Everest, Gyachung and Cho Oyu. When you finally get to Everst Base Camp, the first sight of the mighty Everest simply leaves you speechless. All the hardship you bear along the way makes sense at this while. The best moments to watch Mt. Everest's are early morning and late evening when Everest is shining like a goddess in the sunglow. This afternoon is left free for you to wondering around the Rongphu Monastery or hiking to the base camp of Mt. Everest. Stay Overnight in the hostel near Rongphu Monastery.
Day 7 Rongpbu Monastery-Tingri-Shigatse (B+L+D)
Drvie from Rongbu Monastery to Shigatse vs Tingri, about 9 hours on the way. Stay in Shigatse hotel or the similar.
Day 8 Shigatse-Lhasa (B+L)
We will visit Tashilhunpo Monastery this morning. Built in 1447 and the seat of the Panchen Lama, the monastery houses a giant statue of the Maitreya Buddha and a tomb of the 4th Panchen Lama, which contains masses of jewels and gold. Just close Tashilhunpo is the Old Town of Shigatse, a great place to wander around: Nicely decorated Tibetan houses and interesting market and bazaar give you a vivid picture of local people's life. We drive back to Lhasa(about 5 hours) in the afternoon. At arrival, you could walk around the old town and do some shopping for old prayer wheels, tankas, etc.on your own. Over night in Shangbana Hotel or the similar.
Day 9 Lhasa-Home (B)
Transfer service to the airport for the flight out of Lhasa. The end of the tour.
The tour cost includes:
1.Good tourist van or 4WD vehicle as mentioned in the itinerary;
2.Meals daily as listed in the itinerary, picnic lunches in remote area if required(B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner);
3.Service of English guide and experienced driver;
4.Scenic spots admission fee; Nature Reserve Protection fee and/ or camping permit fee (inside nature reserve) if required
5.Accommodation: double-occupancy in 4 star hotel in big city, and the best hotel in small cities or counties, clean guest house/hostel/or home-stay in villages as clarified in the itinerary; camping in non-residential area as mentioned in the itinerary, camping gear like tent, sleeping mat, and cooking equipment when required;
6.All the Foreigner's Travel Permit to Tibet and the remote area/border area if needed;
7.A truck for carrying food and all supporting equipments when necessary.(Normally it is for a group over 6 person driving for more than 5 days into non-residential area,)
8.Camel/yak/porter to carry your luggage if trekking and camping for more than 2 days in the desert or non-residential area when required in the itinerary; for a group more than 6 persons we will provide outdoor cooking equipment and a cook to prepare meals;
9.All domestic flights/trains/local airport taxes if there is in the itinerary;