TIBET – CENTRAL AND WESTERN OVERLAND TOUR - 13 Days
Tour Name : TIBET – CENTRAL AND WESTERN TIBET OVERLAND TOUR - 13 Days
Entry / Exit : Fly in / Drive out
Grade : Adventurous
Max Elevation : 5630m/18466Ft.
Accommodation : Hotel/Guest House
Meal : Bed & breakfast
Transport : Flight/ Private vehicle
Tour Days : 13
The beauty of the 6700-meter high Mount Kailash that looks like a symmetrical cone shaped rock capped by pure crystalline ice is equally venerated as the holiest pilgrimage site by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Bön-Po. Tibetans regard this mountain as the manifestation of Mount Meru, “the navel of the earth” where founder of Bon religion, Tonpa Shenrab, is believed to have descended from heaven, Hindus as the abode of Lord Shiva, Buddhists as the abode of Samvara and Jains as a sacred site where their prophet, Rishaba attained spiritual enlightenment. With its four sheer walls, distinctive snow-capped peak, and valleys interspersed with brightly-clad Tibetan pilgrims, Mount Kailash or Khang Rimpoche (‘precious snow-peak’, as known by the Tibetans) is an awe-inspiring sight.
Four great rivers of Asia: the Karnali, the Indus, the Sutlej and the Brahmaputra (Tsangpo) originate from here. A three-day trek (Parikrama or Kora) around Mount Kailash over a 5630 meter Drolma La (pass), clockwise for Buddhists and Hindus, and anti-clockwise followers of the ancient Bon religion, is said to erase the sins of a lifetime. To complete the Kailash pilgrimage one should bath in the sacred Lake Manasarovar, stunningly set on the Tibetan plateau bordered by the majestic Gurla Mandata.
The tour begins with a comprehensive trip briefing in Kathmandu followed by a sensational trans Himalayan flight to Lhasa that passes over Mt. Everest and many highest peaks of the world (if you join the tour in Kathmandu). This is the only flight fly over Mt. Everest and other highest peaks. In case you wish to start the tour in Lhasa arriving from anywhere in mainland China or taking a new train from Beijing you will be briefed about the tour by your Tibetan Guide. This is truly the trip of a lifetime with stunning scenery and cultural highlights.
Day 01: Fly to Gongkar Airport & drive to Lhasa (3600m/11811ft) 65 km, 1hr:
Your Tibetan guide will be waiting to welcome you at Gongkar Airport. After immigration formalities, you will drive for around 45 minutes to reach the old city, Lhasa (3660 meters). After checking in at your hotel, you are advised to take rest, drink plenty of fluids and most importantly let your body get used to Lhasa’s high altitude. During afternoon you can go around the hotel area for light walk and sightseeing. O/N at Hotel in Lhasa (BB)
Day 02: Sightseeing Tour of Jokhang Temple, Norbulinkha Palace, Barkhor Market & Sera Monastery:
After breakfast you will be briefed in detail about the program and entertain last minute questions. Then your guide will take you on a tour to Jokhang Temple, Norbulinkha Palace, and Barkhor Market & Sera Monastery respectively.
Jokhang Temple: This temple is a seventh-century geomantic temple at the heart of Lhasa is the most sacred temple of all Tibet. It is considered to be a Power Place in all Tibet. Queen Bhrikuti, a Nepalese princess married to King Songtsen Gampo founded Jokhang Temple and in recognition of Queen Bhrikuti the main gate of the temple faces west towards Nepal. The most impressive structure of the Jokhang Temple is the many chapels surrounding the temple.
Norbulinkha Palace: This Palace is also called the “Jewel Park”, is a large open area about four kilometers to the west of Lhasa, and referred to as the summer palace of the Dalai Lama. Its official name now is the People’s Park. Kelsang Gyatso, the Seventh Dalai Lama, was the first Dalai Lama to make use of this rural park. He came here not only to rest but to bathe in a curative spring to treat his legs. Since the time of the Eight Dalai Lama, the park has been used as a summer palace, retreat and recreation area for the successive Dalai Lamas. Most of the main buildings were constructed during this century by the Thirteenth and the Fourteenth Dalai Lamas. Construction begun under the Seventh Dalai Lama, Kelsang Gyatso in 1775. It is the first building one encounters in the eastern section of the Norbulinkha is the Kelsang Palace – name after the Seventh Dalai Lama, Kelsang Gyatso.
