Day 1) Arrival in Lhasa Elevation: 3600 meters
We will welcome you at the Airport or The Lhasa train station. Then you will be escorted to your hotel. It always advises the travelers to take a good rest for proper acclimatization. please do not any activities which would lead you to dehydrate, like taking a bath. And avoid hard work for the first day. Many travelers prefer to take a nap. by the evening, I will come to meet you at the hotels and discuss the itinerary and other stuff. If time let we will have a dinner at Tibetan restaurant.
Day 2) Lhasa sign seeing.
Visit Jokhang Temple and Sera monastery
In the morning after having your breakfast your guide will meet you at the hotel. Then you will first go to the Jokhang Temple, the holiest temple in Tibetan Buddhism. Since you hotel is in the Tibetan quarter of Lhasa city, you will walk to the Jokhang Temple. After visiting the Temple you can some time to explore the Old Lhasa city on your own for a couple of hours.
The guide will fix you a time and place to visit. In the afternoon, you will visit the Sera monastery. This is a most well-preserved monastery in Tibet. The monastery you can sit in the courtyard where monks will be debating on Buddhist philosophy. you can stay there for sometimes. this is a very good opportunity for many travelers to take a picture of monks debate. You can tell your guide to give you some free times to explore the monastery on your own if you would like to live in peace for sometimes.
Day 3) Lhasa sign seeing.
Visit Potala palace, Norbulingka (the Summer palace), and Drepung Monastery, Nechung monastery (There are nearby)
In the morning, you will visit the grand Potala palace. Your guide will fix and time as per the ticket timing. please do not bring any drinking water or any liquid to drink. you will be asked to either drink it or throw it at the checkpoint. Plus please do not take a picture inside of the palace is restrict. there is a time-limited of two hours to stay inside the palace to fit in all those travelers in limited time and state of vulnerability of century old palace against thousands of visitor alike. you guide might hurry you. But if you would like to see something or spend a few moment in specific place please let know her.
After the visit is over you will be descending on the back side of the palace. I always take my group to take a rest and have a tea with locals in the tea shop in the garden. many travelers like it. Yet prepare to have a load of people focusing on you. its new to them, if you don’t look Asian. but a smile and cheerful attitude would do the cure and would make it a memorable time. in the garden, there is a small island in the pool. the temple is dedicated to the King of Nagas, living in our world yet not visible to our eyes. you might want to visit it. If you are a family traveling with children I would suggest you rent a paddling boat and paddle in the pool.
after spending few times in the garden, then I would suggest you go to Norbulingka.There is Tibetan restaurant near the Norbulingka which serves a very good Tibetan food. you will then visit Norbulingka palace. please buy a bottle of water before entering the gate. It is a not a single one building palace. it’s more like a resort with one palace for two Dalai Lamas.
After the Norbulingka Palace, your guide will ask you if you still have the visit Drepung Monastery and Nechung monastery. If you do, then you can visit the Drepung monastery and Nechung monastery. Nechung finds at the foothill of Drepung monastery. in total, this two monastery would take about two hours. beware that there is a quite a lots of high staircase you have to climb up to.
Day 4)Lhasa—Yamdrok Lake—Karo La Glacier—Gyantse Distance: 260kms Elevation: 3840m
It is advised to start the journey little earlier in the morning. So in most of the cases, we leave Lhasa at 7 in the morning after having breakfast at your hotel. by 11:00 Am you will reach the Kampa-la pass (4700 m) . The car will stop here for some time of the beautiful view of Yamdrok Lake below the pass and the mighty mount Mount Nojin Kangtsang (7191 meters). After sometimes at the pass for the picture, we will then drive down to the Lake. It is about a 15 minutes drive and we will descend about 700 meters to the shore. We will stop at the shore and you will have some times to enjoy the beautiful lake from its shore.
After the Lake, we will continue to drive to the Nangartse town for lunch. From Yamdrok lake to Nangartse is 50 km and we will drive along the shore until we divert to the Town. If you are traveling during the winter you can see lots of wild birds on this road. It is advised to bring a binocular if you are a bird lover. Once when we reach the town we will stop here for the lunch and after the lunch, you can explore this little Tibetan town for sometimes.
You will then continue to Gyantse town. You will reach at the Gyantse town about the 3:00 pm. We will then check into our hotel for the night and then we will continue to visit the Gyantse monastery. Visiting the monastery would take about one and half hours. If you still have some energy, we can visit the Gyantse fort.
Day 5)Gyantse—Farming Villages—Shigatse Distance 95kms Elevation: 3840m
You will start your journey at about 9:00 am. Once when you drive out of the Gyantse town, we will stop at photography spot outside the town. From there you can see the entire town of Gyantse including its monastery, stupa, and the fort. It is one of my favorite place in Tibet to take a picture.
From Gyantse, we will first go to Shalu monastery. Many travel and tour operator in Tibet skips in their itinerary. But to me, it is a must place to visit. The painting inside the monastery is very different. Those are the original Newari style paintings.
After Shalu Monastery, we will continue to Shigatse. On arrival to Shigatse, we will first visit the Tashi Lhunpo monastery. Built by the first Dalai lama and official residence of Panchen lama. Then we will drive to the hotel and rest of the day is free for you and the group members. But I will have to go to apply for the permit for Everest base camp.
