Lhasa, Mt Kailash and Guge Kingdom
23 Days/22 Nights
Lhasa-Gyantse-Shigatse-Lhatse-Saga-Mount Kailash-Tirthapuri-Guge Kingdom-Lake Manasarovara-Saga-Nyalam-Kathmandu
The Kingdom of Guge,was founded in the mid-9th century.It became a focal point for the preservation of Buddhism in Tibet until the 17th century. Tholing and Tsaparang are the now ruined, former capitals of the ancient Guge Kingdom of Western Tibet and are rarely visited by western travelers. Tholing, once Western Tibet’s most important monastic complex, exists today in ruins. It was founded by RinchenZangpo, an India returned scholar and the greatest Sanskrit translator. He played a key role in reviving Buddhism across the Tibetan plateau. Tholing can be reached in one day by jeep from Mount Kailash. Tsaparang, about an hour's drive west of Tholing, is most probably the greatest interest to those with some knowledge of early Buddhist art. The ruins of Tsaparang extend along a ridge with two main areas of interest: the Red and White chapels and the TsaparangDzong. The ruins consist of ancient summer and winter palaces. The Red and White Chapels have the best of Tsaparang's murals.
You will spend three nights in Lhasa, a Buddhist Capital, visiting the famous Potala Palace, the Jokhang, great monasteries and walking through the bustling Barkor market before taking a drive towards Manasorvar. You will drive through central Tibet via YamdrokTso (Turquoise Lake) and visit the cultural and religious centers of Gyantse and Shigatse.
You then drive across the wide-open spaces of the Tibetan Plateau to Lake Manasarovar. At Lake Manasarovara, you will have an extra day to explore the shores of the holy Lake. Religious travelers will perform rituals and meditation at the lakeside. We complete the parikrama or the circumambulation trek in 4 days, unlike other regular trekkers who complete it in 3 days. Then, we head west towards the Guge Kingdom. Explore the ruins of Guge Kingdom in Tsaparang and Tholing and retrace our drive all the way to Saga. From there you will head towards Nepal via Nyalam.
Day 01: Flight to Lhasa (3,595m)
Meet the guide at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Take a rest for acclimatization. Overnight hotel in DhodGu or similar.
Day 02-03: At Lhasa
Visit the highlights of Lhasa, such as Potala Palace, Jorkhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Drepung and Sera Monasteries. Overnight in Hotel DhodGu or similar.
Day 04: Drive to Gyantse.( 3,950m, 260km, 6 hrs)
Drive to Tibetan town of Gyantse via the Southern Friendship Highway. Enjoy the spectacular views of the Himalayas and Kamba La (4, 704m) and Karo La (5,045m). The road runs for more than 40 miles along the bank of the beautiful YamdrokTso Lake, the most scenic part of this trip. Overnight in Gyantse Hotel.
Day 05: Drive to Shigatse (3,900m, 90km, 2 hrs)
After breakfast, visit the PelkorChode Monastery and Kumbum Stupa and drive to Shigatse-the second largest city of Tibet. Visit Shalu Monastery, about 20km before Shigatse and about 4 km off the highway. Upon arrival in Shigatse, check in to the hotel and visit Tashilunbo Monastery-the principal seat of Panchen Lama. Overnight at the Manasarovara Hotel.
Day 06: Drive to Lhatse (4,050m, 150km, 5 hrs)
Drive to Lhatse via a couple of gentle mountain passes. About 24km before Lhatse, take the Sakya turn off. Sakya Monastery is the principal seat of the Sakyapa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism that once ruled Tibet, prior to the emergence of powerful Gelugpa Sect in 17th century. Overnight at the Lhatsefarmer’s hotel.
Day 07: Drive to Saga (4,600m, 306km, 7-8 hrs)
A few kilometres beyond Lhatse, we cross the Brahmaputra River and after the crossing, the road enters a river valley with scattered villages. This is a beautiful area for photographs. We continue on, past the turn-off for the northern route, and arrive at Saga, covering 306km during the day. Today, we will meet Nepali crews and enjoy a hot meal prepared by them in dinner.
Day 08: Drive to Paryang (4750 m, 250 km, 8 hrs)
From Saga it is 145 km to Zhongba. The road is good and the trip can be completed in 4-5 hrs. From Zhongba onwards the southern road condition deteriorates but you are well compensated with the panoramic views of mountains on either side of the road. Overnight at camp.
