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Grand Ngari Northern Route Tour

29 Days
Lhasa - Tsetang - Nyingtri -Pomi - Nyingtri - Lhasa - Lake Namtso - Ali - Darchen - Mt.Kailash - Lake Manasarovar - Saga - EBC - Shigatse - Gyantse - Lhasa
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn
  • Winter
Tour Type:
Private Tour
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Caution: this is not a tour for the faint-hearted nor the weak-willed!!! This 29-Day tour covering abt 6800 kilometers takes you to the most remote parts of Western Tibet by the Grand Ngari Northern Route. If you are determined and enjoy solitude & wildlife, this is definitely the one for you!
DayRouteAttractions & Activities
1 Lhasa Airport – Tsetang Mindroling Monastery
2 Tsetang - Samye - Tsetang 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 - Pomi Lulang Forest
6 Pomi - Rawok Rawoktso Lake
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 - Ideal Place for a Spiritual Journey, Nyenchen Tangula Mountain
11 Baingoin - Nyima Enjoy the scenery along the way
12 Nyima - Dungtso - Gertse Dungtso
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 - Rongphu(4980m) - EBC (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 Suburb Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery
27 Lhasa City Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street
28 Lhasa Suburb Norbulingka, Drak Yerpa
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.

  • Attraction:
  • Mindroling Monastery

Tsetang is the fourth-largest city in Tibet and the capital of the huge Shannan (Lhoka) prefecture. Samye Monastery is located about 30km from Tsetang. It was built around the middle of the 8th century AD, during the Songtsan Gampo period. It was 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", so it is known as the "first monastery in Tibet". You can experience three different styles of architecture in Tibet, Khan and India together when visiting this monastery.

Samye Monastery is the 1st monastery in Tibet and it's also where Buddhism was established

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

Trandruk Monastery
Yumbu means doe, lagang means holy palace.

Drive from Tsetang to Nyingtri via Nang Xian along Yarlung Tsangpo for abt 8hrs or so. 

Lamaling Temple is surrounded by flowers.

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

Lulang Forest is also known as a fairyland where gods live.

A scenic ride from Pomi to Rawoktso Lake, with tropical-looking forest along it. 

Ranwu Lake

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

  • Attraction:
  • Tashigang Village

A hard ride today from Nyingri to Lhasa for abt 8hrs 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

Draksum-tso Lake is the first and the only 5A natural scenery spot in Tibet.

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 3star-rated hotel is available near Namtso Lake. 

Tsurphu Monastery sits at the base of the mountain.

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

It's the third largest saltwater lake in China.
Nyenchen Tangula Mountain

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

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

  • Attraction:
  • Dungtso

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. 

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. 

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

Tholing Monastery plays an important role in Tibetan history.
With the background of Himalays, you will have a visual feast at Zanda Clay Forest.

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 for the night.

The ruins of the former capital of the Guge kingdom are located at Tsaparang.

Darchen is the starting point of Mt Kailash Kora for pilgrims. You will take an eco-bus ride (about 15mins, 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.

Gang Rinpoche the Precious Snow Mountain

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

Lake Manasarovar is one of the three holiest lakes in Tibet. It is one of the highest fresh water lakes in the world with an average elevation of  4500 meters.

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 were 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, we finally arrive at the destination and stay overnight in Saga.

Drive from Saga to Everest Base Camp, en route visit the highest monastery of the world, Rongphu Monastery.

Rongbuk monastery is located in Shigatse, Tibet. It is regarded as the best site to view Mt. Everest.

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

Generally when we talk about EBC, it refers to the site at the altitude of 5200m ; located in Tingri County, Shigatse, Tibet; 3.6 km from south of Rongbuk Monastery.

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.

The bell hanging on the roof stands for peace and prosperity.
Narthang Monastery

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

Standing on the entrance of Tashilhunpo,visitors can see the grand buildings with golden roofs and white walls
Shalu Monastery is the only monastery in Tibet that combines Tibetan and Chinese styles in its design.

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. 

Pelkor Chode Monastery
Gyantse Dzong or Gyantse Fortress is one of the best preserved dzongs in Tibe

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.