Day 6) Shigatse—Gyatso La Pass— Shelkar Distance 235kms Elevation: 4320m
We will start our day little earlier today to have more time Sakya monastery. We will drive on friendship road. From Tibetan town of Lhatse, we will take a detour to Sakya monastery. The monastery is the main principle monastery of the Sakyapa school of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery looks like a medieval fort. This architecture and painting of the Sakya monastery are completely different from any other attraction you will visit on this tour. There are lots of things you can see in the monastery that is why we leave from Shigatse earlier. After the Sakya Monastery, we will continue driving to Tingri and we will stop for the night before going up to Everest base camp.
Day 7) Shelkar—Rongphu Monastery—Everest Base Camp Distance: 115kms Elevation 5150m
If you would like to see the sunshine over the mighty Himalayas and Everest in the morning you will have to start the journey earlier before the sunshine. I always recommend all the travelers to leave before the sunshine to see the beautiful sunshine over Everest and its sister’s mountains. Once when we reach the Rongbuk monastery. We will take some time in our tent guest house and then we will go ahead to Everest Base Camp. We can’t take our car and we will have to either take the Eco-bus or walk up. Walking up is about four kilometers and could take about two hours. There is a small cave of Guru Padmasambhava. You can visit if you walk.
We will be spent a night in EBC in the tent guest house. The tent could become smoky sometimes. If you think you have an attitude issue, we can return back to Tingri. Please be decisive and decide before everyone sleeps.
Day 8) Everest—Peiku Lake—Saga Distance: 300kms Elevation: 4500m
Today you will have one more time to close with mighty Everest. Get up early and go there to see the beautiful sunshine over Everest. From Mt. Everest, the next destination is the stunning alpine lake of Peiku Tso. While driving to the lake, there are terrific views of 7000+ meter Himalayan peaks and the possibility of seeing wildlife. After visiting the lake, you will drive to the town of Saga.
Day 9) Saga—Lake Manasarovar Distance: 485kms Elevation: 4590m
The ninth day of this journey will take you across the wilderness of western Tibet to the shores of the holy lake of Manasarovar. The lake offers spectacular views of the surrounding Himalayas.
Day 10) Lake Manasarovar—Darchen Distance: 35kms Elevation: 4690m
Today we will make a short drive to Darchen, it is the starting point for the trekking around the Mt Kailash. We will make our final preparation for three days trekking around the holy mount.
Day 11) Kailash Trek Day 1 Distance: 20kms Elevation: 5080m
This is the first day of our trek, you will trek for 20 kilometers from Darchen to Dira Puk Monastery, following the ancient pilgrimage route with Tibetan Buddhist and Indian Hindu pilgrims. You will stay in a small guesthouse near the monastery. The elevation of the Monastery is 5080 meters.
Day 12) Kailash Trek Day 2 Distance: 18kms Elevation: 4820m
The second day of our trek around Kailash will take us up and over the Dolma La Pass, the highest pass on the circuit at 5630 meters. Excellent mountain and glacier views will follow you for most of the day. From the Dolma La Pass, you will descend to Zutul Puk Monastery, elevation 4820 meters. The total trekking distance this day is 18 kilometers.
Day 13) Kailash Trek Day 3 Distance: 14kms Elevation: 4590m
The third and final day of our trek will cover 14 kilometers from Zutul Puk Monastery back to the town of Darchen.
Day 14) Darchen—Zanda Distance: 235 kms Elevation: 3740m
After breakfast, you will set out for the far western region of Zanda. Along the way, you will see many big Himalaya peaks, amazing canyons and stay at the edge of the ancient Kingdom of Guge.
Day 15) Guge Kingdom Distance: 17kms Elevation:3693m
This day you will spend exploring Tsaparang, the main section of the Guge Kingdom. You will hike all through these ancient ruins, which are still well preserved.
Day 16) Drive to Dongkar Piyang
We will take a day tour to Dungkar monastery and Piyang ruins. It’s located 40kms approximately from the Zhanda county. Both places are know for its caves with extensive wall paintings from the summer palace for the kings of Guge. The painting dates back to 1100AD. The Stylistically of these painting is much common with the Silk Road Cave mural paintings of Dunhuang in China. There are three caves and one is known for its best praserved Mandala ever from the Time.
Day 15: Drive to Rutog via Senge Khabab River town Distance: 312kms Elevation:4161m
We will drive to Rutog via Senge Khabab River town, the main town of Ngari Prefecture. Overnight is in Rutog county.
Day 16: Drive Towards Kashgar, Rutog to Kargilik Distance: 935 kilometer
Today we will drive to Kargilik in Xinjiang province. We will drive through an uninhabited region. Since the Kashgar is about 1226 kilometers from Rotug, we will have to break the journey into two days. This is our first day and we will be traveling until Kargilik for 935 kilometers
Day 17: Drive Towards Kashgar, Kargilik to Kashgar, Distance 297kms, Elevation: 1295m
Drive to Kashgar via Kargilik (Chin. Yecheng). Barbecue dinner at a medium-class hotel in Kashgar.
Day 18: Transfer to Airport
Last day in Kashgar. Sightseeing. Preparation for departure flight.