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Shalu to Nartang Trekking Tour

9 Days
From USD1862
Difficult Level:
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Tour Type:
Private Tour
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This trek follows the old trade route between the great Buddhist centers of Shalu and Nartang, marking a glorious chapter in Tibetan history. At first, you will have 2 days of sightseeing tours in Lhasa, visiting the magnificent Potala Palace, sacred Jokhang Temple, bustling Barkhor street, etc. Then you will drive west to Shigatse. The trail and passes are not particularly high and the trailheads are easily accessible from Shigatse. From Shalu, a holy place for many believers to study Dharma, you will follow a beautiful countryside hiking trail, passing several villages and ​uninhabited dry valleys, some monasteries like Ngor Monastery, and end in Nartang Monastery. This route is the shortest trekking route in Tibet. It only takes about 2-3 days to complete the 15 hours of trekking. This is an adventure to experience the authentic Tibetan lifestyle and spectacular canyons. The best trekking time is from April to October.

DayRouteAttractions & Activities
1 Arrival in Lhasa (3650m) Pick up and transfer to the hotel
2 Lhasa City Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street
3 Lhasa Sightseeing Norbulingka, Drepung Monastery
4 Lhasa - Gyantse - Shalu Yamdroktso Lake, Pelkor Chode Monastery, Shalu Monastery
5 Shalu to Nartang Trek①: Shalu - Upper Lungsang Shalu to Upper Lungsang
6 Shalu to Nartang Trek②: Upper Lungsang - Ngor Ngor Monastery
7 Shalu to Nartang Trek③: Ngor - Nartang; Drive Nartang - Shigatse; Narthang Monastery
8 Shigatse - Lhasa, 300km, Approx. 6hrs Tashilhunpo Monastery, Yarlung Tsangpo Valley
9 Departure from Lhasa Send off to the airport/railway station

Daily Itinerary


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 hour to drive from Lhasa Airport to downtown Lhasa and takes about 20 minutes 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, and 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 the most sacred temple in 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 circuits 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 visit Norbulingka, which is a typical Tibetan-style royal garden, the summer resort of the Dalai Lama. There are a lot of towering trees, exotic flowers and plants in the garden, as well as many collections of cultural relics, Buddha statues, pagodas, thangkas, murals, etc. They are all very precious treasures.

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 cover the hillsides. 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 visit Yamdrok Lake - one of the top three sacred lakes in Tibet. The lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains and is fed by numerous small streams. Later we will pass and enjoy the Karola Glacier on the roadside. Then visit the main monastery in Gyantse - Pelkor Chode Monastery, where the Sakya, Kadam, and Gelug sects of Tibetan Buddhism coexist as well as its white pagoda. Then head to Shalu via the fertile Nyangchu Valley.

Shalu Monastery is famous in Tibet for its combination of Tibetan and Chinese architectural styles. And it preserves the most complete murals from the Yuan Dynasty. At night, you will camp around the monastery, which is your first camping during the trip.

(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.

Shalu - Upper Lungsang
Shalu to Upper Lungsang

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
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.

In the morning, we will visit the home of Panchen Lama - Tashilhunpo 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 to enjoy the views of the Yarlung Tsangpo River Valley.

Stay overnight in 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.

Tour Price and Service

From US$1862 p/p

Based on 3-star hotels for 2 people in low seasons. Price varies according to travel season, number of people and level of accommodation.


  • Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit 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;
  • Breakfast provided by hotels;
  • Yaks & herders during your trekking;
  • A professional cook and all meals during your trek;
  • 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;
  • Sleeping bags;
  • 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 the gratuity 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 --- 4.4%. 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 Mr r***


I'm looking to plan a trip to Tibet with a friend on 024-03-28. We are looking for something that involves quite a bit of trekking, and we have done our fair share of trekking (not at high altitudes).

Answered by Jennie

Dear Mr rabb****,

We can arrange the Shalu to Nartang Tibet Trekking Tour for you. Please kindly note, Tibet may not open to foreign tourists in February and March. I suggest you'd better consider the tour after 5 April. Please let me know your idea.

What Our Customers Say
Paro Dzong

As I return home from my Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet adventures, I owe you a very BIG “ THANK YOU “, for making it one if not the best trip ever! Your thorough planning, flawless execution and above all your willingness to respond to ALL of my questions is most appreciated. I must give a big compl ....

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