Overland Sichuan - Tibet

Overland Sichuan - Tibet

Overland Sichuan - Tibet Duration: 16 Days
Places Covered: Chengdu - Kangding - Dawu - Garze - Dege- Chamdo - Dengchen - Bachen - Nagqu - Lhasa - Gyangtse - Shigatse.
Theme: Himalayan Soft Adventure
Tour Code: VH-75
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It is an epical journey through Sichuan, across the Tibetan Plateau to Lhasa. It has attracted hundreds of explorers and adventurers, pilgrims, traders and missionaries for long. The journey is a long one, along journey demands dedication and ability to face hardship on the part of the traveler. We are an expert in this route and know everything in respect of transportation, accommodation, red tape and fascinating en route sightseeing options. The first leg of this great overland adventure will take us to Dartsedo (Kangding), the historic border town and also the gateway to Tibet. After a relaxing visit to hot springs we proceed to north to Garze. Currently it is the largest monastery in Kham. Next we move on to the sacred lake of Yilhun Lhatso (Xinlu Hai Lake) and finally we arrive at the cultural centre of Dege where we stop to relax for a day on the banks of the upper Yangtse. In Chamdo we will visit Kalden Jampaling Monastery, built in 15th century. It forms the focal point of this important market town lying at the confluence of two tributaries of the Mekong River. From here we take a northward route to Lhasa, over the Tanlen Taweng Range to Riwoche and Denchen (an important centre for the old Boen religion).Drive across high passes and verdant pastures and witness the village monasteries that cling to the rock face and where nomadic people pasture their flocks.

Day01 Arrive in Chengdu:
Reach Chengdu and accommodate yourself at the hotel. Day02 Chengdu - Kangding 400 km:
Take a drive to Kangding along Chengdu_Ya'an Highway. During the journey pass by Ya'an (the Rainy City) and the Qingyijinag Valley; it also entails crossing the famous channels of Mt. Erlang. Take a break at Luding Iron Chain Bridge over Dadu River and enjoy the distant view Paoma Shan Mountain. Enroute enjoy the rural scenery of western Sichuan Plain. Reach Kangding in the afternoon.

Day03 Kangding - Dawu:
In the morning pay a visit to Lhagang Monastery of Sakya sect. It is enclosed by three hills symbolizing three Boddhisattvas. View of reversed Jowo Shakyamuni image in this monastery is considered as a blessing by the pilgrims; it is like seeing the Lhasa Jowo Shakyamuni image itself. You can witness some stupas, which are the remains of past teachers associated with the monastery. Drive and proceed to Dawu.

Day04 Dawu - Garze:
Drive to Garze, which is the real cultural and religious centre for the Tibetans residing in Sichuan. At this place you can find numerous religious lama monasteries.

Day05 Garze - Dege:
In the morning pay a visit to Garze monastery of yellow hats-sect (Gelukpa); here more than 1100 monks live in this largest monastery of Kham. The construction of this monastery reflects the feel of a large free market. Drive to Dege which lies on the border between Tibet and Sichuan, in the afternoon. The inhabitants in Dege are Khampa-Tibetans have been residing here for more than hundred years. Different religions like red sect, yellow sect, white sect, black sect exist together in an environment of peaceful harmony.

Day06 Dege- Chamdo:
In the morning pay a visit to Dege scripture printing press which was constructed in 1729 and is the largest scripture printing press of the world today. Also visit the Gengqing monastery of Sakya-sect. Take a drive to Chamdo. To reach Lhasa you still have to cover a distance of 1066 kilometers. Chamdo (3200 meters) has been the former capital of Kham in East-Tibetan area.

Day07 Chamdo - Dengchen Jeep 250 km 1N in simple Guesthouse B/L/D:
In the morning pay a visit to Galden Jampaling monastery. Constructed in the 15th century it is the largest monastery of Gelugpa sect in East-Tibetan area, Kham. More than 1000 monks lived in the monastery in its prime years. In the afternoon take a drive to Dengchen. Proceed to Zholpel La pass (4690 meters), through the Ngamda village in Dzi Chu and to the small town of Ratsaka. Enroute visit the Chamdo Jampaling monastery housing 300 monks currently. Finally arrive at Dengchen.

