Overland Yunnan - Tibet - Kathmandu

Overland Yunnan - Tibet - Kathmandu

Overland Yunnan - Tibet - Kathmandu Duration: 20 Days
Places Covered : Dali - Lijiang - Lhasa - Kathmandu - Dali - Gyalthang - Sichuan - Kunming - Kunming - Zhongdian - Dechen - Markam Zholpel La pass - Nagqu - Shigatse.
Theme: Himalayan Soft Adventure
Tour Code: VH-71
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After an overland trip stay in an overnight accommodation. During the tour you can visit the minorities in Dali and Lijiang The tour entails a journey on the "roof of the world" to Lhasa and over the Himalaya and Kathmandu The three nights you spend in Lhasa is filled with sightseeing programs. The famous monasteries Tashilunpo, Palkor and Sakya in Tibet are a must visit.

From Kunming reach Dali, located between the Erhai Lake and the Canqshan range. The onward trip takes you to East Tibet characterized by various landscapes. The Jade-Dragon Snow-Mountain and the Tiger Jumping Gorge in Lijiang are among the most famous scenic spots in the province of Yunnan. In the market you get to freely mix with the Bai and Naxi minorities who are still, partially, dressed in colorful national costumes. Next visit the important temples.

Once you reach Gyalthang (Zhongdian), which is located in the eastern edge of Himalaya Range at an altitude of 3330 meters, you should visit Sumsanling (the city of monasteries). Trek to the isolated region of Dabao Temple. There is another route which will lead you through the Hengduan Range to Dechen and next along the Mekong River to Markam, a small town in Tibet lying in between the border of Tibet and Sichuan Province. It takes six days to cross over the Tibetan Plateau to reach Lhasa on Sichuan-Tibet-Highway. Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province is the starting point of the journey. During this journey you will enjoy visit to the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, tents of herdsmen as taking the pleasure of lonely, bleak and beautiful landscapes.

Once in Lhasa visit the Potala Palace, built in 637 by Songtsen Gampo, the first king of the united Tibet. It is the summer residence of the Dalai Lama as well as two monastic schools called Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery. Pelkor Monastery known for excellent Tibetan Buddhist art in Gyangtse and Tashilunpo monastery is the seat of the Panchan Lamas in Shigatse. These forms the most famous spots to visit as you end the adventurous journey in Tibetan Plateau. In Kathmandu, your final stop, take the pleasure of local sightseeing if you like.

Day01: Flight to Kunming
Take a flight to Kunming.

Day02: Arrive in Kunming 2N in 3*Weilong Hotel
Arrive at Kunming and proceed to the hotel. Kunming known as "Spring City" for its fine climate all round the year is the capital of Yunnan province. Yunnan in Chinese dialect means "to the south of the clouds". It is a multinational city famous for its fascinating multicolored street pictures and scores of day and night markets.

Day03: Kunming B/L
Post breakfast pay a visit to Lunan Stone Frost lying about 125 kilometers to the east of Kunming. The site enjoys the beauty of distinct landscapes and reveals one of the best natural wonders of the Karst topography. The Lunan Autonomous County is the residence of Sani minority. The Karst Stone Frost, spanning an area of 270 sq km, was created approximately 270 million years ago when the crust of earth got a lift and with this lift the original endless sea started disappearing. The stone rocks are in various bizarre formations. Some of them have a towering height of 30 meters.

Day04: Kunming - Dali 240 km 2N in 3*Asia Star Hotel B/L
Visit the Dian Chi Lake in the morning and enjoy boat sailing above the water. Other places to visit are the Xi Shan (West Mountain), the Long Men (the Gate of Dragon), HuaTing Si (a Buddhist monastery) and San Qing Ge ("Pavilion of the Three Purity", a Taoist temple). Drive to Dali in the afternoon where you can stroll in the alleys of the small, ancient town. Next visit San Ta Si (Three Pagoda Temple) to the northwest on the outskirts of Dali.

