Tibet Exploration Tour
13 Days / 12 Nights
The tour includes most of the important places of interest in central & south Tibet. We have three full days in Lhasa which gives us ample time to see the most important sites and soak up the feeling. Trek from Tsurphu Monastery to Dorjeling Nunnery, enjoy the view of the holy Namtso Lake and visit the Everest Base Camp at the end of the tour. The quiet and colorful Namtso Lake, rugged valleys and mountainsides, eye-opening wildlife, the resplendent monasteries and breathtaking view of Mt. Everest from the Base Camp will make you remember this journey for a life-time. Note: All the durations and distances shown in the itinerary are approximate and indicative only, depending on the weather and local road conditions.
Hiking: 4-5 hours per day for 3 days
Our itineraries are suggestions and are fully customisable according to your needs, interests and budget.
Treat these itineraries as inspiration and one of our experts will create your uniquely tailored holiday with your requests in mind so that you can truly experience China with Seven Senses.
Day 1. Arrive Lhasa (altitude: 3,670m) (-/-/-)
Arrive to Lhasa airport. Upon your arrival, you will be greeted by your guide and warmly welcomed with a pure white katak scarf (prayer scarf). Then drive to Lhasa, 100kms away from the airport. On the way you may enjoy the heart-beating highland view along the Lhasa River and stop occasionally for pictures of local villages. As you have just made a sudden ascent to 3,670 metres, transfer to the hotel for a good rest. The rest of the day is free to relax and adjustment to the altitude. We suggest taking it easy, drinking lots of water, and avoiding heavy foods. Tonight you will enjoy a welcome dinner with local characteristics.
Day 2. Lhasa (B/-/-)
Today, the highlights are Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple. As the cardinal landmark of Lhasa, Potala Palace is a structure of massive proportions which itself contains a small world within it. Its towering image already appearing on various occasions, but your first sight of the Potala will still be an awe-inspiring moment. Potala Palace is a place where you can appreciate the Tibetan culture, religion, art and architecture as well. After lunch you will visit Jokang Temple. Jokang Temple is the most scared shrine and the spiritual centre of Tibet. Every day, pilgrims from every corner of Tibet trek a long distance to the temple to pray for their present and future. Around the temple is Barkhor street, the oldest street in Lhasa and a bustling commercial market. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to venture around Barkhor street, where you will feel you are right at the heart of Tibet.
Day 3. Lhasa (B/-/-)
This morning, our tour begins with a 20km-drive out of Lhasa to one of the holiest cave retreats in Tibet, the Drak Yerpa hermitage. In old times, some ascetics and kings have sojourned here for meditation. Among them, the most famous ones are Guru Rinpoche (Dawa-puk) and King Songtsen Gampo (Chogyal-puk). Here we will visit some meditation caves once used by those famous figures. Next we will visit Sera monastery. Sitting at the foot of the mountains, it is one of the three greatest Gelugpa monasteries. It was founded in 1419 by one of the eight disciples of Tsongkhapa, the founder of Gelugpa Sect, who led a renaissance of pure monastic institutions by emphasizing study, morality during a time when Buddhist teachings had degenerated. The structure is imposing and picturesque with a splendid decoration in green and gold. It is a typical Tibetan structure.
Day 4. Lhasa - Tsurphu Monastery (altitude: 4,480m) (B/-/-)
After breakfast, we will have a short discussion on today’s activites, then our driver will take us to Tsurphu Monastery for acclimatization. It takes about 2 hours, and we are going to ascend to the altitude of 4,480m. Around 60km west of Lhasa, Tsurphu Monastery is the seat of The Karma branch of the Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism. It was built in the middle of the valley facing south with high mountains surrounding the monastery complex. As the birthplace of the Reincarnation System of the Living Buddha, this, over 800-year-old spiritual hub still pulsates with religious activities. We will arrange yaks and yakman to carry our camping gear and food to our campsite. Rest of the day free to acclimatize and prepare for our trekking next day.
Day 5. Trekking from Tsurphu Monastery to Leten (altitude: 5,105m) (B/-/-)
11km/4-5hrs hiking; ascent 500m;
A spectacular first day of trekking ascending up in a green valley crisscrossed with mountain streams. Be on the lookout for various species of mountain goats disguised as grey rocks. Several small nomadic communities camp here for the summer herding months. We may have a stop at a yak-hair tent named Shupshading (4,700m) for a cup of salt butter tea or some fresh yak milk. Arrive at the ridge top around noon, where a high plateau with sweeping panoramic views will emerge. Arriving in Leten, we will look for a flat area for camping. Leten is also called the 'highest village in the world', several families live here permanently, braving the severe climate with their livestock. Today will be a big challenge for us since all the trekking sections are ascending, but the scenery is refreshing and stimulating, classic Tibetan landscape.
Day 6. Leten - Bartso (altitude: 4,474m) (B/-/-)
15km/5-6hrs hiking; ascent 300m; descent 600m;
Today we will reach the highest pass of this trekking - Lasar La (5,300m). After breakfast, we will first cross the first small pass, descend into a magical valley of lichen-coated boulders, meandering streams and expansive sky. Arrive at the Lasar La three hours later, and descend into the Yangpachen valley, with its wide open plateaus, spiky grass hummocks and tundra-like parched, cracked patches of earth. Then another 3 hours walk to Bartso. Surrounded by the juniper used for incense all over the Tibetan world, this nomad village of 5 homes with permanent sources of water is a good place to camp.
