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TTCS: 14 Days Search for Lost Civilizations of Guge Kingdom
Tour Type: Private Tour
Guide & Driver: Chinese-English-speaking guide & air-conditioned
Tour Highlights:
    • Fully explore the sunlight city Lhasa with its well-known palace of Potala and holy monasteries of Jokhang, Sera and Drepung.
    • Follow monks, mendicants and fellow pilgrims around the Barkhor, Lhasa’s fascinating medieval pilgrim circuit.
    • Marvel at the turquoise waters of Yamdrok-tso, one of Tibet’s most sacred lakes.
    • Have a deep discovery of the two important cities of Tsang, Gyantse and Shigatse, climb the dazzling Gyantse Kumbum, and worship before a 26m gold Buddha at Tashilumpo Monastery.
    • Join the pilgrims looking to erase the sins of a lifetime on the three-day trek around holy Mt. Kailash.
    • Hike the sandy shores of scared Lake Manasarovar, or just marvel at the turquoise waters and snowcapped-mountain backdrop.
    • An excursion to the otherworldly ruins of the ancient Guge kingdom at Traparang, one of Asia’s unknown wonders.
From $Request per person Free Inquiry
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Day 1 Arrival in Lhasa Sincere greetings & airport-hotel transfer.
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Upon your arrival in Lhasa, our Tibetan guide will be greeting you at airport or train station with auspicious white Hada. Then you will be transferred to hotels in Lhasa. The guide will briefly introduce the itineraries and remind you about other dos and dont's for newcomers. To quickly get acclimatized to Tibetan plateau, it’s better to have a good rest in the hotel.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 2 Lhasa Sightseeing Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street (B)
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After breakfast at the hotel, we will visit the incredible Potala Palace – the highest palace in the world. As we climb to the entrance gate, you will have a spectacular view over all of Lhasa. After exploring the numerous interesting chapels and learning about the traditional culture and history of the palace and the city, we will move on to the spiritually significant Jokhang Temple, one of the most important temples in Tibetan Buddhism. To see the “real” Lhasa, we’ll stroll through Barkhor Street with its thriving local market where you can pick up some local Tibetan, Nepalese and Indian handicrafts and souvenirs.

Meals: Breakfast Provided by the hotel

Accommodation: Lhasa Economic/Comfortable Standard Hotel (Twin sharing)

Potola Palace
Jokhang Temple
Day 3 Lhasa Tour (B) Visit Drepung and Sera Monastery
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In the morning tourists will have a tour for Drepung Monastery, the ever largest monastery with more than 10 thousand monks, Buddhist debates often occur there. Seen from afar, its grand, white construction gives the monastery the appearance of a heap of rice. As such, it was given its name which, in the Tibetan language, means Monastery of Collecting-Rice. Learn about the lives of Tibetan monks there.

The afternoon is spent touring Sera Monastery, have a little hike for the beautiful valley scenery nearby and picnic there, in the afternoon, visit Sera monastery, which was created in 1419 and has always been an important Buddhist seminary. As rose are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called “the court of wild rose”. Today still 200 lamas live in there. Catch the famous debate session of the monks (usually from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.) before returning back to Lhasa.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Drepung Monastery
Sera Monastery
Day 4 Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse(B) Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier, Kumbum Monastery
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In the morning, drive from Lhasa to Shigatse .On the way, drive over the Gampala pass (4790 m), and you will have a glimpse of Yamdrok-tso (4400m) .The Lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains and in the distance you can have spectacular views of Holy Mount Nyenchen Khangsar, (7191m) the highest mountain near Lhasa .

Later, we will pass and enjoy the Korola Glacier on the roadside; At Manak Dam Lake, you can hang pray flag at Simila Mountain Pass; Then, we will arrive in Gyantse, historically Tibet's third largest city (after Lhasa and Shigatse).In Gyantse, we will visit the famous Pelkor Monastery and Gyantse Kumbum and enjoy the Far view of Gyangtse Fortress.

After one and a half hours of driving, we arrive in Shigatse, which is the second largest city in Tibet. In Shigatse,  we may visit traditional Barley Mill and view the landscape of Barley Field (in summer).

