Lijiang, a beautiful ancient town, is the first stop of this splendid overland tour. After arriving in Lijiang, you will drive to Shangri-La. On the way, you can marvel at the steep Tiger Leaping Gorge, enjoy the stunning First Bend of the Yangtze River, etc. Shangri-La, a wonderland you must-see in your lifetime, where you can visit Songzanlin Temple, the biggest Tibetan Buddhist Temple in Yunnan, and sightsee beautiful Bitahai Lake.
Then, along the Yunnan-Tibet Highway, head to Tibet. There are a lot of gorgeous sceneries along the way, such as beautiful Baimang Snow Mountain, serene Ranwu Lake, magnificent Midui Glacier, rushing Niyang river, and so on. Finally, end your trip in Lhasa.
- Enjoy the wonderful views of Ranwo Lake which reflects the surrounding landscapes.
- Visit the majestic Midui Glacier which is one of the six most beautiful glaciers in China.
- Take a prefect photo of Draksum-tso, a sublime alpine lake with a fairy-tale island monastery.
- Go down into the bowels of the Potala Palace, the impressive but spiritless citadel of the Dalai Lamas.
- Join the shuffling, murmuring pilgrims around the shrines of the Jokhang Temple, the spiritual heart of Tibet.
- Follow monks, mendicants and fellow pilgrims around the Barkhor Street, Lhasa’s fascinating medieval pilgrim circuit.
Day 1: Arrival in Lijiang and drive to Shangri-La
Welcome to Lijiang! As you arrive in Lijiang, our guide will meet you outside of the airport. Then, we will drive you from Lijiang to Shangri-La for about four to five hours. Along the way, you will visit one of China's deepest and most beautiful gorges, Tiger Leaping Gorge. The gorge has a reputation of being dangerous: one is the dangerous mountain with high peaks, steep cliffs, jagged rocks and winded gigantic old creepers; the other is dangerous water with a high drop, fast water current, numerous rocks, dangerous shoals and cascading waterfalls. All these forms a rare spectacle in the world.
Then you will come to the First Bend of the Yangtze River. It is named so because a sudden V-shaped bend has been formed when the Yangtze River flowing by. The nearly 180-degree turn creates marvelous and astonishing views. The Stone Drum Town, the town where the First Bend of the Yangtze River located, is the last stop on route. There is a drum-shaped marble monument in this town, hence the name. The town has for long been an important town for Han and Tibetan people to do business transactions. Upon arrival at Shangri-La, you will check in at the hotel.
Stay overnight in Shangri La.
Day 2: Shangri-la Sightseeing: Songzanlin Temple, Bitahai Lake, Shudu Lake
Today's tour will begin with a visit to the biggest Tibetan Buddhist Temple in Yunnan, Songzanlin Temple. This temple collects the elite of Tibetan religious culture and presents splendid architecture. Because of its similar appearance and layout to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, it is also reputed as 'small Potala Palace'.
Then, you will travel to the Bitahai Lake. Fed by small streams from the snow-capped mountains encircled, the lake shapes just like a trumpet shell. In the color of azure with snowy mountains and trees reflecting in it, the gorgeous lake is a wonderland to appreciate the beauty of nature. There is also another lake of beauty and peacefulness, Shudu Lake. The plants around the lake are lush and the wild animals are various.
Stay overnight in Shangri La.
Day 3: Shangri-La to Deqin
In the morning, drive from Shangri-La to Deqin. On the way, you can see Baimang Snow Mountain, also called Baima (white horse) Snow Mountain. Its dense mountain forest environment provides the best place for wildlife habitat. And it’s home to Black Snub-nosed Monkey.
Stay overnight in Feilaisi.
Day 4: Deqin to Yanjing
Get up early and head to Feilai Monastery to enjoy the beautiful sunrise of Meili Snow Mountain. Then, drive to Mingyong village, where you can see the majestic Mingyong Glaciers. Besedes, Taizi Monastery is also a good place to view Mingyong Glaciers. If the weather is clear, you can look at Kawagarbo.
Then, go to Tibet along the along the north of Mekong River valley. The first stop of Tibet is Yanjing, where you can visit salt fields and enjoy a hot spring.
Stay overnight in Yanjing.
Day 5: Yanjing to Zuogong
Today, you will get to Zuogong from Yanjing. On the way, you will cross over two passes, and one at around 3,900 m (12,795 ft), the other at 5,008 m (16,430 ft). Besides, you can meet some hospitable Tibetans.
