You will fly into Tibet and arrive at Gonggar airport in Lokha (Ch: Shannan), about 64 kilometers (39 miles) southwest of Lhasa. Your Tibetan guide and driver will be there to receive you with the customary ceremonial scarf called ‘khatak’ in Tibetan. The scarf is presented to welcome guests and to bring them good luck. From the airport, you will then be taken to your hotel in Lhasa, where you will rest for the night and begin acclimatizing to the high altitude for the next few days.
We will take you on a guided tour of the Potala Palace, the winter palace of the successive Dalai Lamas. Atop the crest of Ri Marpo (red hill), the palace dominates the Tibetan skyline. Built in the 7th century, Potala Palace is considered to be the holiest destination in Lhasa for pilgrimage. We will then go on a walking tour of the Jokhang Monastery, home to statues of the revered Buddha Shakyamuni, and the bustling Barkhor market.
In the morning, we will visit the Drepung Monastery. Drepung once housed nearly 10,000 monks. If we are lucky, we will quietly ease into a dark columned hall to see the booming chanting of the sutras, or perhaps sit under a willow tree and watch the monks engage in a theatrical debate. In the afternoon, we will visit Sera Monastery, which is famous for its Buddhist philosophy debating practice. The clapping of the hands and intense expression of the monks are well worth seeing.
We will depart for Gyantse in the morning, passing through the Karo La Pass at 5010 meters (16,437 feet) and the Khamba La Pass at 4800 meters (15,748 feet) with a beautiful panoramic view of the Yamdrok Yum Tso Lake. We will drive along the lake with a stop at Karo La Pass to see the giant Nyenchen Kangsar glacier. We will then continue to drive to Giants, where we will visit the Kumbum Stupa and Pelkhor Cheode Monastery in the afternoon. For the rest of the day, you can spend time exploring the town or rest in the hotel.
We will leave Gyantse in the morning and drive to Shigatse, which is about a 2 hour drive. Shigatse is the second largest city in Tibet and the hometown of Panchen Lama. In the afternoon, we will visit Tashi Lhunpo Monastery and then drive to Lhatse, where we will spend the night.
From Lhatse to Saga, we will drive alongside mountain ranges, passing several high plateau lakes, towns and herder tents. Many diverse types of mountains overlook the valley. We will spend the night at Saga.
On our way to Paryang, we will weave our way through the small, dusty town of Zhongba, which is rife with enchanting panoramic views dotted with nomadic tents and herds of animals on the open plateau. We will spend the night at a guesthouse in Paryang (dormitory beds).
During the morning drive from Paryang, we will pass numerous villages and camps of yak herders with snowcapped mountains in the distant view. We will cross the Mayun-La Pass at 5216 meters (17,112 fee). If we are lucky, we might see wild animals at the grasslands. After our arrival at the lake Manasarovar, we will walk to Chiu Monastery, which provides the best vantage point for viewing the lake. We will spend the night at the Chiu Monastery Village guesthouse (dormitory beds).
Manasarovar is the lake of compassion, tranquility and bliss. After completing the morning bath and prayers, we will be heading towards Darchen. The tiny village of Darchen is the starting and ending point of our mount Kailash trek. In the afternoon, we will prepare for the trek. The guide will arrange for the yaks and porters as needed. We will spend the night at a Darchen guesthouse (dormitory beds).
The first day of the trekking will start from Sershong with a gradual walk along with multitude of local pilgrims chanting and praying. From the valley, you can see the Choku Monastery up on the hillside. There are a few ups and downs in the trail before we reach our camp at Dirapuk (4,750 meters/15,584 feet). You will notice that while many pilgrims circumambulate clockwise around the mount, the Bön pilgrims will be going counter clockwise in the opposite direction as per their custom. We will spend the night at a Dirapuk guesthouse.
Day two of our trekking leads us to a much higher side of the holy path just beneath Mount Kailash. The walk will bring us to one of the highest points at Drolma La (5200meters/17,060 feet). The pass quickly descends into the field towards Dzutul-Puk Monastery. Dzutul-Puk means “magical cave” in Tibetan. This small monastery is connected to a very interesting story about a spirited competition between the great Yogi Milarepa (Buddhist) and Naropa (Bön). We will spend the night at the Dzutul-Puk guesthouse.
The winding trail gradually comes out of the valley and we follow the river to the Barka Plain. We will end our trek at Trangser Trangmar, where a car will take you to Darchen. We will spend the night at a guesthouse in Darchen (dormitory beds).
We will drive to Saga retracing the same route back. You will have one last view of Mount Kailash on the way. We will spend the night in Saga.
We will start the drive back to Lhatse and rest the night at Lhatse/Shigatse.
In the morning we will drive back to Lhasa from Lhatse or Shigatse via the Northern Friendship Highway. We will be driving along the Yarlutsangpo River and enjoy its beautiful scenery. We will spend the night in Lhasa.
We will be dropping you off either at Lhasa Airport for your flight or Lhasa Train Station as you have arranged. If you wish to explore other part of Tibet, China or Nepal, we will be happy to work with you to arrange that. As always, we hope you had a wonderful experience with us in Tibet and stay in touch. Be sure to post photos on our Social Media.
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