9 Days Tsurphu to Yangpachen Trek
Discover the pearl on the roof of the world – the Potala Palace
Explore Tibet's two greatest monasteries – the Drepung & Sera
Trek from Tsurphu to Yangpachen and enjoy Tibetan camping
Visit the seat of the Karmapa – the Tsurphu Monastery
- Itinerary Details
Transfer to Lhasa downtown after arriving at the Lhasa Gongar airport or the Lhasa train station. Relax with free time after your arrival in Lhasa to acclimatize to the high altitude.
This is your 2rd day in Tibet, so you should be physically ready for Potala Palace—the palace with a lot of steps.
Climb up to Potala Palace, Tibet’s iconic landmark. You’ll see a lot of precious decorated statues, Buddhist scriptures and murals inside. Your guide will reveal to you the interesting history of the palace.
Visit Jokhang Temple (elevation 3,700 m), said to be the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism. You will see many pilgrims prostrating themselves near the temple. Take part with locals in the 20-minute walk with prayer wheels, clockwise around Jokhang Temple. Take a stroll round Barkhor Street and see some Tibetan handicrafts.
There are 1,080 steps up to Potala Palace and climbing steps on the plateau is not easy. If it’s too demanding physically, you don’t have to climb all the steps, and your tour guide will adjust your route accordingly.
Enjoy a hotel breakfast, and visit Norbulingka in the morning; formerly the summer palace for the Dalai Lamas. Nowadays, Norbulingka is a beautiful public park and a good place to see locals camping and picnicking in summer.
Watch a monks’ daily debate in Sera Monastery (elevation 4,000 m), the second most important monastery in Tibet. The debate not to be missed is held at 15:30 every day, except Sundays. Monks are happy to live in the monastery and study Buddhist scriptures there.
Later you will visit Drepung Monastery, renowned as the site for the annual Shoton Festival. If you visit in early August, you will have a chance to see for yourself this largest of Tibetan festivals.
General rules for visiting temples in Tibet: Cameras are not allowed in the temples or in the debate field, but taking photos with a cell phone is ok. When visiting a temple, your shoulders should be covered, and you should not wear shorts. Walk clockwise when visiting Barkhor Street.
It’s an adventurous drive between Lhasa and the Tsurphu Monastery, including a 2-hour bump-filled road, so we’ll be riding in a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Due to the higher elevation, we’ll take some time to relax and acclimatize after the rough ride. We will visit the Tsurphu Monastery itself after lunch.
Our first day of trekking will take about 4 hours to cover 11 kilometers as we walk through a verdant valley crisscrossed with countless mountain streams. Be on the lookout for various species of mountain goats that may be observing us, hidden amongst the gray rocks. Several small nomadic communities camp here for the summer herding months, and if you like we may have the opportunity to stop by a yak-hair tent for a cup of salt butter tea or some fresh yak milk. We will walk along a high plateau with a scattering of rock-enclosed huts to find a flat area for camping. Throughout this trek, the breathtakingly beautiful scenery of the ever-changing Tibetan landscapes will surround us.
Today’s trek will take us through a long deep valley, up to the highest point known as Lasar at an elevation of 5300 meters. At the first small pass of Damchen Nyingtri we’ll head left at the cairns at the crest and descend into a magical valley of lichen-coated boulders, meandering streams and expansive, powder-blue sky. Three hours later, we will cross the Lasar La (elevation 5300 meters) and descend into the Yangpachen Valley, with its wide-open plateaus, spiky grass hummocks and tundra-like parched, cracked patches of earth as we head towards Bartso. The views of “Brize” (translated as female yak herder) and “Tarze” (horse keeper) are superb, and you will feel safe in the care of the local mountain god, Nyenchen Tanglha. This evening we will camp overnight near Bartso, a “drokpa” (nomad) village of just five or six houses, surrounded by the same juniper that is used for incense all over the Tibetan world.
Leaving the village of Bartso behind this morning, we will head out on a wide trail leading across the valley and over another ridge where we will be rewarded with spectacular views of Nyenchen Tanghlha (elevation 7111 meters), the holiest mountain in central Tibet. We will pass through Tajung Village and then climb up gently rolling hills where young nomadic boys and girls picnic on the plateaus as they watch their herds of yaks and sheep grazing. The scenic vistas here are amazing! By midday we should reach the small and historic Djore Ling Ani Gompa (nunnery), near which we will set up camp for the night. It's possible that these nuns, some of the friendliest in Tibet, will invite you into the nunnery's teahouse and pass around a heaping plate of yak meat (you can use the bowie knife provided to hack a piece off) with plenty of photo opportunities for this memorable occasion.