Stay overnight in Zuogong.
Day 6: Zuogong to Ranwu
Moving forwards to Ranwu along the Nu River. An attraction you will visit today is Ranwu Lake. It is a dammed lake formed by alpine landslides and mudslides. The lake is 3850 meters above sea level and covers an area of 22 square kilometers. The famous Laigu Glacier is lies on the north of it. The meltwater of ice and snow is the plenty wellspring of Ranwu Lake.
Stay overnight in Ranwu.
Day 7: Ranwu Lake
Get up early to enjoy the sunrise of Ranwu Lake. Don't forget to record this wonderful moment with your camera. Then go to the famous Midui Glacier. It is the lowest glacier in the world, and has the most beautiful scenery on the glacier. Because it is not known by many people, it still maintains its original beauty. It was voted as one of “Six Most Beautiful Glaciers in China” in 2005.
Stay overnight at Bomi.
Day 8: Bomi to Niyang River to Bayi
After breakfast, head for the Niyang River. Niyang River is a major river in south-west Tibet and the longest tributary of the Yarlung Tsangpo River. It stretches 307.5 kilometers with an elevation of 5,000 meters above sea level. Niyang River, means “the tears of the fairy” in Tibetan language.
Then leave for the dock to ride the barge. There are the dense primeval forests and continuous snow mountains on the both sides. You can enjoy Qujiaowu Temple, Fozhang dene along the way. And you can take a special trekking tour to Mount Namcha Barwa.
Stay overnight at Bayi.
Day 9: Bayi Town to Darksum-tso to Lhasa
Today, you will drive from Bayi to Lhasa. On the way, make a stop at Darksum-tso Lake. It is located in Gongbo’gyamda County. Covering 26 square kilometers, Darksum-tso Lake surrounded by snow-capped peaks and virgin forest.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 10: Lhasa Sightseeing - Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street
After breakfast, we go to the Potala Palace, a golden feather upon the roof of the world, which Tibetans proudly claim to be the prime miracle since the creation of this world. It is visible from any distance, with the golden roof shinning in the sun, spend one hour wondering around the inside of this magnificent building exploring the rooms previously used by the Dalai Lama and the many Buddhist icons within.
In the afternoon we go inside of the Jokhang Temple. The Jokhang, like most of the larger temple structures have numerous individual temples within it dedicated to specific enlightened beings, protectors, high lamas, or saints. Images, both sculpted and painted, are everywhere. Every inch of wall and ceiling is brightly painted with images of clouds, beings, mandalas, or decorative patterns. Colorful silk banners, three stories high, hang in various places. Color, pattern, and images crowd in around you. The central image inside the building is a 30-foot high gilded image of Maitreya Buddha.
Then stroll around the back alleys of the Barkhor Street of Old Lhasa. The streets smelled of yak butter and incense while hordes of pilgrims shuffled along the main Kora (circumambulations) around Jokhang Temple. If someone just walked at a normal pace, one kora would take about 15-20 minutes.
Stay Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 11: Lhasa Sightseeing - Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery
In the morning, you will have a tour for Drepung Monastery, the ever-largest monastery with more than 10 thousand monks, Buddhist debates often occur there. Seen from afar, its grand, white construction gives the monastery the appearance of a heap of rice. As such, it was given its name which, in the Tibetan language, means Monastery of Collecting-Rice. Learn about the lives of Tibetan monks there.
In the afternoon, you are going to visit Sera Monastery, have a little hike for the beautiful valley scenery nearby and picnic there. Sera monastery was created in 1419 and has always been an important Buddhist seminary. As rose are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called “the court of wild rose”. Today still 200 lamas live in there. You may have the chance to watch the famous Monks Debate (usually from 15:00 to 17:00) before returning to Lhasa.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 12: Depart from Lhasa
Our guide will transfer you to the airport or train station and help you get on board.
1.Tibet Entry Permit
2. Comfortable, clean and safe vehicle depending on your group size with reliable local driver;
3. Admission fees of tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
4. Professional English speaking tour guide;
5. Accommodations depend on your preference. Please tell us your preferred accommodation class when submitting the enquiry, and we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.
6.All measl listed in the itinerary;
7.Tourist Accident/Casualty Insurance
What’s not included?