Day05: Dali B/L
Dali is a well preserved ancient city whose gates and the historic buildings reflect a rich history. Visit the Erhai Lake in the east of the city in the afternoon. The lake spanning an area of 249 square kilometers is 40 kilometers long and is enclosed by high mountains such as Cang Shan (the Azure Mountain) with a height of 4122 meters. Take a bicycle tour by the beautiful lake.

Day06: Dali - Lijiang 200 km 2N in 3*Grand Lijiang Hotel B/L
Towards north drive an approximate distance of 200 kilometers to Lijiang by the Erhai Lake. Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, lying at an altitude of 2600 m above sea level, on Lijiang is situated in the Naxi Minority Autonomous County of Yunnan Province. The city enjoys an 800-year-old history and is the sole city where Nazi ethnic minority resides. The city is famous for its old wooden houses and the beautiful layout of the town streets. You will love walking on the cobblestone paved paths. Visit Hei Long Tan (Black Dragon Pool) in the late afternoon which is situated in the northern foot of the Elephant Hill. The snowy mountain tops get reflected in this pond. Also visit a five-arch marble bridge and different pavilions like the Tower Five Phoenix.

Day07: Lijiang B/L
Drive 30 kilometers northwards to reach Yulong Xueshan (Jade-Dragon Snow-Mountain) lying at an altitude of 5596 meters high is on the southern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. This mountain admired as "kingdom of forests" or "treasure of house vegetation" houses rare birds and animals. Visit Yu Feng Si which is a Buddhist monastery complex. The giant camellia present in the monastery is more than 500 years old. It has a collection of 10,000 flowers of Camellia due to its flourishing flowers each year. Visit Baisha village home to Naxi minority where you can find 350 well preserved Buddhism mural paintings of 14th to 17th century.

Day08: Lijiang - Zhongdian 220 km 2N in 3*Diqing Hotel B/L/D
Continue with the journey to Tibet and come across Jinsha Jiang River (Golden Sand River) which lies on the upper reaches of the Yangtse River (the longest river of China running for a stretch of 6380 km).As you reach the15 kilometers long Tiger Jumping Gorge the surging water of the Jinsha Jiang River takes an abrupt 100 degrees north east turn by the Hailuo Shan standing; this forced obstruction gives birth to the "First Bend of the Yangtse River". At this point the cliffs on the western bank of the river are 4000 meters above from the water surface. There is a giant rock called Tiger Jumping Gorge which measures 300 cubic meters. This creates wave in the middle of the river which seems to touch the sky. In the afternoon reach Zhongdian (3200 meters) lying near the border between Yunnan and Tibet. The majority of people here are Tibetans.

Day09: Zhongdian B/L/D
Visit the Sumsanling Monastery in the morning; it was established in 1679 by the Fifth Dalai lama. The monastery complex housed 1300 monks of the Gelugpa Sect in 1958. But unfortunately this monastery was almost devastated in 1959 during the tragic Civilization Revolution. It was systematically reconstructed in the year 1982 and numerous monks could do their Buddhist exercises again in the prayer halls. The monastery reflects Han-Chinese and Tibetan construction style and is spread over an area of 34 hectares. It is considered as one of the significant monasteries of Gelukpa-sect in Yunnan province. Fine mural paintings and wood carvings are the assets of the monastery. Ever year on 29th of November an important religious party called Gedong-party is celebrated according to Chinese traditional lunar calendar. People dance with masks and pray for luck of the forthcoming year. Take an afternoon walk to visit Dabao Si Monastery situated on a hill with at a height of 3,300 meters above sea level. The 2 kilometers long Mani-stone along with flying streamers hung around the monastery is impressive.

