Day 1 - Departure
Day 2 - Arrival - Chengdu
After arriving at the airport you'll be taken to the hotel. We need this stop-over in Chengdu for our Tibet permits. These are issued in Chengdu.
Day 3 - Chengdu - Lhasa
From Chengdu you fly to Lhasa. Here you’re met by the tour guide who will take you to the hotel in the centre of the Tibetan capital.
Day 4 and 5 - Lhasa - stay
Lhasa lies at an altitude of 3650 meters so it is sensible to take it very easy for a couple of days. Thus you ensure a faster acclimatisation process. Lhasa is a very interesting city with lots to see and do. It actually has more to offer than you have time to visit in these few days. A visit to Potala Palace, the former winter palace of the Dalai Lama that towers above the city, is of course a must. Every afternoon in the Sera Monastery debating monks offer an interesting spectacle.
Ganden is one of the three major monasteries of the Yellow Caps sect and is located in a beautiful spot in the Kyichu valley. We can visit this monastery as a motorcycle day trip. And then there’s the Barhkor, providing a good opportunity to stock up on souvenirs for at home. And of course the Jokhang Temple whose pilgrims find their way to the temple in the strangest ways from all over Tibet. Sometimes crawling, sometimes rolling or whilst praying.
Day 6 - Lhasa - Tsetang
We ride out of Lhasa again, but this time towards the south. We pass the airport and turn left. We come to a road that runs along the south side of lake Tangpo. We cross this lake on a local ferry. On the other side of the lake, a few kilometers from the shore, lies the Samye Monastery.
Day 7 - Testang - Gyantse
We go back direction airport. Just before we get to the airport junction we turn off onto a narrow road to the south. Almost immediately afterwards we climb up to a pass 4800 meters high. Going over the top we soon get a beautiful view over Lake Yamdrok Yumtse situated at an altitude of 4340 meters. We follow the narrow road further westward. After about 30 km we catch sight of the Kalurong, a peak of 6674 meters. We then climb to 5,100 meters over the Karo La pass. Early afternoon we arrive in Gyantse. Here we visit one of Tibet's most beautiful monasteries which has within its walls the Kumbum, a nine-storey high pagoda in the form of a three-dimensional mandala. The Kumbum dates from the 15th century and contains 75 chapels that are painted in the Newari tradition from Nepal.
Gyantse is one of the few Tibetan places that still has its dzong. Before the Chinese invasion the dzong acted as the administrative center of the Tibetan government. They were therefore seen as symbols of the old feudal society and were blown up by the Chinese, but because the Gyantse dzong had figured in the struggle against the British military expedition of 1904 the Chinese have spared this one for propaganda purposes. After a steep climb up to the dzong you have a wonderful view over the surrounding valley and the little town at the foot of the hill.
Day 8 - Gyantse - Sakya
A relatively short ride takes us along the southern Friendship Highway from Gyanste to Shigatse. Here we have a choice between the main road and a narrow unpaved road on the other side of the river. Both routes lead past several monasteries. Shigatse is the second largest city of Tibet. After lunch we carry on along the Friendship Highway westward, with two high passes ahead of us. First the Tra La pass at 4040 meters and then the Yulung LA pass at 4950 meters. From both passes you have beautiful views over the vast landscapes surrounding us.
We turn off the Friendship Highway and ride another 21km to visit the Sakya Monastery located in the eponymous village at an altitude of 4280 meters. The Sakya Monastery has played a major role in the history of Tibet. In the 13th century the abbot of Sakya succeeded in becoming ruler of Tibet with the help of the Mongols, and the monastery managed to maintain the power for another 100 years before Sakya fell in the 14th century. The northern section of the monastery was completely destroyed but the southern section with its remaining fortress, high walls and watch towers still towers above the surrounding village. The village, just like the monastery, has been painted gray to indicate that here they were mandated to pay taxes to the Sakya sect. We spend the night at the monastery.
Day 9 - Sakya - Tingri
We ride back onto the Friendship Highway and over the Gyatso La pass at 5220 meters and from here on to Tingri where we expect to arrive in plenty of time.
Day 10 - Tingri - Rongbuk
Road conditions permitting, we ride today to Rongbuk the highest monastery in the world situated at the foot of Mount Everest. We stay the night here in primitive conditions and keep warm around the wood-fire in the little restaurant of our guesthouse. We are now at an altitude of 5800 meters and this is the closest to Mount Everest you’ll get on this tour.
Day 11 - Rongbuk - Tingri
We get up at first light to hike or bike the 8 km to Everest Base Camp and the opportunity to take some amazing pictures. With your own bike at the foot of Mt. Everest! It's so barren and sparse, it’s like a lunar landscape. Really impressive to find yourself at such an altitude. Back at the guesthouse, we have a hot cup of tea and leave. This time we take the tough and difficult west route, which takes us right into Tingri at 4340 meters.
Day 12 - Tingri - Shigatse
We follow the Friendship Highway back to Shigatse and we do all previous passes again, but this time in reverse. Shigatse is the capital of the Tsang province. You can go and look around the Tashilumpo monastery. This is the seat of the Panchen Lama, after the Dalai Lama the most important Lama incarnation of Tibet. The current 11th Panchen Lama is generally regarded as a puppet of the Chinese government. The Tashilumpo Kora - the pilgrimage circuit around the monastery - is a beautiful hour-long walk which also takes you past the ancient dzong that got blown up by the Chinese. In the evening we could head for one of the many restaurants in Shigatse for some good food, and may be afterwards go for a beer in the Tibetan disco.
Day 13 - Shigatse - Damshung
We leave Shigatse and head north. For a large section of the route we follow the Tibet railway, the highest railway in the world. It is 84 km to Yangpachen where we stop for lunch. Yangpachen lies at almost 4300 meters. Right after lunch we get the first high pass, at 4590 meters. It is less than 60 km to Damshung where we turn off and onto a narrower road. This route leads to the Namtso Chukmo, a large salt-water lake at 4718 meters.
Day 14 - Namtso - Lhasa
After visiting the lake, if we have not already done so yesterday, we ride back to Damshung. We may try a route that’ll take us over small back-roads through Phodo Zhong back to Lhasa. However, this route is highly climate sensitive, so we will have to see whether this is feasible when we get there.
Day 15 - Lhasa - stay
You are now acclimatised enough to climb up the 13 levels of the Potala. The former palace of the Dalai Lama still holds a deep spiritual meaning for the Tibetans.
Day 16 - Lhasa - departure
Transfer to the airport for the flight back home.
TourdetailsTourcode:TIOCategory:AdventureGroup size:8 - 10Days:16Price:From $ 4.150,-
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