Dates: Yours to choose
Lhasa, Yamdrok Lake, Shigatse, Namtso Lake nomadic grasslands
Private vehicle with driving distance 950 KM
Starts and end in Chengdu (incl. return airfare to 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.