Day 7. Bartso - Dorje Ling Nunnery (altitude: 4,474m) /
Drive to Namtso (altitude: 4,720m) (B/-/-)
15km/4-5hrs hiking; ascent 150m; descent 150m;
Leaving the village of Bartso behind, head towards a wide trail leading across the valley and over another ridge, from where we will be rewarded with views of Mount Nyenchen Tanglha (7111 m), the holiest mountain in central Tibet. Emerge at Tajung village (4,660m), and then climb gently up rolling hills where young nomadic boys and girls picnic on the plateaus as they watch their yaks and sheep graze. The vistas are, again, just amazing! Mid-day, we should reach the small Djore Ling Nunnery (4,474m) and finish our trekking. It's possible that these nuns, some of the friendliest in Tibet, will drag you into the gompa's tea-house and pass around a heaping plate of yak meat (use the bowie knife provided to hack a piece off) before getting into the requisite photo session. After that we will drive to Namtso Lake for overnight.
Day 8. Namtso - Lhasa (altitude: 3,670m) (B/-/-)
In the morning, beat the cold and get up early to appreciate the sunrise and beautiful scenery at the Lake of Namtso. In Tibetan, Namtso means 'Heavenly Lake.' Namtso Lake, one of the three holy lakes in Tibet, is the second-largest saltwater lake in China and the highest lake in the world. As the Sun rises, clouds lift from the mountains and the scene is bathed in golden sunshine. When the weather is clear, the water is a stunning shade of turquoise and we will be surrounded by magnificent views of the nearby Mount Nyenchen Tanglha range with peaks of more than 7,000m. The wide open spaces, dotted with tents of local nomads, are breathtaking. We may also walk along the lake or climb up the hill near the lake to explore the area. After visiting the lake, we will drive back to Lhasa.
Day 9. Lhasa - Gyangtse (altitude: 3,900m) (B/-/-)
Morning drive up to Kampala pass (5,030m), you will have a glimpse of Yamdrok Tso Lake on the way and spectacular views of Holy Mount Nyenchen Tanglha in the distance, which are wonders of the day. Lying at the south slopes of the uninterrupted snow-capped Himalayas, the turquoise coloured Lake Yamdrok Tso appears like a holy sapphire and evokes solemnity. In clear weather, the reflection of sunshine in different depths lends the lake gorgeous and mysterious colors. Tibetans here believe that it is a dwelling place of the spirits that protect the people. Every year, many devoted followers come here for pilgrimage. Then along the highway drive to Gyantse, visit the famous Gyantse Kumbum. Gyangtse is very famous in Tibet for its giant stupa. The monastery around it, Pelkor Monastery was built when different religious sectors conflicted neck and neck in Tibet. It occupies an important place in the history of Tibetan Buddhism and features a mixture of pagoda and monastery architecture. The most symbolic piece of architecture in the monastery is the Kumbum Stupa, which is composed of nine layers and 77 temple halls with numerous Buddha statues in halls and murals. The mural paintings are the wonders of the stupa that mostly date back to its original time, there are 108 cells all around the stupa and every cell has different paintings and statues inside.
Day 10. Gyangtse - Tingri (altitude: 4,200m) (B/-/-)
We will spend most of the day on the road driving (about seven hours). On the way, you will cross the Gyatsola Pass at 5,220m. You will also visit Sakya Monastery and see Mt. Everest in the distance. Located in Sakya County southwest of Shigatse, the Sakya Monastery is the principal monastery of the Sakyapa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Tingri or rather Lao Tingri is the last stop before your Everest Base Camp Tour.
Day 11. Everest Base Camp (altitude: 5,150m) (B/-/-)
Although it's just 100km from Tingri to the Everest 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 spectacular Himalaya ranges including its glorious peaks over 8,000m, Makalu (8,463m), Lhotse (8,516m), Everest (8,848m), Gyachung and Cho Oyu, especially when you cross the Gawu La Pass at 5,250m. When you finally get to Everest 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 point. The afternoon is free for you to wander around. Then drive back to Tingri in the late afternoon.
Day 12. Tingri - Shigatse (altitude: 3,836m) (B/-/-)
After breakfast, drive about 300km to Shigatse and have lunch. Then, we will visit Tashilunpo Monastery. Built in 1447 and the seat of the Panchen Lama, the monastery houses a giant statue of the Maitreya Buddha and the Stupa-tomb of the Tenth Panchen Lama, which contains masses of jewels and gold and is the most splendid mausoleum built in China since the 1950s. Just close to Tashilhunpo is the Old Town of Shigatse, a great place to wander around: nicely decorated Tibetan houses and an interesting market and bazaar will give you a vivid picture of local people's life.
Day 13. Shigatse - Lhasa - Departure (B/-/-)
Early in the morning leave from Shigatse to Gonkar airport in Lhasa. The drive takes about 5 hours.
Board your flight towards the UK.
The itinerary may be subject to change depending on circumstances.
13 DAYS / 12 NIGHTS FROM £2,620 per person + flights
based on 2 people travelling together
The price includes:
12 nights medium range hotel accommodation with breakfast in a twin/double room
3 star hotel in Lhasa, Gyangtse and Shigatse. the best lodging places in small villages, camping as indicate in the itinerary.
Air conditioned private vehicle with driver for the full duration of the tour as described in the itinerary
All tours mentioned in the itinerary with private English speaking guide
All entrance fees and permissions to the sites visited
The price does not include:
Return flights from the UK to Lhasa
Anything not specifically mentioned above
Visa fee for China and Tibet
Tips to the guide and driver
Personal costs such as drinks, laundry, etc.
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