Barkhor Market (Bazaar): The most popular Barkhor Market (Bazaar) is a square where Tibetan handicraft items, Buddhist artifacts, carpets, paintings etc. are all in sale for your delight. At the end of the day your guide will escort you back to your hotel. Lhasa offers variety of Restaurant for both Lunch and Dinners.
Sera Monastery: This monastery is approx. 5km drive away from Lhasa. Sera Monastery was founded in 1419. It sits in the prettiest and most charming atmosphere at the base of Mount Purbuchok. Sera Monastery used to be an important center for learning where in the past approx. 5,000 to 6,000 monks resided. Currently about 550 monks are supposed to be living there. The important structures inside the monastery include Coqen Hall, (the main assembly hall), three Zhacangs (Buddhist colleges) and twenty-nine Khangtsens (monk dormitories).The most intriguing feature here is the nine-meter image of Maitraya which was erected in 1419; here one can also witness the practicing of debate among the monks, who pitch their knowledge against each other.
After detail visit you will drive to hotel. O/N at Hotel in Lhasa (BB)
Day 03: Sightseeing Tour of Potala Palace & Drepung Monastery:
After breakfast you will be briefed about the day’s program. Then your guide will take you on a tour to majestic Potala palace & Drepung Monastery respectively.
Potala Palace: This Palace is also known as the “winter palace”. The imposing structure of the palace dominates the landscape of Lhasa. It is a 13th storied complex monument rising to a height of above 117m which houses 10,000 shrines and over 200,000 images and about 1000 rooms.As you are guided through the ancient chambers of the palace, you get to see Tibetan art at its best. The Potala Palace has a vast array of intricate Tibetan murals and beautiful statues. You will also get to view the tombs of the eight Dalai Lamas. Only one hour is allowed in Potala Palace due to tourist traffic.
Drepung Monastery: This Monastery is 8 km west of Lhasa. One of the three great Gelukpa Monasteries near Lhasa, the other two being Sera and Ganden. Until the occupation it served like its two sister monasteries as centre for learning and monastic training to which monks from all over Tibet would come to spend as long as 15 years methodically studying and debating the meaning of the Buddhist scriptures. For centuries it existed as a small monastic township housing thousands of fully ordained monks and other functionaries. It was founded in 1416 by Jam yang Chöje Tahsi Palden, a disciple of Tsong Khapa.
After detail visit you will drive to Hotel. O/N at hotel in Lhasa (BB).
Day 04: Drive to Shigatse (3,900m/12795ft) via Gyantse (3950m /12956ft), visit Khumbum & Pelkhor Stupa 370km, 6 hrs:
After breakfast, leaving Lhasa and a drive of 370km, taking about 6 hours including break for lunch at one of the villages’ en-route. We will drive over two spectacular high passes – the Kampa La at 4750m and Karo La at 5010m, over, and along the beautiful deep blue green Lake called Yamdrok Lake or Turquoise Lake. The landscape of the Tibetan Plateau is truly unusual and spectacular. We will arrive in Gyantse an old Tibetan Town against a backdrop of magnificent 14th-15th century fortresses and temples. Here we will visit Pelkhor Chode Temple & Khumbum respectively.
Pelkor Chöde: This Monastery is located in the northeast of Gyantse at 3900 meters above sea level. Pelkor Chode Monastery, or rather Palcho Monastery in Tibetan language means "auspicious monastery". It was first built in early 15th century and took 10 years to complete. Because it was built when different religious sectors conflicted neck and neck in Tibet, Sakyapa, Kadampa and Gelukpa of Tibetan Buddhism coexist in it. Each religious sector has five to six "Dratsang" (schools) in the monastery. This Monastery occupies a stunning position in the history of Tibetan Buddhism. It features a mixture of pagoda and monastery, whose architectural style reflects the typical feature of monasteries in between late 13th century and mid 15th century. The most symbolic architecture in the monastery is the Kumbum Stupa, which is composed of nine layers of nearly 77 temple halls with a total of 10,000 Buddha statues in halls, niches and on murals, hence the nickname "Ten Thousand Stupa". Pelkor Chode Monastery is also noted for its distinctive sculptures and murals.
