The eastern Kangshung face of Mt. Everest and the valley beneath is one of the most dramatic and little-visited locations in the Himalaya. It is a rare jewel in the realm of adventure travel. This trekking region is famous for its pristine wilderness, amazing, incredible views of Mt. Makalu 8480m, beautiful lakes and breathtaking view of Mt. Karma changri 6295m along with the massive Khangsung glacier.
It is a real journey into Tibet, the “Abode of the Snows” and land of Lamas, where nomads in yak-hair tents roam the plateaus with their yaks, a land of spectacular, snow-topped peaks and the wonderful, spirited Tibetan people themselves.
- Fully explore the sunlight city Lhasa with its well-known Potala Palace and holy monasteries of Jokhang, Sera and Drepung.
- Follow monks, mendicants and fellow pilgrims around the Barkhor Street, Lhasa’s fascinating medieval pilgrim circuit.
- Marvel at the turquoise waters of Lake Yamdrok-tso, one of Tibet’s most sacred lakes.
- Have a deep discovery of the two important cities of Tsang, Gyantse and Shigatse, climb the dazzling Gyantse Kumbum, and worship before a 26m gold Buddha at Tashilumpo Monastery.
- Challenge yourself with a trek to the eastern Kangshung face of Mt. Everest, which provides a heady mix of solitude, wildlife sighting and physical challenge.
Day 1: Arrive in Lhasa, get the first impression of Tibetan daily life
Welcome to the roof of the world. Your Tibet journey starts with a warm Tibetan style greeting from your local tour guide who will present you with Hada (traditional Tibetan scarves). Then be escorted to your hotel in Lhasa city at the comfort of your own private vehicle.
For most of the way, you follow the Kyichu River, you could see Tibetan homes with their trapezoid shaped windows and fluttering prayer flags, and Tibetans walking beside the roads wearing their distinctive national costumes. Do have a comfort stop near Nietang Buddha where a giant statue of Buddha has been carved out of a stone cliff-face centuries ago. One of the first buildings you could see as you enter the city is the Potala Palace, sitting majestically on a hill dominating Lhasa.
Stay at the hotel after arrival for adapting to the high attitude. It is helpful to take things easy for the first few days, and try to drink some water just and now.
Day 2: Lhasa highlights escorted tour
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 area 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.
Day 3: Drepung and Sera Monastery
In the morning 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.
The afternoon is spent touring Sera Monastery, have a little hike for the beautiful valley scenery nearby and picnic there, in the afternoon, visit Sera monastery, which 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. Catch the famous debate session of the monks before returning back to Lhasa.
Day 4: Lhasa-Gyantse-Shigatse
After fully explore Lhasa, you’ll have a chance to get lost in the endless Tibetan landscape while you take a short hike along the turquoise waters of Lake Yamdrok, one of the four holy lakes in Tibet. This dazzling lake is normally first seen from the summit of the Kamba-la (4700m). The lake lies several hundred metres below the road, and it is shaped like a coiling scorpion. Far in the distance is the huge massif of Mt. Nojin Kangstsang (7191m).
Afterwards pass by the 5,010 m high Karo-la and the Simi La forward to Gyantse (3,950m). Visit Pelkor Monastery as well as the splendid Kumbum Stupa (100-Thousand-Buddha Pagoda) nearby, both of them built in the15th century and situated in the northwestern edge of Gyantse. In the afternoon drive about 90 kilometers to Shigatse (3880m), the second largest city with 40,000 inhabitants in Tibet and the traditional capital of the Tsang.
Day 5: Shigatse-Shegar
In the morning drive to Shegar over Tso-La (4500m) and Gyatso-La (5252m). On the way, if the time is permitting, make a detour to visit the small monastic town of Sakya, which is one of Tsang’s most significant attractions and occupies an important place in Tibetan history. Today you can appreciate the evening scenery of Mt. Everest enough.
Day 6: Shegar/Kharta
Drive to Kharta today. It is free day for packing and hiring yaks for next few days trekking.
Day 7: Start Trekking: O/N: Camp
From Kharta, cross the bridge over the Lang Chu, then follow the left (north) bank of the crystal-clear Kharta Chu westward. This beautiful, inhabited valley has many villages and good camp sites. Walk past Yulok on the south bank (1 1/4 hr) and Yulong, then reach Yueba (2 1/4 hr from Kharta) on the south bank by a bridge.
