Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu
Day 02: Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley
Day 03: Flight to Lhasa
Day 04: Lhasa – Sightseeing Barkhor – Jokhang
Day 05: Lhasa – Sightseeing Potala Palace – Drepung Monastery
Day 06: Lhasa – Sighteeing Sera Monastery and Pabonka Monastery
Day 07: Lhasa – Ganden and start Trek
Day 08: Trek Yamdo
Day 09: Trek Tso Tsup Valley
Day 10: Trek Nomad Camp
Day 11: Trek Nyango
Day 12: Trek Samye
Day 13: Samye – Gyantse
Day 14: Gyantse – Shigatse
Day 15: Shigatse – Shegar
Day 16: Shegar – Rongbuk
Day 17: Rongbuk – Tingri
Day 18: Tingri – The last Resort
Day 19: The Last Resort – Kathmandu
Day 20: Kathmandu
Day 21: Fly out Kathmandu
Day 1 – Arrival in Kathmandu
Pick-up at Tribhuvan International Airport, meeting with your guide and transfer to the hotel. First impressions of Kathmandu (1,350 m) – walk to medieval Kathmandu Durbar Square and explore the beautiful complex of palaces, temples, shrines and courtyards built by the ancient Nepali kings between the 12th and 18th centuries. We bring you to our office and Thamel – the vibrant tourist area with hotels, restaurants, bakeries and outdoor shops. We get to know each other over a welcome dinner, check formalities and equipment and discuss your itinerary. Overnight in 2 ** hotel.
Day 2 – Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley
Today we discover the highlights of Kathmandu and the valley. We adapt the programm to your interests and desires and what you have seen before. Usually, we go to Pashupatinath on the bank of the Bagmati River, where the most important Hindu temples and burning ghats of Nepal are situated. In Boudhanath we circumambulate together with Tibetan and Nepali Buddhist pilgrims the whitewashed stupa. Our sightseeing usually ends in Patan, the city of Beauty, an astonishing center of fine art and Buddhist and Hindu culture. Overnight in 2** hotel.
Day 3 – Flight to Lhasa
We drive to Tribhuvan Domestic Airport to connect our early morning flight to Lhasa. With beautiful weather you enjoy wonderful panoramas over the Everest, Kanchenjunga and other Himalaya ranges. We meet our Tibetan guide and driver at Gongkor airport and make the 60 km long drive to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet situated 3,500 m above sea level. We check in at the hotel and head to the Barkhor Square and Jokhang Temple, the spiritual heart of Tibet which is encircled day and night by prostrating pilgrims. From the many rooftops surrounding the Barkhor you have wonderful views over the Potala Palace, the pilgrim circuit and the market bazaar where vendors sell woodcarvings, statues, carpets, jewels and prayer wheels. Overnight in 2** hotel.
Day 4 – Lhasa – Visit Jokhang Temple & Ani Nunnery or Norbulinka
In the morning we discover the exquisite interiors of the Jokhang Temple. The temple is bustling with awed pilgrims paying respect to the Jowo Sakyamuni statue. In the afternoon you can make a walk around the kora, visit the friendly nuns of the nearby Ani Nunnery or go to the the summerpalace of the Dalai Lama, the Norbulinka Palace. Overnight in 2** hotel.
Day 5 – Lhasa – Visit Potala Palace and Drepung Monastery
In the morning we climb the nine – story high winter home of the Dalai Lama, the Potala Palace from where the Dalai Lamas executed their political and religious power over Tibet from 1645 till 1959. Perched on a hilltop, the winter palace offers brilliant views over the city. Inside you explore several throne rooms, assembly halls, bedrooms, libraries and chapels with tombs of the Dalai Lamas. We also visit the Drepung Monastery which was once the home of 10 000 monks. The monastery holds huge numbers of white monastic buildings including Ganden palace from where the earliest Dalai Lamas ruled, chapels with exquisite interiors, colleges and the Nechung oracle. Overnight in 2**hotel.
Day 6 – Lhasa – Visit Panboka & Sera Monastery
Today we visit the Panboka monastery, one of the most ancient Buddhist sites in the Lhasa region which is infrequently visited and only a one hour walk from the Sera Monastery and worth the effort. The Afternoon debating sessions with the monks in the courtyard of Sera monastery is an experience not to be missed. Overnight in 2** hotel.
