Mt. Everest & Ngari Off-The-Beaten-Path Tour

Duration:
20 Days
Route:
Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse - EBC - Saga - Lake Manasarovar - Darchen - Mt. Kailash - Guge Kingdom - Ali - Gegye – Gertse - Shigatse - Lhasa
Season:
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn
  • Winter
Tour Type:
Private Tour
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Overview

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(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’.

Daily Itinerary

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Day 1 Arrival in Lhasa (3680m)

This is the first day in Tibet. Your guide will greet you at Lhasa Gonggar Airport/Railway Station and transfer you to the lovely hotel. It usually takes around 1.5 hours to drive from Lhasa Airport to downtown Lhasa and takes about 20mins from Lhasa Railway Station. Tourists could have a look at Yarlung Tsangpo River, the largest and longest river in Tibet on their way to the hotel. After check-in, you can have a good rest first. And if you feel like going out, you can wander around the city. But just remember that don't take too much stuff, try to go with a light pack. Meanwhile, drink some more water, do not move strenuously. It’s really useful to get acclimatized to the high altitude.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Day 2 Lhasa City

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.
Three Tibetan women at the gate of Jokhang Temple.
  • Breakfast
Day 3 Lhasa Suburb

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

Far view of Drepung Monastery. Looks like rice heaps.
Sera Monastery is renowned as the most beautiful Tibetan Monastey.
Day 4 Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse

From Lhasa to Gyantse is about 264km, en route you will pass by Gambala Mountain Pass (4990m), where's the best place to overlook the Yamdroktso lake. 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 cultivate this land.

Stay overnight in Shigatse

See a flock of sheep and local herdsman along the lakeshore.
The white glacier looks spectacular for visitors passing by.
Day 5 Shigatse - Tingri - Rongbuk - EBC

Tibet has a serious rule about speed-limit. Though from Shigatse to Everest region is only abt 350km or so, no-more-than-40km/hr speed limitation, and the many road checks dotted on the way, really slow us down. So be prepared to spend around 8~10hrs on the road including mealtime. The upside is the view along the way is superb. Also please take some snacks with you for the long-time driving.

In the summertime, usually May~Oct, we will stay overnight at Everest Tent Camp; in wintertime, usually Nov~Apr, we will stay at Rongbuk Monastery’s guesthouse. There are dorm beds available in the 2 places. Both places you can see the glorious Everest sunset if the weather is good.

Stay overnight at EBC

Rongbuk Monastery is the highest monastery in the world.
Our clients at Everest Base Camp, with Mt.Everest in the background.
Day 6 EBC - Saga

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. 

Mother an son walk along Peikutso lake.
In the lake area, there are unique birds and animals of Tibetan plateau, such as Tibetan antelope, wild horse, etc.
Day 7 Saga - Manasarovar

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 with the spin of the Himalaya, passing through the 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.

Day 8 Manasarovar - Darchen

After sightseeing the sapphire-blue holy Lake Manasarovar, head to Darchen, nested in the foothills of Mt Kailash.

Lake Manasarovar is the most transparent fresh water lake in China. It supports life while the salt lake Rakshas Tal lies next to it supports no life.
Pilgrims also do kora pilgrimage around Lake Manasarovar. It usually takes 4 or 5 days to complete one kora.
Day 9 Darchen - Kailash - Darchen

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. 

During the trekking trip.
With an altitude of 6656m, Mt. Kailash is not the highest mountain in the world. But it is mysterious that it is never to be conquered.
Day 10 Darchen - Zanda

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.

Tholing Monastery plays an important role in Tibetan history.
Tholing Monastery is the oldest monastery (or gompa) in the Ngari.
Day 11 Zanda - Tsaparang - 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. 

In 1624, a Jesuit missionary and his companion arrived Guge Kindom. They saw irrigation canals and rich crops in what is now a dry and desolate land.
Most of the sculptures at Guge are gold and silver buddhist statues. One named “Guge Silver Eye” represents the highest level of the artistic achievement.
Day 12 Zanda - Ali - Rutok

Drive from Zanda to Rutok today, abt 132km, passing Lalung-la Pass (5330m) and Ali (Gar), the capital town of Ngari Prefecture. 

