Mt. Everest & Ngari Off-The-Beaten-Path Tour
- 19 Days
- Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse - EBC - Saga - Lake Manasarovar - Darchen - Mt. Kailash - Guge Kingdom - Ali - Gegye – Gertse - Shigatse - Lhasa
- Tour Type:
- Private Tour
|Day||Route||Attractions & Activities|
|1||Arrival in Lhasa (3650m)||Pick up and transfer to the hotel.|
|2||Lhasa City||Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street|
|3||Lhasa Suburb||Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery|
|4||Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse||Yamdroktso Lake, Karola Glacier, Pelkor Chode Monastery|
|5||Shigatse - Tingri - Rongbuk - EBC||Rongbuk Monastery, Everest Base Camp|
|6||EBC - Saga||Peikutso Lake|
|7||Saga - Manasarovar||Lake Manasarovar|
|8||Manasarovar - Darchen||Chiu Monastery|
|9||Darchen - Kailash - Darchen||Mount Kailash|
|10||Darchen - Zanda||Tholing Monastery|
|11||Zanda - Tsaparang - Zanda||Guge Kingdom (Tsaparang)|
|12||Zanda - Gar - Rutog||Ancient Petroglyphs, Rutog Monastery|
|13||Rutog - Pangongtso - Gar - Gegye||Pangongtso Lake|
|14||Gegye - Gertse||Enjoy the scenery along the way|
|15||Gertse - Tsochen||Dungtso, Dawatso|
|16||Tsochen - Raka||King Tiger Hot Springs|
|17||Raka - Lhatse - Sakya - Shigatse||Sakya Monastery|
|18||Shigatse - Lhasa||Tashilhunpo Monastery|
|19||Departure from Lhasa||Send off to the airport/railway station|
This is the first day in Tibet. Your guide will greet you at Lhasa Gonggar Airport/Railway Station and transfer you to your 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 the 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 about 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. In 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.
- Peikutso Lake
Saga to Zhongba, 145km, there are several ruined monasteries along this stretch. From Zhongba to Paryang, 78km, there's a photogenic section of sand dunes, lake and mountains. Photos taken along this route can often get desert dunes and snow-capped mountains in the same shot.
Paryang to Hor Qu, 223km, this route is a pleasant 4hr-drive along with many snow-capped mountains of the Himalaya in the south. After crossing over the Mayum-la Mountain Pass(5220m), your will soon get your first magic views of Mt.Kailash, just before the town of Hor Qu(4620m).
From Hor Qu, it's 22km to the settlement and checkpoint of Barkha. Lake Manasarovar comes right after.
- Lake Manasarovar
In the morning, we will drive to the holy Manasarovar Lake (4558m). As one of the three holy lakes in Tibet, it is said that Manasarovar Lake is the holiest one. The sacred water can wash away the troubles and obstacles in the soul. You may take a leisurely kora around the Manasarovar, meditate beside the tranquil lake, or even take a holy dip, etc.
In the afternoon, we will visit the 8th century Chiu Monastery. Although it is located in the west of the lake, it's between the holy lake and the ghost lake. Standing on the mountain, you can have a panoramic view of the two lakes. It is said that Guru Padmasambhava once meditated in a cave of the temple and there are also his footprints inside. When the sun sets in the afternoon, the setting sun is reflected in the temple, which has a special flavor.
After sightseeing around the sapphire-blue holy Lake Manasarovar, head to Darchen, where's located at the foot of Mt.Kailash.
- Chiu Monastery
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.
- Mount Kailash
It's about 8hr-drive from Darchen to Zanda, though the distance is only abt 243km. The first 65km from Darchen to Mincer is on a paved road, 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 along 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
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.
- Guge Kingdom (Tsaparang)
Today, you will head to Rutog, with a distance of about 400 kilometers. The road passes through the earth forest, just like driving on Mars. The earth forest in Zanda Valley is magnificent and imposing. After that, you will enter a plateau meadow with snow-capped mountains beckoning you in the distance. On the meadow, you can see Tibetan wild asses, it's an easy seen large wild animal on the plateau.