Kumbum: Gyantse Kumbum Chorten was commissioned by a Gyantse prince in 1427 and it is the town’s main attraction. The 35 meters high chorten, with its white layers trimmed with decorative stripes and its crown-like golden dome, is awe-inspiring. The interior is equally impressive. Kumbum means 100,000 images in Tibetan. Indeed, there is what seems to be an endless series of tiny chapels. Each chapel is decorated with wall paintings; some have various statues of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and deities. Most paintings date to the time of the construction of the stupa.There are nine levels, 108 cells and 75 chapels. At the higher levels you can go out to an outdoor terrace and enjoy an incredible view on the town, monastery and surrounding fort.
Do not miss the opportunity to take photo with Tibetan mastiff and Yak in Khambala pass en-route to Gyantse. After detail visit you will drive to second largest city of Tibet, Shigatse. O/N at hotel in Shigatse (BB).
Day 05: Visit Tashilumpho Monastery & Drive to Shegar (4200m/13776ft) 260km, 5hr:
After breakfast you will be visiting Tashilumphu Monastery. This monastery is one of the largest functioning monasteries in Tibet and there is much to explore within its high surrounding walls. There are about 39 amazing chapels inside including the huge Maitreya Chapel coated with gold; its workmanship certainly impresses everyone.After detailed visit of Shigatse, we will visit the local markets for shopping and local sightseeing. Then travel along the Friendship Highway amidst picturesque landscape driving for approx 5 hrs. past small town of Lhatse. You will be crossing one of the highest Gyatso la pass (5220m) of the tour. As the route opens into plains, many monasteries and camps of nomadic herders become visible en route to Shegar. O/N at Hotel in Shegar (BB)
Day 06: Drive to Rongbuk (5100m/16728ft), visit Rongbuk Monastery & enjoy view of Everest & drive to Old Tingri (4300m/ 14107Ft.) 220 km, 4 hrs:
Away from Shegar, you will drive to the south crossing Pang La pass at 5150m. Along the drive you can bask in the splendor of majestic views of snow-capped peaks from Makalu to Shishapangma. After driving for approximately 100 km, you eventually reach Rongbuk at 5100m. You can visit Rongbuk Monastery & then view spectacular sight of Mount Everest. After an awesome experience you will be drive back to Old Tingri for your overnight stay. O/N at Hotel/Guest house in Old Tingri (BB)
Day 07: Drive to Saga (4840m/15875ft) 350km, 6 hrs:
Today after breakfast you will drive all the way via Pegu Tso Lake, one of the beautiful lakes towards your journey to Saga. we drive approx. 350km to Saga driving between the snows peaked mountains, crossing the Yarlong Tsangpo (Brahmaputra River) Further ahead, a river valley sprawls over and then traditional picturesque villages come into picture. This scenically rewarding drive provides plenty of opportunities for photography. O/N at hotel in Saga (BB)
Day 07: Drive to Darchen (4560m/14957ft) 560km, 9hrs:
Today is a longer day’s drive travelling more than 500km. First we begin our journey towards Paryang which is almost 450km drive from Saga. From Paryang, we set out across the plains to Mansarovar located just 30km south of Mt Kailash. As you near this breathtaking sacred lake, historic Chiu Monastery becomes visible on the North West shore of the lake. From this vantage point, you can even glimpse at majestic Mount Kailash. This journey stimulates you spiritually. O/N at Hotel in Darchen (BB)
Day 09: Drive to Tarpoche (80km, 1.5 hr). Trek to Dirapuk (4900m/16072ft.)
