Today, our guide will meet you in Kashgar. Kashgar lies in the westernmost corner of China, and was the center of the Uyger nationality in ancient times, a hub of regional trade and cultural exchange for more than two thousand years. Get prepared for the next day’s overland journey. Overnight in Kashgar.
After breakfast, drive about 250km to Yecheng, which is the name of both the oasis and the town. Yecheng is situated on the southern rim of the Taklamakan Desert and is where the Xijiang-Tibet Highway starts. Enjoy the spectacular scene with sand dunes and gray-black rocks along the way. Upon arrival, visit Jama Mosque and the bazaar around. Overnight in Yecheng.
Today, we’ll drive across several Daban Mountains to Dahongliutan along the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway. Kudi Daban comes first, where a Military Check Point stands, and you have to stop for checking about half an hour. Then, we drive about 80km to reach Mazar Daban, the longest Daban in this route. Mazar Road can access to the famous K2, the second highest mountain in the world. As the border with Pakistan, you may have a chance to enjoy the marvelous view of K2 in the distance. Afterwards, you’ll pass Heiqia Daban, with an elevation of 4930m. Overnight in simple guesthouse at Dahongliutan.
It is the hardest day today since we will come across the highest and most dangerous section-Jieshan Daban with an altitude of 5245m. About 300kms’ drive along the well-paved road leads us to the hero valley which is surrounded by high mountains so the oxygen content is low. Driving through Jieshan Daban, you will see Lomcuo Lake on the left side and Songmuxicuo Lake on the right. We drive to Duoma, the first town we enter Tibet. You might have the chance to see wild animals such as Tibetan Ass or Kiang.
This day we will firstly drive to Pangong Tso. It is a lake with two third in Tibet China and other one third in India. It is breathtaking to see the transparent water and shadows of snowcapped mountains on the lake. It is the breeding ground for kinds of birds including the bar-headed goose and Brahmini ducks. If you come in summer, you can see many birds here. We forward to Shiquanhe, the capital of Ngari prefecture. In this little town, there is not so much to see but it is a good place to rest, cleanup and have a good meal after the long journey. It is also the transport base to visit the other places within the prefecture as well as getting to Lhasa.
Today we will visit the two remaining sites of the ancient Guge Kingdom: Tholing Monastery, the 11th-century Buddhist monastery, back then the region's most influential lamasery; and Tsaparang, the old capital of Guge. Although in ruins, we can have a glimpse of the vanished age from the statuary and dozens of well-preserved murals in the splendid West Tibetan style. Stay overnight in Zada.
Guge Kingdom Ruin
Drive to Darchen where is the start point of the Mt. Kailash Kora. The Kora involves a trekking of 52km and includes the pass at the height of 5600meters. Do some preparation and have a good rest tonight for the next three days’ arduous trekking.
From Darchen, we will take the green car and drive 7kms to Sershong village where we will start our kora. Before that, you might need to rent horse, yak or porters to carry your belongings. We will come to the Tarboch Flag Pole, one of the most essential facets of Tibetan spirituality. In Saga Dawa Festival, this giant flagpole which has multitudinous prayer flags on it will be pulled down and replaced with new flags. Along the Lha-chu river and valley, we head to our destination today, Dirapuk Monastery. On the way, we can see occasionally the west and north face of Mount Kailash.
We will climb up to the Dolmala pass which is at an elevation of 5640m. It is the hardest part of the three days’ Kora considering all the climbing and strong wind. Be prepared with plenty water and some snacks. You can also find some teahouses to drink some tea or restore your energy. Our trekking ends till we come to Zutulpuk Monastery. According to the legend, it was built by Milarepa as a shelter from the rain.
The locals always do the kora in 1 or 2 days. We normally cut it into 3 days to make it possible to finish for normal tourists. Just some easy trekking will take us back to Darchen in early afternoon. One more night in Darchen to relax.
In the morning we drive for Lake Manasarovar , one of the holiest lakes in Tibet and the world’s highest fresh water lake. Spend some time here to adore the beauty of the lake. In summer, you might see flocks of swans gathering on the lake, bringing life and harmony to this land. Drive forward to Saga.
We head for Shigatse, which has a history dating back to 600 years ago and it serves as the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama, one of the spiritual leaders in Tibet. On the way, we stop to visit the Sakya Monastery, famous for its extraordinary collection of multitudinous Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, murals and Thangkas.
Before leaving for Gyantse, we visit the Tashilumpo Monastery, which was founded by the First Dailai Lama in 1447, and later expanded by the Fourth and successive Panchen Lamas. Besides of the grandeur of the palace and Buddha statues, the monastery is precious for delicate wall paintings. Drive 90km to Gyantse. In ancient times, this small town has been a hub for commercial movements and pilgrim activities between India and Tibet. We pay a visit to the Gyantse Dzong. Perched one huge rock, it was the fort confronting the British army’s attempt to march on Tibet in 1904. Here you can have a panorama view of the old town. Coming down we continue to see thePalcho Monastery, a monastery combined the features of Han, Tibetan and Nepali architecture.
Start for Lhasa today. En route we will stop at Karo la to see the holy mount Nyenchen Kangsar glacier. Cross Kambala Pass which is 4794m high, which will provide you the first sight of the holy lake - Yamdrok tso. Drive down to the bank of Yamdrok tso Lake to enjoy the great beauty. After that arrive in Lhasa and have a good rest.
Our Lhasa tour starts from thePotala Palace, the palace at the highest elevation in the world. Before coming to the main hall, you have to climb 1080 steps as it is located on the Red Hill with the Red Palace as the center and the White Palace as two wings. It was built as the epicenter of Tibetan government by the fifth Dalai Lama in 1645. After, we come to the Jokhang Temple, the most scared shrine in Tibet, which was built in 7th century and located at the heart of old town in Lhasa. The circuit around the Jokhang called Barkhor Street is a good place to purchase souvenirs. Both of them are the focal points of pilgrims from entire Tibetan world, multitudinous pilgrims are circumambulating and prostrating in their strong faith.
About 8km west of central Lhasa is the Drepung Monastery, once world's largest monastery with about 10,000 monks. This day's sightseeing begins with these white monastic buildings piled up on the hillside. 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. Drepung is one of Lhasa's two great Gelugpa monasteries, the other is Sera Monastery. Around 5km north of central Lhasa, Sera may not be as grandiose as Drepung, but is more serene surrounded by many small temples. The 'Buddhism Scriptures Debating' in Sera is very famous. Overnight in Lhasa.
Your tour ends today. The airport or train station see off will be arranged according to your specific time. Thanks for traveling with GOTOTIBET.
Hello Violet, Your stress free booking process, speedy & informative communication and the knowledgable & friendly tour guide (Tampur) all contributed to us both having a great time in Tibet. Here’s hoping more like minded travellers book your tours and get to see Tibet as we did. Thanks again, Emma (& Tracie)
Hello Violet, We arrived home safe and happy. The experience in Tibet was wonderful. Thank you for your professionalism and way of organizing our trip. Kind regards, Florentina