When reaching Gar(Ali) County, you will find that the Gangdise Range always is on your right. Gangdise means the“King of Mountains" in the Tibetan Language, which is also called the Axis of the World. In Gar County, the capital of Ngari, you will have a rest for one hour. Then continue to drive, passing Lalung-la Pass (5,191m), finally, you will arrive at Rotug.
- Ancient Petroglyphs
- Rutog Monastery
Today your will mainly visit Pangong Tso, a lake on the western Tibetan plateau. It lies about 12km northwest of Rotug County. The eastern and western sections of the lake are part of China, and the western end extends into Kashmir. The lake has an elevation of 4241 meters and an area of 413 square kilometers. Pangong Tso means "long-necked swan" in Tibetan. The lake is clear and has the highest bird island in the world. It is a paradise for birds, such as black-necked cranes, bar-headed geese and brown-headed gulls. Surrounded by the snow-capped mountains, the scenery around the lake is extremely beautiful.
After the visit, you will return to Rutog and follow G219 to Gegye County via Gar. The whole journey drives on the tarred road and it takes 6 hours. On the way, you will cross Lalung-la Pass (5,191m) again and encounter some Tibetan antelope, horses and cattle.
- Pangongtso Lake
Today's journey is also long, taking about 7 hours, with the full-course tarred road in good condition. After breakfast, you will start from Gegye County and then proceed to Salt Lake City. Along the way, you will travel around countless snow-capped mountains and lakes.
Drive from Gertse to Tsochen, which is about 257km, 7hrs driving distance. Along the way, there are many lakes and snow-capped mountains. The snow-capped mountains accompany you all the way out of Gertse, stretching dozens of kilometers under the background of the blue sky and white clouds.
Dung-tso, Dawa-tso, and Qiduo Co birds island are the highlights of the day.
Today, we will drive from Tsochen to Raka, the junction of the road with Northern road to Gar or Mt Kailash. Along the valley, you will pass Songma-la pass (5,500m), then you will see Tagyel-tso and other small lakes.
Only 21km north of the Raka junction are the Tagyel Chutse or King Tiger Hot Springs. You will smell the warm spring and see the steaming steam from far away. It's a collection of geysers, bubbling hot springs, puffing steam outlets, and smoking holes that seem to lead straight down into the bowels of the earth. You can take a hot spring bath here.
- King Tiger Hot Springs
In the morning, we will get back to Lhatse first, then move further south back to Shigatse. En route, we will detour to Sakya Monastery.
Sakya Monastery is the main monastery of Sakyapa, built in the 1360s. The walls around this monastery were mainly in gray, but the top part of the walls was painted in red and white stripes. That’s why Sakyapa is also being called Variegated Buddhism. There are many cultural relics such as seals, Buddha statues, a large collection of books, more than 3000 exquisite murals, etc. The murals of the Yuan Dynasty are the most distinctive, which makes Sakya Monastery known as the "second Dunhuang".
- Sakya Monastery
In the morning, we will visit the home of Panchen Lama - Tashilunpo Monastery, which was founded by the 1st Dalai Lama in 1447. It is a historic and culturally important monastery in Shigatse. It's located on the central hill of the city. The full name in Tibetan of the monastery means "all fortune and happiness gathered here" or "heap of glory".
Then, we will drive back to Lhasa from Shigatse along the Friendship Highway, via the northern route to Lhasa. It is the most direct route and usually takes around 6 hours to reach the capital. We will make several stops on the way in order to enjoy the views of the Yarlung Tsangpo River Valley.
- Tashilhunpo Monastery
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.
- 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 calls, snacks, soft drinks, optional tour activities, etc.
- Anything not mentioned in the Inclusions.
We had a great experience with Great Tibet Tour this September! We are a group of friends from 5 different countries, and it was not so easy sometimes for non-Chinese to get the permits to see places outside Lhasa. Just imagine that you have to register yourself at the local PSB all the time... but ....Read more testimonials...