Leaving the lake, we drive for about 80 km towards Tarpoche, the Base Camp of Kailash or the starting point of Kora where we begin our first walk of 6-7 hrs, towards Kailash. Here you meet your team of yaks and Tibetan yak drivers who will escort you around the Kora. Further ahead from Tarpoche, you have to trek past verdant meadows and picturesque streams to Lha Chu Valley. The trail overlooks Turquoise River cascading over a narrow canyon with high steep cliffs. En route, north face of Kailash comes into vision. The trail will approach 13th century monastery of Dirapuk. We spend an overnight in Dirapuk. O/N at Guest House in Dirapuk (BB)
Note: Offer "Lungta" and prayers flag (printed prayers for the peace and good health/happiness) together with your Tibetan Guide. Offering Lungta in high passes and temple is believed to bring good fortune and long life in Tibetan culture.
Day 10: Trek Dirapuk to Zutulpuk. Cross Dolmala Pass (4790m/15711ft):
Lha Chu Valley blurs as you turn towards Drolma Chu Valley. Looking forward to the amazing Mount Kailash tour and trek, you ascend to Drolma La (5630m), the highest point of the trip. Enjoy the breathtaking view of Thukpe Dzingbu Lake, known as the Lake of Compassion at the summit; you realize that this tough and challenging ascent has indeed been very worthwhile and fruitful. Several prayer flags can be seen at the summit. Further on, the trail descends to the flat fields of Zuthulpuk which houses a monastery and several fascinating caves. The caves at this locale are most popular for meditation; Milarepa’s cave being one of them with Milarepa’s footprints and elbow prints believed to be imprinted all over this cave of Mani stones. After a tough challenging day walk of approximately 10 hrs, we reach Zuthulpuk, our overnight place. O/N at Guest House in Zuthulpuk (BB)
Day 11: Finish Trek. Drive to Saga (4840m/15875ft) 560 km, 9 hrs:
Day 12: Drive to Kyirong (4500m/14805ft) 280 km, 5 hrs:
After breakfast you will drive to Kyirong for about 5 hrs. We drive along Peku Tso ( Lake) and arrived Dzonkha (Kyirong Xian), then drive further 70km cross high pass Yangdo La 5326m/17470ft to Nepal border town of Kyirong. Kyirong is also a famous religious and historical place, home of 11th Centaury great saint and Guru Milarepa known for his tantric wisdom as well a poet and folk singer, his song are still remembered by local herdsman and villagers. O/N at Hotel in Kyirong (BB)
Day 13: Drive to Kathmandu (1300m/4265ft) 170 km, 10 hrs:
After breakfast, drive 25 km to the border and the immigration point. After Chinese Immigration formalities we cross into Nepal by foot and meet Nepali representative and vehicle at the Nepal side called Timure, Rasuwa Ghadi. After Nepali immigration formalities, you drive to Kathmandu. It is an interesting combination drive of dirt and paved road along the Langtang national park through smaller town of Syabrubensi and Dunche (ideal place for lunch) and finally reaches the main national highway at Galchhi. You will experience more traffic along the road. Tour Concludes.
- Twin sharing and dormitory accommodation as per the itinerary on bed & breakfast (BB) basis.
- English speaking Tibetan Guide.
- Transportation as per the itinerary by necessary vehicle.
- Monastery entrance fee.
- Rongbuk Entry Fee & Everest Conservation Fee
- Tibet Travel permits.
- All necessary entrance permits.
- Yak and Yak Man
- Emergency mineral water in the vehicle.
- Emergency portable oxygen cylinder in the vehicle.
- Trip briefing by Tibet expert & entertain question.
- Trip Information pack.
- Gift pack (prayer flag or string of flag & paper prayer Lungtha).
Note: Offer Prayer flag or Lungtha (string of prayer flag) in high passes, temple for good fortune & long life.
- Tibet Visa Fee (Acceptable in US$ cash only as per the Nationality).
- Any Airfare:
- Transportation: Kyirong border - Kathmandu
- Travel insurance.
- Expenses during any rescue operation.
- Lunch and Dinner
- Alcoholic beverages & bar bills.
- Hiring personal Yak and Horses during Kora
- All expenses of personal nature, phone calls, laundry etc.
- Gratuity to staff.
- Services not mentioned herein.
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