12 Days Yunnan to Tibet Overland Tour

12 Days Yunnan to Tibet Overland Tour
Apr - DecBest Time
MediumTour Pace
4350mMax Altitude
Physical Demands
Lijiang / Shangri-la / Deqin / Yanjing / Ranwok / Bayi / Lhasa
The tour starts in Lijiang and ends in Lhasa. You will go through the stunning scenery of great canyons, lakes, monasteries, snow-capped mountains along the way. Look down from the high mountain pass, you will find the Sichuan Tibet highway and Lancang River are hidden in the mountains and hills, just like two bright ribbons. Approaching the lake of Ranwok, the silence ruled everywhere around, she's like a drop of tear falling down from the sky.
DAY BY DAY SUMMARY
D1: Lijiang / Shangri-la
D2: Shangri-la Sightseeing
D3-4: Shangri-la / Deqin / Yanjing
D5-6: Yanjing / Zuogong / Ranwok
D7-8: Ranwok / Bomi / Bayi
D9: Bayi / Lhasa
D10-11: Lhasa Sightseeing
D12: Tour Ends
Itinerary Details
Includes & Excludes
Tour FAQs
Itinerary Details

Day 1 Lijiang / Shangri-la [3200], 175km, 3.5hrs drive

Today, travel from Lijiang to Shangri-La. En route, you'll visit the marvelous Tiger Leaping Gorge, which is one of the world's deepest gorges and also famous as a classic trekking trail. The rushing water from the imposing Jinsha River flows into the narrow valley with a stone in the center. There is an old saying that the gorge is so narrow that a tiger was able to jump over to the other side of the river, so there the name came. Afterwards, continue another 2-hour drive to Shangri-La. Have a good rest after check in hotel to acclimatize the high elevation of 3200 meters.

Tiger Leaping Gorge
Tiger Leaping Gorge
Jinsha River
Jinsha River

Day 2 Shangri-la Sightseeing [B]

In the morning, visit the Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, the largest Tibetan monastery in Yunnan. It's built in 1679, also known as “the little Potala Palace”. Afterwards you'll go visit the Pudacuo National Park. Pudacuo Park is mainly comprised of Shudu Lake, Militang Pasture and Bita Lake; the elevation there ranges from 3,500 meters to 4,000 meters above the sea level. As an inseparable part of the Three Parallel Rivers-a world natural heritage by UNESCO, Pudacuo Park also functions as a natural reserve. The eco environment is well preserved with marsh, lakes, virgin forests, brooks, springs, and rare fauna and flora resources. Late in the afternoon, you would visit the Old Town of Shangri-la and the Guishan Park. Have dinner in Tibetan family and enjoy butter tea and other tasty Tibetan food in the evening.

Ganden Sumtseling Monastery
Ganden Sumtseling Monastery
Pudacuo National Park
Pudacuo National Park

Day 3 Shangri-la / Deqin [3400], 165km, 4hrs drive [B]

Drive to Deqin Country (3400m) early in the morning, the 187km distance takes about 6-7 hours drive. You will arrive Benzilan Town in the southeast of Deqing County to witness “The first bend of Jinsha River”. The town located on the edge of the Jinsha River at the foot of the white snow mountain. The 214 national road passes through and it used to be the only way to the "tea horse ancient road". Dongzhulin Monastery is 23km away from Benzilan Town, it is the key protection unit of Yunnan province and the earliest birthplace of Tibetan Buddhism in western Yunnan. Due to its long history and numerous treasures, it is managed by many living Buddhas. Then view Baima (White horse) Snow Mountain along the way. The mountain was decorated by different kind of trees, streams, prayer flags, stupas and blossom cuckoo flower. Stay overnight in Feilai Monastery.

Baima Snow Mountain
Baima Snow Mountain
Dongzhulin Monastery
Dongzhulin Monastery

Day 4 Deqin / Yanjing [2400], 115km, 2.5hrs drive

Feilai Monastery has a history of nearly 400 years. Only 8km away from Deqin, you will be there in the morning to view the stunning sunrise of Meili Snow Mountain.You can see golden snow-capped Kawagebo Peak (6,740m, the Peak of Mt. Meili) if it's good weather. After the sunrise, we will drive to Mingyong Village, where you can walkon the trails for about 4km to the bottom of Mingyong Glaciers, it is about 1 hour hike to get to Tibetan Taizi Monastery, where you can view Mingyong Glaciers from another angle. (optional: horse hiring to save energy). Later back to Deqin County and head to Tibet via the north of Mekong River Valley. Later today we would stop at the hot springs, relax and get enough rest to prepare for the adventure ahead. Stay overnight in Yanjing.

