It’s an excellent choice for those who want to get a close look at the lifestyle of the herders to do this trekking. Beginning at Tsurphu Monastery, this rugged walk crosses several high valleys before emerging into the broad and windswept Yangpachen Valley.
Combined alpine tundra and sweeping mountain panoramas with visits to monasteries and a remote nunnery, this trek nicely balances cultural and wilderness activities. The best time for this walk is from April to October. You need to be well acclimatized for this high-elevation trek, which never dips below 4400m.
- 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.
- Take in a prayer meeting or some monk debating at Sera and Drepung Monasteries, two of the largest and most intact of Tibet’s great monasteries.
- Get a taste of the northern Changtang at the turquoise waters, snowy peaks and nomads’ tents of stunning high-altitude Lake Namtso.
- Challenge yourself with the Tsurphu-Yangpachen Trekking with the fabulous views of expansive grassland of Northern Tibet
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: Drive Lhasa to Lake Namtso
Drive forward to Lake Namtso this morning. Pass by Damxung town and the 5,150-meter Lhachen La and reach the Nam Tso or Tengri Nor (heaven lake in Mongolian) along the newly paved way and set up camp at Tashi Dorie peninsula. In clear weather the water is a miraculous shade of turquoise and there are magnificent views of the nearby mountains. When arrival, enjoying the glory of sunset over the lake.
By the lake, you can view the peak of Nyianchentangula (7162m). It is said the holy lake and the holy mountain are a couple of lovers, who altogether guard the vast pasture and cattle. The wide open spaces, dotted with the tents of local nomads are intoxicating. If lucky enough, there is the opportunity to get a peek at the otherwise inaccessible nomadic life at the Changtang, Tibet’s vast northern plateau. You may get the opportunity to stop at the brown or black spider-like tents of nomads.
Day 5: Drive Namtso to Tsurphu Monastery
Enjoy the clear morning by the lake, and snap the amazing view of sunrise. You can also have a little hike along the lake shore to Tashi Dor Island to explore the meditation caves. Then head for Tsurphu Monastery. Cross over the Lhachen La and stop at Damxung to have lunch. Visit Tsurpu Monastery today, and have a good rest for the following trek.
Day 6: Start the trekking, O/N: Camp
The first day trekking is only 4 hours, 11km, walk along a green valley crisscrossed with mountain streams. Be on the lookout for various species of mountain goats disguised in gray rocks. Several small nomadic communities camp here for the summer herding months, and you may have a stop into a yak-hair tent for a cup of salt butter tea or some fresh yak milk!
Crest the ridge top four hours later, emerging onto a high plateau with a scattering of rock-enclosed huts, and look for a flat area for camping. From day one, the scenery is breathtaking, the landscapes are classic Tibetan beauty.
Day 7: Trekking, O/N: Camp
Today, you will walk along a long big valley, up to the highest spot Lasar La(5300m). Have your first small pass, the Damchen Nyingtri, bear to the left at the cairns at the crest, and descend into a magical valley of lichen-coated boulders, meandering streams and expansive, powder-blue sky.
Three hours later, you will cross the Lasar La(5300m) and descend into the Yangpachen valley, with its wide open plateaus, spiky grass hummocks and tundra-like parched, cracked patches of earth, and head towards Bartso. The views of Brize (translated as female yak herder) and Tarze (horse keeper) are superb, and you will feel safe in the care of the local mountain god, Nyenchen Tanglha. Camp near Bartso, a drokpa (nomad) village of five or six houses, surrounded by the juniper used for incense all over the Tibetan world.
Day 8: Trekking, O/N: Camp
Leaving the village of Bartso behind, head towards a wide trail leading across the valley and over another ridge, from where you will be rewarded with views of Nyenchen Tanghlha (7111 m), the holiest mountain in central Tibet. Emerge at Tajung village, and then climb gently up rolling hills where young nomadic boys and girls picnic on the plateaus as they watch their yaks and sheep graze. The vistas are, again, just amazing!
Mid-day, you should reach the small Djore Ling Ani Gompa (nunnery), near which you will set up camp. It's possible that these nuns, some of the friendliest in Tibet, will drag you into the gompa's tea-house and pass around a heaping plate of yak meat (use the bowie knife provided to hack a piece off) before getting into the requisite photo session.
Day 9: Finish trekking today and back to Lhasa
Today walk for three or four hours, following the ox-bow Nyango Chu River snaking its way through the grassy valley, and head for Yangpachen Gompa. This old Kagyupa monastery, with Tibetan mastiffs keeping guard, overlooks part of the Trans-Himalaya range. Vehicle will wait for in front of the monastery, pick up to have a hot springs at Yangbachen, then drive back to Lhasa.
Yanpacheng is 90 km to the north of Lhasa and is rich in terrestrial heat and densely distributed with various fountains, geysers, hot springs, boiling springs as well as hot-water lakes. It is a wonderful enjoyment to take a bath in an indoor swimming pool, which is supplied by fresh hot springs of Yanpacheng.
Day 10: 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.