This trip offers the unique opportunity to visit Lhasa, the epicenter of Tibetan Buddhist religion and rule, and to travel overland through Tibet's beautiful Tsang Province.
Flying from Kathmandu (4,264ft) over the spectacular Himalayan mountain chain, we'll arrive just outside Lhasa at almost 12,000ft. We'll spend our first night in Tibet relaxing and acclimatizing to the significant increase in altitude. While in Lhasa, we'll tour the labyrinthine halls of the former winter residence of the Dalai Lama, the Potala Palace, and his summer residence, Norbulingka Palace, the seat of power over the Tibetan Plateau. We'll visit the largest monastic university in Tibet at Drepung and walk the kora around Jokhang Monastery with time to barter for goods at Barkhor Market, the heart of both trade and religion in Lhasa. We can travel just beyond the city limits to watch the scriptural debates at Sera Monastery.
From Lhasa, we begin our overland travel across the plateau to some of Tibet's most revered monasteries and religious sites. We will visit tranquil Yamdrok Tso ("Turquoise Lake"), traveling over several high passes for some amazing panoramic views of the Himalaya. We'll make an overnight stop in lovely Gyantse, exploring its ancient fortress, and head on to Tibet's second largest city Shigatse for a tour of Tashilhunpo Monastery.
We'll continue on to Tingri (14,104ft) through fantastic plateau scenery with a stop at the Buddhist monastery Milrepa built around a sacred cave. Along the last few miles into Tingri, views of Makalu, Everest, Gyan Kung and Cho Oyu remind us why we're here. Tingri itself is made up of old-style mud and stone buildings with an army base at its rear. Tibetan nomads use the town as a base during their stay in this desolate part of the plateau. In Tingri, we'll meet up with our trekking crew (and yaks). Next morning, we'll trek on to Lungzang, Sheungma, Pangla, Chukarang and Rongbuk Monastery. From here, we'll day hike to Everest Base Camp (17,056ft) for a close encounter with the north face of sacred Qomolangma, the Tibetan name for Everest, towering above at 29,035ft; we'll then return to Rongbuk Monastery. (Optional hikes to higher camps on the mountain - please inquire.). Because we will be traveling in a remote, high altitude area, we will carry oxygen and Gammow bag for emergency use.
Our journey overland will continue through Tingri and Zhangmu, visiting the Milarepa Caves in Nyalam en route. Descending from the arid plateau into a climate of dense forests and high waterfalls, we'll cross the Friendship Bridge over the Sun Kosi River and make our way through the Nepali countryside to Kathmandu. You'll have time for sightseeing, shopping and a cultural dinner and show in Nepal's bustling capital before your flight home.
Excellent hiking and an amazing cultural experience of two unique lands! Back to our trips in Tibet