OLA02 Explorewestchina Trans Kham Sichuan-Tibet on Northern Route Overland Adventure 14 Days Tourfrom
Route:Chengdu – Wolong – Danba – Bamei – Kasa Lake – Garze – Yilhun Lhatso – Deg – Chamdo – Riwoch – Dengchen – Bachen -Sok Dzong – Naqu – Nam Tso Lake – Lhasa – Potala Palace – Jokhang monastery – Drepung monastery – Chengdu.
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Vacation Style Holiday TypeDiscovery
Activity Level Strenuous
Hard overland tour by 4WD vehicle
Visit Panda in Wolong.
Highland-lakes and grassland.
Folkway of Qiang-Minority, Khampa- and Gyarong-Tibetan.
1000 year old block houses and beautiful Tibetan village in Danba.
On the roof of the world to Lhasa.
The center of the Boen-Religion around Dengchen.
Beautiful landscapes of Nam Tso Lake.
Three nights in Lhasa with great sightseeing program.
This epic journey through Sichuan, across the Tibetan Plateau to Lhasa, has attracted explorers and adventurers, pilgrims, traders, and even missionaries for hundreds of years. The journey is a long one, and requires a certain dedication on the part of the traveler, as well as a certain resilience to bumps! We have considerable experience of this route and know exactly what is required in terms of transportation, accommodation, and red tape, not to mention the fascinating sights along the way.
The first step of this great overland adventure takes us to Pandas in Wolong. Then we drive to the 1000 year old block houses and beautiful Tibetan village in Danba. We head west to Garze which currently boasts the largest monastery in Kham and then continue to the sacred lake of Yilhun Lhatso (Xinlu Hai Lake) and finally the cultural centre of Dege where we can relax for a day. Cross Jinsha Jiang (Golden Sand River, upper reaches of Yangtze) we entry in Tibet. In Chamdo, the biggest city in East-Tibet we’ll visit Kalden Jampaling Monastery which dates from the 15th century, and forms the focal point of this important market town at the confluence of two tributaries of the Lancang Jiang (Mekong). At this point we take the northern route to Lhasa, over the Tanlen Taweng Range to Riwoche and Dengchen, an important center for the old Boen religion. We drive across high passes and verdant pastures, where village monasteries cling to the rock face, and where nomads pasture their flocks. We will enjoy the splendid landscape while walking by the Nam Tso Lake on Qiangtang grassland. In Lhasa we visit the Potala Palace, which stands on the Red Hill in the city proper, the holiest place Jokhang as well as Drepung and Sera.
Arrive in Chengdu
Arrive in Chengdu, capital of province Sichuan, the home town of Panda. Picked up by the local guide at airport and transferred to hotel.
Chengdu - Wolong - Danba
In the morning leave for Danba. We’ll cross the Wolong Giant Panda Natural Reserve, where about 50 giant pandas are bred in a semi-natural environment. After lunch at Wolong, cross the foggy Balang Mountain (4,523 meters) and pass by the Siguniang Shan Mountain (four-girls mountain, highest peak 6250 m), late in the afternoon we reach Danba (1900 meters).
Danba - Bamei
The local people are called Jiarong (Gyarong) Tibetans. It is said that they are the descendants of the people of the ancient Xixia Kingdom, who merged with the local people after they fled from Gansu and settled here. Danba has long been acclaimed as the Kingdom of Thousands of Ancient Blockhouses. Visit the ancient block towers in Suopo. They were made of clay and block and look fine from outside with solid thick walls. Time permitting; visit the Jiaju Tibetan Hamlet. Jiaju, 10 kilometers away from the county city, is one of the rare places in China that has preserved complete Tibetan style residences. More than one hundred buildings keep the same architectural style with a complete and unique character of Jiarong Tibetan residences. Under the blue sky, the Tibetan residences decorated in red, white and black are strewed at random but also in order from the bottom to the middle slope of the valley. In the afternoon drive to Bamei. Pass by Donggu Scenery Spot (the Natural Bonsai Valley), which is situated at the Donggu Village 21 kilometers to the southwest of Danba County. In the valley, the clear Yak River flows through and numerous varieties of plants are well preserved and the lush and damp forests make it hard to view the sky. Strangely shaped peaks and giant stones form a forest of rocks; ravines stretch out in length and width here and there; and waterfalls flying down from the steep rock with thunder-like sounds. Many lakes and hot-water pools at the bottom of the valley create a world of steam. Too many wizardly sceneries to see, just like the fairyland on the earth. We reach Bamei in the late afternoon.
Bamei - Kasa Lake - Garze
Drive to Garze, the real cultural and religious center for the Tibetans living in Sichuan. In Tibetan ”Garze” means ”white and beauty”, named after the famous temple in the county. On the way have a rest by the Kasa Lake. Upon arrival, visit Garze monastery of yellow sect (Gelug). The temple was built in1552 by Juji Angwengpencuo the disciple of the Fifth Dalai Lama.
