Vast, thinly populated and with an average altitude of over 4500m, Ngari is Tibet’s wild west, a rough and ready frontier occupying one of the remotest corners of Aisa. Worshiped by more than a billion Buddhist and Hindus, Asia’s most sacred mountain, Mt Kailash rises from the Barkha plain like a giant four-sided 6714m chorten. Throw in the stunning nearby Lake Manasarovar and a basin that forms the source of four Asia’s greatest rivers; endowed with springs, Everest Base Camp(elev 5150m) has a couple of permanent structures and a small army base. Clamber up the small hill festooned with prayer flags for great views of the star attraction, Mt. Everest, then have your photo taken at the base camp marker, reads ‘Mt. Qomolangma Base Camp’.
Our staff will greet you at Lhasa Airport/Railway to transfer you to hotel. From Lhasa Airport to downtown Lhasa, it usually takes abt 1.5hrs; from Lhasa Railway Station, abt 20mins. After transferred to hotel, the rest of the day you will be free to wander around the city on your own but try not to overtax yourself. The first day's well-rest is crucial to acclimatize high altitude. Remember to drink lots of water, eat light, and not to shower if you can help it.
From Lhasa to Gyantse is abt 264km, en route you will pass by Khamba-la Pass (4794m), and with the huge massif of Mt Nojin Kangtsang (7191m) at far distance in view. Then head to Shigatse via the fertile Nyangchu Valley, a wide agricultural plain where colorfully decorated yaks and horses are used by Tibetan farmers to till the land.
Tibet has a serious rule about speed-limit. Though from Shigatse to Everest region is only abt 350km or so, the no-more-than-40km/hr regulation, and the many road checks dotted on the way, really slow us down. So be prepared to spend around 10~12hrs on the road including meal time. The upside is the view along the way is superb. Get your camera ready. Also, prepare some snacks with you to bring along.
If it’s summertime (usually May~Oct), we will carry on the last few kilometers to Everest Tent Camp to stay the night; if winter time (usually Nov~Apr), we will stay at Rongbuk Monastery’s guesthouse. Both places have but dorm bed lodging available. Both places you can see the glorious Everest sunset if the weather is good.
From EBC to Saga is abt 460km, a hard-drive of abt 10~12hrs. The sprawling truck-up town of Saga is the last of any size on your tour to Mt Kailash, cherish it – have a lavish meal and take a long hot shower, of which you have to do without for the following days.
Saga to Zhongba, 145km, there are several ruined monasteries along this stretch.
Zhongba to Paryang, 101km, a photogenic section of sand dunes, lake and mountains kicks in 60km from Zhongba. Abt 23km before Paryang you crest a 4780m pass and drop past more spectacular dunes to Paryang. Photos taken along this route can often get stepped, streams, desert dunes and snow-capped mountains in the same shot.
Paryang to Hor Qu, 223km, this route is a pleasant 4hr-drive along the spine of the Himalaya, passing through yellow steppe, with craggy, snowcapped peaks looming to the south when the weather is clear. There is a tricky section of sandy road 12km west of Paryang but all the major river crossings now have bridges.
At the Mayum-la(5220m), the road crosses from the drainage basin of Yarlung Tsangpo to that of the Sutlej, as you cross from Shigatse to Ngari prefectures. Your first magic views of Mt Kailash come into view approximately 90km after Mayum-la, just before the town of Hor Qu(4620m).
From Hor Qu, it's 22km to the crossroads settlement and checkpoint of Barkha. Manasarovar comes right after.
After sightseeing the sapphire-blue holy Lake Manasarovar, head to Darchen, nested in the foothills of Mt Kailash.
Darchen is the starting point of Mt Kailash Kora for pilgrims, but you will take the local shuttle bus here today to sightseeing Mt Kailash instead.
It's about 8hr-drive from Darchen to Zanda, though the distance is only abt 243km. It's 65km along a paved road from Darchen to Mincer, and then another 50km from there to the army base at Ba'er, where the road branches south. The 122km from Ba'er to Zanda takes 4hrs of winding up and down fantastically eroded gorges and gullies. Zanda (3760m), Zhada or Tsamda, is the bland, one-street town that has been built up alongside Thöling Monastery.
Tsaparang is abt 18km west of Zanda, in the valley of Langchen Tsangpo, Sutlej River, the 'elephant river', which rises west of Manasarovar and continues over the border with India into Ladakh and finally Pakistan.
About 8km north of Rutok Xian, the road hits the east end of lovely turquoise Pangongtso (4241m). After sightseeing here, head to Gegye (4520m).
It’s an 8hr-drive from Gegye to Gertse. The initial landscape is a dreamy blur of lake and sky, cut by salt rings and brooding mountains of rust, mustard, turmeric and green barley.
Drive from Tsochen to Raka, along the valley, pass Songma-la pass (5500m), then you will see Tagyel-tso, and other small lakes. Raka is situated on the junction of the road with Northern road to Ali or Mt Kailash.
In the morning trace the road back to Lhatse via Sangsang, then further south back to Shigatse. En route, we will detour to Sakya Monastery.
We will depart today from your hotel in Shigatse around 08:00ish. The rode condition is pretty good but because of the speed-limit, we will spend about 6hrs on the road.
Have a relaxing free day in Lhasa with a tour guide. If you like to go somewhere, taking a taxi is strongly suggested but the taxi fee should be on clients' own expense.
Your tour ends today. Our guide and driver will collect you from your hotel to transfer to Lhasa Airport/Railway Station for your next destination.
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