Beginning at Tsurphu Monastery, this rugged walk crosses several high valleys before emerging into the broad and windswept Yangpachen Valley. Combining alpine tundra, sweeping mountain panoramas, and visits to monasteries, this trek nicely balances cultural and wilderness activities.
|Day||Route||Attractions & Activities|
|1||Arrival in Lhasa (3680m)||Pick up and transfer to the hotel.|
|2||Lhasa sightseeing||Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street|
|3||Lhasa Suburb||Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery|
|4||Lhasa - Tsurphu||Tsurphu Monastery|
|5||Tsurphu to Yangpachen Trek①: Tsurphu - Leten|
|6||Tsurphu to Yangpachen Trek②: Leten - Bartso|
|7||Tsurphu to Yangpachen Trek③: Bartso - Dorjelng||Dorje Drak Monastery|
|8||Tsurphu to Yangpachen Trek④: Dorjeling > Yangpachen; Drive Yangpachen > Lhasa;|
|9||Departure from Lhasa||Send off to airport/railway station|
Daily ItineraryCollapse Expand
This is the first day in 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 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. It’s really useful to get acclimatized to the high altitude.
Stay overnight in Lhasa
Today your Lhasa tour starts with the world heritage Potala Palace. It’s situated on the Red Hill of central Lhasa. Potala Palace is the highest ancient palace in the world, reaching 3,767.19m at the topmost point. The most valuable collections of Potala Palace are the gilded burial stupas of former Dalai Lamas and meditation Cave of the 33rd great king of Tibet.
In the afternoon, take an easy visit to Jokhang Temple in the center of the Lhasa old town. Jokhang temple is the most sacred temple all over Tibet and it is always bustling with earnest local pilgrims. After you visit the temple, you'll have time to walk around the Barkhor Street, which is one of the most devotional circuits as well as the crowded central market of Lhasa since the early days. As a symbol of Lhasa, it is 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
It takes several hours to drive to Tsurphu Monastery from Lhasa, including 2 hours bumpy road from the main road to Tsurphu. The altitude will be up to 4300m and it takes half a day to acclimatize for the following trekking.
(4hrs/ 11km/ 500m ascent)
The trek begins by heading west or up the valley. Follow the kora trail 10mins west to the lingka, a walled copse of old trees with a brook. 45min trees here are the last you will see until after finishing the trek. Just abv the copse, the valley splits: follow the northwest branch and remain on the north side of the stream.
45mins of walking through a rocky gorge along a well-graded trail brings you to Shupshading(4700m), a seasonal herder’s camp on an easily missed shelf abv the trail. After 30mins look for a line of ruined chortens to your right. After a further 10mins the valley looks like it splits; follow the main river valley(to the left) and descend to cross the stream on a stick-and-sod bridge(4890m). The trail now continues on the south side of the valley. In another 20mins you’ll pass a popular camping spot. Look out for small herds of na(blue sheep) on the slops to the north.
25mins further on, by a mani wall, the trail forks. It’s easier to take the right fork that follows the valley floor. This trail passes to the right of a small cliff, past the remains of winter ice, before swinging to the left up into the natural bowl of Leten. Several families live year-around in the drokpa settlement of Leten(5090m), braving the severe climate with their livestock.
(5hrs/ 15km/ 300m ascent/ 600m descent)
It’s abt 3hrs walk from Leten to the Lasar-la. Head for the northern half of the settlement. The route climbs steeply up a short ridge, reaching the highest house. Bear northwest into a steep side valley. As you ascend, a reddish knob of rock looms up ahead. Angle to the north/right, of this formation, past a mani wall in the centre of the bowl, and leave the valley by climbing to the top of a spur marked by three carins. it’s a 45mins walk to here from Leten. The peak attached to this spur is called Damchen Nyingtri and is holy to the god ruling the environs.
As per Buddhist tradition, stay to the left of the three carins and descend sharply into a narrow valley. As you look into the curved valley ahead you’ll notice a round, bald, red peak called Tamdrim Dora; the main trail you’ll be following for the next hour or so keeps to the right of that.
Once on the valley bottom, cross to the east side of the stream and strike out north. In 15mins a side-stream enters from the west: keep following the main north branch. In another 10mins you’ll see O-Lha peak, the prominent jagged mountain to the northeast. Walk up the widening valley through arctic-like mounds of tundra for 40mins, following a minor trail. Then, as the valley floor veers west, look for a cairn on the opposite bank of the stream.
Using this carin as a marker, bear northwest over an inclined plain. The Lasar-la(5400) is a broad gap at the highest point in the plain, beside a small tarn, and is heralded by cairns and prayer flags.
From Lasar-la descend steeply into the north-running valley. There are views of the snowcapped Nyenchen Tanglha range to the north along this next stretch.
About an hour from the pass, just past a large corral, you meet a large westward bend in the valley. As you now head westwards, along the north side of the river, there are superb views of the surrounding mountains. In the north is Brize, which is a heavily glaciated peak enclosing the south side of the Yangpachen Valley, and towards the west is a distinctive pinnacle named Tarze.
30mins after the big bend the trail hits the settlement of Bartso(4950m). you will be camping around here for tonight.
(4hrs/ 15km/ 150m ascent/ 150 descent)
Head northwest from Bartso, abt 90mins later reach the village of Tajung(4660m). Continue going northeast in the direction of Brize until a large dip appears in the ridgeline to the west, 40 mins from Tajung. Leave the trail going towards Brize and head cross-country between the ridgeline and a large hill to the right. A 20mins climb to the top of the hill to the right(east), known as Nyinga Ri(4800m), The views of the Nyenchen Tanglha Range, the distinctive flat-topped 7111m massif that gives its name to the entire range, are fantastic from here.
A short, steep descent north from Nyinga Ri will bring you to a stream at the base of a ridge, aligned east to west. Climb the ridge, from the top of it, you’ll have good views of the village just upstream of Dorje Ling Nunnery. Strike out directly across the plain for the village, taking in the awesome views of the glaciers tumbling off Brize and the fertile flood plain below. After dipping briefly into a dry gully you crest a small ridge and see Dorje Ling Nunnery(4474m) which is still abt 1hr away. You will camp near the nunnery for the night.
(4hrs/ 14km/ mostly level)
From Dorje Ling follow the motorable road west. After 40mins or so, past a fenced area, take the right fork over a ruined concrete bridge and continues down the east bank of the stream as the valley drains into the huge Yangpachen plain. Below you to the left is the village of Tsaburing. The track quickly turns into a motorable road and runs north, paralleling the course of the Nyango-chu, which drains the upper Yangpachen Valley. The road stays close to the east bank of the silty river, skirting meadows that afford some fine picnic spots, offering encompassing views of the trans-Himalaya.
Once you’ve entered the Nyango drainage area, it’s a level 2hr walk through the giant landscape to Yangpachen Monastery. Perched on top of a ridge above the village, the 15th –century Yangpachen Monastery overlooks a broad sweep of trans-Himalaya peaks. Yangpachen is headed by Shamar Rinpoche(also known as the Sharmapa), a leading lama of the Kagyupa order, whose 14th incarnation is based in India.
After sightseeing of Yangpachen Monastery, your 4-day trek is officially comes to the end. Your vehicle will be waiting here to transfer you to the nearby swimming pool-sized Yangpachen Hot Springs which is great to ease your aching limbs. After which, transfer back to 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.
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