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Big News: Tibet has Opened to Expats Living in China Now!

Sichuan Tibet Hwy 4WD Tour

Duration:
12 Days
Route:
Chengdu – Kangding - Bomi – Nyingtri - Lhasa
Season:
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn
  • Winter
Tour Type:
Private Tour
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Overview

The classic journey along Sichuan-Tibet Highway(usually refers to the south route G318) covers its essence and takes you through vast, open landscapes with majestic peaks vaulting skyward. The plateau areas are dotted with castellated Tibetan homes and an infinite number of contentedly munching yaks. You’ll encounter from time to time and see pilgrims prostrating their way to Lhasa. Along the way, you will pass through the western Sichuan plateau, Litang grassland, Hengduan Mountains, Nyingchi forest, snow peaks and crystal glaciers as well as other geographical landscapes, and finally arrive at the holy city of Lhasa. Here you will stay 2 days for sightseeing and discover the local landmarks and lifestyle.
DayRouteAttractions & Activities
1 Chengdu - Kangding Pick up from your hotel
2 Kangding - Mugecuo - Paoma Mountain - Kangding Lake Mugecuo, Paoma Mountain
3 Kangding - Xindu Bridge - Litang Xindu Bridge, Litang
4 Litang - Batang Sister Lake, Cuopu Valley
5 Batang - Markham - Dzogang Markham
6 Dzogang - Pomda - Ranwu Ranwu Lake
7 Ranwu - Bomi Laigu Glacier, Midui Glacier
8 Bomi - Lulang - Nyingtri Guxiang Lake, Lunang Scenic Area
9 Nyingtri - Draksumtso - Lhasa Draksum-tso Lake
10 Lhasa City Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street
11 Lhasa Suburb Norbulingka, Drepung Monastery
12 Departure from Lhasa Send off to the airport/railway station

Daily Itinerary

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Early morning, we will pick you up at your hotel in Chengdu city. Here it goes the very beginning of your Sichuan-Tibet Hwy 4WD land cruiser tour. Hooray~~ Today’s journey will pass by Ya’an and Luding, to finally arrive in Kangding. Ensconced in a steep river valley at the confluence of the swift Zheduo and Yala Rivers and towered over by mighty Gongga Shan(7556m), Kangding(pop 82,000; elev 2616m) is famous throughout China for a popular love song that the town’s surrounding scenery inspired. The town has long been a trade centre between Han & Tibetan cultures, with the exchange of wool, herbs and bricks of tea from Ya’an wrapped in yak hide. It also served as an important staging post on the road to Lhasa, as indeed it does today.

Stay overnight in Kangding

Kangding is nestled in a deep river valley at the point where the fast-flowing Yala meets the raging Zheduo which roars its way right through the town center. More poignantly, Kangding has for centuries also been the point at which two very different cultures converge. 

Stay overnight in Kangding

Today, we are going through Xindu Bridge then to Litang. Xindu Bridge is a highlight on the Sichuan-Tibet highway. It's also called photographers' paradise, as well as the world of light and shadow. The beautiful natural scenery, trees, grass plants, dotted Tibetan-style dwellings, cattle, and sheep attract tourists to come here to take pictures of splendid moments.

Litang is famed as the birthplace of the 7th and 10th Dalai Lamas. Litang lies at an altitude of 4014m, so it's called the world's high city. Litang is more like a hidden paradise, where you can feel the magnificent grassland and worship Tibetan Buddhism.

Stay overnight in Litang

From Litang to Batang, the altitude drops from 4014m to 2589m, and the surrounding scenery has also changed from green grasslands to bare mountains. One of the highlights is the alpine lakes in Haizi Mountain in Batang County, and the largest lake on Haizi Mountain is the Sister Lake. Besides the Sister Lake, another recommended spot is Cuopu Valley, which is surrounded by mountains and gorges. There is a square kilometer area covered with hot springs, on the slopes, beside the highway, in the forest, in the fields, under the cliffs, and by the river.

Stay overnight in Batang

From Batang to Markham, enjoy the scenery all the way! You will enter Tibet’s territory today. Congrats! You made it, half-way of your journey already. For centuries, Markham has been a strategic crossroads town on the salt and tea trade routes between Tibet and Sichuan.

Stay overnight in Dzogang

From Dzogang to Pomda, the road condition is good. Known as Bangda in Chinese, Pomda is 4390 meters above sea level and is the intersection of the southern and northern Sichuan-Tibet highways. It used to be the obligatory stop of the famous "tea horse road" in the past. It is located on the 318 national roads between Dzogang and Basu.

After passing Pomda, you'll not only experience the precariousness and desolation of the Nu River Grand Canyon and the "72 turns of Sky Road", but also enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the idyllic scenery between the canyons. After getting out of the canyon, you will find that the sky is getting clearer and the horizon is getting wider. You will see snow-capped mountains and a big Ranwu Lake, and the Ranwu Town is near.