Day 09: To Lake Manasarovara (4,560m, 260 KMS, 8 hrs)
There will be several river crossings. Bridges are under construction. Drive past Mayum la (4600 m). The scenery is stunningly beautiful with panoramic views of the Himalayas. Overnight at camp.
Day 10: An extra day in the Lake Manasarovara
Explore the shores of the Lake Manasarovara. Visit Chiu Gompa and take a sulfur hot spring bath. Overnight at guesthouse.
Day 11: To Darchen (4,560m, 30 km)
It’s a short drive to Darchen, the trail head and finish point. Take your time to visit the monastery at Darchen while the crews assemble gear, arrange yaks, and buy the fresh produce and so forth. Overnight at guesthouse.
Day 12: Commence the Circumambulation Trek (6 hrs)
This Kailash circuit covers 53 kms and can be done in 3 days. We head west in a clockwise direction and after a few kilometers the trail climbs up to a cairn at 4730 m from where the southern face of Mt. Kailash comes in to view. Overnight at a camp nearby DriraphukGompa.
Day 13: At Driraphuk Gompa.
Take an extra day in the DriraphukGompa for proper acclimatization. Explore the area around. Pilgrims perform rituals and meditation here. Overnight camp.
Day 14: Trek to Zuthulphuk Gompa (4,790, 6 hrs)
Today we cross Drolma la pass (5630 M) and GauriKund Lake (5608 m) where Hindus worship and immerse themselves in the icy waters of the lake. Overnight at camp.
Day 15: Finish trek and drive to Tirthapuri
The final day of the parikrama is an easy 2-3 hrs walk down to where the river emerges on to the Barga plain. We complete the circuit trek of Mt. Kailash and drive to the Tirthapuri Hot springs. For pilgrims, the Tirthapuri visit is a part of the Mount Kailash pilgrimage and considered incomplete if you skip it.
Day 16-17: Explore the ruins of Guge Kingdom
The road into Tholing, once the most important monastic complex in western Tibet, is an awesome sight. Below stands the first capital of Guge whilst the skyline comprises a vast sweep of the Ladakh Himalaya. Guge's later capital at Tsaparang is of even greater significance in the history of Buddhist art. It’s fantastic wall murals display evidence of close links with Ladakh and Kashmir . On the afternoon of Day 17 we arrive in Manasarovar for rest.
Day 18-19-20: Drive back to Saga.
Drive back to Saga via Lake Manasarovara and Paryang.
Day 21: To Nyalam
Drive back and re-join the Friendship Highway near Tong La (5,120m). Cross the pass and descend to Nyalam, the last Tibetan town. Overnight at a guesthouse.
Day 22: Drive to Kathmandu
Drive to Zhangmu where you complete Chinese immigration/custom formalities and exit Tibet. Hop on Nepali transport and drive to Kathmandu.
Day 23: Service Ends.
- Trip Duration: 23 Days
- Difficulty Level: West Tibet and Mt.Kailash
- Accomodation: Hotels, guesthouse and tented camps
- Activities: Cultural Touring, 4WD Adventures, 4 Days Strenuous Trek
- Trip Starts In: Lhasa
- Trip Finishes In: Kathmandu
- Best Time for Travel: May to Mid October
Breakfast in Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse and Lhasa and rest of the places 3 meals a day prepared by Nepali crews.
Tibet entry permits
All transfers and sightseeing bya 4WD Toyota Landcruiser Jeep.
Supporting truck for gears and supplies
English speaking Tibetan Guide and drivers
Nepali Sherpa crews for camping and meal arrangement.
All camping and kitchen gears. Camping gear includes 2 persons share tent, dinning tent, kitchen tent, dinning tables and chairs, toilet tent.
Portable Pressure Chamber Bag ( Gamow bag)
First Aid Kit
Chinese visa fee ( US$ 65 )
Lunch and dinner during hotel stays
Drinks, tip and other expenses of personal nature such as drinks, tip, phone, laundry etc.
Extra expenses due to nature and unforeseen events such as flight cancellation, illness, road bloackade, epidemic, civil unrest etc.
Personal clothing and trekking gears.
Yamdrok Tso Lake
Views of the Himalayas from Kamba La ( 4794m) and Karo La (5,045m)
Tashilunbo Monastery at Shigatse
Rongbuk Monasery & Everest Basecamp
Views of Mount Everest, Cho Oyu, Makalu, Lhotse, Sishapangma and other majestic peaks.
Ruins of the Tsaparang and Tholing-the capitals of ancient Guge Kingdom.
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