Feilai Monastery
Feilai Monastery
Meili Snow Mountain
Meili Snow Mountain

Day 5 Yanjing / Zuogong [3750m], 265km, 7hours drive

Today, drive from Yanjing to Zuogong is not easy at all. Although it is only 150km, the drive might take a whole day. You would cross two high passes, and one is 3900m, the other is 5008m. Today you can take your time to enjoy the landscape of barley fields and yaks scatter in the valleys. Zuogong is a small town with a street of around 1km. Upon your arrival, take your time to wander around the small Tibetan town and see the life of the Tibetans living far from big cities.

Yanjing Salt Terrace Fields
Yanjing Salt Terrace Fields
View along the way
View along the way

Day 6 Zuogong / Ranwok [3850m], 290km, 5.5hrs drive

It is about 300km from Zuogong to Ranwu Lake. Drive along the deep valleys of the Nu River (the Salween River), which is a long and tough journey. You would pass the famous site called "ninety-nine turns" , here the road becomes a flat gravel road which is quite dusty. But later today you would arrive Ranwok Town and visit another Shangri-la in Tibet. Ranwok Lake, at an altitude of 3850 meters, is the largest lake in eastern Tibet. Its quietness and turquoise blue was known far and wide. You may stay in the tent by the Lake.

Nu River
Nu River
Ranwok Lake
Ranwok Lake

Day 7 Ranwok / Bomi [2720m], 130km, 3hrs drive

Take your time to enjoy the mirror-like Ranwok Lake. The lake is rich in color, with grasslands, forests, white waterfall and colorful pebbles along the lakeshore. The lake resents different colors in different season. After lunch, we will drive leave Ranwok Town and head for Bomi, and the altitude begins to decline slowly. The plants and trees along the way also changing. With cows and yaks grazing on the meadow, the clouds floating on the sky like marshmallows. The snow mountain standing in the distance the same way like thousand years ago. Enjoy the splendid scene to Bomi. Stay overnight in Bomi.

View along the way
View along the way
Bomi Peach Blossom
Bomi Peach Blossom

Day 8 Bomi / Bayi [2900m], 230km, 5hrs drive

Head for the conjunction of Niyang River and Yarlung Tsangpu River. Niyang River means “the tears of goddess”. The different wild birds also found the charming scenery perfect for their home, one of the rare birds” black necked cranes” also choose here to spend winter. Take a hike to the best spot to view Mt. Namcha Barwa Peak. and get to Pai Town of the Yarlung Tsangpu River. We have arranged specially the trekking to the best touring sites in Mt. Nanjiabawa Daduka[7782m]. it's called “the father of mountains on Tibet” the snow covers the huge triangular peak all year round. It can only be seen in very clear weather, most of time the mountain would be covered with cloud and mist, that why it's other name is “shy girl peak”. Drive pass Mailong and Pailong, up to Mt. Sejila, we get to Bayi Town. You would pay a visit to Cypress Forest in Bayi Town.

Mt. Namcha Barwa
Mt. Namcha Barwa
Cypress Forest
Cypress Forest

Day 9 Bayi / Lhasa [3650m], 480km, 7hrs drive

Enjoy the beautiful Niyang River along the way when we drive back to Lhasa from Bayi Town. Bayi town is famous not only for it's gorgeous natural scene, the matsutake stone pot chicken is also unforgettable. After passing through the Gongbujiangda, we head forward to the holy lake of Basumtso (3500m high,27 sq.km.). Then drive back to the main stem of Sichuan-Tibet road and directly head to Lhasa.Arrive Lhasa in the late afternoon, the lights of Potala Palace is almost on and the people at Jokhang Temple are doing the circle with praying wheel in hand. Have a distance view of the palace and feel the atmosphere of Lhasa. Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Niyang River
Niyang River
Basumtso Lake
Basumtso Lake

Day 10 Lhasa Sightseeing

Potala Palace is not only the land mark of Lhasa, it is considered one of the seven wonders of the world. Magnificent palace with the highest altitude above the sea level, castles and temples. It is also the largest and most complete ancient palace complex in Tibet. In December 1994, UNESCO listed it as the world cultural heritage. In the afternoon, visit Johkang Temple, built during songtsen Gonpo's reign by princess wencheng of tang dynasty. The Jokhang Temple has a history of more than 1300 years and has the highest status in Tibetan Buddhism. Then explore the famous Barkhor Street, and enjoy the busiest street in Tibet. Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Potala Palace
Potala Palace
Jokhang Temple
Jokhang Temple

