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TT-05 Sacred Tibet

LHASA ► GYANTSE ► SHIGATSE ► MOUNT KAILASH ► EVEREST ► KATHMANDU

16 nights from UK £ 3,590 per person

Price based on 2 people travelling. This price is to give guidance and final quotes vary by date, exchange rates and are subject to availability. Trip runs from June to October.
Please note: This is a private tour (not a group tour). We can also book your international flights if required. An altitude of over 5,700 meters (18,700 feet) is reached on this trip. Whilst the vast majority of people experience little more than shortness of breath there is a very small risk of more severe complications such as acute mountain sickness (AMS). Note that level of fitness and age are no indication as to whether you are more susceptible or not to AMS.

This is an ultimate adventure through Tibet covering LHASA, GYANTSE & SHIGATSE as well as getting very much off the beaten track including the Guge Kingdom, Lake Manasarovar and of course the sacred MOUNT KAILASH where you spend 2 days trekking the pilgrimage route around this unique mountain.

You will also visit EVEREST BASE CAMP before finishing in the Hindu, temple strewn city of KATHMANDU.

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SCENERY 0
COMFORT 0
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TRIP MAP & DESTINATIONS VISITED

TT-05 Map

DAY BY DAY TRIP ITINERARY

Day 1 - Arrival Lhasa

Arrival in Tibet’s Capital of Lhasa With a Transfer to Your Hotel & Free Time

Arrival in Lhasa with a warm welcome from your guide and driver who will transfer you to the hotel. Lhasa, at a quite manageable altitude of 3,650 meters (12,000 feet), is a unique city and a real highlight. The setting, history, architecture, people and contrasts all make for a very special travel experience. Free time to relax and adjust to the altitude or start exploring the city.

Meals Included: None today.

Day 2 - Lhasa

Drepung Monastery, Nechung Residence, Sacred Jokhang Temple & Kora

Today first head 5 km out of Lhasa to Drepung Monastery, the largest in Tibet located on Gambo Utse mountain. Founded in 1416, it was the principal seat of learning for the Gelugpa school and at its height was thought to contain up to 10,000 monks (now there are 300). About 10 minutes walk from Drepung is Nechung Chok which was the residence of the State Oracle of Tibet. This small monastery was also evocatively known as the ”Demon Fortress of the Oracle King.”

After lunch (own arrangement) visit the Jokhang Temple constructed in 642 AD and considered the most sacred and important temple in all Tibet. It is located at one end of Barkhor Square, a fascinating meeting point for pilgrims from all over the region making for an intense atmosphere infused with incense and devotion. Surrounding the temple is the Barkhor Kora, a 1 km circular walk for pilgrims and locals as well as a fascinating market selling all the goods a pilgrim might need on their travels.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 3 - Lhasa

The Truly Spectacular Potala Palace & Ancient Sera Monastery

Today you visit one of the architectural highlights of China – if not the world – the vast Potala Palace, former residence of Dalai Lamas. Building started in 1645 and has been added to over the centuries. It is 13 stories high and contains over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and 200,000 statues. You will see some of the meeting rooms as well as the extraordinary chapels with their vast gold and jewel encrusted shrines to previous Dalai Lamas – the chapel of the 5th Dalai Lama has a stupa coated in 3,727kg of gold and 18,680 precious stones. The Potala dominates Lhasa and the views from the palace stretch out across the city to the surrounding mountains.

Continue to Sera Monastery, spread over 28 acres at the base of Pubuchok mountain and built in 1419. The highlights are the great assembly hall and some of the colleges located within the complex with their wealth of architectural features and shrines.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 4 - Lhasa to Gyantse

Kambala Pass, Beautiful Yamdrok Lake & Norjing Gangsang Glacier

Today we journey to Gyantse, 230 km south of Lhasa. The city is soon left behind as the road winds up the 4,780 meter (15,680 foot) Kambala pass colourfully strewn with prayer flags fluttering in the wind. See spectacular views in all directions before the road descends to the beautiful 72 km long Yamdrok lake with its spectacular backdrop of snowcapped mountains. Follow the lake shore before heading back into the hills passing the Norjing Gangsang Glacier, where we can stop for photos.

Continue along the road stopping at villages and scenic spots before reaching Gyantse (3,977 meters / 13,050 feet), Tibet’s third largest city. Free time to explore and if you have the energy the walk up the Dzong (fortress) that dominates the city is recommended for both views and acclimatization.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 5 - Gyantse to Shigatse

Palcho Monastery & Kumbum & Vast Tashilhunpo Monastery & Market

This morning visit Gyantse’s main monastery, the Palcho or Pelkhor Choede in Tibetan. The sprawling monastery complex dates back to the 9th century. It is most famous for the Kumbum, a 32 meter high 9 floored shrine which contains 108 unique chapels and is the largest of its kind in Tibet.

