Accommodation：Overnight in Chengdu
We will get an early start this morning with a 7 a.m. departure from Chengdu to Xinguqiao Bridge. Following along the course of the Dadu River, which is one of the upper tributaries of the Yangtze River, will be able to see the imposing Zheduo Mountain (elevation 4298 meters / 14,101 feet). As we pass by the mountain, the scenery changes as we begin to encounter small Tibetan-style villages, fertile pastures filled with yaks grazing under amazingly blue skies. Following along the winding roads, we will reach Xinduqiao Bridge, which is sometimes referred to as a “Paradise for Photography”. Verdant green fields, azure skies, snow-capped mountains and traditional Tibetan housing make this a wonderful place to take those Instagram-worthy pictures. We will spend the night here so you will have plenty of time to capture the magnificent scenery with your phone or camera.
Accommodation：Overnight in Lhasa
We will get an early start again this morning, traveling through some of the most beautiful scenery in all of China as we head west towards the Yalong River Valley. We will pass through Yajiang, a small city in western Sichuan Province located in a steep valley. Traveling on, we will reach Litang at an elevation of 4014 meters (13,169 feet). Still in western Sichuan, Litang is located on the Qinghai – Tibet Plateau. Litang is surrounded by natural grasslands covered with yaks, sheeps and the tents of nomads that take care of the animals. Here we will visit the Ke’er Monastery, a Gelugpa sect, Tibetan Buddhist monastery that sits picturesquely along a mountain ridge. From there we will travel on westward, passing by Haizi Mountain (elevation 4700 meters / 15,420 feet) as we reach today’s destination of Batang County.
Accommodation：Overnight in Batang
As we cross over into Tibet from Sichuan, we will pass over three of China’s most famous rivers, the Jinsha, Lancang (upper Mekong) and Nu River, all of which originate in the Tanggula Mountains of Tibet. These roaring rivers have gouged deep valleys over millions of years, creating some beautiful scenery in the area. As we continue on to the west through eastern Tibet, we will pass by Lawu Mountain (4358 meters / 14,298 feet) and Dongda Mountain (5008 meters / 16,430 feet). Traveling through these high mountain passes will provide us with some spectacular views along the Sichuan – Tibet Highway as we reach today’s destination of Zuogong.
Accommodation：Overnight in Zuogong
After departing from Zuogong we will visit the Bangda Grassland, a scenic wild expanse of grassland criss-crossed with rivers and dotted with horses, yaks, beautiful wildflowers and lush grass. From there we will head on to Yela Mountain Pass (4839 meters / 15,876 feet), a precipitous pass through the Hengduan Mountain Range. Yela Mountain itself stands at an imposing 5820 meters (19,094 feet) and it is a popular destination for Tibetan mountain trekkers. From there we will descend from the mountain along the Seventy-Two Bends, a famous stretch of zigzagging road named for the seventy-two curves in the road as it winds down the mountain.
Continuing on to the west, we will pass through snow-capped mountains, pristine forests and idyllic villages, sometimes experiencing all 4 seasons in a single day due to the changes in altitude. This evening we will reach Rakwa Tso where we will spend the night.
Accommodation：Overnight in Rakwa Tso
Rakwa Tso, also known as Rawu Tso or Ranwu Lake, is a beautiful glacial lake in Baxoi County, Tibet. Formed by a landslide dam, this lake is incredibly beautiful as it is surrounded by snowy mountain peaks and pristine forests. After some time here for enjoying its unique beauty, we will travel on to the Midui Glacier, the lowest altitude glacier in the world and ranked as one of the most beautiful glaciers in all of China.
Along the way to our destination of Bomi, we will be traveling alongside the Parlung Tsangpo River, so there will be continuously beautiful scenery all along the way. Once we reach Bomi, we will check into our accommodations for the night.
Accommodation：Overnight in Bomi
This morning we will depart from Bomi and travel through the wide valleys and canyons of the Parlung Tsangpo River. Raging river flows and numerous waterfalls can be seen along the way as we pass through Tongmai to reach the stunning alpine scenery of the Lulang Forest. Here we will visit a local Tibetan village to meet some of the local people and enjoy some local snack foods. From the plateau of the Lulang Forest we can have a fantastic view of one of the tallest mountains in the world - Mt. Namcha Barwa (7782 meters / 25531 feet). From there we will pass through the Sejila Mountain Pass (elevation 4728 meters / 15,512 feet) on our way to Nyingchi, eastern Tibet’s largest city that is famed for its peach blossoms in spring. After reaching Nyingchi, we will check into our local accommodations for the night.
Accommodation：Overnight in Nyingchi
This morning we will embark on the final drive of our long road trip. With better roads, we will be able to travel a longer distance today. Following alongside the Nyang River, the largest tributary river to the Yarlung Tsangpo River, we will have the opportunity to observe the beautiful scenery of rural Tibet along the way. We will reach the Mila Mountain Pass, which at an elevation of 5013 meters (16,447 feet) is the highest point of the Lhasa – Nyingchi Highway. From there we will descend into the Lhasa Valley, with the Potala Palace atop the Red Hill greeting us as we arrive into Lhasa. Upon arriving in Lhasa, we will check into our local hotel for the night.Optional side trip today: Basum Tso
If time allows, we can visit Basum Tso, a small lake that is holy in Tibetan Buddhism. This green water lake has been called the most beautiful lake in Tibet. The entrance cost is a bit steep though at US$30 and this entrance fee is payable at the lake entrance.
Accommodation：Ovenright in Lhasa
From one historic landmark to another, your next stop will be at the Jokhang Temple, considered as the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism. Every day thousands of pilgrims come from all over Tibet and other places to the temple to worship the Buddha. The Jokhang Temple is also known as the "House of Buddha" because it houses the precious Jowo Rinpoche, a life-sized (1.5 meter/5 feet) image of the Sakyamuni at the age of 12.
The last stop for today's Lhasa exploration is Barkhor Street, the wide, circular street that surrounds the Jokhang Temple. Local residents enjoy walking on the street, completing several circuits around the temple as a daily tradition of pilgrimage. The street also has many small shops selling a wide variety of traditional Tibetan goods, religious items and handicrafts.
After your visit to the Jokhang Temple, we will take you back to your hotel for the evening.
Accommodation：Overnight in Lhasa
After visiting the palaces and park at Norbulingka, we will travel around 5 kilometers to the western outskirts of Lhasa to visit the Drepung Monastery, the largest monastery in Tibet. The word "drepung" in Tibetan language means "prosperity". Since its establishment in 1416, Drepung Monastery has served as one of the most important Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. During its prime, more than 10,000 monks lived and studied in the monastery. Throughout its history, many important and famous Tibetan leaders studied at this monastery, including the Dalai Lamas. Accordingly, Drepung Monastery is also respectfully known as the “Mother School of Dalai Lamas”.
In the afternoon, we will escort you on to another famous monastery in Lhasa - the Sera Monastery. Sera Monastery is famous for its spectacular “Buddhist Debates”. As a daily routine, the monks gather in a courtyard, and debate on the various Buddhist doctrines with exaggerated gestures, which is thought to be helpful in facilitating a better comprehension of the Buddhist philosophy to attain higher levels of study. After enjoying the "Buddhist Debates", we will take you back to your hotel with the rest of the day and evening to relax or explore on your own.
Accommodation：Overnight in Lhasa
1) Please take care to pack all of your belongings, particularly the small things that are easy to forget about, such as phone and camera chargers, power adapters, mobile phones, wallets, etc.
2) If your flight or train is in the afternoon, please be sure to check out of your hotel room by 12 p.m.