This trek follows the old trade route between the great Buddhist centers of Shalu and Nartang, marking a glorious chapter in Tibetan history. The trail and passes are not particularly high and the trailheads are easily accessible from Shigatse.
|Day||Route||Attractions & Activities|
|1||Arrival in Lhasa (3680m)||Pick up and transfer to the hotel.|
|2||Lhasa City||Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street|
|3||Lhasa Suburb||Norbulingka, Sera Monastery|
|4||Lhasa - Gyantse - Shalu||Yamdroktso Lake, Pelkor Chöde Monastery, Shalu Monastery|
|5||Shalu to Nartang Trek①: Shalu - Upper Lungsang||Ri-puk Hermitage|
|6||Shalu to Nartang Trek②: Upper Lungsang - Ngor||Ngor Monastery|
|7||Shalu to Nartang Trek③: Ngor - Nartang; Drive Nartang - Shigatse;||Nartang Monastery|
|8||Shigatse - Lhasa||Tashilhunpo Monastery|
|9||Departure from Lhasa by Flight||Send off to airport/railway station|
This is the first day that you enter Tibet. Your guide will greet you at the airport or 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 to go 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. 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 33rd King Songtsen Gangpo in the 7th century and rebuilt it later in the 17th century by 5th Dalai Lama, now it is a museum and world heritage site.
In the afternoon, we will go to visit Jokhang Temple in the center of the old Lhasa city. Jokhang Temple is one of the most sacred temples in all over Tibet and it is always bustling with earnest local pilgrims since from early days. After that you will take a walk around the Barkhor street which is the one of the most devotional circuit as well as a crowded central market of Lhasa, Barkhor Street is located in the old area of Lhasa City Tibet, it is a very ancient round street surrounding the Jokhang Temple and the locals are always proud of it. As a symbol of Lhasa, it is also a must-see place for visitors.
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 Collecting Rice in the Tibetan language. It’s a white magnificent construction that looks also like a pile of rice in the distance. Drepung monastery is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery, where lived more than 10 thousand monks before Tibet liberation.
(6hrs/ 19km/ 420m ascent/ 240m descent)
From Shalu Monastery(3980m) walk the motorable road south up the valley. 30mins from Shalu you will pass by and visit the Ri-puk Hermitage.
1hr or so from Shalu, the road forks: take the south fork. In the south of the road, a conical-shaped hill and a village called Phunup at its base can be made out. Gradually the trail climbs to a small white ridge. As you approach you will see a line of white cairns marking its summit(4030m). Look for the trail that ascends to the cairns, a 1hr walk from the fork in the road. From the ridge’s summit, Phunup village is to the south and the Showa-la is to the west. The trail descends gradually to enter the stream bed coming from the Showa-la, 30mins from the cairns. The climb up to the pass and descent on the other side is through some heavily eroded, waterless ravines and slopes. Bring plenty of drinking water. From the stream bed the trail soon climbs back up the right side of the valley only to drop back in and out of the stream bed in quick succession.
From the Showa-la(4170m), the second pass, the Char-la, can be seen in the range of the hills west of an intervening valley. The easy-to-go trail descends from the pass along the south side of a ravine. In 1hr you will reach the valley floor. Cross over the sandy north-south valley, intersecting a road.
The valley watercourse is dry except during summer flash floods. West of it is a poplar and willow copse, the only bit of shade in the area. From the copse, you enter a side valley, continuing in a westerly direction towards the Char-la. In a few minutes you reach the village of Manitinge, on the southern margin of the valley, and pick up the main cart track going up the valley. The track passes through the village of Siphu and, 1hr from the copse, crosses to the south side of the valley. You can glimpse the Char-la from here, which for most of the trek is hidden behind folds in the mountains.
In 30mins you will reach Lower Lungsang(4060m), a few minutes later Upper Lungsang, of where you will camp for the night.
- Ri-puk Hermitage
From Upper Lungsang the trail cuts across the valley floor, gradually making its way back to the northern side of the valley. It is at least 3hrs from Upper Lungsang to the Char-la. The terrain becomes more rugged and a gorge forms below the trail. There is a sidestream and small reservoir 45mins above Upper Lungsang. From the reservoir, the trail descends back to the stream bed but quickly exits the opposite side of the valley.
Look for a series of switchbacks on the southern side of the gorge and then follow them up. a further 15mins on, the trail crosses a gully and then another gulley in 15 more mins. The final leg to the pass is pretty much cross-country over a steep slope of raw expanse of rock. From the second gully, the Char-la can be reached in 45mins of steep uphill walking.
From the Cha-la(4550m), mountain ranges stretch to the west across the horizon and Ngor Monastery is visible directly below. Ngor is a 45mins steep descent from the pass. Sakya master Ngorchen Kunga Sangpo founded Ngor Monastery in 1429, giving rise to the Ngorpa suborder, a distinctive school of Buddhist thought. Only a portion of the monastery has been rebuilt, but what has is pleasing to behold.
- Ngor Monastery
(6hrs/ 19km/ 410m descent)
From Ngor, a road runs down the valley that is now suitable for all types of vehicles. 15mins from Ngor is the sizable village of Pero. 90mins from Ngor the valley and road bend to the north. 30mins further, there is a copse at the edge of the flood plain.
The road now swings to the west side of the wide alluvial valley and 30mins past the copse is the village of Dzong Lugari(3910m). The trail to Nartang Monastery, splits from the road on the northern outskirts of Dzong Lugari and heads north. From Dzong Lugari, it’s at least a 2hr trek across a broad valley to Nartang.
Your driver will be waiting for you at Nartang after you sightseeing the monastery to transfer you to Shigatse.
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.
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.
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