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On Wonders of Western Tibet you will experience the true Tibetan life in a different light. Take pictures of the grand Potala Palace at Lhasa. Witness the marvelous well preserved fortress of Gyantse Dzong. Complete the Parikrama at the mystical Lake Manasarowar and take back a spiritual experience from Tibet. Visit the ancient ruins on the hilltops above the Bon monastery of Gurugem/Gurugyam, only 6 km from the hot springs of Tirthapuri. Marvel at a lost city of crumbled monasteries, temples and walls, where the monastic’s carved into the mountains to create underground monasteries and temples. Take a peek at the Tibetan Gu-ge art on the monastery walls, some dating back to as far as the 11th century. End your 20-day trip in Nepal with adventure activities at The Last Resort.
|Day 01 Arrival in Kathmandu||1,350m/4,429ft|
|Day 02 Sightseeing in Kathmandu: 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites||1,350m/4,429ft|
|Day 03 Fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa||3,650m/11,976ft|
|Day 04 Sightseeing in Lhasa: Drepung Monastery, Jokhang Temple and Potala Palace||3,700m/12,140ft|
|Day 05 Lhasa sightseeing: Norbulinka, Drilung valley (Bon monatery ruins)||3,650m/11,976ft|
|Day 06 Drive to Gyantse to Shigatse via Yamdrok Lake, sightseeing of Pelkor and Kumbum||3,900m/12,796ft|
|Day 07 Morning sightseeing of Tashilunpho, transfer to Saga||4,600m/15,093ft|
|Day 08 Drive from Saga to Moincer Village (652kms)||4,324m/14,187ft|
|Day 09 Visit Garuda Valley and Tirthapuri||4,324m/14,187ft|
|Day 10 Moincer Village to Tholing via Dungkar and Phyiang caves cities||3,800m/12,468ft|
|Day 11 Sightseeing of the Tholing Monastery and Tsaparang||3,800m/12,468ft|
|Day 12 Transfer to Manasarovar, rest on the lake||4,590m/15,060ft|
|Day 13 Kailash kora to Dira Phuk||5,120m/16,799ft|
|Day 14 Kailash Kora to Zutrul Phuk via Drolma la||5,943m/19,499ft|
|Day 15 Parikrama ends and transfer to Manasarovar||4,590m/15,060ft|
|Day 16 Free day on the lake, inner kora available||4,590m/15,060ft|
|Day 17 Transfer to Zhangmu||2,300m/7,546ft|
|Day 18 Cross the border to Nepal, transfer to The Last Resort||1,215m/3,986ft|
|Day 19 Transfer to Kathmandu||1,350m/4,429ft|
|Day 20 Final Departure||-|
Upon your arrival in Kathmandu, a representative from Himalayan Glacier will pick you up from the airport and take you to your hotel. In the afternoon, you may take a rest or visit Himalayan Glacier’s office. In the evening, there will be a welcome dinner hosted by Himalayan Glacier at The Ship Restaurant Bar & Lounge. For dinner, you will be served excellent authentic Nepalese cuisine which will introduce you to the Nepalese food culture. Overnight in Kathmandu.
After breakfast, we start our tour to four of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu. Kathmandu Durbar Square holds the palaces of the ancient kings who ruled over the then Kathmandu Kingdom. Pashupatinath Temple is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindus all over the world. We also visit popular Buddhist stupas in Kathmandu. Swayambhunath, is located in the heart of the city and is also called Monkey Temple by the tourists owing to the large number of monkeys in the temple area. Bouddhanath is one of the largest stupas in the world, and one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage and tourist destinations in Kathmandu. The area of Boudhnath is also famous for over 50 Tibetan gompas or monasteries. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Take an hour-long trans-Himalayan flight to Lhasa, Tibet early in the morning. The flight takes you over Everest (8,848m), Kanchenjunga (8,536m) and other Himalayan peaks and glaciers. Upon your arrival in Lhasa, a representative from Himalayan Glacier will pick us up from the airport for about an hour’s drive to our designated hotel in Lhasa. You are advised to take plenty of rest for the remainder of the day in order to minimize altitude sickness. Overnight in Lhasa.
