Journey Across Tibet - From Kathmandu to Kumbum
In 1985 we were the first tourists to travel from Amdo (Xining) to Lhasa. At that time no information was available on this traditional route which connects Lhasa with Mongolia, the Silk Road and with China. The adventure to the unknown area became a sucsee and today our experience is your benefit.20 days across Tibet, Over rugged mountain terrain, past snow clad mountains and nomad settlements, hilly deserts landscape, dry pasture land and swamps. The journey does not includeany hiking but requires good health condition. The absence of comfortable hotels is compensated by the experience of traveling through this remote characteristic area of northern Tibet, the source of yangtsekiang and Mekong. Outstanding cultural sight of interested such as yarlung valley, Samye Monastery, Sakya Monastery, Kumbum Monastery in Amdo and Labrang Monastery make this tour an ideal continuation for the seasoned traveler to Tibet. For many a Tibet lover this journey across Tibet was a dream which can now be realized.
Day 1-3 Arrival in Kathmandu, sightseeing in Kathmandu valley and trip preparation .
Sightseeing of the Kathmandu valley.
Start our journey across Tibet. Overnight at the Tibetan border town of Zhangmu in guesthouse.
The road winds upward just after Zhangmu till we reach Sefo La (16,900 ft). From here a majestic view for the Mount Shisapangma can be seen. Then descend down to the plain of Tingri. On a clear day the panoramic view of the Mount Everest from here is breathtaking. Further 50 miles drive brings us to our night-halt at shegar (13'800 ft).Overnight in a very simple guesthouse.
Day 7-Shegar-Sakya-Shigatse (150 miles)
On the way to Shigatse we shall make a detour of 16 miles to visit one of the most important Monasteries of Tibet –Sakya. Further 100 miles drive will bring us to Shigatse, the second largest town of Tibet. Overnight in Shigatse Hotel.
Day 8 –Shigatse
In the morning visit of Tashilhunpo monastery, built in 1447 by the 1st Dalai Lama. Tashilhunpo in one of the most imposing construction of Tibet, which housed at one time more than 2000 monks. Afternoon free for wandering around the local market.
A very long, but enriched with sceinic beauty, drive lies aheadof us. After 56 miles we reach Gyantse, situated at the junction of the ancient trade route between Sikkim, India and Lhasa, where we shall visit the palkhor monastery and the beautiful Kumbum stupa. Proceed further along the Turkish blue yamdrok Lake over two passes, Karo La (16'500') and kampa La (15'800') and finally along the southern bank of the tsanpo river to reach Tsetang. Overnight in Tsetang Hotel.
Excursion to yarlung valley. Enroute visit the reconstructed monastery of khrabung, one of the oldest monasteries of Tibet. In the upper part of yarlung-valley lie the tombsof the kings of Tibet dating from 7th till 9th century. These tombs have not been excavated, hence we shall see only the outer part of the tombs. After lunch visit the Yambulhakhang, originally the oldest building of Tibet. This temple was destroyed totally during the cultural revolution and has been reconstructed in its original form.
Day 11-Tsetang-Samye Monastery-Tsetang
Drive along the Tsangpo River for 20 miles and then cross the river by ferry. From the north bank of the river we undertake the further journey Samye by tractor (approx. 45 minutes). This monastery was built around 770 by Padmasambhava himself and is till today one of the most important monasteries of Tibet.
A 4 hrs drive from Tsetang will bring us to Lhasa (12'500 ft).Overnight in Hotel.
Day 13-15 Sightseeing in and around Lhasa
We shall visit the Dalai Lamas fable winter residence –the Potala palace, the jokhang temple,the holiest spiritual center of Tibetan Buddhism, Norbulingka-park, the summer palace of the 14th Dalai Lama. Besides the important monasteries of Drepung and Sera we shall also visit, time permitting, the monastery of Garden, 37 miles east of Lhasa. This monastery was totally destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and is at president under re-construction. The situation of this monastery in the form of an amphitheatre alone makes the excursion worthwile.
Day 16-Lhasa-Nagchu (210 miles)
Leave Lhasa and drive in northern direction for about 8 hrs to reach Nagchu. Visit the newly reconstructed monastery of Nagchu which houses a tantric as well as a Tibetan medicine center. Overnight in a newly constructed guesthouse.
Day 17-Nagchu-An Duo (85 miles)
Today's drive takes us only about a hrs. We rarely come across any settlement on this stretch. Overnight in a very simple guest house.
Day 18-An Duo- Tuo Tuo He(190 miles)
This day's drive will take us over 3 passes reaching the highest point of the expedition at Tang La (17'500 ft). The settlement of Tuo Tuo He lies at the source of the Yangtsekiang river at 15'100'. Overnight in a simple guest house.
Day 19-Tuo Tuo He-Golmud (260 miles)
On the way to Golmud we cross two passes at 16'500' and 15'900' respectively. Golmud lies in the Qinghai province which was previously the northestern Tibetan province Amdo. Here ends the railroad coming from Xining. Evernight in Golmud Hotel.
Day 20-Golmud-Dulan (225 miles)
We follow the southern boundary of the Tsaidam-Swamp till Dulan, which lies on the weastern flank of the Amnye-Machen mountain range. Overnight in miltery guest house… camp.
Day 21- Dulan-Kokonor Lake (130 miles)
The landscape changes from the rocky mountains to the hilly grassland. 6 hrs drive brings us to the southern bank of the famous kokonor Lake. Overnight in a very simple guest house.
Day 22-Kokonor Lake –Xining (140 miles)
Going is rather hard due to bad road conditions and takes nearly 10 hrs to reach Xinig. Xining is the capital of the Qinghai province and eanding point of our overland expedition across Tibet. Overnight in hotel.
Day 23-Excursion to Kumbum Monatery
16 miles southwest of Xining lies the important monastery of Kumbum, built in 16th century under supervision of the 3rd Dalai Lama. This monastery plays a very important role in Tibetan Buddhism due to the fact that this was the birth place of Tsongkhapa, the initator of the Gelupa sect of buddhism. The present panchen Lama was brought up here till he shifted seat to shigatse in 1952.
5 hrs train ride to Lanzhou, capital of the Gansu province. Depending on the train timetable, We shall visit the archaeological museum of Lanzhou. Overnight in hotel.
An 8 hrs bus ride will bring us to one of the largest monasteries of eastern Tibet-Labrang. In the olden times 3500 monks were housed here.
After a detailed visit of the monastery return drive to Lanzhou.
Fly from Lanzhou to Beijing. Transfer to a good hotel.
Day 28- Beijing Sightseeing in and around Beijing
- Trekking guide
- Trekking permit
- Nepal Visa fee
- International Air fare
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