Kham Amdo Chamdo Tour 20 days
The southern route to Lhasa is the most scenic overland route, crossing several 4,000 m(13,123 ft) passes, dropping down through lush green valleys and gushing gorges, and crossing picturesque landscapes that Tibetans call their 'backyard.' We begin this three-week journey from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, and continue overland through Ganzi prefecture into the Tibetan Autonomous Region. There are only a few roads that climb over the holy plateau to the capital of Tibet; this journey will take you to villages and communities previously closed to most travelers, both geographically and culturally. Our Tibetan guide will tell you about Buddhism and its many sects explain Tibet's history and teach you some phrases in Tibetan to help you get to know the local people. Traveling by 4 WD vehicles, we have the freedom to stop and explore Tibet's sacred mountains and monasteries, stay with local Tibetan families and take day hikes at your leisure and whim.
Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu
Arrive at Kathmandu after a scenic flight over the mountains. Meet the representative of Adventure Mission Nepal Treks & Expedition (AMN) and transfer to Hotel.
Day 02: Explore the city and prepare for the flight to Tibet tomorrow.
You can spend this day exploring some of the World heritage sites in Kathmandu valley for some time and prepare for the trip to Tibet that starts tomorrow.
Day 03: After breakfast drive to the Tribhuvan international Airport for a flight to Chednu.Arrive in Chengdu transfer to the hotel.
You will be met at the airport and transferred to a 4 star hotel, where we will have a short briefing over spicy Sichuan food ringing with spices.
Day 04: Drive from Chengdu to Kangding.
We will leave for Kangding in the morning. Once outside the Sichuan basin, we will begin to climb the mountain roads of the Erlang Mountains. Since this road is one of the few routes to Lhasa, we will not be the only ones on the road - you may see Chinese army trucks trudging along the road carrying fuel and supplies. Kangding is a fairly large city tucked within a river valley. The sidewalks of Kangding are crowded with Hui, Chinese Muslims, and Tibetans who have come down from the highlands to sell wild mushrooms, vegetables, yak skins and various paraphernalia. Stay in a 2 star hotel.
Day 05: Exploring Kangding
We will visit the Tibetan School, one of China's specialized Tibetan language institutions, to learn some useful Tibetan phrases to give you a tool for communicating during your journey. We will also learn about the art of Tibetan painting. At lunch, we will have the chance to practice our lessons as we eat with students. The afternoon is spent exploring Kangding, climbing the hill to a monastery or relaxing in the hot springs. We will also learn about the Kham Aid Foundation and the many projects this non-governmental organization initiates and supports. Stay in the 2 star hotel in Kangding.
Day 06: Drive from Kangding to Rongbatsu.
We will leave Kangding in the morning to head west, switch backing up over Gye La pass (4,290 m/14,075 ft) and driving along tree-lined roads through small towns, each distinct by their architectural styles and characters. We will stop along the way to photograph wild animals, herds of yaks, temples, stupas, people and anything that grabs your fancy. Arriving in Rongbatsu after a full day's journey, we will first rest our weary bones in the hot springs at the base of stunning mountains. The guest house is located in an authentic Tibetan home with traditional design.
Day 07: Exploring Rongbatsu
Today will be left open for you to explore the town on your own or with a guide, or even with a friendly local willing to take you around the important spots. A couple of hours' walk from the guesthouse along the Yalong river is Hadhi Nunnery, where you can spend an afternoon with Buddhist nuns to learn about their lives. You could also meet Gyalten Lobsang Shampa Rinpoche, a living Buddha, visit the Dargye Gonpa, a monastery belonging to the Gelukpa sect, or visit a local school. Stay in the same guesthouse in Rongbatsu.
Day 08: Drive from Rongbatsu to Yilhun Lhatso (Xinlu Hai).
After a session of morning prayer with the monks, we will drive west for three hours through Manigango to a grassland region known as Yilhun. Here is one of the most beautiful lakes in all of Tibet, surrounded by scenic mountains. We will pitch a tent here and stroll along the pilgrim's trail where you can see thousands of carved mani stones.
Day 09: Drive from Yihun Lhatso to Dege.
