19 Day Tibet North Loop Grand Tour
Day 1 Arrive in Lhasa. Our guide will pick you up from airport and transfer you to your hotel. You rest for acclimatization. Overnight at 4 star Tashi Nota Khungsang Hotel or similar.
Day 2(B) Lhasa sightseeing: visit Norbulingka-Dalai Lama’s summer palace, and Sera monastery-watch famous monk debate session. Overnight at Lhasa hotel above.
Day 3(B) Lhasa highlights tour: visit UNESCO-listed Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Streets. Overnight at Lhasa hotel above.
Day 4(B) Lhasa-Yamdrok-Karola Glacier-Gyantse-Pelkhor-Shigatse(350km). Drive to Shigatse via Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier, Pelkor Chode Monastery(Kumbum Stupa). Overnight at Shigatse Gesar Hotel or similar.
Day 5(B) Shigatse-Everest Base Camp(340km). Visit Tashilhunpo moanstery. Drive to Mt. Everest and enjoy sunset. Overnight at campsite or local guesthouse.
Day 6 EBC-Saga(330km). Enjoy the scenery of Mt. Everest and visit Rongbuk monastery. Views of Peikutso and Mt. Shishapangma on the way. Overnight at Saga Hotel or similar.
Day 7 Saga-Lake Manasarovar(500km). Enjoy the landscape and wildlife. Overnight at local guesthouse near the lake.
Day 8 Lake Manasarovar-Darchen(70km). Views of Lake Manasarovar, Lake Rakshastal, Mt. Namunani. Drive to Darchen. Overnight at Himalaya Kailash Hotel.
Day 9(B) Pilgrimage hiking day at Mt. Kailash-just one day hiking experience. Overnight at Himalaya Kailash Hotel.
Day 10(B) Darchen-Tirthapuri hot springs-Zanda. Overnight at Zanda guesthouse.
Day 11 Visit Dongga Piyang caves, Guge Kingdom. Overnight at Zanda guesthouse.
Day 12 Drive from Zanda to Gar(280km). Overnight in Shiquanhe hotel.
Day 13 Gar-Gerze(500km). Landscape of wild north Tibet. Overnight in local guesthouse.
Day 14 Gerze-Tsochen(250km). Landscape of wild north Tibet. Overnight in local guesthouse.
Day 15 Tsochen-Nyima(280km). Pass lakes Tangra Yumtso and Zhari Namtso, ancient Xiangxiong relics and Wenbu village. Overnight in local guesthouse.
Day 16 Nyima-Baingoin(367km). Pass lake Serling-tso. Overnight in local guesthouse.
Day 17 Baingoin-Lake Namtso(180km). Stargazing at night by the lake. Overnight in local guesthouse.
Day 18 Namtso Lake-Lhasa(250km). Enjoy the scenery of namtso. Return to Lhasa. Overnight at Lhasa hotel above.
Day 19(B) Departure day. Transfer to airport and depart from Lhasa.
Day 1: Arrive in Lhasa
After you arrive in Lhasa, your guide will greet you and transfer you to your downtown Lhasa hotel. You will rest for good acclimatization to the altitude. Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 2 Lhasa sightseeing: Norbulingka and Sera Monastery
We start the day by visiting Norbulingka, the summer palace of Dalai Lamas, a palace with its surrounding garden. The most dramatic and popular area inside Norbulingka called the Lake Palace. Norbulingka hosts celebrations of several Tibetan festivals where local people gather here to sing, dance and perform Tibetan opera. After lunch we will visit Sera Monastery. The highlights of our visit include touring the main architectural structures of the monastery and watching a monk-debating session in the main courtyard. Inside the halls, you can find delicate religious objects and decorations such as scriptures in gold powder, colorful statues, and narrative murals. During the debate session, you will see hundreds of red-robed monks assemble in small groups striking different poses as a way to engage in religious topics. Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 3: Lhasa highlights walking tour: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Streets
We visit the single most iconic architecture in Tibet, Potala Palace, which is the winter palace of Dalai Lama. You will see both the public offices and residential quarters of Dalai Lama, as well as a massive collection of artworks and religious treasure, including stupas of past Dalai Lamas and a statue of Tsongkhapa. After lunch, we will head to Jokhang Temple, the most important and sacred temple in Tibet. The architecture of the temple displays influences from Indian, Tibetan and Nepalese design. Numerous famous Buddhist teachers had also conducted teaching there. Today, it houses a variety of Buddhist scriptures and objects. Surrounding the temple are Barkhor Streets, a busy and lively area for dining, shopping and entertainment. You will also encounter many local Tibetans performing pilgrimages and ritualistic prostrations. Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 4: Lhasa-Shigatse (370km) : Yamdrok-tso, Pelkor Monastery and Gyantse Kumbum
Our adventure into the grand Tibetan plateau starts today! We head west towards the second largest city in Tibet, Shigatse. On our way, we cross Kampala Pass (4797 m) and then Karola Pass (5050 m). We will first encounter the stunning holy lake of Yamdrok-Tso and then Karola Glacier only steps off the main road. We will visit Pelkhor Chode Monastery in Gyantse that houses the most important Tibetan paintings in its Gyantse Kumbum Stupa, and the outlook of Gyantse Dzong/Fortress that overlooks the Nyang-chu Valley. We will finally reach Shigatse before dinner. Sun sets very late in Tibet, so you will have plenty of time to explore Shigatse town on your own. Overnight in Shigatse.