Garze - Yilhun Lhatso - Deg
In the morning pass by Manigango to visit Xinlu Hai Lake (Yilhun Lhatso). Located at the foot of Chola Mountain in Dege County, Xinlu Hai Lake Scenic Spot is 98 kilometers from Garze County and 100 kilometers from Dege County. It is 4040 meters above the sea level, with an average depth of 10 meters and a maximum depth of 15 meters. There are plateau spruces, firs, Chinese weeping cypresses, azalee trees and meadows around the lake. It is also a preserve for wild animals like white-lipped deer. We walk on the left side of the lake to its top, the gate of a short valley where the melted snow and ice pour into the beautiful lake Yilhun Lhatso. After that we drive up to the Chola Pass (5,000 meters), get across the steep Chola Mountain, the highest peak of which is 5,650 meters. In the afternoon we visit the Dege Printing House which has always been well reputed as the ultural Treasury at the Foot of the Snow Mountain.As the national leading protected entity of cultural relics, it is the biggest printing house in Tibetan area.
Dege - Chamdo
Drive across the Jinsha River (upper reaches of Yangtze) Bridge connecting Sichuan and Tibet heading for Chamdo. We will cross over no less than four passes: Khargang La (4,352 m), Lashi La (4,450 m), Jape La (4,680 m), and Tama La (4,511 m), with clutters of prayer flags waving in the wind on the peaks and friendly nomads waving at us from the grasslands. Straddling the Mekong river, Chamdo (3200 m) was the former capital of Kham in East-Tibetan area and has a rich history as one of the earliest centers of the Tibetan plateau and home of Kalden Jampaling, the great monastery founded between 1436-44 and developed through the centuries by successive Living Buddhas.
Chamdo - Riwoch
In the morning visit Galden Jampaling monastery. In its earlier prime time there were more than 1000 monks in the monastery. In the afternoon drive over the Zholpel La pass (4688 m) to Riwoche (3810 m). Riwoche means in Tibetan „mountain.
Riwoche - Dengchen
Drive on very bad road to Dengchen. Dengchen means in Tibetan ”great terrace” Dengchen is the center of the Boen-Religion, which is a primitive religion based on ancient witchcraft and the worship to god and ghost, and was spread through the whole Tibet before the Buddhism was introduced into Tibetan area. Here visit two monasteries: Tengchen and Ritro Lhakhang.
Dengchen - Bachen - Sok Dzong
After master Tsuri La Pass (4200 m) and Shel La Pass (4750 m) we arrive at Bachen, the ”Yak hair tents” Continue to drive 30 km we reach Sok Dzong, Sok means in Tibetan ?st1:country-region w:st=”on”>Mongolia? At the junction of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), 39 Hoer tribes of Mongolians migrated to the present day areas of Dengchen, Bachen and Sok Dzong; hence the name of ”the Land of the 39 Tribes”. Besides, the three counties are rich in Chinese caterpillar fungus.
Sok Dzong - Naqu
Drive to the Sok Tsanden Zhol village, and visit the monastery of Nyimpa sect – Sok Tsanden Gompa. After that cross over two passes and reach the city of Shakchuka. Still just 100 km and two other passes have to be mastered before arrive at the today’s destination Naqu. The northern route of Sichuan Tibet Highway (Chengdu – Lhasa) and the Qinghai-Tibet Highway (Golmud ?Lhasa) meet in Naqu.
Naqu - Nam Tso Lake - Lhasa
Drive on the vast Qiangtang Grassland for Nam Tso. Cross the 5,150 m Lhachen La Pass and reach the Namtso or Tengri Nor (Heaven Lake in Mongolian) along the newly paved way and set up camp at Tashi Dorie peninsula. Nam Tso, the biggest salty lake of Tibet, is 70 kilometers long from east to west and 30 kilometers wide from north to south, covering an area of 1,920 square kilometers with an altitude of 4,700 meters above sea level. It is said the holy lake and the holy mountain Nyenchentangla are a couple of lovers, who altogether guard the vast pasture and cattle. Take a walk on the peninsula and visit a small nun temple of Nyingma Sect. In the afternoon drive to Lhasa (3650 m), capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. The city is situated on the bank of the Kyichu River and has long been the ”Holy Land” of Tibet.
In the morning visit Potala, which was originally constructed in 637 by Songtsen Gampo, the first king of the united Tibet, and later expanded and served as the winter residence of the Dalai Lamas as well as the religious-political nexus of traditional Tibet. The crowds of pilgrims, innumerable magnificent murals, Buddhist statues, scriptures and rare treasures altogether creative a dense religious and art atmosphere that impresses every visitor. In the afternoon visit Jokhang monastery, the center of the Tibetan Buddhism and the sacred land of Buddhist followers where thousands of pilgrims come for worship everyday. The temple, built in 647, is the earliest wood-and-masonry structure still existing in Tibet. Walk on the Barkhor street surrounding Jokhang, a big free market with its prolific stalls for selling local specialties.
In the morning visit Drepung monastery the sacred land of Gelug Sect., which was established in 1416 and the second, third and fourth Dalai Lama once resided in. In the afternoon visit Sera monastery, which was created in 1419 and has always been an important Buddhist seminary. As rose are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called the court of wild rose? Today still 200 lamas live in there.
In the morning transfer to Gongga airport (64 km), fly to Chengdu.