Meals: Breakfast Provided by the hotel

Accommodation: Shigatse Economic/Comfortable Standard Hotel (Twin sharing)

Yamdrok Lake
Gyantse Kumbum
Day 5 Shigatse to Saga (B) Tashilunpo Monastery
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This morning you'll have a chance to visit Tashilunpo Monastery, the home of the Panchen Lama, which is essentially a walled town with cobbled and twisting lanes that revolve around a magnificent monastery. Then be driven to Saga via Lhatse and Sang sang, pass several lakes, towns and high plateau nomadic sites. In Saga, you will find a number of Indian pilgrimages heading toward Mt. Kailash. Overnight in Saga.

Tashilunpo Monastery
Tashilunpo Monastery
Day 6 Drive to Lake Manasarovar Zhongba
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From Saga it is 145 km to Zhongba, the road is good and there is also a small monastery at the western end of town on a hill. From Zhongba onwards the southern road deteriorates. There is also danger of vehicles getting stuck. But this section of the road has panoramic views of mountains on either side of the road. There will be several river crossings and we drive past Mayum la pass (4600 M) from Paryang to Lake Manasarovar The scenery is stunningly beautiful with panoramic views of the Himalayas.

Meals: No Meals

Accommodation:Local Hotel

Day 7 Drive to Darchen Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasarovar
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In the morning, you can hike around the lake and take pictures of Mt. Kailash in distance. Lake Manasarovar is one of the holiest lakes in Tibet which cover 400km sq. Lake is devoted by billions of buddhists and hindus. In the afternoon, drive forward to Darchen, the main gateway and the village in front of Mt. Kailash. At Darchen, accommodations are very simple and basic. You can relax and rest and prepare for next day trekking. The guide will help you organize yaks or ponies for the Kailash circuit trek at Darchen. And Darchen is also the Point of Exit to the Sacred Mount Kailash (Kang Rimpoche) for the Kailash Pilgrimage Circuit (Kailash Kora). Overnight in Darchen.

Meals: No Meals

Accommodation:Darchen Local Hotel

Mt. Kailash
Mt. Kailash
Day 8 Mt. Kailash Trek Day One – Darchen – Drirapuk (11 kilometers) Trekking Day 1
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Buddhist pilgrims traditionally begin the 52-kilometer religious trek around Mt. Kailash at Darchen (elevation 4574 meters), which is also the finishing point for the circumnavigation of the sacred mountain. After hiking for a few hours out of Darchen, we will reach a valley known by the locals as “Sarshung” where we will meet an eager group of porters who will be happy to help us carry our gear on yaks and horses along the rest of the trek. After another couple of hours of trekking, we will find a grassy plain populated by nomads, who will be happy to offer up their tents as a place to relax with some soft drinks for a while. From here, we will travel on for another approximately two hours to a place known as Drirapuk (elevation 4920 meters) where we will spend the night in a monastery’s guesthouse that offers the best accommodations in this area (although it is still very rustic.)

Meals: No Meals

Accommodation:Local Guest House (Dorm Bed with humble facility)

Mt. Kailash Trekking
Mt. Kailash Trekking
Day 9 Mt. Kailash Trek Day Two – Drirapuk – Dzultripuk (22 kilometers) Trekking Day 2
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This second day of our circuit of Mt. Kailash will be the toughest as we ascend 762 meters up to the Dolma-la Pass. The peak of this pass lies about 5630 meters above sea level, so we’ll get an early start as the sun begins its rise over the mountain ridges above us. Once we have reached the peak of the Dolma-la Pass, we’ll stop for a rest and the opportunity to admire all of the fantastic scenery around us. Then we will begin our descent to the Lhachu Valley, which will take us about one hour. After another short rest, we’ll trek on for another four hours to our final destination for the day. We will walk along the right side of the river to finally reach Dzultripuk, whose name means “miracle cave of Milarepa” in the local language. We will be glad that we got an early start to reach Dzultripuk so that we will get there before the other groups – there are a limited number of rooms available here. We will have time this evening for some rest and relaxation in the guesthouse as we prepare for the final stretch of our trek tomorrow.

Meals: No meals

Accommodation:Local Guest House (Dorm bed with humble facility)

Mt. Kailash Trekking
Mt. Kailash Trekking
Day 10 Mt. Kailash Trek Day Three Drirapuk - Dzultripuk
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The final day’s walk begins with the easy stroll down to where the river emerges onto the plain. The valley narrows and the prayer flags flutter across the river. There is a rough road from here back to Darchen and it’s less than an hour’s walk, passing many mani walls embellished with yak skulls. Finally, our kora end up at Darchen, then drive to Tirthapuri to have a rest.