Day10: Zhongdian - Dechen 190 km 1N in 2*Kawagebo Hotel B/L/D
Take a drive through regions of the Hengduan Range along the Jinsha Jiang River. Take a break in the small and beautiful town of Benzilan. Next reach Dechen to visit a Tibetan monastery. From here you will enjoy the distant view Meili Xueshan, the highest peak in Yunnan Province. It is at an altitude of 6740 meters above sea level. This peak is dubbed as "Kawagebo" by Tibetan compatriots. The meaning is "the white snowy mountain" in Tibetan language. It is considered as one of the "Eight Buddhist Mountains" and the "Divine Mountain and Holy land". Annually the Buddhist believers from Tibet, Sichuan, Yunnan, and Qinghai trek thousands of miles to offer religious homage.

Day11: Dechen - Markam Jeep 220 km 1N in simple Guest house B/L/D
Take northwards drive along Langcang Jiang River valley on the upper reaches of the Mekong River. Take a break as you have lunch in the Mekong valley. After passing the border between Yunnan and Tibet arrive at Yanjing country. In the afternoon arrive at Markam, a tiny city that lies on the important Sichuan-Tibet-Highway (Chengdu - Lhasa).

Day12: Markam - Bangda Jeep 330 km 1N in very simple Guesthouse B/L/D
From the extreme eastern corner of Tibet continue moving westwards in the direction of Lhasa which lies on the northern side of the Nyenchentangla Shan Range. The driving along the circular mountain roads lasts for a few days. After passing by Zuogong you arrive at Bangda in the evening.

Day13: Bangda - Chamdo Jeep 210 km 1N in 3*Chamdo Hotel B/L/D
Take a drive over the first high pass of the region called Chuma Shankou Pass (4360 meters). Take a downward drive along the Mekong valley that leads up to Chamdo. You still have to travel 1066 kilometers to reach Lhasa. Chamdo (3200 meters) has been the erstwhile capital of Kham in East-Tibetan area. Pay a visit to Galden Jampaling monastery constructed in the 15th century. This monastery is the largest monastery of Gelugpa sect in East-Tibetan area Kham. In its initial times it was a flourishing monastery with a presence of 1000 monks.

Day14: Chamdo - Dengchen Jeep 250 km 1N in simple Guesthouse B/L/D
Take a drive over the Zholpel La pass (4690 meters) through the village of Ngamda in Dzi Chu and then proceed to a small town of Ratsaka Enroute pay a visit to the Chamdo Jampaling monastery( housing 300 monks) Finally arrive at Dengchen.

Day15: Dengchen - Bachen Jeep 260 km 1N in simple Guesthouse B/L/D
Dengchen, the centre of the Boen-religion, is noted for practice of a primitive religion; this religion is based on ancient witchcraft and dedicated to the worship to god and ghost. It once had a massive presence in entire Tibet before Buddhism infiltered in Tibetan area. Visit two monasteries named Tengchen and Ritro Lhakhang. After crossing Tsuri La Pass (4200 meters) and Shel La Pass (4750 meters) reach Bachen.

Day16: Bachen - Nagqu Jeep 270 km 1N in 1*Nagqu Hotel B/L/D
As you dive along the Sok Tsanden Zhol village halt at the two monasteries of Nyimpa sect called Sok Tsanden Gonpa and Kapgye Lhakhang. Next cross over two passes to reach the city of Shakchuka. You still have to cover a distance of 100 kilometers and cross two passes before you arrive at the day's destination: Nagqu (270 kilometers).

Day17: Nagqu - Lhasa Jeep 350 km 3N in 3*Shambala Hotel B/L/D
Nagqu, a small town on the Qinghai-Tibet-Highway, begins from Golmud of Qinghai province and ends in Lhasa. The two main temples situated in Nagqu are the Zhabten Gonpa of Nyingmapa-sect and xxxx of Gelugpa sect. Drive over the Kyogche La Pass (4900 m) to reach Damxung. Finally master 7177 meters high Nyenchentangla Range. Pass by Yangbajing to reach Lhasa, the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. The city, lying at a height of 3700 meters is located on the bank of the Kyichu River. It has long been revered as the “Holy Land" of Tibet.