Petroglyph in Tibet usually recorded scripture or poetry.
Rutog monasteries located at the top of the hills.
  • Ancient Petroglyphs
  • Rutog Monastery
Day 13 Rutok - Pangongtso - Ali - Gegye

About 8km north of Rutok Xian, the road hits the east end of lovely turquoise Pangongtso (4241m). After sightseeing here, head to Gegye (4520m).

Pangongtso Lake reflects the sky.
Pangongtso Lake  shows blue uner the sky.
Day 14 Gegye - Gertse

It's an 8hr-drive from Gegye to Gertse. The initial landscape is a dreamy blue of lake and sky, cut by salt rings and brooding mountains of rust, mustard, turmeric and green barley.

Day 15 Gertse - Tsochen

Drive from Gertse to Tsochen, which is abt 257km, 7hrs-ish, on the way you will see some small lakes, today pass beautiful valleys one after another and turquoise water lake Dung-tso and Dawa-tso are the highlights of the day.

Dungtso is so beautiful like a blue diamond mounted in the ground.
Dawatso is a beautiful lake surrounded by valleys.
  • Dungtso
  • Dawatso
Day 16 Tsochen - Raka

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.

Tagyel-tso
Go to King Tiger Hot Springs to enjoy spa.
Day 17 Raka - Lhatse - Sakya - Shigatse

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. 

Its Mongolian architecture is quite different.
The mural in this monastery is exquisite beyond compare.
Day 18 Shigatse - Lhasa

We will depart today from your hotel in Shigatse around 08:00 am. The rode condition is pretty good but because of the speed-limit, we will spend about 6hrs on the road. 

Tashilhunpo Monastery is located at the foot of Drolmari (Tara's Mountain), Shigatse.
Maitreya Buddha Statue enshrined at Tashilhunpo Monastery.
Day 19 Free Day in Lhasa

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.

Day 20 Departure from 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.

Typically Asked Questions from Our Clients

Barb***

2019-01-29

Hello do you have already a date planned for this trip? I would like to join a group, if possible. Maybe we will be 2 persons, but this is not sure. Kind regards, Barbara

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Caroline

In your inquiry, you mentioned that one or two of you are interested in our 20-day Mt. Everest & Ngari Off-The-Beaten-Path Tour, which is a private tour. To be frank, the cost of this tour for only 1-2 travelers is a little bit high. And so far we don't have a set tour for this itinerary. For travelers less than five, we usually suggest them join our small group tours to keep the cost down. We have a 15-day Lhasa Everest Kailash Group Tour. Please check if you like the following itinerary.

Ursu***

2019-01-21

Hi Means my partner planing one of your tours We looking for 12-14 tour with not much walking What would you recommend. Regards Ursula

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Cherry

In your inquiry, you mentioned your parents would like to have a 12~14 Kailash tour with not much walking.  We have 15 Days Mt.Everest & Mt Kailash Kora Pilgrimage Group Tour. If your parents don't like to trek at Mt.Kailash, they can stay at the hotel in Darchen with our driver. They can walk around Darchen to wait for the group. 

May I know when would you like to have this tour?

Hyeo***

2018-11-10

We are a Korean couple, and interested in your "Mt.Everest & Ngari Off-the-Beaten-Path Tour". Do you have any group which we can join in 2019 ?

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Cherry

In your inquiry, you mentioned two of you would like to have the 20 Days Mt. Everest & Ngari Off-The-Beaten-Path Tour which is a private tour. We have another three travelers also would like to have this tour in May 2019? Would you like to join them? 

Manf***

2018-09-02

Hi, we are 61 and 60 years old and we are interested in the tour "Mt. Everest & Ngari Off-The-Beaten-Path Tour". Is it possible for us to do the tour? What is the price? Where do we sleep?

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Cherry

In your inquiry, you mentioned two of you would like to do the 20 Days Mt. Everest & Ngari Off-The-Beaten-Path Tour which is a private tour. It is okay for the healthy senior to do this tour. May I know when would you like to do this tour?

vibh***

2018-08-19

Planning a 20 day solo luxury trip to Tibet in nov 2018 Please tell me know how to take this further

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Cherry

In your inquiry, you mentioned you would like to do the 20 Days Mt. Everest & Ngari Off-The-Beaten-Path Tour in November. It is very cold at Ngari Prefecture in November. The best time to do the Mt. Everest & Ngari Off-The-Beaten-Path Tour is from May to October. How about doing this tour in October. 

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