Mt. Everest & Ngari Off-The-Beaten-Path Tour
- 20 Days
- Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse - EBC - Saga - Lake Manasarovar - Darchen - Mt. Kailash - Guge Kingdom - Ali - Gegye – Gertse - Shigatse - Lhasa
- Tour Type:
- Private Tour
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 ItineraryCollapse Expand
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.
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.
Drive from Zanda to Rutok today, abt 132km, passing Lalung-la Pass (5330m) and Ali (Gar), the capital town of Ngari Prefecture.
- Ancient Petroglyphs
- Rutog Monastery
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 blue of lake and sky, cut by salt rings and brooding mountains of rust, mustard, turmeric and green barley.
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.
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 08:00 am. 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.