It is a 100 km drive to Shigatse at (3,840 meters / 12,600 feet) where we visit the Tashilhunpo Monastery founded in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama and has since been the traditional seat of the “Tashi” or Panchen Lama. The monastery is fascinating as is the walk around the Kora which stretches up the hillside behind the monastery offering good views of the complex and Shigatse itself. We can also visit the local market.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 6 - Shigatse to Sakya

Ancient Sakya Monastery & Its Buddhist Scripture Library

Drive on 127 km to Sakya monastery (altitude 4,050m), the seat of the Sakyapa school of Tibetan Buddhism. This monastery’s architecture is very different to others in Tibet as it is Mongolian in design dating back to 1268. Spend time in the afternoon exploring the monastery which has biggest Buddhist scripture library in Tibet that survived the cultural revolution. Time can also be spent in surrounding local villages.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 7 - Sakya to Paryang

Heading Off the Beaten Track Into the Wild West of Tibet

Today the real adventure begins as we leave the main Friendship Highway on the road to the capital of West Tibet, Ngari. We cross the Brahmaputra river to the North and drive west via Lang Tso lake, Namring lake and across the rich grass lands of the Sang Sang nomads as far as Saga (4,580m). Drive on through this important Tibetan farming area. Our road parallels the Brahmaputra river with the high Himalaya visible to the South. A long day of driving – 520 km taking about 10hrs – but the stunning scenery makes it well worthwhile.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 8 - Paryang to Darchan

Crossing the Grasslands With the Chance to See Wildlife

Today drive 295 km taking about 8hrs crossing the wide open grasslands of Paryang and Horba. There are spectacular views of the Himalaya to the south. Crossing Maryum pass we drive by Duk Tso lake where it can be possible to see wildlife such as wild ass, gazelles and antelope. Drive on to Horchu village near Manasarovar lake before reaching Darchen at 4,580m. This is the southern base of sacred Mt Kailash and starting point of the holy circuit trek around the mountain. Tibetan pilgrims do the 52 km circuit in a single day starting before dawn and completing before sunset but we take a leisurely 2 and half days to better appreciate this unique area. We use porters to carry our bags and spend the evening making final preparations for the trek.

Meals Included: None today but there are local teahouses along this route.

Day 9 - Darchan to Dri Ra Puk

The 5,700m Dolma Pass, the Scenery and Spirituality of Kailash

This is the most challenging day of this trip walking 17 km (about 8 hours) crossing the Dolma pass at a literally breathtaking 5,700m altitude. We take our time today both due to the altitude and to take in the stunning scenery and very special spiritual feeling the mountain generates for so many. It may be quite late before we finish the trek on the east side of Kailash at 4,680m.

Meals Included: None today but there are local teahouses along this route.

Day 10 - Dri Ra Puk to Zul Truk Puk

Exploring Some of the Mystical Sites of Kailash

A second day of trekking covering 22 km (about 10 hours). Today we explore some of the mystical sites in the Mt Kailash region and the walk is a slow and leisurely ascent to tonight’s guest house at an altitude of 4,780m and which is located near the historical hermitage of the great poet saint Milarepa on the northern side of Kailash.

Meals Included: None today but there are local teahouses along this route.

Day 11 - Zul Truk Puk to Manasarovar

Complete the Kailash Circuit and Resting at Lake Manasarovar

A final morning of trekking covering 14 km and taking 4 to 5 hours with the intense satisfaction of having completed the circumnavigation of Mt Kailash as we return to Darchen to meet our well rested driver and vehicle! Drive on 30 km to Lake Manasarovar considered the most sacred lake in Tibet. Here we will be resting up for two nights on the western shore of the lake at an altitude of 4,560m.

Meals Included: None today but there are local teahouses along this route.

Day 12 - Lake Manasarovar

A Well Deserved Day Relaxing at Lake Manasarovar

A well deserved rest day to relax at the lake, perhaps having an equally well deserved and needed hot bath in the medicinal natural hot-spring to soak your tired muscles!

Meals Included: None (to be arranged locally).