Day18: Lhasa B/L
Pay a visit to Jokhang monastery which has been the center of the Tibetan Buddhism. It is a sacred land of Buddhist follower where countless pilgrims gather daily for the purpose of worship. The temple, constructed in 647, is the earliest specimen of wood-and-masonry architecture of Tibet. Walk on the Barkor Street around Jokhang; it is a large free market specializing is stalls that sell local items. In the afternoon pay a visit to Norbulingka (meaning "the garden of treasures" in Tibetan language). Situated in the western suburbs of Lhasa, this palace complex constructed in the 18th century has served as the summer house of the Dalai Lamas.

Day19: Lhasa B/L
Visit Potala in the morning. It was built in 637 by Songtsen Gampo, the first king of the united Tibet. Later on it served as the winter residence of the Dalai Lamas. It is situated on Mt. Marpori (it is130 meters high 13-storey building and is one of the high altitude ancient palace filled with many Buddhist scriptures, statues and mural paintings. Take an excursion to the monasteries of Drepung and Sera in the afternoon. Drepung Monastery, built in 1416, has always been the seat of the Dalai Lamas before Potala Palace made by the Fifth Dalai Lama came into existence. In the initial years of its history the count of the lamas in the monastery was 10,000 people. Perhaps this is the reason as to why it is also known as "heap of rice" by Tibetans. Sera monastery, built in 1419, is another important Buddhist seminary. Blooming rose plants make this monastery to be called as "the court of wild rose". As of now 200 lamas live here.

Day20: Lhasa - Gyantse 260 km 1N in 2*Gyantse Hotel B/L/D
Leave Lhasa to reach Gyantse. During the journey you have to pass by the Yamdrok Lake. This lake is third largest holy lake in Tibet and is a photographer’s paradise. You also have to cross Kangpa-La Pass (5000 meters) to reach Gyantse in the late afternoon. Gyantse lies on the bank of the Nyang-River.

Day21: Gyantse - Shigatse 90 km 1N in 3*Shigatse Hotel B/L/D
In the morning pay a visit to Kumbum Pagoda (100-Thousand-Buddha Pagoda) and Pelkor Monastery reputed as a center of splendid Tibetan Buddhist art. Both these buildings have been built in the15th century. Drive to the city of Shigatse housing 40,000 Tibetan inhabitants. In this city visit Tashilunpo monastery of Gelukpa sect; it is the seat of the Panchan Lamas and one of the six splendid monasteries in Tibet region. A large gilded statue of Maitreya (Buddha of the future) is present in this monastery. In Tibetan Buddism, Panchen Lama is an embodiment of Maitreya Buddha.

Day22: Shigatse - Xegar 270 km 1N in 1*Qomolangma Hotel B/L/D
Take a westward drive along the Tibetan Plateau and cross over several passes; the highest one is Jiatsuo La Pass which is 5200 meters high. If road conditions are favorable take an excursion (about 25 kilometers) to the Sakya Monastery (4280 meters). The monastery, constructed by Kublai Khan, is one of the oldest and most important monasteries of Tibet. Finally reach Xegar (4300 meters).

Day23: Xegar - Zhangmu 1N in 1*Zhangmu Hotel B/L/D
Distant view of Cho Oyu, Mt. Everest and Shishapangma is a thing to enjoy during the driving journey. Drive over the Thang-La Pass (5214 meters) to reach Nylam. After you reach Nylam visit the meditation cave of Milarepas. Milarepas, a yogi, has played a crucial role in the religious life of Tibet. His teachings continue influencing the Tibetans all across the world.

Day24: Zhangmu - Kathmandu 140 km 2N in 3*Gangjong Hotel B/L
After crossing the border of Tibet and Nepal reach Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. It is a city which lies in the southern foot of the Himalaya Range. The geographic location and the people here are not similar to the Tibetan cities.

Day25: Kathmandu B/L
This day is reserved for optional excursions in Kathmandu; you can visit the historic centers of three king's cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur or a pay a visit to the religious sanctuaries of Pashupatinath, Bodhnath and Swayambunath.

Day26: Flight Kathmandu - home B
Board a flight at the airport to return home.

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