This beautiful 10-day tour will take you from the metropolis of Hong Kong to the heady heights of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. You will be able to spend time at Qinghai Lake, the largest saltwater lake in China, before taking the amazing train journey across the plateau to Lhasa. As you travel along the high elevation of the Qingzang railway you will see lofty mountains, crystal clear lakes, hundreds of species of wild birds and animals, and some of the most spectacular sights in the world. In the holy city of Lhasa you will be able to visit some of Tibet’s oldest monasteries, and you will travel across the region, past holy Lake Yamdrok and the pristine whiteness of Karola Glacier, to gaze in awe at the tallest mountain in the world.
Itinerary Day by Day
Day 1: Xining Arrival (take flight to Xining by transferring in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou or Chongqing)
From Hong Kong you need to take a connecting flight to travel to Xining, in Qinghai province of China. On arrival in Xining, our guide will transfer you to your hotel, where you can rest. Feel free to take in some of the sights of Xining, the gateway to Tibet.
At 2,275 meters above sea level, Xining is the ideal place to start acclimatizing to higher altitudes. While getting used to the increased elevation it is advised not to exert yourself too much, as this can bring on altitude sickness, even at the altitude of Xining. Rest, eat plenty of green vegetables and high energy foods; these are recommended when acclimatizing to a new altitude.
Stay overnight in Xining.
Day 2: Qinghai Lake Day Tour and Take overnight Train to Lhasa
Early in the morning you will take the short drive up to Qinghai Lake, the largest inland saltwater lake in China. The lake is the home to many different varieties of birds, and Bird Island, near the western shore of the lake, is a haven for both local and migratory species. The lake is elliptical in shape, and the crystal clear waters reflect the surrounding mountains and the clear blue sky. A great way to see the lake is from the deck of a boat, and 30-minute cruises are a popular attraction.
In the afternoon you will drive back to Xining, and will get to see the beautiful view of Riyue Mountain, known locally as “Sun and Moon Mountain”. Legend tells that it was on this mountain that Princess Wencheng lost a mirror called Sun and Moon, that allowed her to see her home in Xi’an, and the Datong River was born from her tears.
Later you will transfer to the Xining Railway Station, to begin the ride over the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to Lhasa. Traveling along the most scenic railway in the world, you will experience sights that will leave you breathless, and cross a plateau with an average elevation of over 4,000 meters. Do not forget to check out the view as you go over the Tanggula Pass, the highest railway pass in the world at 5072 meters above sea level.
Tips: High Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) can be avoided by resting and acclimatizing to the increased elevation. We recommend that you rest and eat plenty of high-protein foods and drink lots of water while you get used to the high altitude. It is also a good idea not to shower for the first two days to avoid catching a cold.
Stay overnight on the train.
Day 3: Arrive in Lhasa
When you arrive in Lhasa in the mid-afternoon, our guide will greet you warmly with the phrase, "Tashi Delek", which means 'wish you all the best'. Your tour guide will meet you at the exit of the station, and a private car will transport you to your hotel to allow you to rest and acclimatize for the rest of the day.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 4: Lhasa Tour: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street
The following day your first stop will be the world famous Potala Palace, the winter palace of the Dalai Lama. Sitting atop Moburi (Red Hill), the palace looks down on the town of Lhasa from its 3,750-meter vantage point. The temple dates back to the 7th century, and houses artifacts and works of art from throughout Tibetan History. The palace also has the gilded burial stupas of the past Dalai Lamas, and below ground lies the ancient meditation cave of the 33rd King of Tibet.
After some lunch, you will head downtown to Jokhang Temple, the primary seat of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It was built by the 33rd King of Tibet in 647AD, and is the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest temple in Tibetan Buddhism. Inside sits the most precious object in the temple, a life-sized statue of Buddha Sakyamuni when he was just 12 years old. Adorned with many precious gems, this gilded statue is the most sacred object in Tibet.
Running around the temple is the famed Barkhor Street. As well as the route of the holy kora, or religious circumambulation, it is also the site of many sellers where you can buy authentic souvenirs from across the region. You can join the pilgrims on their clockwise walk around the temple.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 5: Lhasa Tour: Drepung and Sera Monastery
The next morning you will leave early for a trip outside Lhasa, first to Drepung Monastery, one of the Great Three monasteries of the Gelugpa sect. Sitting at the foot of Gambo Utse, 5 kilometers outside Lhasa, it was founded by Jamyang Choge, one of the disciples of Tsong Khapa, in 1416. The Ganden Potrang, sited in the southwest corner of the monastery, was the former residence of the Dalai Lama, until the move to the Potala Palace.