Day 8: Trekking: O/N: Camp
Continue west along the Kharta Valley on a tractor track past Yarbu, a village near the entrance of a side valley that trends south (1 1/4 hr). 3/4 hr beyond the Shao La turnoff is the large village of Lhundrubling. Go through the village to walk up to the top of a ridge (1 1/4 hr) that constitutes the east wall of the valley to walk up to the Langma La.
Descend a short distance to the river, cross it and than walk up the other side. Follow this uninhabited side valley southwestward for 2 hr to the top of another ridge. Walk through a short gorge to a small grassy area with large boulders. Under a couple of these are makeshift cave shelters (3/4 hr). Mountains with snow and ice are all around. The Langma La is a rocky cliff with sheer sides.
Day 9: Trekking: O/N: Camp
This difficult day crosses the steep, three-tiered Langma La Pass. If weather clears, there are wonderful views of Mt. Makalu (8,463) and other high mountains.
Day 10: Trekking: O/N: Camp
Cave to Pethang (4-hours). Heading down the valley from the cave to a long, narrow trail 300m form the bottom of the Karma Valley, after crossing the Karma Valley, the path leads to Karma chu to Pethang.
Day 11: Trekking: O/N: Camp
Go west up the Karma Valley by following the river’s left (north) bank. Moraines and landslides make the going difficult. In 1 3/4 hr, round a bend called Orga to view Mt. Everest properly for the first time. Reach the Kangshung Face base camp (5000 m) in 3 hr. This large, grassy area with stunning views of Mt. Everest (8848 m) and Lhotse (8516 m) to the left (south) is known as Pethang Ringmo. It is possible to walk farther along the glacier to the west by climbing up a 5990 m ridge (2 1/2 hr to ascend 1000 m). From here, Mt. Everest is only 5 km away, and to the southeast is a striking amphitheater of peaks dominated by Lhotse. Makalu rises dramatically farther to the southeast. Between Lhotse and Makalu, on the left along the Nepal-Tibet border, is the conical peak of Pethangtse (6724 m).
Day 12: Trekking: O/N: Camp
Day 13: Trekking: O/N: Camp
Walk back up to a point just below the cave called Tangshum (2 1/2 hr). Turn right along a ridge that overlooks the river valley, one the right, which extends to the northeast and the Chok La. Continue to the end of the ridge to its end and descend for a short distance to another cave, the Sharlung, situated next to an emerald lake within a cwm. During the summer, the astounding giant rhubarb grows here on the hillsides.
Day 14: Trekking: O/N: Camp
From Sharlung, turn north and cross two ridge to reach a wooden valley. The peaks of Makalu are directly opposite by viewing from the camp site, and at the foot of the pass, on the left, is a cave called Sharo.
Day 15: Trekking: O/N: Camp
From the cave to the Shao La Pass (5030 m) is an easy 2 hr ascent. Descend northward to an open area next to a lake. The trail continues north to the Kharta Valley at Yarbu. Turn right (east) along the right bank of the Kharta River to head back to Yueba.
Day 16: Trekking: O/N: Camp
Walk east to Kharta (2 1/4 hr), then drive to the end destination of Rongbuk Monastery and Everest Base Camp. Along the way we can also visit the Dza Rongbuk monastery and gompas. They are truly ancient sites, but nothing compared to our night camping at Everest Base Camp. With an altitude of 5,030 meters it is the highest temple in the world.
It was said the Rongbuk Monastery had been built as early as the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama. Mount Everest, which stands 8,848 meters (29,021 ft) above sea level, is often referred to as 'the third pole on earth'. Being the world's highest peak, its legendary status holds a fascination to many trekkers and mountaineers.
Day 17: Drive back to Shigatse
Get up early for sunrise. The morning is frigid and as the wind howl your fingers must be frozen trying to take pictures of the iconic mountain but it is worth the pain to view such an amazing site. Then in the afternoon go down from E.B.C back to Shegar and continue back to Shigatse.
Day 18: Drive back to Lhasa
This morning you'll have an opportunity to explore the Tashilumpo Monastery, the holy seat of the Panchen Lama, which is essentially a walled town with cobbled and twisting lanes that revolve around a magnificent monastery. Then you’ll take a slightly different route back to Lhasa along Yarlung Tsangpo River, be wrapped again in the endless vistas of the Tibetan plateau.
Day 19: Finish this unforgettable tour
Free time at your disposal this morning, explore the bustling markets of the Barkhor to buy some souvenirs for your families and friends. After lunch, departure transfer to see off, tour services end and Tibet welcome you back forever.
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.