Lhasa, literally meaning “Holy-Land is the heart and soul ofTibet, has history of more than 1,300 years. It rose to prominence as an important center of administrative power in the 7th century AD, when Songtsen Gampo, a local ruler in theYarlungValley, continued the task of unifyingTibet. Songtsen Gampo moved his capital toLhasaand built a palace on the site that is now occupied by the Potala.
The fifth Dalai Lama also madeLhasahis capital. He built his palace, the Potala, on the site of ruins of Songtsen Gampo’s 7th century palace,Lhasahas remainedTibet’s capital since 1642, and most of the city’s historical sights date from this second stage of the city’s development. The Tibetan name forMt.Everestis Quomolangma which literally means “The Third Goddess Towering 8848.13 meters in the middle section of the Himalaya inTingriCounty, Shigatse, Quomolangma teems with snow-capped peaks and glaciers. Everest region has four peaks above 8000 meters and 38 peaks above 7000 meter, thus is reputed as the Third Pole on the Earth. Glaciers of modern era are located at the foot of the mountains, deep caves and snaking ice rivers present a magnificent view around the Quomolangma.
Day01: Arrive in Lhasa. The guide will meet you atKonggarAirport, and transfer you toLhasacity with about 1 1/2 hours' driving (100km). On the way, you'll get greeted by Nie Tang Budda- a Budda image engraved in the mountain face. After arrive inLhasa, rest and acclimatize. Overnight inLhasa.
first day of sightseeing starts fromLhasa's
cardinal landmark-Potala Palace,
a structure of massive portions. Its towering image already appearing on
various occasions, but your first sight of the Potala will still be an
awe-inspiring moment. It takes at least a good 2-hour to visit those rooms,
halls and chapels.
Some2kmto the east of the Potala is the most revered religious structure inTibet Jokhang Temple. Bustling with worshippers and redolent with mystery, the Jokhang is an unrivalled experience. The quadrangle of streets surrounding the Jokhang is the Barkhor- Lhasa's most interesting pilgrimage circuit. This area of theOldTownis both the spiritual heart ofLhasaand the main commercial district for Tibetans. Overnight inLhasa.
About8kmwest of centralLhasais the Drepung, once world's
largest monastery with about 10,000 monks. This day's sightseeing begins with
these white monastic buildings piled up on the hillside. Walking up to the hill
is a pleasant thing, an easy break from the solemn ambience inside the halls
and chapels. At the plat roof of hillside, you can have very good views of the
wholeLhasacity and the distant mountains.
Drepung is one ofLhasa's two great Gelugpa monasteries, the other is Sera. Around5kmnorth of centralLhasa, Sera may not be as grandiose as Drepung, but is more serene surrounded by many small temples. The 'Buddhism Scriptures Debating' in Sera is very famous. Overnight inLhasa.
Yamdroktso(4441m), one ofTibet's three holy lakes, is located110kmoutside ofLhasa. In the fresh morning air, you're on the way to this lake. It's mostly mountain road, winding and bumpy, even thrilling somewhat. After about 3 1/2 hours' driving, climbing over the snow pass of Kambala(5030m), the dazzling Yamdroktso just lies several hundred meters below the road, and in clear weather is a fabulous shade of deep turquoise. Far in the distance is the huge massif of Mt. Nojin Kangtsang(7191m).
Down from the mountain, there’s about30kmroad along lakeside, with barley fields on the other side of the road. A nice walk by the lakeside can be a great joy. Leaving Yamdroktso is as spectacular as arriving, since you’ll cross the5045mKarola, with its awesome roadside views of the Nojin Kangtsang Glacier.
With the Glacier scene still exciting you, after about90km, you get to Gyantse. There stands the35m-high famous Kumbum, packed with exquisite Tibetan sculpture and paintings, a stunning architectural wonder inTibet. Overnight in Gyantse.
With Gyantse just fades away
from your sight, Shigatse becomes clearer cause it's just 1 1/2 hours'
driving (98km). Miles
away from Shigaste, you can already see the gold tops of Tashilhunpo shinning
under the sun. While Tashilhunpo's magnificent outside leaves you gasp
in admiration, the inside of this monastery introduces you more religious
tranquility and sincerity.
Just close Tashilhunpo is the Old Town of Shigatse, a great place to wander around: Nicely decorated Tibetan houses and interesting market and bazaar give you a vivid picture of local people's life. Overnight in Shigatse
Morning drive to Shegar. This afternoon can make you tired as you basically spend more than 6 hours on the rugged road driving. Shegar, also known as New Tingri, is the last stop before Everest Base Camp. Refresh yourself here and don't forget to wash your dusty face. Overnight in Quomolangma Hotel (1-star)
Trek to Everest Region
With the attraction of the highest mountain in the world, this trek to the Everest Base Camp has become more popular inTibetin recent years. Featuring spectacular views of theHimalayafrom stark desert valleys, this is an unforgettable adventure for those who are not afraid t use their own two feet.