From Ranwu to Bomi, you can also visit Laigu Glacier and Midui Glacier. Laigu Glacier is one of the three largest glaciers in the world. Melted ice and snow flows into Ranwu Lake, which is the source of Parlung Zangbo River. Midui Glacier is the most important marine glacier in Tibet. It is one of the three major marine glaciers in China and the lowest in the world. All the way, besides glaciers, you will see the dense alpine forest, deep gorges, clear stream, blue sky, snow peaks, high waterfall, etc. You will arrive at Bomi County in the evening.

Stay overnight in Bomi

Drive from Bomi to Nyingchi, with a total distance of 230 km. Along the famous National Highway 318, there are series of stunning plateau scenery. En route, you will pass by Guxiang Lake which is a beautiful park, get through Tongmai Bridge which is a natural barrier, the gorgeous tiny rural village of Tashigang and Lulang Forest. Lulang Forest is the highlight of this part. It's 3,700 meters above sea level and located on Sichuan-Tibet highway, about 80 kilometers away from Bayi Town, Nyingchi. Lulang is a typical long plateau mountain meadow. From the viewing platform of Lulang, you can see the famous Namcha Barwa Peak.

A hard ride today from Nyingri to Lhasa for abt 8hrs or so, en route, visit the beautiful Draksumtso Lake. Draksum-tso Lake is a sacred lake of the Nyingma (Red) sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Continue ahead until you reach the Mila Mountain Tunnel. Mila Mountain is the last high mountain on 318 national Sichuan-Tibet Highway before entering Lhasa, with an altitude of 5013 meters. In the afternoon, you will arrive in Lhasa.

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

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.

Our Service
INCLUSIONS
  • 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;
  • Sleeping bags;
  • Two bottles of mineral water per person per day.
EXCLUSIONS
  • 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 --- 4.2%. 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 Jenn***
2021-05-13

We are planning to take to Chengdu first on our own and then do a tour to get to Tibet. This option might be a bit too long for us but we are interested in finding out more about it. We are also considering other options. Any additional information is greatly appreciated!

beatrice
Answered by Beatrice 2021-05-13

Dear Jennifer,

Although Tibet reopened to expats living in China now, Sichuan-Tibet Highway has not yet opened. Currently, there're two ways to get to Lhasa from Chengdu, by plane or by train. If this is your first time visiting Tibet, I suggest you take a train. In this way, you can not only lower the altitude sickness possibilities but also enjoy the awe-spiring scenery along Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

After you arrive in Lhasa, you may join our group tours. For most travelers, besides visiting the most famous Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple in Lhasa city, you will also visit Tashilhunpo Monastery - the seat of Panchen Lama, as well as Everest Base Camp to worship the highest mountain in the world. Here's the recommended itinerary...

Please let me know your idea. If you don't like it, I'm happy to tweak it to your satisfaction.

Asked by Aish***
2021-03-18

I am really interested in the trip from Chengdu to Llhasa; I am writing to enquire on the cost of the 12 days trip.

Catherine
Answered by Catherine 2021-03-18

In your inquiry, you mentioned you would like to have a Sichuan Tibet overland tour which is a private tour. The idea is really good, and this would be a challenging and amazing tour. We are experienced in arranging overland tours. We have professional tour guides and jeeps, and we provide all-in-one services.  But the required assistance of this overland tour will be more than a general Tibet sightseeing tour or a train tour. Besides, this is a private tour, the price will be much higher than a group tour.  Before I quote a price, may I know whether you are currently residing in mainland China or living outside of China?

Asked by germ***
2020-06-13

we are two professional living in Beijing plan to do this trip in the first half of July.

beatrice
Answered by Beatrice 2020-06-13

The Sichuan Tibet overland route has been banned since 2019. So if you are going to Tibet, you may take a train or flight. If you are interested in visiting other places in Tibet, we can arrange a trip for you.

Asked by Matt***
2019-02-25

I would like to take 9-10 days and travel by road from chengdu to Lhasa, stopping at significant points along the way, like the Yading Nature preserve. What would be the cost of this trip? Thank you

Caroline
Answered by Caroline 2019-02-25

In your inquiry, you mentioned that two of you would like to take 9-10 days and travel by road from Chengdu to Lhasa. I am sorry that the itinerary you saw on our website is for the past. For now, foreigners could not enter Tibet from mainland China by road. You could only take a train or fly to Lhasa from Chengdu or other gateway cities of mainland China. Please let me know your idea.

Asked by Loui***
2018-02-16

MorningSichuan Tibet Hwy 4WD TourPlease could you give me an idea of cost for this tour please. We are looking to travel in July or August.Many thanks.

beatrice
Answered by Beatrice 2018-02-16

July and August are the peak seasons for Tibet Tour. Here's the itinerary

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What Our Customers Say
Barkhor street

I just returned to Beijing yesterday and I wanted to let you know that I had a wonderful trip to Tibet. Your company arranged everything very well, and Lobsang was an excellent tour guide, I was deeply impressed by how hard-working and dedicated he was, especially when he helped arrange my nucleic a ....

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Want something different and unique? Just let us know! Please send us your ideas about the travel plans, destinations, attractions, your group, hotel class, etc. We specialize in planning your journey based on our first-hand experience, your budget, style, and interest!