Day08 Dengchen - Bachen Jeep 260 km 1N in simple Guesthouse B/L/D:
Dengchen is the seat of Boen-religion, a primitive religion based on the worship of ancient witchcraft, god and ghost. It was practiced long before Buddhism came into existence. Pay a visit to the two monasteries named Tengchen and Ritro Lhakhang. After crossing Tsuri La Pass (4200 m) and Shel La Pass (4750 m reach Bachen.

Day09 Bachen - Nagqu Jeep 270 km 1N in 1*Nagqu Hotel B/L/D:
While you drive along the Sok Tsanden Zhol village stop to visit the two monasteries of Nyimpa sect known as Sok Tsanden Gonpa and Kapgye Lhakhang. After crossing over two passes reach the city of Shakchuka. A 100 kilometers journey and crossing of two passes will lead you to Nagqu.


Day10 Nagqu - Lhasa Jeep 350 km 3N in 3*Shambala Hotel B/L/D:
Nagqu is a small town on the Qinghai-Tibet-Highway. It starts from Golmud of Qinghai province and ends in Lhasa. The two main temples of Nagqu are the Zhabten Gonpa of Nyingmapa-sect and another of Gelugpa sect. Drive over Kyogche La Pass (4900 meters) and take a downward drive to Damxung. Finally cross 7177 m high Nyenchentangla Range. After passing Yangbajing reach Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. The city, lying at a height of 3700 meters above sea level, is sited on the bank of the Kyichu River. It is considered as the "Holy Land" of Tibet.

Day11 Lhasa B/L:
Visit Potala in the morning; constructed in 637 by Songtsen Gampo, the first king of the united Tibet it later served as the winter residence to the Dalai Lamas. Another place you must visit is Dralha Lhupuk (meditation cave) where Pelden Lhamo, the goddess of protection resides. Visit Jokhang monastery, the center of the Tibetan Buddhism and the sacred land of Buddhist followers in the afternoon. Daily numerous pilgrims come for worship. The temple, erected in 647, is one of the earliest samples of wood-and-masonry structure in Tibet. As you walk on the Barkhor Street near Jokhang you come across a big free market known for local specialty stalls. Next drive to Norbulingka, which means the garden of treasures in Tibetan dialect. Located in the western suburbs of Lhasa, this palace complex, erected in 18th century serves as the summer residence of the Dalai Lamas.

Day12 Lhasa B/L:
In the morning pay a visit to Drepung monastery which is one of the sacred lands of Gelukpa sect. Built in1416 it has housed second, third and fourth Dalai Lama. Later in the afternoon visit Sera monastery, an important Buddhist seminary, built in 1419. It is known as "the court of wild rose" for its rose plants. Almost 200 lamas live in here.

Day13 Lhasa - Gyangtse - Shigatse 1N in 3*Shigatse Hotel B/L :
Leave Lhasa for Gyantse. Pass by the Yamdrok-Tso Lake, the third-biggest holy lake in Tibet and a wonderful place for taking photos. Cross over Kangpa-La Pass (5000 m.) on the way and in the late afternoon arrive at Gyantse, which lies on the bank of the Nyang-river. There visit Kumbum Pagoda (100-Thousand-Buddha Pagoda) as well as Pelkor Monastery famed for its splendid Tibetan Buddhist art, both of them being built in the15th century. Afterwards drive to Shigatse, which is the second largest city of Tibet with 40,000 inhabitants and has always been the seat of the Panchan Lamas.

Day14 Shigatse - Lhasa 290 km.1N in 3*Shambala hotel B/L:
Visit Tashilunpo monastery of Gelukpa sect, one of the six monasteries in Tibet region, in the morning. In this monastery you can find a large gilded statue of Maitreya (Buddha of the Future) in China. In Tibetan Buddism, Panchen Lama is another embodiment of great Maitreya Buddha. Drive back to Lhasa.

Day15 Lhasa - Chengdu flight 0930/1115 SZ4402 1N in 3*Huayang Garden City Hotel B/L: Take a morning flight to Chengdu from Gongga airport. Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan province. Proceed to the hotel and explore the area in the afternoon.

Day16 Leave Chengdu:
Depart from Chengdu.
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