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Grand Ngari Northern Route Tour

29 Days
From USD4360
Lhasa - Tsetang - Nyingtri -Pomi - Nyingtri - Lhasa - Lake Namtso - Ali - Darchen - Mt.Kailash - Lake Manasarovar - Saga - EBC - Shigatse - Gyantse - Lhasa
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Tour Type:
Private Tour
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This tour takes you to travel beyond the ordinary pilgrimage route of Lhasa to Mount Kailash and allows you to explore the remote parts of Western Tibet, with a grand loop of Ngari region, covering about 6800 kilometers. First, you will travel to Lokha, the birthplace of Tibetan civilization, and Nyingchi, which is the lowest altitude area in Tibet to help you adapt to the altitude and climate. Then this legendary tour will take you to visit the endless beautiful natural scenery and many cultural sites: Namtso, Dungtso, Yamdrok Lake, and explore Buddhist monasteries, Guge Kingdom, Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar. Afterward, you will stay overnight at the Everest Base Camp and return to Lhasa to witness the landmarks such as the magnificent Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple. The northern Ngari is an ideal place for adventurers and photographers for unique wild animals and plants, countless crystal lakes, towering mountains, and endless grasslands. If you are determined and enjoy solitude, this is definitely the one for you!

DayRouteAttractions & Activities
1 Lhasa Airport – Tsetang Pick up and transfer to Tsetang
2 Tsetang - Samye - Lhasa Samye Monastery
3 Tsetang - Trandruk - Yumbulagang - Chongye – Tsetang, 70km, Approx 1.5hrs Trandruk Monastery, Yumbulagang Palace, Chongye Burial Mounds
4 Tsetang - Nang Xian - Nyingtri Lamaling Temple
5 Nyingtri - Lunang - Bomi Lulang Forest
6 Bomi - Laigu Glacie - Ranwu, 210km, Approx. 4.5hrs Ranwu Lake, Midui Glacier, Laigu Glacier
7 Rawok - Tashigang - Nyingtri Tashigang Village
8 Nyingtri - Draksumtso - Lhasa Draksum-tso Lake
9 Lhasa - Tsurphu - Yangpachen - Damxung Tsurphu Monastery
10 Damxung - Baingoin Namtso Lake
11 Baingoin - Nyima Enjoy the scenery along the way
12 Nyima - Dungtso - Gertse Dungtso Lake
13 Gertse - Gegye Enjoy the scenery along the way
14 Gegye - Ali Enjoy the scenery along the way
15 Ali - Zanda Tholing Monastery, Zanda Clay Forest
16 Zanda - Tsaparang - Zanda(4000m) - Darchen (4600m), 260km, approx 5hrs Guge Kingdom (Tsaparang)
17 Darchen - Kailash - Darchen Mount Kailash
18 Darchen - Manasarovar (4588m), 30km, Approx. 1hr Lake Manasarovar
19 Manasarovar - Saga Enjoy the scenery along the way
20 Saga - Everest Base Camp (5200m) Rongbuk Monastery
21 EBC - Tingri - Lhatse Everest Base Camp
22 Lhatse - Sakya - Shigatse Sakya Monastery, Narthang Monastery
23 Shigatse - Gyantse Tashilhunpo Monastery, Shalu Monastery
24 Gyantse Pelkor Chode Monastery, Gyantse Dzong
25 Gyantse - Lhasa Karola Glacier, Yamdroktso Lake
26 Lhasa Sightseeing Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery
27 Lhasa City Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street
28 Lhasa Suburb Drak Yerpa, Norbulingka
29 Departure from Lhasa Send off to the airport/railway station

Daily Itinerary


Your guide and driver will wait you at Lhasa Gongar Airport holding your name board. After pick up, transfer to Tsetang for the night. 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.

Tsetang is the fourth-largest city in Tibet and the capital of the huge Shannan (Lhoka) prefecture. Samye Monastery is designed according to the mandala of Tantra. It was built around the middle of the 8th century AD, during the Songtsan Gampo period, also the most magnificent building in the Tubo Kingdom. Samye Monastery is the first monastery in the history of Tibetan Buddhism with Triratna "Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha" .