The trekking season in the Everest Region extends from April through October. Subfreezing temperatures occure even in the summer at higher elevations and, conversely, hot gusty winds in May and June can make walking a sweaty experience.
The Trek at a Glance
Duration 3 to 4 days
Standard Medium to difficult
Start Shegar Finish Everest Base Camp
Highest Point Nam-la (5250m)
Summary This is a difficult high elevation walk beginning at4400mand attaining attitudes of nearly5200m.
Day06: Shegar-Geu-la (4 1/2 hours)
Six kilometers west of the Shegar police checkpoint, a small, unmarked road heads south to thevillageofChay. After one hour it reaches the Qomolangma Nature Preserve checkpoint on the outskirts of Chay. From Chay there are two passes that cross the range south of the village and drop into the Dzaka valley. The pass furthest west is the Pang-la and is the way the road goes. The shortest and nicest walk is via the eastern pass, the Geu-la. The two routes meet a couple of hours south of the crest.
Follow the road out of Chay for 10 minutes and turn right onto a wide trail. This trail climbs directly up the valley, avoiding the switchbacks in the road. The trail soon fades out across rocky ground but keep heading south towards the switchbacks etched in the side of the ridge. The route crosses the road twice and remains on the west (right) side of the valley. Steadily climb, paralleling the road which is visible traversing the ridge to the right. The route keeps to the valley floor, intersecting an older disused road several times. One hour from Chay you'll reach a small, seasonal herders' camp and the valley's small watercourse; this is the last reliable source of water until well over the other side of the pass.
From the camp angle over to the left side of the valley towards the series of switchbacks cut into the slope. Twenty minutes from the herders' camp is the base of the Geu-la. Look for the trail in a gully below the switchbacks and follow it up. The trail climbs steeply crossing over the road twice. If you want to walk via the Pang-la, pursue the road west (right). The route to the Geu-la ascends directly above the road, reaching the crest of the ridge 1 1/4 hours from the herders' camp. It is 30 minutes from here to the pass. Once on top, follow the crest south-west and look for a well defined trail posted with cairns that leaves the ridge line o traverse the south side of the slope over to the pass.
The Geu-la (5170m) is festooned with prayer flags andcairnsand presides over a dramatic view of theHimalaya. Before you is a150kmcross section of the Great Himalayan arc. To the south is Makalu and the unmistakable black pyramidal form of Everest, and in the south-west isCho Oyu, the big snowy massif, and Shisha Pangma in the far west. Barren brown and purple mountains in the foreground flank the Dzaka valley. In the neighborhood of the Geu-la blue-white gentians bloom in late May and a little further down, purple irises enliven the windswept meadows.
From the pass you can reach the Dzaka valley in4 l/2 hours. At first the descent is steep but in 30 minutes you reach a high valley floor along a well trodden path. There is a stream and grassy campsites here. Camping (B,L,D)
Day07: Base of the Geu-la-upper Dzaka valley (5 1/2 hours)
Skip over the stream to the right side of the valley and continue downhill. The valley soon turns to the west (right) and in 50 minutes crosses back to the left bank of the stream. A five minutes walk from the ford delivers you back to the road coming from the Pang-la. The road is now your constant companion all the way to Everest Base Camp.
Head downhill and in a few minutes you will see the first of three short cut trails at the top end of a slew of switchbacks. At the bottom of the switchbacks the valley squeezes through a gorge before opening back up to reveal the first village 45 minutes from the pass. Just before the village the road crosses over to the right side of the valley. Except during heavy summer rains the stream draining the valley is but a trickle. Thirty minutes further on another valley joins the road from the right. Near the confluence at the hamlet of Ulung, the road crosses to the right of the joined valleys.
In 15 minutes you will reach extensive ruins stretching a couple of kilometers down the valley. Called Dzongkog Pongdro, this is all that left of an ancient fortified settlement. Below the ruins the road jumps over to tl left side of the valley. In 30 minutes the big Gara valley enters from the west. Thirty more minutes of walking and the road joins the Dzaka valley at the town ofTashi Dzor(the name meansAuspicious Meeting Placeor Plentiful Good Luck), the headquarters of the local township or region. If you go left the road junction or down the valley you wil eventually reach Arun, Kharta and the east face of Everest.
