Nepal is the transportation hub of south Asia, and there are a large number of tourists who enter Tibet from Nepal. As long as tourists have long holidays, they can add Mt. Kailash in western Tibet to their plan and make a long itinerary staring from Lhasa to Shigatse city, Mt. Everest, Mt. Kailash, and leave Tibet from the Sino-Nepal border which is not far away from Mt. Kailash. This classic tour was chosen by a great number of independent travelers for many attractions along the way. Travelers will have varied experience of Himalaya Mountain Range, Glaciers, Monasteries, wildlife, vast lands, holy lakes and sacred places.
Take a flight to Lhasa. Upon your arrival, your local tour guide will pick you up at the airport and escort you to your hotel in Lhasa. The rest of the day is for you to explore the city freely so as to adapt yourself to the high altitude of Lhasa.
Stay overnight in Lhasa
In the morning, tourists will visit the famous Potala palace and explore the grandest of this myriad chapel. Experience its audience halls, the jeweled and Golden burial chortens (stupa Tombs) of past Dalai Lamas, and tremendous number of Buddhist frescoes, thangkas, combinations of mandala, etc. Tibet Museum is an important window to introduce the glorious culture of Tibet, as a free Museum in Lhasa, you should not miss it. In the afternoon, we will tour the holist temple in Tibet, the Johkang Temple, built during Songtsen Gonpo’s reign by princess Wencheng of Tang Dynasty, 647 A.D, and its famous Barkor Kora.( religious circling around Barkhor Street)
Stay overnight in Lhasa
Today, you will visit two important monasteries in Lhasa, the Drepung and the Sera. Drepung monastery, founded by Jamyang Choeje in 1416, is situated at the foothill of a mountain. It was once home to 10000 monks and Ganden podrang in Drepung is famous for being the government centre during the fifth dalai lama and later was moved to the famous potala palace during the fifth dalai lama. After finishing lunch, we continue to visit the Sera Monastery, which was founded in 1419 by Tsongkapa’s disciple Jamchen Choeje. The most attractive scene is its Buddhist Scriptures debate held in the courtyard mostly around 6:00 – 7:30 in the afternoon.
Stay overnight in Lhasa
At around 08:00am, our guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel, and then drive to Namtso Lake. Nyenchen Thanglha snow mountain ranges appear in front of you all the way. In summer (May to August), the sheepherders and their family move to grassland and set up their tents. You could see green grassland, groups of sheep and yaks, nomad tents by the road. Namtso Lake is the heavenly lake which is one of the three holy lakes of Tibet and also the highest salt lake. You can do a very relax trekking around the lake side and Tashi Island. To spend a night at lake shore is fantastic. The night sky is so clean that you could see all the stars twinkling in the sky, so close to you as if you could stretch your hands to pick the stars. Situated at about 5000m high, Namtso Lake is actually the lake in the sky, lying on the highest plateau in the world.
Stay overnight at Lake Shore (Tent Guest House, dorm bed)
While enjoying the clear morning at the lake shore, you can trek along the lake shore to Tashi Dor Island to explore the meditation caves. Then drive to Bange.
Stay overnight in Bange (Camp or Guest House)
Drive to Nyima passing through the Chiangtang grassland and stretching west to Ali (also Shiquanhe). The road condition is quite poor, but it is flat and is being improved now. It would be rare to meet people on the way for you are driving through ‘Tibetan Northern uninhabited region’. Today you will see different kinds of wild animals, small lakes, vast grasslands and deserts.
Stay overnight at Nyiam (Camp)
Continue driving along the Amdo-Shiquanhe road about 326km to Gertse. Today, you will drive through the uninhabited area and the grasslands, the gobi, swamps and deserts.
Stay overnight at Gertse (Camp)
Today is a long driving day. But our destination will provide you with better dining and accommodation condition than the former two days. The world-renown Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar are located in this thinly populated area.
Stay overnight in Ali
Drive southeast to Zhada and pass Laochi-la and Lalung-la over 5000m. The road is very tough as the vehicle heads towards this area. Zanda means a downstream place of grassland. Animal husbandry and agriculture is well developed in this county. The earth forest, also called clay forest and Guge Kingdom are the most famous tourist spots in Zanda County.