1. International flight to and out of China;
2. Chinese Visa
3. Domestic flight / train not listed in the itinerary (If you need ticket booking service, please leave your requirements in the Online Inruiry form.)
4.Meals not specified in the itinerary;
5.Tips to driver and tour guide, Tip as you wish
6.Personal expenses, such as laundry, phone call, optional tour activities and so on.
1. Tibet Travel Permit
Tibet Travel Permit is a must for Tibet tour. Its cost is included in the tour quotation. Send your passport and China visa copies to us 20 days in advance, and we will apply for the permit after you book a Tibetan tour with us. Shortly after we get your permit from Tibet Tourism Bureau, we will inform you and mail it to your hotel in China via express.
In some extreme cases, our staff will hand it over to you at the airport or railway station. In our experience, we can virtually guarantee to get your permit during times when Tibet is open to foreign travelers.
Tibet is never known for its 5-star luxury resorts, though you can find some like Intercontinental Lhasa Paradise, St.Regis Lhasa Resort, Sheraton hotel, etc in Lhasa. Overall, the accommodation facilities and services are not as good as those in coastal and central parts of China. However, from cheap and clean youth hotel, to distinct Tibetan style 3-star and international 5-star luxury hotel, you will find one that suits your interest and pocket in Lhasa.
We’ve handpicked cozy and safe hotels in the central area of Lhasa, where you will find Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street are just steps away from you. You can easily experience more of the local life and culture. Normally, as you travel to remote areas in some parts of Shigatse like Tingri, or EBC, Ngari, Nagqu, etc. the accommodation would be much poorer. Some may have air-conditioning in the hotel;others may only have electric blanket in the guesthouses. And the food is also very basic.
3.Guiding and Tipping
Our English-speaking guides are natives of Tibet with good knowledge of Tibetan culture, history, and Buddhism. Most are trained to offer Western-standard service. Throughout your stay in Tibet, we will minor your health and provide prompt help to you. If you run into any trouble, please do not hesitate to reach them or our customer service manager.
Travelers’s tipping to Tibetan guide and driver is taken as an extra gratitude to their good service, just like what you do in the west. Normally, a tipping of 7 USD/day is acceptable. The basic rule is good service for good pay.
Admittedly, to many western tourists, using toilets in Tibet is the most dreadful experience. So, please down play your expectation. If you take Tibet train to Lhasa, both western toilet and squat toilet are available in the train. If you stay in hotel above 3-star hotels in Lhasa, Shigatse, etc. you will have no complaining using standard western flash toilet.
However, if you visit some of the attractions like Yamdrok or Namtso, EBC outdoor, mostly you will see the smelly and filthy pit toilet.It's better to carry enough toilet paper.
5. Tibet Weather
One of the biggest features of weather on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the dramatic temperature change between day and night. The annual temperature in Lhasa is -2℃-- 12℃(spring), 9℃-- 22℃(summer), 7℃-- 19℃(fall), -7℃-- 9℃(winter). Do wear clothes properly such as thermal tops, fleece jacket, breathable underwear, down jacket, jeans, beanie, etc.
Of course, sun screen, lip balm, sun glasses are essential to shield you from powerful blinding sunlight on the plateau. Do drink more water and eat more vegetable as you travel in Tibet. It can prevent you from dehydration.
6. Acclimatization to the High Altitude
For the first timer to Tibet, either by flight or train, a good rest is a must for quick acclimation to the high altitude in Lhasa. Never rush to tour the street or attractions on your own. Walk slower and do not exert yourself like running or jumping. Spending at least two days in Lhasa is a good way to get acclimatized before heading to Shigatse or Namtso. If you have any discomfort, do tell it to your guide,and he will help you out.
7. Other Dos and Don'ts
Normally, taking photos is forbidden in the monastery. If you want to take photos of Tibetan pilgrims, a gentle ask of permission would be appreciated or you can do it from a long distance. Swimming and fishing are not allowed in holy lakes in Tibet; Do not talk about sensitive topics like politics; International tourists are not allowed to travel alone in Tibet according to the policy; Walk clockwise around Barkhor Street; Never venture into the unknown trails; do as much as you can to protect the fragile eco-system in Tibet, etc.
As Tibetan Buddhism is deeply-rooted in every facet of Tibetans' life, always follow and respect the unique customs in Tibet. If you are uncertain about something, it’s advisable to ask your guide before you do it at will.