Day 13 - Lake Manasarovar to Saga

A Wild Drive Through a Remote & Spectacular Landscape

Back in the jeep we drive 500 km taking about 10 hours through a wild and uninhabited landscape. We cross wide plains, shallow rivers and pass by a few local truck stops with makeshift tea houses. We pass the stunning Mayum lake and climb Mayum La pass where we should be rewarded with a magnificent mountain panorama, finishing back in Saga (4,580m) to overnight.

Meals Included: None today but there are local teahouses along this route.

Day 14 - Saga to Everest Base Camp

Gyawu Pass View of the High Himalayas & Everest Base Camp

Today’s drive is 330 km (about 9 hours). Leaving Saga we cross the Brahmaputra river driving through nomadic areas before entering the natural reserve of Mt. Shishapangma to reach beautiful Paiku Tso lake. Further on we rejoin the Friendship Highway driving on to Rombuk Monastery and the gateway to Everest. From Rombuk the hike to Everest Base Camp (5,200m / 17,000 feet) takes 2 hours although there is often a national park bus in service if you do not want to walk. The sunset on Everest is sublime as well as the mountain under a star or moonlit night – pray to the mountain Gods for no clouds! Rough and ready high altitude night at either Rombuk Monastery or up at Base Camp itself where there is seasonal tented accommodation run by local nomads (approximately May to October).

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 15 - Everest Base Camp to Kyirong

Sunrise at Everest Base Camp & the Amazing Drive on to the Border

Despite the inevitable cold it is well worth trying to get up just before dawn to catch the sunrise on Everest. The morning is spent exploring the area around camp before driving on late morning to Kyirong the last town on the Tibetan side of the border. On the way, you can spot the breathtaking Mt. Shishapangma and Pekutso Lake. After passing Ghungtang Lhamo (5236m), we will finally arrive in Kyirong in late afternoon.

The scenery rapidly changes as the altitude decreases, greening up and becoming lush and by the time the border town, perched on the steep mountainside, is reached. The world looks a very different place to what it did this morning as you prepare for your last night in Tibet.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 16 - Kyirong to Kathmandu

Entering Nepal, the Lush Kathmandu Valley & Change of Culture

After breakfast drive the 25km to the actual border and say goodbye to your Tibetan driver and guide. Pass through China immigration and walk across the short stretch of no mans land to Nepalese immigration in the town of Rasuwagadhi where your driver will be waiting for you. If you need to obtain a Nepal visa now is the time to do that. The 130 km 5 to 6 hour drive down to Kathmandu is initially through stunning lush mountain scenery which steadily becomes more tropical and couldn’t be further removed from the dry Tibetan Plateau.

Far more India than China, Kathmandu makes Chinese cities look exceptionally well ordered! Life appears frantic and chaotic here. Long a travellers mecca for Himalayan trekking, Kathmandu has mastered the art of providing creature comforts to the weary traveller. The city is culturally rich and beyond it the rest of Nepal and the sub-continent awaits! Your driver will drop you at the hotel in Kathmandu with the rest of the day free.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 17 - Depart Kathmandu

Free Time to Explore the Sights of Kathmandu Before Onward Travel

Free time in Kathmandu until a transfer to the airport for your flight out of Nepal. If you prefer to stay longer in Nepal we can book additional hotel nights for you as well as some short tours around the Kathmandu Valley or longer excursions through the country.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

HAND-PICKED ACCOMMODATION FOR THIS TRIP

The hotels & accommodation used for this trip are from our hand picked selection and all are excellent for their class. We also offer upgraded hotels in most locations. Click here to explore additional hotel options and let us know of any changes you wish to make.

TOUR INCLUSIONS & EXCLUSIONS

What is included?

Your own vehicle with driver and guide (lodging and food for the guide and driver is included in the price). The trip also includes porters for the trek around Mount Kailash.

The Tibet Travel Permit.

Back up oxygen cylinder outside of Lhasa in case of altitude issues (extremely rare this ever needs to be used!

All accommodation as specified under the accommodation tab

All private transfers and any other transportation as described

All meals as specified in the itinerary

All tours as specified in the itinerary

All entrance fees to sights toured in the itinerary

24 hour emergency assistance

Visa Paperwork you need in order to obtain the visas

Financial Peace of Mind as your trip is protected

What is not included?

International Airfare to / from the start / finish of your trip – we can book these flights on request

The Chinese & Nepalese visas – we can advise and partner with VisaCentral

Travel insurance to cover any medical treatment – we recommend Citybond Suretravel (UK residents only)

Discretionary gratuities to drivers and guides

Laundry and bar bills

Photographic charges in some monasteries

Additional costs due to unforeseen expenses that may arise due to the factors beyond our control like personal illness, weather, landslides, etc…

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