From the heights of Tro La Pass (4,916 m/16,129 ft), we will have a spectacular view of the Yangtze gorge stretching into the southwestern region. The landscape makes a dramatic ascent into a blanket of pine forests as we approach Dege, the heart of Kham, a large kingdom which until recently occupied the region. There are plenty of places to explore in Dege; Dege Printing House has a library of more than 270,000 plate blocks used to print Buddhist sutras; and across the street stands the Tongtong Gyalpo Temple, a charming old temple which miraculously escaped the Cultural Revolution, and therefore retains many original murals and objects. The Tibetan Medicine Hospital, which is also a factory, is a storehouse of herbs, antlers, bats, snakes and other plants and animals collected from the far reaches of the Tibetan plateau. Stay in a local guesthouse.
Day 10: Ride horse from Dege to Pelpung (Babang).
We will have breakfast with a Tibetan family who will accompany us with their horses over to the Palpung Tubten Chokhorling Monastery, where we will stay the night. Palpung ranks second in the hierarchy of Karma Kagyu sect monasteries, and has Ugyen Rinpoche, an 11-year-old (in 2000) living Buddha, in residence. The route from Derge to the monastery takes us through endless fields of maize and barley growing on a steep hillside. Once over Gotse La Pass (4,481 m/14701 ft), the expanse of land belongs to the nomads living in yak hair tents.
Day 11: Ride horse from Pelpung to Pewar.
Traveling along the river and through wheat fields, we will reach the Temple of Pewar, which houses one of the finest sets of Buddhist murals in western Sichuan. The paintings, which are more than 270 years old and cover more than 370 square meters(1214 sq ft), miraculously survived the destruction inflicted by the Cultural Revolution. We will spend a leisurely afternoon here drinking tea and eating tsampa with the rinpoche. With a bit of luck we may have the privilege of viewing the monastery's exclusive artworks and treasures, which are locked safely behind ancient carved wooden doors. Stay overnight in the temple.
Day 12: Ride horse back to Dege, then drive to Jomda.
From Pelyul county, we will cross the Yangtze river, which marks the political border between Sichuan Province and Tibet Autonomous Region. After crossing Nge La (4,245 m/13927 ft), we are welcomed by Wara Gonpa, an important monastery of the Sakya school. We will stop for the night in Jomda, a moderately large town, at a finely decorated wooden cabin, and pay a visit to a Tibetan hospital which supplies herbal medicine throughout the region.
Day 13: Drive from Jomda to Chamdo.
Reaching the end of the day would seem like a mighty feat as we will be crossing over no less than four passes - Khargang La (4,352 m/14278 ft), Lashi La (4,450 m/14600 ft), Jape La (4,680 m/15354 ft), and Tama La (4,511 m/14800 ft), with clutters of prayer flags waving in the wind on the peaks and friendly nomads waving at us from the grasslands. Stay in a 3 star hotel in Chamdo.
Day 14: Relax in Chamdo.
Straddling the Mekong River, Chamdo possesses a rich history as one of the earliest centers of the Tibetan plateau and home to Kalden Jampaling, the great monastery founded between 1436-44 and developed through the centuries by successive incarnations. While the original monastery was destroyed in 1912 by the Chinese, it was rebuilt when the Tibetan army seized Chamdo in 1917. We will spend the day stretching our legs, exploring the monastery and shopping in Tromzikhang, an open-air market where colorfully dressed Tibetans pawn their wares and antique goods. Stay in the 3 star hotel.
Day 15: Drive from Chamdo to Bangda.
We follow the Mekong downstream through alpine forests to Kyitang village, where the Khampa houses are sturdily built on horizontal timbers. We then turn west to cross the Lona Pass (4,511 m/14800 ft) and follow the Yu-chu river downstream to Bangda, a town junction where Lhasa connects to the Chamdo-Kunming Highway.The Yu-chu valley lies north of the Salween gorges in the highlands of Tsawagang, where the immense geographic spatial dimensions of the land dwarf our presence. Stay in a local guesthouse.
Day 16: Drive from Bangda to Baxoi.