In the afternoon you will travel back across the city to the northern suburbs, to visit Sera Monastery, another of the Great Three monasteries. Founded in 1419, the name, Sera, means "wild rose" in Tibetan, and was named because of the roses that were in bloom on the hill behind it when it was built. The main attraction of the monastery is the colorful and animated debating of the monks, held under the trees in the debating field every afternoon. Definitely something to watch, even if you do not understand what is said.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 6: Lhasa to Shigatse, via Yamdrok Lake and Karola Glacier
In the morning our guide will drive you from Lhasa to Shigatse, Tibet's second largest city. En route to Shigatse you will pass over Gampala Pass, which lies at an elevation of 4,790 meters, and will pass the amazing Lake Yamdrok. At 4,400 meters above sea level, the lake lies nestled between lofty mountains, and you will see the holy mountain, Nyenchen Khangsar, its 7,191 meter peak standing tall in the distance.
The trip to Gyantse passes close by the Karola Glacier, and at Manak Dam Lake you will be able to hang a prayer flag at the Simila Mountain Pass. In Gyantse, you will get to visit the unique Pelkor Monastery, which is rare due to it housing three different sects of Tibetan Buddhism under one roof. You will also get to see the Gyantse Kumbum, a giant architectural stupa that stands 34 meters high.
After another hour and a half of driving you will reach Shigatse, and will be able to visit the traditional barley mill and in summer you can view the spectacular sight of the barley fields in full crop.
Stay overnight in Shigatse.
Day 7: Shigatse to Everest Base Camp
After obtaining your Alien's Travel Permit, which is needed to tour this area, you will leave Shigatse for Lhatse, a small town where you can get a nice lunch. On the drive on to Shegar, weather permitting, you will get your first look at the amazing sight of Mt. Everest, or Mt. Qomolangma as it is called in Tibetan.
The drive on to Rongbuk Monastery crosses one of the highest passes in Tibet, the Pang La Pass, at 5,050 meters, from which you can see all five of the world's highest peaks. After arriving at Rongbuk you will be able to rest from the long drive, ready for the trip to EBC.
Stay overnight in a tent or at the Rongbuk Monastery Guest House (depending on availability)
Tips: The location is very remote and inhospitable, and the accommodation facilities are very basic here. Water is in short supply, there is no hot water, and toilets are just a pit in the ground. You should also be aware that in this remote region, you will be "roughing it", and sleeping facilities are not ideal. However, it is more than worth it to put up with the basic facilities for the amazingly spectacular views of Everest, and we will do our best to ensure that your personal requirements can be met, and you get the very best service from us.
Day 8: Everest base camp and return to Shigatse
In the morning, you can catch the stunning sunrise of Everest Peak if weather permits at the lodging area and then pay a visit to Rongbu Monastery - the unique highest monastery with nuns and monks living together. You’ll have the chance to take the closest picture of Mt. Everest at the base camp.
After visiting EBC, and taking all the photographs you can manage, you will head back to Rongbuk for a tour of this amazing monastery. The highest monastery in the world, at 5,000 meters above sea level, it is part of the Nyingmapa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and is unique in that both monks and nuns live together in the same monastery.
After Rongbuk you will be driven back to Shigatse, and stay overnight there.
Day 9: Shigatse back to Lhasa
The day is spent driving back to Lhasa along the famous Sino-Nepal Friendship High-way. The road to Lhasa is 280 km long and it takes around six hours to drive. The road follows the course of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, which is the longest and largest river in Tibet. The evening will be yours to rest from the long drive.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 10: Lhasa Departure
On the last day of your tour, our guide will take you to the airport or train station, and help you with checking in and boarding.
- Tibet Travel Permit and all other necessary permit to Tibet
- A hard sleeper train ticket from Xining to Lhasa
- All lodging listed in the itinerary that based on 4-star standard. If you travel individually, you will need to share one room with another tourist. If you prefer to stay in one room by yourself, you will have to pay the single room supplement
- Meals listed in itinerary
- Entrance fees of all tourist sites listed in the itinerary
- Local Tour Transfers according to group size
- Local Tibetan English-speaking guide
- One shared big Oxygen tank in the car
- Chinese visa
- International flight to and out of China
- Domestic train/flight out of Tibet.(We offer domestic train/flight ticket booking service, please contact our travel experts for the details.)
- Meals not specified the itinerary
- Tips and gratitude to tour guide and drive
- Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks, optional tour activities, etc.
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