After breakfast we visit Drepung Monastery which was built in the 14th century. It is believed to have sheltered around 10,000 monks in the past but as of now there has been quite a declination resulting in only a few hundred. The history, culture, and religious beliefs of the Tibetan people are strongly concentrated and centered in this marvelous monastery. Jokhang Temple is another important sacred site which unravels more deep-seated mysteries of Tibetan Buddhism. Next, visit the Potala Palace which was built in the 17th century. It provides amazing views of the entire city and houses the private quarters of the Dalai Lama, numerous grand state rooms and chapels. Overnight in Lhasa.
On the Western suburb of Lhasa City, close to the bank of the Kyichu River is the biggest man-made garden in Tibet Autonomous Region. Norbulingka, or ‘Treasure Park’ in Tibetan, is situated, about a kilometer to the southwest of Potala Palace and was used as the summer palace for successive “lamas” (monks).The four main monasteries in the Drigung valley are Drikung Thil, Yangrigar, drikung Dzong and the Drikung Tse. There are further ancient ruins on the hilltops above the Bon monastery of Gurugem/Gurugyam which are only 6 km from the hot springs of Tirthapuri. All these monasteries have walls adorned with ancient frescoes; some dating back to the 11th centuries, the painting are a form of Tibetan ‘Guge’ art. Overnight in Lhasa.
The drive from Lhasa to Gyantse is filled with excitement. The long stretches of barren highways will let you escape into serenity. Halfway there make the excursion of the Yamdrok Lake is one of the three largest lakes in Tibet. The turquoise waters of the Lake and the rolling hills surrounding it make for a poster-like scene. The Pelkor Chode Monastery is considered a high level religious establishment in Tibetan Buddhism as it comprises of three sects the Sakyapa, Kadampa and Gelugpa altogether. The exotic frescoes in the temple are quite popular, which relate to esoteric Buddhism and stories about the Buddha, these paintings date back to the middle ages. Overnight in Shigatse.
Wake up to discover more mystical Tibet. The sightseeing of Tashilunpho Monastery is awe-inspiring. The monastery is one of the six biggest monasteries of the Tibetan Gelugpa Sect; it is built at the foot of the Drolmari Mountain, and was established by the 1st Dalai Lama in the 14th century. The nine storied wall covered with intricate Tibetan Thanka painting, displays the images of Buddha on the 14th, 15th and 16th of May every year following the Tibetan Lunar Calendar. The painting is humongous and utterly beautiful. The drive to Saga is around 400 km so the drive takes about 8 hours; enjoy the stunning vistas of the Himalayas along the way and cross the Brahmaputra River by late evening and take rest in the town of Saga. Overnight in Saga.
After breakfast enjoy a long drive to Moincer village also known as Mensi. It is a small town on the highway from where Tirthapuri is located 9km to towards the south. Overnight in Moincer Village.
The Garuda Valley also referred to as Kyunglung in the Tibetan language houses mysterious caves; interestingly some of the caves have never been explored. The valley is an example of early civilizations in the Tibetan Region, most notably the ancient kingdom of Shangshung is one the ruined cities in the valley. Garuda valley offers a remarkable opportunity for exploration of ancient historical sites to those with archeological interest. The next leg of the visit takes you to Tirthapuri which is also an important pilgrim site for Hindus and Buddhists alike. It is located on the north bank of the Sutlej River. The natural hot springs fill the barren landscape with steam. There are also prayer flags stretching across the river gorge and chortens (stupas) add color to the landscape. Overnight in Moincer Village.
The drive to Tholing from Moincer village will take your through the mystical Dungkar and Phiyang cave cities, which were only discovered around the 1990’s. The most intriguing aspects of these cave cities are the murals, estimated to be painted around 1100 years ago. There are three main caves, of which Mandala is the best preserved. Dungkar village also has a ruined monastery above the main town. A couple of kilometers north, further up the valley, the village of Phiyang is worth the detour, it lies on the foot of a large ridge with honeycomb like cave entrances all over the ridge wall, there are also the ruins of an ancient monastery walls. Continue on further to Tholing. Overnight in Tholing.
