Flight to Lhasa (3,650m/11,972ft). Accommodation. Sightseeing.
Fly to the highest capital in the world Lhasa of Tibet. Relish the astonishing views of the Himalaya, including Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and the Tibetan valleys. We will be greeted at Gonggar Airport by our Tibetan guide. After immigration formalities take a 1.5-hour drive along 93 km road leading to Lhasa lying at an altitude of 3,650m/11,972ft. It's advisable to rest and take it easy for the remainder of the day due to Lhasa's altitude. In Lhasa, your accommodation would be in a good standard hotel near the city centre.
Lhasa - Sightseeing
We spend some days in Lhasa for sightseeing and acclimatization purpose. While we acclimatize with the high altitude, we also visit important landmarks in Lhasa. Our tour begins with a visit to Sera Monastery. Equally adventurous and exciting tempo builds up while touring Norbulingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama. Jokhang Temple is another important sacred site which unravels more deep seated mysteries of Tibetan Buddhism. Visit to Barkhor Markets can be quite a change from other visits as we roam around the city.
Lhasa life certainly offers glimpses into one of the most preserved ancient cultural heritages. Like the previous day, you experience invaluable insights during your visits to Potala Palace and Drepung Monastery. This 17th century Potala Palace offers an awesome view of entire city and also has private quarters of the Dalai Lama, numerous grand state rooms and chapels. Ancient history has it that Drepung Monastery which was built in 14th century used to shelter around 10,000 monks but as now there has been quite a declination resulting in only few hundreds. Tibetans' respect and belief are immensely knotted with this monastery.
Transfer Lhasa - Gyantse (3950m/12956ft, 265km, 5-6 hours). Sightseeing: Pelkor-Chode, Khumbum chorten.
Drive to Gyantse. The journey involves crossing of two high passes Kamba La and Karo La. Follows the bank of Yamdrok Tso Lake for more than 40 miles. Yamdrok Tso Lake is one of the four holiest lakes. Upon arrival in Gyantse, visit Perkhor Chode Monastery. Overnight stay in the hotel in Gyantse.
Transfer Guantse - Lhatse (3,950m/12,664ft, 292km, 6-7 hours).
After breakfast, we visit the Pelkor Chode and Kumbum Monastery-the main highlights of Gyantse City. Morning drive to Shigatse, about 90km from Gyantse. Visit Tashilunpo Monastery and the spectacular tombs of Panchen Lamas in Shigatse, then drive to visit Sakya Monastery. Sakya is 152km west of Shigatse and about 25km south of the main road.
Transfer Lhatse - Saga (4,600m/15,131ft, 8-10 hours).
Today we drive to Saga along Brahmaputra River. Pass several high plateau lakes, towns, herders tents and along the route with plateau mountain ranges. The scenically rewarding drive provides plenty of opportunities for photography.
Transfer Saga - Tritapuri (4,560m/15,000ft, 570km, 11-13 hours)
Today, we head toward Darchen. Pass by the small towns of Zhongba and Paryang. It's about 525 km from Saga to Mansarowar and another 110 Km from Mansarowar to Darchen. Continue driving to Trita Puri. Trita Puri, supposed to be related with the name "Tibet", is an important site for the Buddhists. Get blessed by the mystical sights which uphold the tantric traditions of Buddhism. Visit the white and red hot springs and the retreat caves including the Padmasambhave or Guru Rimpoche's Cave.
Sightseeing of the Garuda Valley.
The Garuda Valley or Kyunglung lies to the southwest of Mt Kailash. The Garuda Valley contains mysterious caves some of which have never been explored. The valley is the source of an ancient kingdom of Shangshung, the ruined cave cities in the valley are remains of early Tibetan civilization. For those interested in the archeological and historical sites, Garuda Valley offers a magnificent exploration. Return back to Tritapuri in the evening. Overnight in Tritapuri.
Tranfer to Tholing (240 km, 7-8 hrs).
A long and winding road takes us to Tholing. The side valley opens into the wider Sutlez Valley. The Jiangla pass at 5100 meters is one of the biggest pass in the journey. Cross a bridge, and arrive at the town of Zanda. Tholing which lies near Zanda has an 11th century monastery and stupas. Tsaparang lies 21 km further west down the Sutlez River.
Sightseeing of Lost Kingdom of Guge Valley.
Today, we make an excursions of the ruins of the lost Guge kingdom. The 10th century Guge Kingdom's citadel lies on a giant cliff. This place asks a low of questions even now: how its inhabitants could live here without water surrounded by rocks? Why did they leave theit ciry? Explore the ruins of Tholing and Tsaparang monasteries.
Transfer to Darchen (4,560m/15,000ft, 240km, 7-8 hours).
Today, we head toward Darchen for our final preparation for Mt. Kailash. Darchen is the starting and completion point for the the pilgrimage trek circuit or Kora of the sacred mountain. Spend the day at Darchen for acclimatising and making final preperations. Overnight in Darchen.
First day of kora: hiking to Dira-puk (4,760m/15,675ft, 20km, 6 hours by walk).
Today is first day of kora. Lush green meadows and murming mountain springs follow with us along our walking through Lhachu valley. At the end of this day north face of Kailash arises in front of us and we reach Dira-puk monastery.
Second day of kora: hiking to Dzutul-puk (4,790m/15,765ft, 18km, 6-7 hours by walk) via Drolma-la pass (5,750m/19,910ft).
Today we are going to climb at Drolma-la pass (Pass of Tara), filed with five-colored praying flags. This is the most difficult part of our way. Then we start the descending to Dzutul-puk. Very attractive lake Thugje Zinbu (Lake of Compassion) opens to our eyes. Some ancient meditative caves are visible here.
Third day of kora: hiking to Darchen (4,560m/15,000ft, 14km, 3-4 hours) and transfer to Manasarowar.
Today we are finishing our pilgimage to Kailash. After easy walking we reach Darchen and depart to Manasarowar lake.
Manasarowar lake, full day.
Lake Manasarowar has a circumference of 90 kilometers. It's the highest fresh water lake in the world. Circling of the Mansarovar Jeep takes about 4 - 5 hrs. Also visit the Chiu Gomba, a small monastery perched on a rocky hill.
Transfer Mansarowar Ã�ï¿½Ã�Â¢Ã�Â¯Ã�Â¿Ã�Â½Ã�Â¯Ã�Â¿Ã�Â½ Saga (4,600m/15,131ft, 535km, 10-12 hours).
Today, we have a long drive from Mansarovar to Saga. It's the same route we came by, via Paryang and Zhongba. However, from Saga instead of going toward Lhasa, we drive along a different route toward Kathmandu.
Transfer Saga - Shigatse (3,840m/12,590ft, 465km, 10-11 hours).
Drive to Shigatse, the same route that we came via Lhatse. However, from Shigatse we will take the direct route to Lhasa instead of going via Gyantse.
Transfer Shigatse - Lhasa (3,650m/11,972ft, 369km, 8-9 hours).
Drive back to Lhasa from Shigatse via northern friendship highway. Drive along Yarlutsangpo river enjoying the beautiful sceneries. Overnight at Lhasa.
Your adventure in the Himalayas comes to an end today! There is nothing to do but trade emails with travel companions and organize the photos. If you have more time you can do some shopping or sightseeing. A representative from Himalayan Glacier Trekking will take you to the airport for your onward journey.
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