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Visit the major sights of Yarlung Valley in Tsetang today, of which is considered the cradle of Tibetan civilization. Trandruk Monastery is situated on the southern slope of the Mt. Gangpo Ri about two kilometers from the Tsetang Town. So far, it has a history of about 1,300 years. Yumbulagang also called "palace of mother and son", is counted as the first building in Tibet, with a history of over 2,000 years. Standing on the top of the tower house, you can enjoy the splendid panoramic view of the valley, and dream of the ancient legends of this palace. Finally, we'll go to the Chongye Valley to have a look at the burial mounds. Whilst the valley is sometimes referred to as the 'Graveyard of Imperial Kings', these burial mounds contain not only the remains of Tibetan kings, but also those of their wives and officials.

Stay overnight in Tsetang

Drive from Tsetang to Nyingtri via Nang Xian along Yarlung Tsangpo River Valley for about 8 hours or so.

Stay overnight in Nyingtri

For today's ride from Nyingtri to Bomi, you will pass Serkhym-la (4582m), and you will have a good view of Namche Barwa (7756m) and Gyala Pelri (7151m) from a distance.

Stay overnight in Bomi

After breakfast, we will leave Bomi, surrounded by forests and snow-capped mountains, and head along the Parung Zangbo(also Parlung Tsangpo) canyon. Travel through the world's third-largest canyon, with colorful forests, snow-capped mountains, glaciers, etc. Enjoy the visual feast!

On the way you will visit Midui Glacier, which is known as the most beautiful glacier in China. Midui Glacier shines with snow all year round, and the scenery is breathtaking and charming. It is a rare natural wonder.
Next, you will enjoy the spectacular sight of Laigu Glacier, one of the three largest marine glaciers in the world. Laigu Glacier is quiet and majestic, with a faint blue glimmer on the ice surface. Step into the glacier, you will get a glimpse of the dreamy blue ice.

In the afternoon, you arrive in Ranwu Town and visit Ranwu Lake. Ranwu Lake is famous for its tranquility and blue water. The deep blue water is like a tear falling from the sky.

Stay overnight by Ranwu Lake

Drive back to Nyingtri today. En route, visit the gorgeous tiny rural village of Tashigang.

Stay overnight in Nyingtri

A hard ride today from Nyingri to Lhasa for about 8 hours or so, en route, visit the beautiful Draksumtso Lake. Draksum-tso Lake is a sacred lake of the Nyingma (Red) sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Continue ahead until you reach the Mila Mountain Tunnel. Mila Mountain is the last high mountain on 318 national Sichuan-Tibet Highway before entering Lhasa, with an altitude of 5013 meters. In the afternoon, you will arrive in Lhasa.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Head north from Lhasa along the National Highway No. 109. En route, visit Yampachen and Tsurphu Monastery. Then tour further along to stay the night at Damxung, where the only 3-star-rated hotel is available near Namtso Lake. 

Stay overnight in Damxung

Drive from Damxung to Baingoin for the night. Baingoin, a small county north of Namtso Lake where usually visited by foreigners.

Stay overnight in Baingoin

Drive from Baingoin to Nyima to enjoy the solitude and the rural sights of Tibet. 

Stay overnight Nyima

Drive the remote section of Tibet from Nyima to Gertse, en route, visit Dungtso.

Stay overnight in Gertse

It's an 8hr-drive from Gertse to Gegye. 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. 

Stay overnight in Gegye

Drive from Gegye to Ali. Ali, also known as Shiquanhe, is the capital of Ngari prefecture, where you be able to clean up with hot shower and have a decent meal. 

Stay overnight in Ali

From Ali to Zanda is a scenic ride takes abt 6hrs or so, passing Laling-la (5330m).

Stay overnight in Zanda

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. After sightseeing, drive to Darchen.

Stay overnight in Darchen

Darchen is the starting point of Mt Kailash Kora for pilgrims. You will take an eco-bus ride (about 15 min, 6km) from Darchen to Serlung Chu Valley, the trailhead of Mt. Kailash Kora. Start your hiking at the terminal of the bus, walk through the Two-legged Stupa adorned by colorful prayer flags, and keep hiking to Qugu Temple about 2.6km away. You can see prostrating Tibetan pilgrims and enjoy the grand Serlung Valley with the spear-shaped summit of Mt. Kailash in the background. After enjoying sweet tea at tents around Qugu Temple, you can circumambulate Guqu Temple before heading back to Darchen.

If you don't want to hike at all, you can take the shuttle bus here today to sightseeing Mt.Kailash instead.

Stay overnight in Darchen

Head from Darchen to the sapphire-blue holy Lake Manasarovar, which is about 1 hour or so. 

