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12 Days Splendid Overland Tour from Yunnan to Tibet

Tour Route: Lijiang-Shangri La-Deqin-Zuogong-Ranwu-Bomi-Nyingchi-Lhasa

Trip Overview:

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.

  • Tour Code: TTO-PT-YLT12

  • Trip Level:

  • Tour Type: Private tour with private guide and vehicle

  • Time to Visit:

Highlights:

  • 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.

Daily Itinerary

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.

What’s included?

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.

Trip Notes

  • 1. How to Get the Tibet Travel Permit?

    The Tibet Travel Permit is essential for any Tibet tour. We help to obtain this permit free of charge when you book your Tibet tour through us. Simply send us copies of your passport and China visa at least 20 days in advance. Once we receive your documents, we will promptly process the permit application with the Tibet Tourism Bureau. After obtaining your permit, we will notify you and send it to your hotel in mainland China.

    In exceptional cases, our staff can personally deliver the permit to you at the airport or railway station. With years of experience in handling Tibet Travel Permit, we assure you a smooth visit to Tibet by ensuring the acquisition of your permit.

  • 2. Where to Stay in Tibet?

    Accommodation facilities and services in Tibet might not match those found in the coastal and central parts of China. However, there's a diverse range of hotel options available. However, you can choose from a wide range of hotel options. In big cities like Lhasa and Shigatse, from cheap and clean youth hostels to distinct Tibetan-style 3-star and international 5-star luxury hotels, you will find one that suits your interests and budget.

    As you travel to remote areas of Tibet, such as EBC and the Mount Kailash region, the accommodations tend to be more basic. Some may have air-conditioning in the hotel, while others may only offer electric blankets in the guesthouses. Nonetheless, we always handpick cozy and safe accommodations for you along your itinerary in Tibet, ensuring a pleasant night's stay for your Tibet tour.

  • 3. How about the Guiding and Tipping in Tibet?

    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 monitor your health and provide prompt assistance to you. If you encounter any trouble, please do not hesitate to contact them or our customer service manager.

    Travelers' tipping to Tibetan guides and drivers is seen as extra gratitude for their excellent service, much like what you do in the West. Normally, a tipping amount of 7 USD per day is acceptable. The basic principle is rewarding good service with fair pay.

  • 4. How are the Toilets in Tibet?

    Undoubtedly, for many Western tourists, using toilets in Tibet can be a challenging experience. Therefore, it's advisable to moderate your expectations. If you travel to Lhasa by Tibet train, both western-style and squat toilets are available onboard. Staying in hotels rated above 3 stars in cities like Lhasa and Shigatse ensures access to standard Western flush toilets, eliminating any discomfort.

    However, when visiting attractions like Yamdrok or Namtso or outdoor sites like EBC, you're likely to encounter smelly and unclean pit toilets. It's recommended to carry sufficient toilet paper for such occasions.

  • 5. How is the Weather in Tibet? What to Pack for Visiting Tibet?

    One of the notable weather features on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the significant temperature fluctuation between day and night. In Lhasa, the annual temperatures range from -2℃ to 12℃ (spring), 9℃ to 22℃ (summer), 7℃ to 19℃ (fall), and -7℃ to 9℃ (winter). Ensure proper clothing, such as thermal tops, a fleece jacket, breathable underwear, a down jacket, jeans, a beanie, and other essentials.

    Moreover, essentials like sunscreen, lip balm, and sunglasses are crucial to shield yourself from the intense, blinding sunlight of the plateau. Staying hydrated by drinking more water and including vegetables in your diet is advisable to prevent dehydration during your travels in Tibet.

  • 6. How to Prevent from Altitude Sickness in Tibet?

    For first-time visitors to Tibet, whether arriving by flight or train, allowing ample rest is crucial for quick acclimation to the high altitude in Lhasa. Avoid rushing to explore the streets or attractions independently. Walk at a slower pace and refrain from exerting yourself by running or jumping. Spending at least two days in Lhasa before venturing to places like Shigatse or Namtso allows for better acclimatization. If you experience any discomfort, inform your guide, and they will assist you.

  • 7. Are There some Dos and Don'ts while Touring Tibet?

    Photography is generally prohibited in monasteries. If you wish to capture images of Tibetan pilgrims, kindly seek their permission or maintain a considerable distance while taking photos. Swimming and fishing are prohibited in the sacred lakes of Tibet. Avoid discussing sensitive topics like politics. According to policy, international tourists are not permitted to travel alone in Tibet.