Day 11 Lhasa Sightseeing

Drepung Monastery sit at the foot of a hill in the west of Lhasa, it's one of the most famous Gelug monastery in Tibet, the other two are Sera Monastery and Ganden Monastery. It was once the home to 10000 monks and the numerous white buildings cluster together like a pile of rice. The monastery is so named because “Drepung” means rice pile in Tibetan language. Nechung Monastery, located 1km southeast of Drepung. The mural art of Nechung Monastery is the most distinctive one in Lhasa, only list after the ones found at Guge Kingdom ruins and Phalkor Monastery. In the afternoon, explore the Sera Monastery which was founded in 1419 by Tsongkapa's disciple Jamchen Choeje. You will witness the famous and interesting monks debating session held in the courtyard.

Drepung Monastery
Drepung Monastery
Sera Monastery
Sera Monastery

Day 12 Leave Lhasa to your next destination

After 2 days city tour, if you are not visiting other places in Tibet, then it is time to say goodbye to Tibet. We will arrange airport transfer for you. Have another cup of Tibetan sweet yak butter tea or do some shopping and get some souvenirs for your family and friends at Barkor street before depart Lhasa.

Note: If you prefer to stay longer in Tibet, you can extend your trip to other parts of Tibet like Everest Base Camp, Shigatse, Namtso or Tsedang, please feel free to contact us if you need any assist.

Includes & Excludes
What’s included in this tour package?
MPV or 4WD vehicle and experienced driver from the beginning to the end of the tour
Twin-sharing / double room accommodation
Local English-speaking Tibetan guide
All entrance fees to sightseeing places mentioned in itinerary
All necessary Tibet permits
Road toll and vehicle oil fee
Oxygen supply in the vehicle just for emergency
Two bottled water each day
Breakfasts in the hotels
Government tax
What’s excluded in this tour package?
Chinese Visa application fee
Tips for the guide and driver
Flight or train tickets needed for the tour
Personal expenses such as laundry, drinks, fax, telephone calls, etc.
Lunches and dinners
Tour FAQs
1. Why the overland tour from Yunnan to Tibet is recommended?
Comparing with other overland routes to Tibet, the altitude of highway from Yunnan to Tibet ascends slowly but the scenery is as beautiful as in the other ways. You can experience the mixed culture of minorities, witness the sacred snow mountains, pass by magnificent lakes and glacier, go through untouched primitive forest and vast prairie. It is renowned as the self-driving paradise.
 
2. How is the road condition from Yunnan to Tibet?
The road condition is kind of bad. There are countless bumpy mountain roads to drive through. In winter, it might be blocked by heavy snow while there might be landslide in summer flood season. But most of the roads are in construction now. There will be great improvement after 2019.
 
3. Should I worry about the altitude sickness?
To avoid the altitude sickness, it is better to ascend step by step. The altitude in Lijiang is about 2000m. It will help a lot if you stay 2 nights in Lijiang, head to Shangri-La which is at an altitude of 3500m and then forward to Tibet region. Besides, it is better to sleep in a lower altitude place since the symptoms at night might become more obvious. It is also suggested that you take some anti-altitude sickness medicine before the start of the tour.
 
4. What should we pack for this overland tour from Yunnan to Tibet?

The documents such as Tibet Travel Permit, Alien’s Permit, Military Permit are must for this overland tour.
As Yunnan and Tibet have very strong ultraviolet rays and dry air, you are suggested to take sunblock, sunglass, moisturizer etc. The temperature in daytime and night has big difference so please pack some thick clothes such as down jacket or outdoor jacket even you travel in summer. Because of the high altitude, it is wise to pack some medicine such as Diamox, glucose, Hong Jing Tian (Tibetan Herbal Medicine), etc.
 
5. Is there any special attention for taking this overland tour from Yunnan to Tibet?
Driving from Yunnan to Tibet, you will pass some local villages. Please pay attention to the popping up kids or swaggering livestock on the road. Sometimes the local kids might ask you for money. It is wise not to give them money since 5 or 10 dollars cannot help them a lot but let them develop this bad habit. Some snacks, sweets, pencils or books will be very welcome.
 
Interested tour options: 12 Days Yunnan to Tibet Overland Tour
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