Stay overnight at the lakeside

Today, you will spend a lot of time on the way, but the landscape along the way is worth to see. From Manasanovar to Mayum-la(5220m) via Hor Qu, approximately 90km before Mayum-la(5220m), Mt.Kailash is gradually fade away behind you as you cross from Ngari prefectures to Shigatse.

Hor Qu to Paryang, 223km. This is a pleasant 4 hours driving along the spine of the Himalayas, passing through the yellow steppe, with craggy, snowcapped peaks looming to the north when the weather is clear. There is a tricky section of sandy road 12km east of Paryang, but all the major river crossings now have bridges.

Paryang to Zhongba, 101km, About 23km driving from Paryang, you drop past spectacular dunes and crest a 4780m pass; Driving 17km further, you can see another section of dunes. Photos taken along this route can often get steppe, streams, desert dunes and snow-capped mountains in the same shot.

Zhongba to Saga, 145km, there are several ruined monasteries along this stretch. After a long journey today, you will finally arrive at the destination.

Stay overnight in Saga

Drive from Saga to Everest Base Camp(5,200m), en route you will visit the highest monastery in the world, Rongbuk Monastery.

Stay overnight at Everest Base Camp

After sightseeing, drive to Lhatse for the night. Lhatse is pretty much a one-street town, at an elevation of 3950m.

Stay overnight in Lhatse

Head from Lhatse to Shigatse today, and a detour to visit Sakya Monastery, which is abt 25km off the southern Friendship Highway, accessed via a good dirt road through a petty farming valley.

Stay overnight in Shigatse

Travelling from Shigatse to Gyantse will lead you through the fertile Nyangchu Valley, a wide agricultural plain where colorfully decorated yaks and horses are used by Tibetan farmers to till the land.

Stay overnight in Gyantse

Lying on a historic trade route between India and Tibet, Gyantse (elev 3980m) has long been a crucial link for traders journeying to the Himalayan plateau, with its small-town charm and laid-back atmosphere. 

Stay overnight in Gyantse

From Gyantse to Lhasa 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.

In the morning, we will visit Norbulingka, which is a typical Tibetan-style royal garden, the summer resort of the Dalai Lama. There are a lot of towering trees, exotic flowers and plants in the garden, as well as many collections of cultural relics, Buddha statues, pagodas, thangkas, murals, etc. They are all very precious treasures.

In the afternoon, you are heading to Drepung Monastery, which means Monastery of Rice Heap in the Tibetan language. The entire monastery is large in scale and the white buildings cluster and cover the hillsides. Drepung monastery is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery, also the highest-ranking monastery in the Gelug Sect.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

In the morning our guide will meet you at the hotel and first take you to visit the famous Potala Palace, the cardinal landmark of Tibet and the masterpiece of Tibetan architecture. It was first built by the 33rd King - Songtsen Gangpo in the 7th century and rebuilt later by the 5th Dalai Lama in the 17th century. Now it's a museum and world heritage site. 

In the afternoon, we will go to visit Jokhang Temple in the center of the Lhasa old town. Jokhang Temple is the most sacred temple in Tibet and it is always bustling with earnest local pilgrims since the early days. After that, you will take a walk around the Barkhor Street - one of the most devotional circuits as well as a crowded central market of Lhasa. Barkhor Street is a very ancient round street surrounding the Jokhang Temple and the locals are always proud of it. As a symbol of Lhasa, it‘s also a must-see place for visitors.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

In the morning, you are heading to Drak Yerpa, the most famous meditation retreat near Lhasa. It's a monastery embedded in the cliff wall. Drak Yerpa is described as the "life tree" or spiritual axis of Lhasa. The site had strong spiritual power, having been visited by almost all great Tibetan masters. You can feel the power of the meditation caves here.

In the afternoon, we will call at Norbulingka, which is a typical Tibetan-style royal garden, the summer resort of the Dalai Lama. There are a lot of towering trees, exotic flowers and plants in the Garden, as well as many collections of cultural relics, Buddha statues, pagodas, thangkas, murals, etc. They are all very precious treasures.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

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.

Tour Price and Service

From US$4360 p/p

Based on 3-star hotels for 4 people. Price varies according to travel season, number of people and level of accommodation.


  • Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit and all other necessary permits to Tibet;
  • All entrance tickets fee for tourist attractions listed in the itinerary;
  • Experienced local English-speaking tour guide;
  • Travel-licensed vehicle according to group size & season as itinerary needed including gas and parking fee;
  • All lodging listed in the itinerary; it’s your decision about the accommodation class: luxury 5-star international hotel, comfortable 4-star hotel, economic 3-star hotel, or guesthouse. Please tell us your preference;
  • Breakfasts provided by hotels;
  • Pick-up & Drop-off service from Airport/railway station;
  • Travel Agency Liability insurance;
  • Government tax;
  • Express delivery fee of Permit (eg. SF. Express);
  • Food & lodgings for guide & driver;
  • Oxygen tank for emergency use;
  • Two bottles of mineral water per person per day.


  • International flight to and out of China;
  • Chinese Visa/China Group Visa; (Note: we could help you by providing the hotel or domestic flight reservation copies for your Chinese Visa or the invitation letter for your China Group Visa)
  • Domestic flight/train to and out of Lhasa; (We can help you book the domestic flight/train ticket at the BEST price. Please contact us for details.)
  • Meals are not included but we will recommend some good ones for you according to your requirements. Usually, it takes 3-10 USD per person for each meal.
  • While the gratuity for guide and driver is NOT mandatory, it is expected. Based on their service, you can tip them on the last day of the tour. Each of you is suggested to tip them 5-10 USD/day in total;
  • All the commission and tax charged by PayPal, Bank, and government when making payment. (e.g. PayPal --- 4.4%. Wire transfer --- 2%);
  • Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks, optional tour activities, etc.
  • Anything not mentioned in the Inclusions.

Typically Asked Questions from Our Clients

Asked by Simo***

I am looking for a photography tour in the western part of Tibet for about 1 month in July. I will be traveling alone. Do you have any group tour during that month? If yes, how many people are you usually having? What would be the price?
Thank you,

Answered by Beatrice

Dear Simon****,

The longest group tour to western Tibet is 17 Days Lhasa Everest Kailash Guge Group Tour, and it departs based on three occupancies. If you want to join a group to visit western Tibet, this tour suits your needs mostly. Right now, we don't have any departure date in July but we can open one for you. It needs further confirmation. Not many people will go to Guge Kingdom and visit western Tibet for a long time so there will be fewer people in your group.

Asked by Em***

Tashi delek,

May I ask about this tour information:

I am single traveller and would love to spend a month in Tibet. I have been to Tibet in 2019 in a 2-week tour with Kailash outer kora. I have wished to come back since. However I don't have a group and would love to think of the most economical way to do this trip solo.

1. Can you help me with planning this 29-day tour for 1 pax with minimal cost (basic guesthouse and preferably local homestay when it is possible)?

2. Is this tour possible in November? I want to do it in an off season hopefully to save some cost.

Answered by Jennie

Dear Emmi,

We can arrange the 29 Days Grand Ngari Northern Route Tour for you. Please kindly note, the road would be frozen in November, so I suggest you consider the date of early October. The cost is relatively lower after 7 October. How about departing on 8 October?

We can arrange basic accommodation for you, but note, foreign tourists are not allowed to stay overnight in a local homestay.  Even arranging the basic accommodation, the cost will be high.

Asked by guru***

I would like to visit for a month what is the process and how much

Answered by Catherine

In your inquiry, you mentioned you would like to spend a month in Tibet. Except for Indian passport, is there any possibility you're holding other country's passport? I'm asking because visiting Ali prefecture requires a military permit except for a Tibet permit. The procedure of obtaining a military permit for an Indian passport holder is more complicated than other nationalities. Please advise.

Asked by Luc ***

we have a trip plan for 2020. It's a perfect itinerary, but we would like to witness the eclipse of June 21, 2020. is it possible to add an option : Kailash kora ? thank you in advance for your proposal cordially Luc Massenet

Answered by Catherine

We can arrange the tour for you with departure date on June 4th, then you can view the eclipse on 21st aside Manasarovar.

Asked by Muoi***

We want a tour from date 9th, which go through three holi lakes, Mt Kailash and the EBC. The time frame is Sept to Oct, 2020. Please give us some suggestions and the cost of the tour for two and for four people.

Answered by Cherry

In your inquiry, you mentioned you would like to have the 29 Days Grand Ngari Northern Route Tour which is a private tour. 

I will quote for you after you confirm the itinerary. 

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What Our Customers Say

The tour we took - 5 Days Lhasa Ganden Group Tour - was very interesting and enjoyable. Tibetan culture and monasteries are formidable. Guide Lhankdon was always very helpful, competent, and attentive. The driver was also always very friendly. Jennie was always very attentive to our requests and how ....

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