The ultimate Tibet Trip ! Not only does this trip involvs overland drives, it also involves the trekking around Kailash on foot from west to east before you eventually drive out to Kathmandu.
You will fly from Chengdu to Lhasa where you will have the sightseeing tours of some of the beautiful monasteries.
You will begin your journey from Lhasa to Darchen via Shigatse & Saga, then begin your trek around Mt. Kailash. Upon completion of this circuit you will drive e back via southern route to Kathmandu. You will spend two days in Kathmandu before you return home.
Day 01 Arrive in Chengdu (1740 ft.)
Upon arrival in Chengdu, you will be met and transferred to hotel.
Day 02 Chengdu – Lhasa (11450 ft.)
Morning an optional tour of Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Center which is located just 10 KM (6 miles) from the city. These pandas are found only in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Ghansu provinces. Besides the Pandas, black-necked cranes, white storks and other more than 20 species of rare animals are fed and bred in this center throughout the year.
Transfer to airport and fly to Lhasa, the exciting capital of Tibet. You will be met at the airport by your local Tibetan guide and transferred to the hotel. Afternoon is at leisure for acclimatization & rest or just take a leisurely walk around the Barkhor Bazar.
Day 03 Lhasa
Today will be spent exploring palaces.
First on the list will be the Potala Palace. The palace of the Dalai Lama, a treasure of Tibetan culture, was until 1965, the seat of both religion and politics in Tibet and quite possibly, the singularly most important building in all of Tibet. It was built in the seventh century by Tsongtsen Gampo as a fort and later renovated by the fifth Dalai Lama in the seventeenth century to its present specifications.
The next stop will be Norbulingkha, the winter palace of the Dalai Lama which was built in the eighteenth century.
Day 04 Lhasa
Today we visit the Drepung monastery. This is the largest monastery in the world and once housed 10,000 monks and nuns. It was built in 1419, and the second, third and fourth Dalai Lamas lived and were entombed here. If we are lucky, we may have a chance to see the monks mixing the butter tea in a washing machine. This happens when there is a special ceremony and large numbers of monks are present.
Our next stop will be the Jokhang Temple. This is the holiest shrine in Tibet and houses a golden statue of the Buddha which was brought to Tibet by the Chinese princess “Wen Chen”. Then we stop off at Barkhor Bazaar outside the Jokhang monastery. This is a bustling flea market and is, generally, the place to buy souvenirs.
Day 05 Lhasa – Gyangtse – Shigatse ( 12,500 ft.)
An early morning start from Lhasa and a 259 km drive will get us to Gyantse via two passes Khamba La (15750 ft.) and Karo La (16270 ft.). En route enjoy the spectacular views of Yamdrok Tso (“Turquoise Lake”), Karo La Glacier and Nyching Kangsang Snow Peak (22100 ft.) Arrive in Gyangtse (13000 ft.) and sightseeing tour of Pelkhor Chode (Kumbum), known as 'monastery with praying wheel’
The short drive of 95 km takes us to Shigatse at an elevation of (12,500 ft). Xigatse is the second largest city in Tibet and the capital of the province of Tsang. The rulers of this province had dominion over all of Tibet prior to 1642 AD. At Xigatse we'll visit Tashilunpo Monastery which is the seat of the Panchen Lama who is second in spiritual importance only to the Dalai Lama. The monastery was built in 1447 by Gendun Drup and once housed upward of 3400 monks. Of particular interest at Tashilunpo is a nine story gilded statue of Maitreya - the “Future Buddha”.
Day 06 Xigatse - Saga (15091 ft.)
Drive to Lhatze and continue to Saga. Overnight Guest House.
Day 07 Saga – Mansarovar (15416 ft.)
From Saga you will head west along the left bank of Matsend Tsangpo river through the villages of Shue and then to Paryang. (4540m.).
Continue the drive towards west to Samsang and then to Mayum La (5151 m). Continue to Mansarovar.
Day 08 Mansarovar
Rest day or explore around the lake which Hindus believe, was created by Brahma ( the Hindu creator deity) as a reflection of the depth of his soul.
Afternoon drive to Darchen, and prepare for the exciting treking to Mt. Kailash.
Day 09 Trek Darchen – Dirphuk ( 16040 ft.)
Start trek by heading west you climb up to a series of prayer flags at 15514 ft /4730 m. from where you should have great views of Mt. Kailash. Then head north through Darboche, Shersong, the rebuilt Chukku Gompa and Damding Donkhang and Dirphuk (4890 m) and overnight at Lodge.
Day 10 Dirphuk-Puk Gompa (15711 ft.)
Climb through a moraine to a meadow at 5210 m. and then past rock cairns to emerge at Dolma La at 5640 m. highest point of the trip. From the pass descend via Gauri Kunda to the La Chukkir Valley at 5150 m. where you should look out for the foot prints which, pilgrims believe belonged to the Buddha. Descend further along a long, gentle path to Zuthuk –Puk Gompa (4790 m). There is a cave in which the saint Milarepa is said to have meditated.
Day 11 Puk Gompa – Darchen - Mansarovar Lake
Trek along the Zhong Chu river to a bridge, cross it and climb a little before descending to 4610 m. from where you will have good views of Mansarovar Lake. A short trek through Mani walls will lead you back to Darchen. Drive to Mansarovar.
Day 12 Drive to SAGA
Overland to Saga.
Day 13 Saga – Kyirong
Continue to Kyirong, the border between Tibet and Nepal.
Overnight at Guest House.
Day 14 Kyirong - Kathmandu (4,450 ft.)
Go through the immigration procsss in Tibet, and cross the border. You will then go through the immigration in Nepal sidea ase well. You will be met by your Nepali guide in Nepal side. Then continue to take overland drive to Kathmandu.
**Note** the road between Nepal border and Kathmandu is bad, and it takes 9-10 hours drive depending on the road codition.
Day 15 Kathmandu
At leisure in Kathmandu.
You can take an optional tour of Kathmandu and just relax and walk arond the colorful market of Thamel. Enjoy some of the best international cuision in Kathmandu.
Day 16 Kathmandu - U.S. or an extension
At an appointed time, transfer to airport and fly back home or take an extension tour to Bhutan, India or Myanmar.