Meals: No meals

Accommodation: Local Guest House (Dorm bed with humble facility)

Mt. Kailash Trekking
Mt. Kailash Trekking
Day 11 Drive to Tsada Guge Kingdom, Torling Monastery
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Northwest from Trithapuri, in the middle of the canyon erosion landscape of the Sutlej River, lie the impressive ruins of Toling and Tsaparang - flourishing centers of the former Kingdom Guge. Tsaparang, the oldest center of Guge Kingdom. A group of four temples surround the lower part of the fortress walls, one fifth of which lie above the remains of the city, the former Summer Palace of the kings. The coffered ceilings and carved bars of the temples are decorated in different designs. Parts of murals are well-preserved and complicatedly decorated, disappeared in the middle of 17 Century. 

The Toling monastery, founded by Richen zangpo in the 10th century, was once Ngari's most important monastic complex. It was due to the influence Richen Zangpo that Toling became the main religious centre of Guge kingdom after inviting of the great indian master ATISHA. The kings of GUGE replaced the city as a political centre of power by establishing capital slightly closer to the Indo-tibetan trade routes. But the monastery is still important cultural heritage of Ngari.

Meals: No meals

Accommodation:Zanda hotel or Similar

Guge Kingdom
Earth Forest
Day 12 Drive back to Saga Enjoy Scenery en Route
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Today we will drive back to Saga.

Meals: No meals

Accommodation:Saga hotel or Similar

Day 13 Saga Peiku-tso – Gyirong Peiku-tso
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Today we will drive to the stunning alpine lake, Peiku-tso for Lunch. An amazing picture of the lake with Shishapangma in the background will come into your sight when you arrive there. After lunch, keep driving to Gyirong. Today's driving is amazing with excellent views of Himalaya Mountains, a lot of wildlife including wild horses, wolves, foxes, deer, gazelle, black-necked cranes as well as yaks and sheep.

Meals: No Meals

Accommodation:Gyirong Standard Hotel (Twin Sharing)

Day 14 See you off at Nepalese Border
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Our Guide will drop you off in the morning at the border bridge, You are kindly required to hike on your own to cross the border bridge which is 50m long, then check in Nepal side, you can get the Nepal visa upon arrival with US$ 30, please prepare one photo at passport size to get Nepal Visa. Next step, you need to find a car or bus towards Kathmandu, 50m ahead from border bridge, dozens of car or bus are parking here to pick up travelers; 3,000 Nepali Rupee for a taxi rental to Kathmandu (around US$ 50) , 50 Nepali Rupee(around US$ 1) for a bus seat. Tour ends at the border in Tibet side.

Optional Service: Our company provide Kodari(Nepal border) to Kathmandu private transfer service at 150USD/car, if you need, please ask it from your travel advisor.

B-- Breakfast L-- Lunch D-- Dinner

The quotation for this trip is from Request P/P

1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one standard double-bed room in 4-star hotel and traveling with our private tour in low seasons.

2. This price is subject to change according your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities in your itinerary and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate. If you want a lower price, you can get more people to join you, or use economy class hotels.

Price Includes.

    Tibet travel permit and all other necessary permits to Tibet;

    All entrance ticket fees for all tourist sites listed in the itinerary;

    Personal knowledgeable English-speaking Tibetan local tour guide;

    Personal comfortable, clean and safe vehicle with reliable Tibetan local driver; vehicle ranging from 4WD land cruiser to minibus depending on your group size;

    All lodging listed in the itinerary; it’s your decision about the accommodation class: luxury 5-star international hotel, comfortable 4-star hotel, economic 3-star hotel or budget hostel, guesthouse or tent. Please tell us your accommodation preference when submitting the enquiry; we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.

    Domestic flight/train tickets listed in the itinerary;

    All meals listed in the above itinerary;

    Tourist accident/casualty insurance;

    First aid kit;

Price Excludes.

    International flight to and out of China;

    Chinese visa (Note: we could help you with the Chinese visa application, like providing the invitation letter, presenting the hotel or domestic flight reservation copies, etc that you may need. )

    Domestic flight/train not listed in the itinerary. (We can provide you the domestic flight/train ticket booking service at the BEST discount price; please contact us our travel experts for the details.)