Day 7 – Lhasa – Ganden
In the morning we head to Ganden Monastery located on the southern bank of Lhasa River, 60 km from Lhasa City. We visit the monastery which was founded in 1409 by Tsongkapa as the first Gelugpa monastery and has been the main seat of the of this major Buddhist order ever since. The monastery was badly destructed in 1959 and 1966 and is still a scene of extensive rebuilding.The monastic buildings are situated at 4 600 m and offer stupendous views over the Kyi– chu Valley. The fascinating kora which encircles the monastery is described as the most beautiful pilgrim path of Tibet. We overnight in tents near the monastery compound.
Day 8 – Trek Yamdo
The trek starts at the highest point on the Ganden kora. From here we walk along a saddle trail. After leaving this trail with wondrous views we traverse the west side of the ridge before passing through an ancient village. Later we pass Hepu Village and Ani Pagong, a former site of a nunnery. From Ani Pagong the trail steadily climbs for one hour through marshy meadows to Yama Do (4 456 m) where we camp. Hiking : 5-6 hours, 17 km, 300 m ascent, 450 m descent. Overnight in tent.
Day 9 – Trek Tso Tsup Valley
We are waked up with a cup of tea and a refreshing bowl of water. After breakfast we leave the valley and climb a steep gully rising from the stream bank. 2, 5 hours later we cross the 5 250 m high Shug-la, the highest point of the trek which is marked by prayer flags and yak horns. We descend through treacherous boulder fields and cross Tsotup Chu, a large stream winding through the valley floor. A comfortable camp will be set up in one of the many herder fields, an ideal place to meet nomads. Overnight in tent. Hiking: 5-6, 10 km, 1000 m ascent, 450 m descent.
Day 10 – Trek Nomad Camp
Today we follow the Tsotup Chu down through its tributary and head towards the Chitu La pass (5 100 m). After ascending this rocky pass we quickly descend down and find a beautiful place to camp in one of the fields surrounding the stream. Hiking: 5 hours, 14 km, 300 m ascent, 400 m descent.
Day 11 – Trek Nyango
The trail gets wider and easier and runs through shrub forests in the main valley. The next few hours are arguably the most delightful part of the entire trek. More than 15 types of shrub trees, rhododendrons, and vast meadows will welcome you on your way! After passing through this beautiful landscape we arrive at the first permanent village Changtang after Hepu. From Changtang we walk another 1.5 hours to arrive in the settlement of Nyango where we camp. Hiking 6 hours, 9 km.
Day 12 – Trek Samye
Trekking to Samye. We hike in 3, 5 hours to Samye where we end the trek. After one hour and a half hour gentle walking we reach the hamlet of Pisha. From here you can see the Hepo Ri,the hill 400 m east of Samye where Guru Rinpoche vanquished the demons of Tibet. The hill offers splendid views over the Samye monastery, the barren mountains and dramatic sand dunes and the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra River). In the afternoon you have plenty of time to visit the monastery, the eldest of Tibet where Buddhism was established. Overnight in tent.
Day 13 – Samye – Gyantse
We leave Samye and make a daydrive to Gyantse (400 km). On the way we climb the 4,794 m high Kamba La from where you have wonderful panoramas on the scorpion-shaped turquoise Yamdrok Tso lake. We drive several hundred meters down and spend some time at the shore to enjoy the beautiful views over the sacred lake and the Mount Noijin Kangtsang massive. After leaving the lake a short descent brings us to the 5,010 m high Karo La and its magnificent glacier. Before descending to the fertile valley of Gyantse (3,980 m) we climb the the Simi La pass. Gyantse is an attractive farmers town with medieval whitewashed houses which can be well observed from the top of the dzong, the fortress that dominates the town. From there you also see the compound of the Pelke Chode Monastery and the splendid Kumbum Stupa, a 35 m high chorten with numerous tiny chapels holding exquisite paintings, statues and mandalas. The stupa is described to be the finest of Tibet! Overnight in 2** hotel.
Day 14 – Gyantse – Shigatse
Before driving to Shigatse (3,900 m) and Sakya (4,316 m) we visit the Pelkor Chode Monastery and the Kumbum Stupa. After a short 1 hour drive through the fertile Nyangchu Valley we reach Tibet’s second largest town Shigatse. The modern city – divided into a tiny old Tibetan city at the foot of the fortress and a rapidly expanding Chinese city. We visit the main attraction of the city, the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama. The monastery is one of the 6 great Gelugpa institutions, contains numerous impressive chapels and prayer halls and was largely untouched in the Cultural Revolution. The 26 m high statue of the Future Buddha and the tombs of the Panchen Lamas are absolutely impressive.
Overnight in 2** hotel.