The Tholing Monastery is the oldest monastery in the Ngari region of western Tibet. It was founded by Rinchen Zangpo around the 10th century. The monastery stands at an elevation of 3800m and the main complex housed three main temples which house many ancient frescoes. After traveling about 26 Km west from the Tholing Monastery is the Tsaparang. It used to be the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Guge in the Garuda Valley. The huge fortress contains numerous tunnels and caves that have been carved out of the rock that it is perched on. Overnight in Tholing.
Take the day off at the sacred lake Mansarovar (4560m). According to Hindu mythology, anyone who takes a plunge in the lake reaches Brahmalok (heaven) where Lord Brahma resides, whereas drinking its water relinquishes the sins of a hundred lifetimes. With its sapphire-blue waters, sandy shoreline and snowcapped-mountainous backdrop, Mansarovar is equally fascinating to nature lovers as it is to the pilgrims. The lake has a few monasteries on its shores, the most notable of which is the ancient Chiu Gompa Monastery built on a steep hill, exhibiting the look as if it has been carved right out of the rock. Overnight camping at the lake.
Darchen is the starting point of Kora where the original old flagpole (a Darchen is a flagpole for prayer flags) of Darchen was located. When beginning their Kora pilgrimage around Kailash, many pilgrims often circumambulate the Darchen Gon monastery and the Mani Lhakhang before setting out. The first day out of Darchen involves a six-hour hike in a deep valley through walls of red rock. You continue across the plain to Shershong. Further cross a bridge leading to Chhuku Gompa high on the hill visible from the valley. The trail leads to Dirapuk from where you can enjoy a stunning view of the north face of Mt. Kailash. Overnight in Dirapuk.
The difficult part of your journey begins as you climb Drolma-la Pass at 5,750m. Drolma-la Pass literally means the pass of Tara which is beautifully filled with five-colored prayer flags. From Drolma-la Pass, you descend to Dzutul-puk. At Dzutul-puk, you come across the incredible Thugje Zinbu (Lake of Compassion) and a few ancient meditative caves. Overnight in Zutrul Phuk.
The trail is easy and flat today so you will complete the journey within 3 to 4 hours. At the end point of kora near Darchen, you will be picked up by our jeep. You then drive all the way back to Manasarovar. Overnight camping at the lake.
Take the day off at the Lake or join us for the inner kora, which is available on request. It involves an early morning walk uphill towards Astapad and continuous walk to Saptarishi and back to the Lake. The inner Kora can be modified as per your interest, from simple treks to technical climbs. Overnight camping at the lake.
Drive to a more tropical climate towards Zhangmu, the border between Tibet and Nepal. The overall journey takes you through scenic winding mountain roads, with more hairpin turns that you can count. As you go downhill, you can feel the difference from being frozen in the Tibetan Plateau and warming up as you near the sub-tropics of Nepal in a very short time. Even the scenery changes considerably, barren landscape gives way to forests and dense vegetation also numerous waterfalls appear, those as a result of melting snow from the nearby Himalayan Mountains.Overnight in Zhangmu.
After a short session of visa arrangements in the morning, the drive on highway from Zhamgmu to The Last Resort is going to be refreshing. The Last Resort is located on top of the “Bhote Koshi River gorge, at Tatopani. Time to get your adrenalin pumping! The Last Resort offers a wide variety of exciting programs. Jump off the 160 meters bride with a bungee cord tied to your ankles, if you dare! The list goes on, cannoning, canyon swing, high ropes, tandem swing the choice is yours make the day crazy! Overnight at The Last Resort.
The 100 km ride from The Last Resort to Kathmandu is fused with scenic views, the green hills and winding roads only add to the charm. In the evening, there will be a farewell dinner hosted by Himalayan Glacier at The Ship Restaurant Bar & Lounge to celebrate the successful completion of your journey.
Your journey to the Western Tibet ends today. A representative from Himalayan Glacier will drop you off at the Tribhuwan International Airport for your next destination. On the way, you can reminisce on your incredible journey on the Silk Road.
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