Undiscovered Tibet / 16 days
1 Transfer from Lhasa airport or train station to hotel in center of Lhasa. Free day in Lhasa to acclimatize. Overnight in Lhasa
2 Visit the Potala palace in the morning and the Jokhang temple in the afternoon. Overnight Lhasa
3 Visit the Drepung and Sera monasteries. See the monks debating the Buddhist doctrine. Overnight in Lhasa
4 Drive from Lhasa to holy Nam-tso lake. Overnight at Nam-tso Lake
5 Drive from Namtso Lake to Reting monastery, this monastery has a great view. Overnight at Reting
6 Reting to Drigung Monastery, which is famous for performing sky burials. Also there is a small hot spring nearby. Overnight at Drigung
7 Drive from Drigung Monastery to Bayi, which is famous for the Yalung Zangbo Canyon, the world's deepest canyon, and Mt. Nanjiabawa 7782 m high. Overnight at Bayi
8 Bayi to Gagtsa. Overnight at Gagtsa
9 Gagtsa to Chokor Gyal, monastery near Lhamo Latso holy lake. Overnight at Chokor Gyal
10 Chokor Gyal to Tsetang, visit the Yimpulakang. Overnight at Tsetang
11 Tsetang to Samye monastery, first monastery of Tibet. Overnight at Samye
12 Yimpulakang to Gyantse. Visit the beautiful Pelkhor Monastery with its great Kumbum Stupa. Overnight at Gyantse
13 Gyantse to Shigatse. Visit the Tashilumpo monastery. Overnight at Shigatse
14 Shigatse to Shekar, great mountain views of Gyawu la pass. Overnight at New Tingri
15 Shekar via Rombuk to Mt Everest base camp, great views of Shishapangma, Cho-Oyu, and EverestBase Camp
16 Mt Everestbase camp to Zhangmu (border of Nepal)
Day 1: Pick up from Lhasa airport or train station, transfer to your hotel in the center of Lhasa, which is the Barkhor area. This area is actually old Lhasa, a charming bustling market area full of Tibetan goods and souvenirs. Many Tibetans from all over Tibet come to this area for shopping and for sight seeing, so you can see many different kinds of people here, with stunning clothes and head dresses. You are free to take a leisurely stroll around the charming Barkhor area.
Day 2: Your guide will take you to visit the Potala palace in the morning. This was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama but it is now a museum and World Heritage Site. The 5th Dalai Lama started its construction in 1645. In the afternoon you will visit the Jokhang temple. This temple is the most holy and sacred for most Tibetans. The Jokhang temple was first constructed by King Songtsän Gampo probably in 642. Both Bhrituti and Wencheng, the Nepalese and Chinese wives of Songtsän Gampo are said to have brought important Buddhist statues and images to Tibet as part of their dowries, and they were housed here.
Day 3: Car and guide to take you to Drepung and Sera monasteries just outside of Lhasa. The Sera monastery is famous for its daily debating, which attracts many people. It is so special to see the passion with which the monks use the debating system to increase their knowledge of Buddhism.
Day 4: We continue our tour to Nam-tso "heaven" lake. The scenery is absolutely spectacular. The lake lies at an elevation of 4718 m, and has a surface area of 1870 square kilometers. It is the highest salt lake in the world, and largest salt lake in the TAR.
Day 5: We leave Nam-tso lake, crossing Penbo Chak la pass to Reting. We visit the monastery and the surrounding area.
Day 6: From Reting to Tridum, where we visit the nunnery and the hot-springs there and then on to Drigung Til monastery. This monastery is impossibly grafted onto a sheer cliff face. Drigung was originally the base of the Drigung sub-order of the Kagyu sect, dating from the 12th century. At one time it housed over 500 monks. Going up switchbacks in a Landcruiser, you may pass a donkey bearing a body under a blanket: Drigung Til Monastery is reputed to have the best sky burial ceremony of all. It is said that bodies dispatched here will not fall down into the “3 bad regions”. Please note the sky burial ceremony is not for the faint of heart. Check with your guide.
Day 7: Leaving Drigung, crossing Kongpo Bala, passing Kongpo Gyamda to Basum Tso lake, we enjoy the scenery at Basum Tso lake and same day late afternoon continue our scenic overland trip to Nying Tri, (Bayi). Basum Tso lake is a natural paradise for animals. It covers 26 square kilometers of wonderful green fresh water. It is also called "Little Switserland", with its glaciers and spectacular scenic spots.
Day 8: Leaving early in the morning, we drive to Gyatsa. En route we will take a de-tour to visit the Lamaling monastery. The monastery is located halfway up the Norburi hill slope in a densely forested area. The monastery belongs to the Nyingmapa sect. We also visit the Pochoe temple, and make stops in Miling (fruit production) and Nangzong and local villages.
Day 9: Early departure to Lhamo Lhatso lake, Chokor Gyal, (one of the most sacred lakes in Tibet, the oracle lake). We can have a short hike up there and enjoy the scenery in the surrounding area.
Day 10: Drive to Tsetang and on to Yimpulakang, where we visit the palace of the first king of Tibet and also the Tradruk temple.
Day 11: Tsetang to Samye monastery, visit the first monastery of Tibet and the surrounding area.
Day 12: Today we drive to Gyantse. The first thing you will see when approaching Gyantse town is the impressive Dzong Fort on a hill. This fort once housed the city government of Gyantse, now it is abandoned. We will visit the Pelkor Chode, a Gelukpa buddhist monastery. Long ago this walled area contained several monasteries from different buddhists sects. The most famous structure inside this monastery is the fantastic Kumbum stupa, the largest stupa in Tibet. The stupa was built in 1427, it has more than 10.000 murals.
Day 13: Drive to Shigatse where we visit the famous Tashilumpo monastery, with its heavy religious atmosphere. This monastery was founded in 1477 by the first Dalai Lama. Inside this monastery we can see the largest copper Buddha figure in the world, adorned with beautiful precious stones and jewels. The monastery is built in Tibetan style, with elements of Han Chinese architecture.
Day 14: Today we ascent to Shekar, also known as New Tingri. On the way we still have great views of Shishapangma, Cho-Oyu, and Everest. We also pass the most scenic Gyawu la pass on the way to Everest base camp.
Day 15: Today we drive up to Everest Base Camp. Great views of the mountain range already greet us. Amazing! We say in a simple tent guesthouse belonging to local Tibetans. Take it easy today, since the base camp is at 5200 m.
Day 16: Today we go down to 2300 meters above sea level to the border town of Zhangmu. It has a mild and humid subtropical climate, which is a rarity for Tibet, making the natural scenery very wonderful.