Day 5: Shigatse-Everest Base Camp(340km)
We arrive below the stunning north face of Mt. Everest (8844.43 m), the highest mountain on earth. To have the closest view, you can trek 4km or take the local environment tour vehicle to the final milestone. We pay a visit to the nearby Rongbuk Monastery, also the highest monastery in the world. Overnight at Everest Base Camp guesthouse.
Day 6: Everest Base Camp-Saga (330km)
We drive west to the direction of Mt. Kailash. We will pass Mt. Shishapangma and discover the turquoise water of Lake Peikutso. Overnight at Saga Hotel or similar.
Day 7: Saga-Lake Manasarovar(500km)
We will enter the nomadic regions of Tibet’s far west today. We will appreciate the Tibetan landscapes during this long drive journey. We follow Yarlung Tsanpo River (Brahmaputra in India) west until we reach Lake Manasarovar, another one of the three most sacred lakes in Tibet. Indian pilgrims believe that bathing in the lake will rid them of sins and attract auspicious karma. This photogenic spot will allow you to capture the perfect combination of Tibetan lake, mountain and landscape. Overnight stay at guesthouse (dorm bed without bathroom) near the lake. Sleeping bag is recommended.
Day 8: Lake Manasarovar – Darchen(60 km)
In the morning, we watch sunrise in front of Lake Manasarovar. After a brief stop at Chiu Monastery, we drive to Darchen at the foot of the holy mountain Mt. Kailash. For the rest of the day we will get ready for our upcoming 3-day trek. You will want to organize your belongings and do some last minute shopping, before getting a good night of sleep. Overnight stay in Darchen.
Day 9: Mt. Kailash Trek
We admire the holy mountain Kailash and join the the pilgrims for a portion of the famous Kailash Yatra to Tarboche flagpole. Return to Darchen in the afternoon. Overnight stay in Darchen.
Day 10: Darchen to Zanda(250km)
We leave Darchen and drive further west. The landscape changes dramatically and we enter the ancient kingdom of west Tibet. On the way, we stop at Tirthapuri hot springs and enjoy a relaxing time there. Overnight in Zanda guesthouse.
Day 11: Visit Guge Kingdom and Tholing Monastery
We drive to the ruins of Guge Kingdom in the valley of Sutlej river. There still are many intact architectural structures from about 1000 years ago, the scenry of ruins among vast sand dunes is remarkable. We visit the main monastic complex, Tholing Monastery, and admire the once glorious culture of west Ngari. Return to Zanda town in late afternoon. Overnight in Zanda guesthouse.
Day 12: Zanda-Shiquanhe town(Gar)(280km)
We enjoy the famous landscape of earth forest. Then drive from Zanda to Shiquanhe and begin the north loop back to the east. Overnight in Shiquanhe hotel.
Day 13: Shiquanhe town-Gerze(500km)
We drive in the wild west of Tibet from Shiquanhe town to Gerze. On the way we will see changing landscape such as grassland and salt lake. There is also an abundance of wild animals such as donkeys, antelopes, gazelles, etc. Overnight in Gerze guesthouse.
Day 14: Gerze-Tsochen(250km)
We continue to drive in the Tibetan wild and arrive at Tsochen. Overnight in Tsochen guesthouse.
Day 15: Tsochen-Nyima(280km)
We pass two great lakes, Tangra Yumtso and Zhari Namtso, and visit ancient Xiangxiong relics. We visit Wenbu south village, where nomads and farmers lead a peaceful life. Arrive in Nyima. Overnight in Nyima guesthouse.
Day 16: Nyima-Baingoin(367km)
We continue to drive in the Tibetan wild and arrive at Baingoin. We pass Serlingtso, the second largest salt lake in Tibet. Overnight in Baingoin guesthouse.
Day 17: Baingoin-Namtso(180km)
We continue to drive in the Tibetan wild and arrive at Namtso. Namtso is another holy lake of Tibet and is also the largest lake. Enjoy sunset by the lake and stargazing in the evening. Overnight at Namtso guesthouse.
Day 18: Namtso to Lhasa(220km)
Watch sunrise at Namtso lakeside. You can also ride yaks, visit Tashi Dor peninsular and enjoy the stunning view at the Holy Elephant Heavenly Gate. In the afternoon we return to Lhasa and the big northern loop of Tibet is completed. Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 19: Depart from Lhasa
You will enjoy your last moments in Tibet. Our guide and driver will then pick you up and transfer you to the airport or train station. We hope you have gathered precious memory of your time in Tibet, and we wish you the best on your future adventure.