Sichuan Tibet Overland Adventure

Sichuan Tibet Overland Adventure 14 Days / 13 Nights


Trip Type:
East Tibet, Kham and Amdo

Maximum Altitude:

14 Days

Trip Starts:
Chengdu, Sichuan

Trip Ends:
Lhasa, Tibet

Hotels and guesthouses

Best Time For Travel:
March to October

Trip Over View

This is one of the two main routes of Sichuan-Tibet Highway that links the Tibetan areas of Western Sichuan with mainland Tibet. This route is longer than the southern route but less affected by rain during summer. The journey goes through the wild, mountainous and remote Tibetan areas of Western Sichuan and if you have traveled to Tibet before, you will be amazed to see that Tibetan culture is in many ways better preserved here. The route offers an insight to the culture, dress and tradition of Khampa people and you will visit big monasteries in Ganzi and Derge.

Overland Tibet adventure tour

Because of geographical remoteness, poor infrastructure and facilities, this journey would be very tough and challenging and requires a good amount of determination before you sign up for this trip.

Outline Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive in Chengdu.

Day 02: To Kangding (250miles, 8hrs).

Day 03: To Daofu (Dawu).

Day 04: To Ganzi.

Day 05: To Derge.

Day 06: To Chamdo (210miles).

Day 07: Chamdo to Dengchen (156miles).

Day 08: Dengchen to Bachen (163miles).

Day 09: Bachen to Nagqu (168miles).

Day 10: Nagqu to Namtso Lake (96miles).

Day 11: Namtso to Lhasa (140miles, 5hrs).

Day 12: at Lhasa. (B).

Day 13: At Lhasa.

Day 14: Lhasa-Departure.

Day 01: Arrive in Chengdu
We are met by our representative and transfer to the hotel.

Day 02: To Kangding (250miles, 8hrs)
Enjoy the rural scenery of the Eastern Kham of Tibet, now a part of Sichuan. Khangding was the historical capital of the local Tibetan kingdom of Chala. The journey goes along the Chengdu-Ya'an Highway, passing by Ya'an (the Rainy City); traversing through Qingyijinag Valley and crossing through the famous Mt. Erlang channel. Accommodation in Khangding, a standard tourist hotel.

Day 03: To Daofu (Dawu)
Before continuing to Daofu, we visit Lhagang Monastery of the Sayka sect. It is surrounded by three hills symbolizing three Boddhisattvas. Also, we see some stupas and the remains of past teachers associated with the monastery. At Daofu, you will visit the 450 years old Nyitso Monastery, the largest monastery of the town. Accommodation in a guesthouse.

Day 04: To Ganzi
The journey between Dawu to Ganzi passes through several bustling towns containing impressive monasteries. We come across the uniquely dressed Khampa people and their elegant dwellings built with wood and stone. Accommodation in a guesthouse.

Day 05: To Derge
In the morning, visit the 540 years old Garze monastery of the yellow hats-sect (Gelug). In the afternoon, we drive to Derge, lying on the border between Tibet and Sichuan. En route, we will visit the Dargye Monastery in Rongbasta village and Dzochen Monastery; it’s a 40 mile detour north from Manigango and stop by Yihun Lha-tso, the alpine lake. The inhabitants in Derge are Khampa, Tibetans who have independently lived here for hundreds of years and the influence of Lhasa reaches this region in the slightest way. Accommodation in Derge Hotel, private bathroom may be available.

Day 06: To Chamdo (210 miles)
In the morning, visit Derge scripture printing press which was built in 1729 and the biggest scripture printing press in the world today as well as the Gengqing monastery of the Sakya-sect. Afterwards, drive to Chamdo, the former capital of Kham in East Tibetan area. The drive involves crossing several high passes.

Day 07: Chamdo to Dengchen (156miles)
In the morning, we visit Galden Jampaling monastery which was built in the 15th century and the biggest monastery of the Gelugpa sect in East-Tibetan area. In the afternoon drive towards Dengchen, crossing a couple of high passes. This segment of the journey goes through a number of monasteries en route on either side of the road.

Day 08: Dengchen to Bachen (163miles)
Dengchen is the centre of the Bon; a primitive religion based on an ancient witchcraft and the worship of god and ghost and was spread through the whole Tibet before the Buddhism was introduced into Tibetan area. Here we visit two monasteries: Tengchen and Ritro Lhakhang. The journey from Dengchen to Bachen involves crossing two passes, Tsuri La Pass (4200 m) and Shel La Pass (4750 m) and offers fabulous views of nomad camps and yak herds. The passes have spectacular views of the Nyechen Tangla range.

Day 09: Bachen to Nagqu (168miles)
Drive along the Sok Tsanden Zhol village and during the journey stop to visit two monasteries of the Nyimpa sect: Sok Tsanden Gonpa and Kapgye Lhakhang. After that, we cross over two passes and reach the city of Shakchuka.

Day10: Nagqu to Namtso Lake (96miles)
Nagqu is a small town on the Qinghai-Tibet Highway. It starts from Golmud of the Qinghai province and ends in Lhasa. The two main temples in Nagqu are Zhabten Gonpa of the Nyingmapa sect and another of the Gelugpa sect. Nagqu has the famous horse racing festival in Augevery year. Drive over the Kyogche La Pass (4900 m) and go down to Damxung and take a right turn towards Namtso Lake, the second largest salt water Lake in China (the first one being Kokonor Lake of Qinghai). Visit the cave hermitages and walk along the lakeshores. Overnight in a guesthouse.

Day 11: Namtso to Lhasa (140miles, 5hrs)
Retrace the way to Damzxungon the Qinghai-Tibet highway and continue towards Lhasa via Yangpachen. If time permits, take a side excursion to Tsurpu Monastery, the principal seat of Karma pa, the head of Kargy sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Overnight at hotel.

Day 12: At Lhasa (B)
Full day sightseeing in Lhasa, visiting the Potala Palace, the landmark of Lhasa, Sera Monastery and the last of the three Yellow Sect monasteries to be built in Lhasa. The day concludes in Norbulinka, the summer retreat of the Dalai Lama. Accommodation in hotel.

Day 13: At Lhasa
We will visit Drepung Monastery, once the largest, richest and the most powerful of the three major Yellow Sect monasteries of Tibet, the ancient Jorkhang Temple in the old Tibetan quarter of Lhasa and the Barkhor Street that forms the pilgrim circuit around the Jorkhang Temple. Accommodation in a hotel.

Day 14: Lhasa-Departure
Transfer to airport. Service ends.

  • Includes

    • Mid range hotels in the cities and best available in other stops.
    • Daily Breakfast.
    • All transportation by a 4WD Toyota Land cruiser Jeep.
    • English speaking Local Guides.
    • Tibet permits.
    • Sightseeing Admission Fees.


    • International airfare to Chengdu and airfare Lhasa onwards
    • Lunch and dinner.
    • Drinks and tips and other expenses of personal nature such laundry, phone etc.
    • Extra expenses due to nature and unforeseen events.
    • Travel Insurance.