Day 15 – Shigatse – Shegar
We continue along the Friendship Highway to Shegar (4 150 m). Beyond the small town of Lhatse we cross the Gyamtso La, 5220m. From here we descend to the plains, passing lonely monasteries and camps of nomadic herders. We overnight in Hotel Chomolangma.
Day 16 – Shegar – Rongbuk
6 km west of Shegar we leave the Friendship Highway and head to the checkpoint of Everest National Park. It is a four hour drive to Rongbuk (4,900 m). This road is often not paved but the scenery along our route is breathtaking. After a winding drive up we reach Pang La (5,050 m) from where we have a magnificent panorama of Everest, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Gyachung Kang and Makalu. We drop down and take lunch in Tashi Dzom. The road snakes around hillsides until just before Rongbuk when the north face of Everest comes into view. From our guesthouse we can see the mighty Everest and observe the changing colors during sunset. On arrival you have still plenty of time to explore the highest monastery of Tibet, Rongbuk monastery situated at 4,900 m and is inhabited by monks and nuns from the Nyingmapa sect. You can also take the bus or hike the 9 km walk to Everest Base Camp. The small hill decorated with hundreds of colorful prayer offers splendid views of Everest. Overnight in guesthouse.
Day 17 – Rongbuk – Old Tingri
If you didn’t see Everest yesterday, you still have another chance to walk or drive to Everest in the early morning. After breakfast we retrace the same road leading us once more through the glorious nature of the Qomolangma park and to Pang La. We drive further to Old Tingri (4,250 m) from where you have on a clear day excellent sunset views over Cho Oyu. Before driving to the Tibetan – Nepali border, we enjoy our last night in a simple cozy guesthouse.
Day 18 – Old Tingri – The Last Resort
Leaving Old Tingri we cross barren plains which offer a last view of Everest.
We climb steadily to the Lalung La (5,000 m). Ahead we have the most amazing panoramic views of the Himalaya. A little further on we reach the summit of the Tong La (5,100 m) which has a splendid panorama of the 8,000 m + Shishapangma peak. The road drops a little further into a gorge between the magnificent snow-capped peaks of the main Himalayan range. A long steep descent brings us down to Nyalam. We continue on down the gorge until we arrive at the border in Zhangmu where we go through Chinese Immigration and say goodbye to our Tibetan guide and driver. After finishing the formalities at Nepali Immigration in Kodari, we drive 15 km to Barabise (1,250 m) where we spend the night in the Last Resort located on a ridge above the Bhote Kosi River. You sleep in a deluxe safari tent and you can participate in a range of thrilling activites like rafting, canyoning, bungee jumping, mountain biking or relax in the spa, sauna or garden. Today’s drive is a total of approximately 180 km.
Day 19 – Last Resort – Kathmandu
We make a 4 hour scenic drive along the Bhote Khose and Indrawati River to Kathmandu. On the way you see the Mahabharat hills and with beautiful weather the 7,000 m high Langtang and Dorje Lakpa Ranges. Overnight in 2 ** hotel.
Day 20 – Kathmandu
You conclude your journey with more sightseeing in the vibrant capital of Nepal, relaxing or shopping.
Day 21 – Flight out of Kathmandu
Transfer to Tribhuvan Airport. We hope you enjoyed your journey!
If you wish to stay longer in Nepal: Traveltimes Treks can offer you plenty of suggestions, we can arrange treks, rafting and safari trips, helicopter flights, mountain biking, multi-day tours to the old historical city of Bhaktapur, the mountain stations of Nagarkot & Dhulikhel or retreats in the serene monasteries of Namobuddha and Kopan.
This journey takes you to the roof of the world and the heart of Tibet where you find fabulous mountain landscapes and a rich Buddhist culture. We start our trip with a short cultural tour in Kathmandu and fly soon after to the capital of Tibet, Lhasa. In this holy city you experience the hospitality of the Tibetans and you discover ancient palaces, temples and monasteries. After acclimatization we start the Ganden – Samye Trek, a scenic hike which links two of the most important monasteries in Central Tibet. During the trek you enjoy superb and pristine scenery which is considered as the abode of Jampa, the Future Buddha. We end our trekking at Tibet’s first monastery, Samye, which dates back to the 8th century.
After we embark our overland tour over the beautiful Friendship Highway. We take a pause at the Kumbum Stupa in Gyantse and the Tashulinpo Monastery in Shigatse and end our overland trip with a memorable hike to Everest Base Camp. Back in Nepal you enjoy the tropical surroundings of The Last Resort and more sightseeing in the Kathmandu Valley.
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