The road to Everest goes up the valK from Tashi Dzom, a long two day walk away. Engulfed by the enormity of the valley, the road passes through barley, pea and mustard fields spreading out in all directions. Twenty minutes out of Tas Dzom the road splits; take the left or main branch. The right branch serves the nearby villages of Lha Shing and Rephel. Lha Shing was named after sacred ancient trees that grew on the slopes above the village the last of which died 30 or 40 years ago. Rephel hosts the small Rabshi Monastery
The trail reaches the hamlet of Pelding, 30 minutes beyond Rephel, and in another 45 minutes, Puna. Fifteen minutes past Puna, a rocky spur juts into the valley, this is the site of Chetetong, the ruined pre-Communist centre of power in the region. Traditionally, the Dzaka valley upstream of Tashi Dzom was known as Phadrug and was affiliated with the fortress at Shegar. Forty-five minutes up the valley the road cuts through Pasum, the administrative centre for the upper Dzaka valley. Camping (B,L,D)
Day08:Upper Dzakavalley-Cho Dzom (3 hours)
In the hill behind Pasum is the tiny monastery of Dzabug with a small handful of monks. Twenty minutes further the valley completes a big bend to the south. On the road, a small concrete bridge spans a stream coming from a valley in the west. This valley leads towards Tingri via the Ding-la, two days of walking away.
In 45 minutes the road passes the mouth of a valley leading east. Up this side valley via the Doya-la is a three or four day route to Kharta. Thirty minutes past this confluence you reach thevillageofJapon. Fifteen minutes further a recently built concrete bridge crosses to the east (left) side of the Dza Chu (also known in its upper reaches as the Rongphu Chu). The valley now arcs to the west and is carpeted in lush meadows. One hour from the bridge is the uppermost agricultural village in the Dzaka valley, Cho Dzom. It is still a long day's walk from Cho Dzom to Everest Base Camp.
Out of Cho Dzom the road ascends a small slope, and a trail diverges to the left. While the road remains in the valley bottom the trail crosses an inclined plain, reuniting with the road in 1 3/4 hours. The trail, a shorter walk, follows a south-west trajectory, turning south where it meets the road. Ninety minutes from Cho look right, up the mouth of the Zombuk valley - the pass at its head, the Lamna-la, leads to Tingri. Also on the west side of the Dzaka valley, 20 minutes onwards, is the remnants of the Cho-puk Hermitage nestled in an escarpment. Camping (B,L,D)
Day09: Cho Dzom-Rongpuk Monastery (3 hours) and Everest Bas (5 hours)
After the trail merges with the road, sheer rock slopes close in around the valley. After a few minutes walk, the valley leading to the Nam-la, the southernmost route to the plains of Tingri is visible. In 20 minutes a bridge crosses over the Dza Chu, accessing the valleys to the passes. Just above the bridge, a big tributary originating from the Gyachung massif flows into the Dza Chu.
It is still about 2 1/2 hours to Rongphu and4 l/2 hours to Everest Base Camp. Twenty minutes further is a small spring and place to camp on the left side of the road. Another 30 minutes upstream, perched in a side valley to the left of the road, are the ruins of Kyelung Hermitage. Beyond here a wide, cairn-studded pilgrim's trail splits off the road, a less dusty walking option.
A stone stupa called the Khumbu Chor-ten is 30 minutes up the trail. Forty-five minutes further and the exquisite form of Mt Everest comes into view for the first time since you surmounted the Geu-la. The trail continues to ascend for 20 minutes and then drops into a deep stream bed. East of the trail, where the stream emerges from the defile, are the crumbling walls of the remains of theChu Hara Nunnery. Up from the stream, the trail meets the road and wends its way through a cluster of morainal hills reaching the Rongphu Monastery in 30 minutes. At the last bend in the road the monastery suddenly comes into view with Everest as the all-encompassing backdrop. Camping (B,L,D)
Camp-Tingri-Shigatse. Start to drive back toLhasa.
Drive 4hrs from Base Camp to Shigatse. Overnight in Shigatse. (B)
DAY11: Shigatse-Lhasa. Drive through the Yalung Zsangpo
valley,arriveLhasa,.Free inLhasain the afternoon.
Over night in Lhasa.l (B)
DAY12: LeaveLhasa. After breakfast, pack your luggage transfer to airport. LeaveLhasa. (B)
Includes: the Alien’s Travel Permit, transportation by non-AC coach/jeep, hotels based on twin-bed room, 4 star inlhasa3 star shigatse 1 night in dorm-style guesthouse based on single bed, English-speaking guide, Mentioned sightseeing entrance fees, Airfare shanghai-lhasa round way
Excludes: tips, other personal expenses
Notes: 1. Departure may be advanced one day due to flight schedule re-arrangement. 2. Potala Palace get a limitation 800 paxs per day to protect the heritage of history. The sequence of sightseeing suppose to be adjust according the situation of entrance permission.