This 17 day trip will show you the best parts Tibet has to offer including a 3 day pilgrimage of Kora, protecting you from misfortune and providing you with merits on your journey towards enlightenment. A once in a lifetime experience, allowing you to fully immerse yourself within the lifestyle of the Buddhists in Tibet as well as the visits to a various amount of monasteries in the area.
Thick the Everest Base Camp of your bucket list, share the atmosphere of achievers as there are many tourists climbing this mountain and witness the sun rising from the top of Mount Everest. Soak yourself into the water of Lake Manasarovarm, get fascinated by the unceasing natural beauties of Tibet and explore the Zanda Valley with its magnificent sights.
Day 1: Arrival in Lhasa
After arriving in Lhasa, you will be met by a local tour guide who will welcome you at the airport/train station after which he will transfer you to the hotel. You will be able to see the Yarlung Tsangpo River/Brahmaputra River which is the longest and largest river in Tibet and the Lhasa river on your way to Lhasa. Here, you have the chance to acclimatize the high altitude. If you feel like exploring Lhasa a bit more, you can go to the Potala Square where you will enjoy the fountain with different colors. Make sure to get plenty of pictures at Potala.
Day 2: Lhasa
Your tour today will begin from UNESCO World Heritage site - Potala Palace, which is also the winter palace of Dalai Lama. It's situated at 12,139 feet above sea level and is a 13-story high building that contains over 1,000 rooms, various statues, stupas, murals and artefacts.
Then continue onwards to Jokhang Temple, another UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a spiritual centre for Buddhists in Tibet. Next to the temple there is Bakhor Street, filled with pilgrims and street vendors, selling traditional Tibetan items such as prayer wheels and jewellery. After the tour through Lhasa, you will be taken back to your hotel for your overnight stay.
Day 3: Lhasa
In the morning, you are going to visit Drepung monastery which was one of the “three great” Gelug monasteries of Tibet and was founded in 1416. Ganden palace is used as Dalai Lama’s palace in the Drepung before moving to the Potala palace.
In the afternoon, there will be paid a visit to the Sera Monastery---It was one of the “three great” Gelug monasteries of Tibet and was founded in 1419. The highlight is the Monks debating at around 3 - 5 in the afternoon.
Day 4: Lhasa – Gyantse – Shigatse
Today, you will leave Lhasa and head out to Gyantse where you will admire the Gampala pass (4790m) on the way and get a glimpse of the Yambrok-tso (4400m), which is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains. Later, you will pass and enjoy the Korola Glacier on the roadside; at Manak Dam Lake, you will be able to hang up a prayer flag at the Simila Mountain Pass.
Then, continue driving west towards Gyantse where you will visit the famous Pelkor Monastery and Gyantse Kumbum. After a one and a half hour drive, you will arrive in Shigatse; the second largest city in Tibet. Here, you will have your overnight stay.
Day 5: Shigatse – Tashilunpo - Saga
In the morning, you will head from Shigatse to Tashilunpo where an excursion to the Tashilunpo Monastery is planned. After this, you will continue your journey with a drive to Saga.
Day 6: Saga – Lake Manasarovar
It will take you around 8 hours on the road to get to Lake Manasarovar. Along the way you will pass the first mountain pass higher than 5.000m and you will witness the first species on the sacred Kailash. Upon arrival at the lake, you will have free time to your own leisure and your overnight stay will be at a guest house near the lake.
Day 7: Manasarovar – Zanda Valley
In the morning, you will be able to soak your body in the waters of Lake Manasarovar and enjoy the view from here of the Tibetan landscape. Afterwards, a visit to the Chiu Monastery is planned after which you will head to the Zanda Valley where you will stay for the night.
Day 8: Toling – Guge - Tsabrang
Today is in the theme of the Zanda Valley and its magnificent sights. First, there will be a visit to the monastery complex called Toling. A few kilometres from the monastery, you can find the ruins of the Toling dating back to before the 17th century. A visit to the Tsabrang city, the capital of the principality of Guge, is planned and located on a beautiful hillside, so make sure to take some pictures. This is the famous cave city Duchy Guge, where monasteries destroyed frescoes of early Buddhist art.
Day 9: Tsabrang - Darchen
After breakfast, you will drive from Tsabrang to Darchen where you will be able to have a good rest and prepare for the Kailash Kora.
Day 10: Kora
Today will be your first day of the pilgrimage of Kora where you will trek to the monastery Dirapuk which is located on 4910m above sea level. It will take you approximately 6 to 7 hours to cover the 20km by foot.
The Kora is a pilgrimage performed as a ceremony of prayer to the gods of Tibetan Buddhism and are a huge part of the Tibetan traditions as Buddhists believe that walking the Kora around a holy place gives them merits on their journey towards enlightenment. It is also seen to be a way to protect themselves from misfortune.
Day 11: Kora
Today will be the most difficult day of the kora. It is the culmination of the day’s crust around Kailash as you cross the pass Dromla-La on a height of 5600m above sea level. Here, you can visit the monastery.
Day 12: Kora – Paryang
It is the final day of the Kora, leading you only one way; downhill. A straight road goes downhill, taking you to Darchen where lunch will be served. After enjoying your lunch and resting a bit, you will be taken back to Paryang.
Day 13: Paryang – Tingri
Today, there is a long journey ahead and your drive from Paryang to Tingri will most likely take up your day.
Day 14: Tingri: Everest Base Camp
After breakfast, you will drive to the Rongbuk Monastery where you will pay a visit to. Then, it is time to commit trekking at the foot of the highest mountain in the world – Mount Everest – past the ruins of the monastery Rong Chung and the Sherab Cheling. Today, you will be able to visit the Everest Base Camp used by Everest climbers as the headquarters for climbing this mountain. Afterwards, you will head back to the Rongbuk Monastery.
Day 15: Ronbuk – Shigatse
Today, you will drive early from Ronbuk to Shigatse where you will have the day off to your own leisure.
Day 16: Shigatse – Gyantse – Lhasa
Early in the morning, you will depart from Shigatse to Gyantse where you will visit the Gyantse Fortress, the Pelkor Chode Monastery and the Kumbum Stupa which is the biggest stupa of Central Tibet. After strolling through Gyantse, you will head back to Lhasa via the Yamdrok Lake along the mountains.
Day 17: Departure Lhasa
It is time to wave Tibet goodbye and head back home.