    Meals not specified in the itinerary; usually it costs about USD3-15 per person for one meal in TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region).

    Tips and gratitude to tour guide and driver;

    Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks (please do the best to avoid the alcoholic beverages during your Tibet trip), optional tour activities, etc.

Travel Guide Tips.

Trip Notes:

1. Tibet Travel Permit

Tibet Travel Permit is a must for Tibet tour. Its cost is included in the tour quotation. Send your passport and China visa copies to us 20 days in advance, and we will apply for the permit after you book a Tibetan tour with us. Shortly after we get your permit from Tibet Tourism Bureau, we will inform you and mail it to your hotel in China via express.

In some extreme cases, our staff will hand it over to you at the airport or railway station. In our experience, we can virtually guarantee to get your permit during times when Tibet is open to foreign travelers.

2. Accommodation

Tibet is never known for its 5-star luxury resorts, though you can find some like Intercontinental Lhasa Paradise, St.Regis Lhasa Resort, Sheraton hotel, etc in Lhasa. Overall, the accommodation facilities and services are not as good as those in coastal and central parts of China. However, from cheap and clean youth hotel, to distinct Tibetan style 3-star and international 5-star luxury hotel, you will find one that suits your interest and pocket in Lhasa.

We’ve handpicked cozy and safe hotels in the central area of Lhasa, where you will find Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street are just steps away from you. You can easily experience more of the local life and culture. Normally, as you travel to remote areas in some parts of Shigatse like Tingri, or EBC, Ngari, Nagqu, etc. the accommodation would be much poorer. Some may have air-conditioning in the hotel;others may only have electric blanket in the guesthouses. And the food is also very basic.

3.Guiding and Tipping

Our English-speaking guides are natives of Tibet with good knowledge of Tibetan culture, history, and Buddhism. Most are trained to offer Western-standard service. Throughout your stay in Tibet, we will minor your health and provide prompt help to you. If you run into any trouble, please do not hesitate to reach them or our customer service manager.

Travelers’s tipping to Tibetan guide and driver is taken as an extra gratitude to their good service, just like what you do in the west. Normally, a tipping of 7 USD/day is acceptable. The basic rule is good service for good pay.

4. Toilet

Admittedly, to many western tourists, using toilets in Tibet is the most dreadful experience. So, please down play your expectation. If you take Tibet train to Lhasa, both western toilet and squat toilet are available in the train. If you stay in hotel above 3-star hotels in Lhasa, Shigatse, etc. you will have no complaining using standard western flash toilet.

However, if you visit some of the attractions like Yamdrok or Namtso, EBC outdoor, mostly you will see the smelly and filthy pit toilet.It's better to carry enough toilet paper.

5. Tibet Weather

One of the biggest features of weather on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the dramatic temperature change between day and night. The annual temperature in Lhasa is -2℃-- 12℃(spring), 9℃-- 22℃(summer), 7℃-- 19℃(fall), -7℃-- 9℃(winter). Do wear clothes properly such as thermal tops, fleece jacket, breathable underwear, down jacket, jeans, beanie, etc.

Of course, sun screen, lip balm, sun glasses are essential to shield you from powerful blinding sunlight on the plateau. Do drink more water and eat more vegetable as you travel in Tibet. It can prevent you from dehydration.

6. Acclimatization to the High Altitude

For the first timer to Tibet, either by flight or train, a good rest is a must for quick acclimation to the high altitude in Lhasa. Never rush to tour the street or attractions on your own. Walk slower and do not exert yourself like running or jumping. Spending at least two days in Lhasa is a good way to get acclimatized before heading to Shigatse or Namtso. If you have any discomfort, do tell it to your guide,and he will help you out.

7. Other Dos and Don'ts

Normally, taking photos is forbidden in the monastery. If you want to take photos of Tibetan pilgrims, a gentle ask of permission would be appreciated or you can do it from a long distance. Swimming and fishing are not allowed in holy lakes in Tibet; Do not talk about sensitive topics like politics; International tourists are not allowed to travel alone in Tibet according to the policy; Walk clockwise around Barkhor Street; Never venture into the unknown trails; do as much as you can to protect the fragile eco-system in Tibet, etc.

As Tibetan Buddhism is deeply-rooted in every facet of Tibetans' life, always follow and respect the unique customs in Tibet. If you are uncertain about something, it’s advisable to ask your guide before you do it at will.

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