Stay overnight at Zhada
In the morning, we drive to Tsaparang (Guge Kingdom, 23km), and drive back to Tholing by the evening. Guge Kingdom is one of the first important cultural relic sites under protection, the grand palace ruins stand on a 300-meter tall yellow earth hill on the banks of the Xiangquang River in the Zaborang District.
Stay overnight at Zhada
Drive from Zhada to Darchen. You will have a chance to have Tirthapuri hot-spring on the way. Prepare for trekking. Darchen was previously known as Lhara and still signposted as such. It was previously an important sheep station for nomads and their flocks and had only two permanent buildings; only one of which survived the Cultural Revolution and is now used to house Tibetan pilgrims.
Stay overnight at Darchen
Traditionally, pilgrims undertake 52 km trekking circuit around Mount Kailash, commencing at Darchen (4574m) and crossing the Dolma-la pass on the second day of the three day walk. Darchen is the starting and completion point for the general circuit of the sacred mount. A few kilometers after leaving Darchen, tourists will see a valley called “Sarshung” where porters are waiting for their clients. They will help the clients to take every necessary thing on yaks and horses. After two hours, you come upon a grassy plain populated by nomads. There you can refresh yourself in nomadic tent and drink some soft drinks there. For this turn in the valley it is another two hours at least before reaching Drirapuk(4920m). You need to camp or can rest in monastery’s guest house made from cement with a few good facilities than others in Drirapuk. At the opposite side of Drirapuk, there you can see small monastery with its guest house little cleaner than others.
The second day is the hardest and most tough circuit with the Dolma-la pass lying 6.4km ahead but 762m above Drirapuk. The peak of Dolma-la pass is about 5630m above sea level, so it is better to set off early in the morning as the sun rays break over the ridges above. After taking a rest at the peak of Dolma-la pass, you will decend to Lhachu valley floor via staircase, which takes about one hour from the pass. From here it is still four hours trekking to the today’s final destination with no shelters on the way. It is better to walk on the right side of the river and finally get to Dzultripuk (with miracle cave of milarepa). It is advisable to get there before other groups’ arrival because the number of rooms available is limited there in Dzultripuk. Take a good rest in the guest room and prepare for next morning’s departure.
The tour guide will arrange you to visit the caves, the temple and shrines that have been built around Milarepa’s cave. The walk back to Darchen is easy and the exit from the valley can be reached within three hours. At the ending point of the valley, the driver will come to pick you and take you back to Darchen.
Stay overnight in Darchen
In the morning, we drive to the holy Lake Manasarovar (4558m). The rest of the day is at leisure. You can relax around the lake shore and experience the natural beauty of the lake. In summer, flocks of swans will gather on the lake, bringing grace and life to the area. You can also see so many Tibetans and Hindus praying and circling around the lake shore for the whole day, snow capped mountains on the background and hundreds of swans gathering on the lake, attracting hundreds and thousands of tourists from all over the world.
Stay overnight at Chiu Monastery (Guest house, dorm bed)
In the morning, starting from the beautiful lake, we drive about 4 hours to Paryang (4700m). You will be shocked by the fabulous view of distant mountains, yak herders camp, if lucky enough, you might come across a herd of Kyang (Wild Ass). After having lunch at Paryang, we continue heading to Saga through the windswept territory passing many villages and camps of Yak herders with the distant view of snow capped mountains. This vast and dry plateau is the traditional campsite of the nomads, grazing their animals during the summer.
Stay overnight at Saga
Today, we will drive to the stunning alpine lake, Peiku-tso for Lunch. An amazing picture of the lake with Shishapangma in the background will come into your sight when you arrive there. After lunch, we keep driving to Kyirong town. Today’s driving is amazing with excellent views of Himalaya Mountains, a lot of wildlife including wild horses, wolves, foxes, deer, gazelle, black-necked cranes as well as yaks and sheep.
Stay overnight in Zhangmu
After a long trip, you may feel exhausted, today is at leisure for you to have a good rest or to explore Kathmandu’s narrow, bustling streets lined with small shops and restaurants. The journey end here and exchange the service to the agent in Nepal.
Stay overnight in Kathmandu
Frequent Asked Questions
It is a world-renown travel route loved by many backpackers, and the tour is available from May to October. Tourists can have the full picture of what Tibet looks like, including barren lands, prosperous cities and different monasteries and scenery.