While distance covered is less than 100 km (63 mi) and probably half that by the way the crow flies, the terrain is steep, as defined by the 180 switchbacks we will conquer when we cross Gama La Pass at an altitude of 4,618 meters. Stay in a local guesthouse.
Day 17: Drive from Baxoi to Ranwu then to Bome.
On the road to Bome, we will stop in Ranwu to cast our lines in the pristine waters of Ngan Tso, a spectacularly crystal blue lake cupped by snow peaks. After our lunch of freshly caught fish, we will wander along the Poto-chu Valley at Tramog (2,743 m/8999 ft), located deep in the thickly forested gorge of Parlung Tsangpo with glacial waterfalls streaming from the mountainsides. We will go down several hundred meters in altitude as we reach the lowland jungle settlement of Tang-me where the Tsangpo and Parlung Tsangpo rivers meet. Stay in a guesthouse in Bome.
Day 18: Drive from Bome to Nyingchi.
Crossing Serkhyem La Pass (4,515 m/14813 ft), the last major pass before reaching Lhasa, we will have spectacular views of Mount Gyala Pelri (7,150 m/23458 ft) and Mount Namchak Barwa (7,756 m/25446 ft). On the way to Nyingchi, we pass through Bayi, originally a military base, which has now become the capital of Nyingchi District. North of Bayi, Bajie village lies on the edge of a primary dense forest with sacred cypress trees which are more than two thousand and five hundred years old. Around May, we would be able to see three to five-meter rhododendrons in full bloom. Stay in a 3 star hotel in Bayi.
Day 19: Drive from Nyingchi to Lhasa.
The last leg of the journey is a 270 kilometres(169 mi) sprint into Lhasa across a high plateau. We will pass through a scenic terrain with lush alpine forests and clear snow-melted streams. Stay in a 4 star hotel in Lhasa.
Day 18: Sightseeing of Lhasa including Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street
After breakfast we will visit the Potala palace, the Palace of the Dalai Lama. This architectural masterpiece is the symbol of unity of the Tibetans. This palace was built by King Soongtsan Gampo, who was married to Princess Wen Cheng Tang in 641 A.D. It has got 999 houses built on Hongshan Hill with a red building on top. It is one of the grandest Palaces in the world till date.
After lunch we will drive towards the Jokhang Temple, the most scared temple for Tibetan Buddhists. After spending some time at the Jokhang temple we will walk through the Barkhor Street, a traditional old street in Lhasa.
Day 19: Full day Sightseeing of Lhasa covering Norbulingka, Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery
We will start the sightseeing today from Norbulingka - the summer palace of the Dalai Lama, located along the Kyichu River and two kilometers west of the Potala Palace. This Palace has a huge garden covering 360,000 square meters, making it the biggest manmade garden in Tibet. It has got 374 rooms. The second site is Drepung Monastery, made by Chojey Tashi Palden in the 14th Century. It had four departments, of which Loseling, or "The Hermitage of the Radiant Mind," was the largest, housing more than three quarters of Drepung's ten to fifteen thousand monks. Now it is one of Tibet’s premier monastic educational institutions
The last site for today is Sera Monastery, built in 1419; this grand Monastery was home to more than 5,000 monks and five monastic colleges. Although much less active now, with only several hundred monks currently in residence, one of the most interesting times to visit the monastery is in the afternoon when monks, after finishing their morning scripture classes, can be seen debating in the courtyard.
Day 20: Fly from Gongar Airport to Kathmandu.
After a two and half hours flight we will arrive in Kathmandu Airport and Transfer to hotel.
Day 21: Depart Kathmandu to reach another destination or fly back home with memories of the trek.
You can depart from Kathmandu to your home country or extend the trip and head for another trip within or outside Nepal.
- Permits and Visa Applications for Tibet.
- Hotel with breakfast.
- English speaking Tibetan guide per as the itinerary.
- Entrance fees.
- Guide Fees.
- Land cruiser for transportation.
- Drinks, Tips, Insurance and any extra cost occurring from the Unfavorable Circumstances such as weather, road blockade, flight cancellation Etc
- All personal nature expenses such as tips, donations, bar bills etc.
- Travel insurance.
- Nepal visa fee.
- Air fare to Lhasa and back.