Tibet Nomad Culture

Attention: by choosing this selection, you are paying to book a private room on top of what you have already purchased previously (i.e. paying to not share a bedroom with another tour guest).
Nomads on the Tibetan plateau have scratched out a rugged existence on earth’s highest places for millennia. The desperate environment of extreme cold, relentless wind, and harsh sun has forced Tibetans to adapt to a lifestyle found nowhere else on the planet. What has been the secret to their survival?

Discover just how central the yak is to Tibetan nomadic life. It is impossible to overstate the importance of this animal to Tibetans. The nomads owe their lives to the yak and their existence depends on caring for and protecting their animals. The benefits of the yak are thoroughly represented in every aspect of nomadic life: from their diet to their wardrobe, from their transportation to their housing. Apart from first hand experience, there is no other way to truly appreciate how integrated the nomadic livelihood is with this legendary animal.

This six day cultural tour offers the key highlights of Lhasa at the front end, followed by an up close introduction to nomadic culture along with the beautiful and rugged scenery of the Tibetan Plateau, including the vast grasslands around Namtso Lake.
6 Days

Dates: Yours to choose

Key Destinations

Lhasa, Yamdrok Lake, Shigatse, Namtso Lake nomadic grasslands


Private vehicle with driving distance 950 KM

Starts / Ends

Starts and end in Chengdu (incl. return airfare to Lhasa)

  • All transport, including airport pick-up and transfers
  • Tibet Travel Permit (TTP)
  • Private vehicle and driver, plus an excellent English speaking local guide
  • Chengdu to Lhasa return airfare (per the itinerary)
  • All meals
  • All accommodation based on double occupancy
  • All activities and entrance fees enroute (per the itinerary)
Not Included
  • International airfare
  • Medical, travel, and trip interruption insurance
  • Passport and visa fees
  • Activities not included on the trip itinerary
  • Souvenirs, laundry, items of a personal nature

DAY 1 - Chengdu to Lhasa (Flight)

Accommodation: Cang Gyan Hotel, Lhasa

Your tour commences with pick up in the morning at your hotel for a shuttle to Chengdu Shuangliu airport. Today you are flying to the roof of the world (3700m). It is hard to find such a short flight anywhere else on the planet where the geography, climate, elevation, and culture change so dramatically. After some refreshments in the unpretentious luxury of the Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa , it is off to the heart of this ancient city and a walk through the lively Barkhor Bazaar that surrounds the venerated Jokhang Temple. It is an exotic experience to mix with nomads and religious pilgrims who have converged from all over Tibet. Your evening meal will be enjoyed with the accompaniment of traditional Tibetan music and dance.

DAY 2 - Lhasa

Accommodation: Cang Gyan Hotel, Lhasa

This morning's cultural highlight is a tour of the 17th century Potala Palace, the former chief residence of the Dalai Lama. With walls as thick as 5 meters and containing over 1000 rooms, 10,000 shrines, and 200,000 statues, any length of time in this historic engineering wonder is considered an abbreviated tour. After lunch, it is a short drive to the foothills north of town where Sera Monastery sits. This includes the fascinating experience of seeing the monks engage in their daily practice of religious debate. Dinner in the hospitality of a Tibetan home provides the perfect finish to the day.

DAY 3 - Lhasa to Shigatse

Accommodation: Gesar Hotel, Shigatse

Lhasa - Shigatse. Today’s drive along the Friendship Highway which joins Tibet and Nepal will take you by the turquoise waters of mystical Yamdrok lake, akin to Canada's Lake Louise in Banff, but grander in scale. From there, you'll view Karola Glacier and then onto Gyantse - home of the largest stupa in Tibet - before reaching your destination for the day. Shigatse is home to Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, seat of the Panchen Lama, the highest ranking Tibetan Buddhist Lama in the People's Republic of China. Distance: 340km.

DAY 4 - Shigatse to Namtso Lake

Accommodation: Holy Lake Hostel, Namtso Lake

Today's destination is the largest lake in Tibet and one of the highest salt water lakes in the world, surrounded by grasslands with numerous nomadic communities. The route to Namtso Lake (4700m) follows a 380km visual treasure chest of nomadic culture and highland scenery. Approaching the lake, a magnificent vista opens up from the top of Nagenla pass with panoramic views of the lake and its surrounding geography. Dinner is a welcome sight after a long day of travel, followed by a walk to the top of Drashi hill in time for sunset over the lake. Distance: 380km.

DAY 5 - Namtso Lake - Lhasa

Accommodation: Cang Gyan Hotel, Lhasa

Breakfast this morning is enhanced by multiple cups of sweet milk tea to take the edge off the morning chill from the lake. The rest of the morning involves a visit to the nomadic populations camped around the lake for a thorough first hand introduction to these hearty people and their fascinating way of life and customs. The return drive to Lhasa in the afternoon reminds you of how remote this land is and why it has remained so cut off from the rest of the world for much of history. Distance: 220km.

DAY 6 - Lhasa - Chengdu (Flight).

An optional early morning walk with the pilgrims around Jokhang Temple precedes your reluctant departure from the roof of the world. Your tour concludes upon departure from Lhasa.