Today’s trek will last around 4 hours, following the ox-bow Nyango Chu River as we make our way through the grassy valley heading for Yangpachen Monastery. This ancient Kagupa monastery, with Tibetan mastiffs keeping guard, overlooks part of the Trans-Himalaya range. Your 4-wheel drive Landcruiser will be waiting for you at the monastery to take you for a relaxing visit to the hot springs at Yangpachen before we drive back to Lhasa to spend the night.
Your guide and driver will take you to Lhasa’s airport/train station on time for your departure and escort you to the correct security gate. Relax and leave any hassles to your tour team.
- Service Included
Tibet travel permit and all other necessary permits to Tibet;
All entrance ticket fees for all tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
Personal knowledgeable English-speaking Tibetan local tour guide;
Personal comfortable, clean and safe vehicle with reliable Tibetan local driver; vehicle ranging from 4WD land cruiser to minibus depending on your group size;
All lodging listed in the itinerary; it’s your decision about the accommodation class: luxury 5-star international hotel, comfortable 4-star hotel, economic 3-star hotel or budget hostel, guesthouse or tent. Please tell us your accommodation preference when submitting the enquiry; we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.
Domestic flight/train tickets listed in the itinerary;
All meals listed in the above itinerary;
Tourist accident/casualty insurance;
First aid kit;
International flight to and out of China;
Chinese visa (Note: we could help you with the Chinese visa application, like providing the invitation letter, presenting the hotel or domestic flight reservation copies, etc that you may need. )
Domestic flight/train not listed in the itinerary. (We can provide you the domestic flight/train ticket booking service at the BEST discount price; please contact us our travel experts for the details.)
Meals not specified in the itinerary; usually it costs about USD3-15 per person for one meal in TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region).
Tips and gratitude to tour guide and driver;
Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks (please do the best to avoid the alcoholic beverages during your Tibet trip), optional tour activities, etc.
- Trip Notes
1.Tibet Travel Permit;
You will need a Tibet Entry Permit. Its cost is included in the tour quotation. Send your passport and China visa copies to us 20 days in advance, and we will apply for your permit once you book a Tibetan tour with us. In our experience, we can virtually guarantee to get your permit during times when Tibet is open to foreign travelers.
We’ve selected heritage hotels in the more traditional area of Lhasa, near Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street, so that travelers can experience more of the local life and culture. If you prefer to stay in a hotel with special oxygen supplies, other hotels in Lhasa are recommended (as above).
The accommodation in Dingri is poor (see above).
Our English-speaking guides are natives of Tibet with good knowledge of Tibetan culture, history, and Buddhism. Most are trained to offer Western-standard service.
Enjoy local Tibetan, Western Chinese and Nepalese food on the tour.
You will have standard western hotel breakfast in Lhasa, and specially prepared breakfasts outside of Lhasa: including butter, bread, coffee, tea, etc.
After the first day, lunch is included every day. Your guide can recommend some good local restaurants for dinner. Outside Lhasa, we suggest you have dinner in the hotels where you are staying.
Before your trip, ask your doctor for any suggestions in relation to altitude sickness and bring some medicine just in case. The most popular altitude medicine among foreigners is Acetazolamide/Diamox.
We recommend that during the first two days after arriving in Tibet, visitors should keep warm, not take a bath, not smoke or drink alcohol. Drink plenty of water (>4 litres per day) before going and at altitude, and eat lots of vegetables and carbohydrates. Slow down, even if you feel energetic. Moving slowly is the best way to avoid altitude sickness.
If you don’t feel well after entering Tibet, go and see a doctor as soon as possible. There are doctors in major hotels in Lhasa, and you can call your tour guide for help at any time. We offer a free oxygen bag in the car.
6. What to Pack
Seek medical advice about altitude effects and pack any medicine you might need. Sunglasses, snow glasses, hats, lip balm, sun block, walking boots, and down jackets are all recommended.
Comfortable private cars/vans with experienced drivers will be arranged for you. All our vehicles meet the requirements of the Tibet Tourist Bureau, and are equipped with GPS and speed-limiting equipment.
Take into consideration the time you need to apply for your Tibet Entry Permit. It’s best to book a tour with us at least 30 days before your tour starts.
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