The white glacier looks spectacular for visitors passing by.
See a flock of sheep and local herdsman along the lakeshore.

In the morning, we will go to visit Norbulingka. Norbulingka park is considered the premier park of all such horticultural parks in similar ethnic settings in Tibet. During the summer and autumn months, the parks in Tibet including the Norbulingka, become hubs of entertainment with dancing, singing, music, and festivities. The park is where the annual Sho Dun or 'Yoghurt Festival' is held.

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 covers the hillsides. They look like huge rice heaps in the distance, so it is called Drepung. Drepung monastery is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery, also the highest-ranking monastery in the Gelug Sect.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Sera Monassrey is located at the foot of Tatipu Hill in the northern suburb of Lhasa City
An alley of prayer wheels leading up to a pagoda.

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 one of the most sacred temples all over 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 circuit 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

A Tibetan granny turning players at Potala Palace Square.
Many pilgrims are worshipping and performing their devotions at the gate of Jokhang.

In the morning, we will go to visit Norbulingka. Norbulingka park is considered the premier park of all such horticultural parks in similar ethnic settings in Tibet. During the summer and autumn months, the parks in Tibet including the Norbulingka, become hubs of entertainment with dancing, singing, music, and festivities. The park is where the annual Sho Dun or 'Yoghurt Festival' is held.

After lunch, we will drive to visit the Drak Yerpa which is described as the "life tree" or spiritual axis of Lhasa. The site had a powerful spiritual heritage, having been visited by Songsten Gampo, Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsoygel, Padampa Sanggye, and Asisha. Among the caves on the hillside is Chogyel Puk, where Songsten Gampo meditated.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Tyokyil Potrang is a pavilion in the midst of a lake and known for the top scenic spot in Norbulingka
Known as the shrine of Lhasa, Drak Yerpa has monasteries and famous ancient meditation caves.

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.

Our Service
  • Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit (TTB) 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;
  • All meals listed in the above itinerary;
  • 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;
  • Free use of sleeping bag;
  • 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 Gratuities 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 --- 4.2%. 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 guru***

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

Answered by Catherine 2020-01-08

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 2019-08-01

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 2019-07-21

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. 

Asked by Susa***

I would like to do the 29 day tour. Will there be alot of climbing, walking on this tour? I would like to go in September 2019 in a group that would already be formed. Do you have one at this time?

Answered by Cherry 2019-05-01

In your inquiry, you mentioned you would like to have the 29 Days Grand Ngari Northern Route Tour which is a private tour. As travelers less than five, we often suggest they join our small group tour to keep the cost down.  I recommend the 15 Days Mt.Everest & Mt.Kailash Kora Pilgrimage Group Tour. We have this group tour with the departure date on Aug.18th and Oct.17th. At present, we don't have a fixed date in September. Can you travel in August or October?

I will quote for you after you confirm the itinerary. By the way, which hotel star do you prefer? Economy 3-star hotel or comfortable 4-star hotel.

Asked by Ivan***

I would like to spend as much as time in Tibet and see the most of it when I go. I am 24 year old college student and in a fairly good physical condition. I would be travelling on my own but would be great to join a group for this 29 day long tour. I am free to travel from the end of June/beginning of July till 1st of August. I am very interested in your tour, how can I find out more (also about the price)? Thank you, Ivan

Answered by nance 2019-01-21

In your inquiry, you mentioned that you’re interested our 29 days Grand Ngari Northern Route tour, which is a private tour. Frankly speaking, the cost of a private tour for you would be much more expensive. For people less than five, we usually suggest them join our small group tours to keep the cost down. So how about having our 15 days Mt.Everest & Mt Kailash Kora Pilgrimage Group Tour? 

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What Our Customers Say
Yamdrok lake

My TIBET experience with Great Tibet Tour was very brilliant.   It was the 2nd-time visit to TIBET but Shigatse and Gyantse. The hotel you chose me at Shigatse had very Lovely Tibetan decoration. and Guides ( both 2 guys)  were very kind and gentle. So I could relax. ....

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