    While navigating Barkhor Street, adhere to the custom of walking clockwise. Refrain from exploring unfamiliar trails. Take proactive steps to preserve Tibet's delicate ecosystem.

    Given that Tibetan Buddhism profoundly influences the lives of Tibetans, always show reverence and respect for their unique customs. If uncertain about any practice, it's advisable to seek guidance from your tour guide before proceeding.

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  • Explore Mount Kailash

    Authentic Exploration of Tibet's Rich Culture

    Discover the real Tibet with us! We're dedicated to showing its true spirit and exploring its lively culture. Our aim is to give you an authentic experience, sharing the beauty and richness of Tibetan traditions. Come along for a journey deep into the heart of Tibet!

  • Leisurely explore Lake Yamdrok

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    We never hurry on our tours, so you can enjoy every spot fully. We promise a relaxed pace, letting you take in each place on our list. Journey with us for a truly satisfying experience!

  • Photo with Mount Everest

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    Feel safe with our 24/7 local support! Your safety and comfort matter most to us. We talk to our guides every day to keep your trip smooth. Count on us for ongoing help, making your journey hassle-free and fun. Relax knowing we're here for you throughout your adventure!

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    Join us for amazing travel adventures! We keep making our trips better every year, improving quality wherever we go. We're dedicated to giving you the best service possible. Come with us on unforgettable journeys where every detail shows how much we care about making you happy!

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What Our Customers Say

  • My Tibetan tour

    I just returned from my 8 day Tibetan excursion with my guide Kelsang Dorje I had a wonderful trip seeing fantastic places - there Jokhong Temple ,Potala Palace , the base camp of Everest. Kelsang was a wonderful guide and very informative about all the visits...More reviews

    May 2024 teri
  • Amazing trip with Pasang as the best guide ever!

    This was a great tour! Tibet is of course amazing but what really made this trip special is our guide Pasang! I feel we could not have been more lucky with him as our guide...More reviews

    May 2024 Celine C
  • Wonderful experience in Tibet

    Really enjoyed visiting the monasteries and Everest base camp. Our tour guide Keldor was very good with arranging everything for us in the trip. Our experience wouldn’t be as great as it is without Keldor.More reviews

    May 2024 Nathan N
  • If you go to Tibet you will never forget

    This trip was one of the most amazing I have ever taken! I experienced the most unique way to learn about Tibetan culture and people. And nature is just mind blowing. No words can describe beauty of Tibetan nature, you must see yourself to believe it...More reviews

    April 2024 Juris U
  • Amazing experience

    Amazing experience, thankfully to our guide the young Kunga, whose knowledge is amazing! Superb experience, highly recommended...More reviews

    April 2024 Tim Starcic
  • Best Tibet trip ever

    Such an amazing trip! Having the opportunity to visit this lovely part of the world is very eye-opening:) our guide, Tenzin, was very knowledgeble and kind. A 10/10 experience...More reviews

    April 2024 Crete
  • Truly memorable experience

    We did a private trip actually, after a thorough research of numerous agencies we decided to go with Tibet Vista as they seem very experienced in Tibet tours and they are also very responsive. It was well-made decision, we loved our tour and our guide Kungga was excellent, he was attentive and accomodating to us...More reviews

    Apr 2024 Denira K
  • Once in a life time

    14 days from Beijing to Tibet and Nepal. The reality was beyond my expectations. A trip that I will remember for the rest of my life. The trip was arranged in an exceptional way! Laura Tang did an amazing job! She responded to all my questions immediately, she supported and solved any problems very quickly. The hotels she arranged for me were amazing!! ...More reviews

    Jan 2024 nico k
  • Nice view in winter!

    The view was magnificent. got to see snow and snow capped mountains. Thanks to Gemma Wei for helping with all the planning. Also thanks to Kunchok and Tsering for going accomodating to my needs as i was not used to the altitude. They also helped alot with the trek up the hills! ...More reviews

    Dec 2023 Benjamin X
  • Tibet is beautiful

    The tour was great! We visited amazing places and could feel the sacred atmosphere in all the temples. The nature is breathtaking with beautiful mountain and lake views. Our guide Jingme told us all about the history and showed us great places. All the hotels were much better than what I expected...More reviews

    Nov 2023 Krisyna H

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