Yunnan Overland via Northern Tibet - 16 Nights/ 17 Days

Route: Kunming-Dali-Lijiang-Zhongdian-Dechen-Markham-Bamda-Chamdo-Bachen-Nagchu-Lhasa

From Kunming you reach Dali, which is located between the Erhai Lake and the Canqshan range, the subsequent trip leads you to East Tibet where experience various landscapes. The Jade-Dragon Snow-Mountain and the Tiger Jumping Gorge in Lijiang are probably the most famous scenic spot in Yunnan Province. On markets you get to know peoples of the Bai and Naxi minorities who still partly carry their own colorful national costumes. The visit to some of the temples will repay your long-time stop here.

You reach Gyalthang (Zhongdian), which is situated in the east edge of Himalaya Range with an altitude of 3330 m above sea level. Here you visit Sumsanling (the city of monasteries) and trek to the isolated Dabao Temple. Another route leads you through the Hengduan Range to Dechen and then along the Mekong River to Markam, a small town in Tibet nears the boarder between Tibet and Sichuan Province. It will take you six days to cross over the Tibetan Plateau to Lhasa along the so called Sichuan-Tibet-Highway, with Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province as a start point. On this journey, Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, tents of the herdsmen as well as lonely landscape with its overwhelming beauty appear now and then.

In Lhasa you visit the Potala Palace, which was founded in 637 by Songtsen Gampo, the first king of the united Tibet, the summer residence of the Dalai Lama as well as two monastic schools: Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery. From Lhasa, you can extend your trip in Tibe or depart.

Yunnan Overland via Northern Tibet - Day to Day itinerary

Day 01: Arrive in Kunming

Arrive in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province. Meet your guide and transfer to hotel. Overnight at a middle range 3 star hotel.

Day 02: At Kunming.

Today, you will take a day excursion to the Stone Forest- consisting of eighty hectares of ancient limestone cliffs and peaks eroded by wind and water over two hundred million years. The area is the home of the Sani minority people.

Days 03 Flight to Lijiang.

After breakfast, take morning flight to Lijiang. Meet the Lijiang Guide at the airport and after some rest in the hotel, visit the Old City of Lijiang, including Dongba culture museum.

Day 04: At Lijiang

After breakfast, take an excursion to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain with a chair lift ride to discover the much famed thirteen peaks. On the way, visit the Jade Peak Monastery and Baisha Village. You have free time in the afternoon to stroll around. Overnight hotel.

Days 05 Drive to Zhongdian

Drive to Zhongdian, also called Shangri La. En route, stop and tour the Shigu (Stone Drum) Village overlooking the First Bend of the Yangtze River. Continue to the Tiger Leaping Gorge, which you will enter by bus before taking a path down to the Golden Sands River.

Day 06 At Zhongdian

Visit the Gedan Songzanlin Monastery, which was built in 1679 by the Fifth Dalai lama. In the afternoon, walk to visit Dabao Si Monastery and Napahai reserved area. Overnight at hotel.

Day 07: Drive Dechen

Drive through parts of the Hengduan Range along the Jinsha Jiang River. Have a break in a beautiful small town named Benzilan. Finally arrive at Dechen. Enjoy a far view of Mt. Meili, the highest peak of Yunnan Province, with an altitude of 6,740m. This peak is named "Kawagebo" after a Tibetan brave man. Overnight in best available Guesthouse.

Day 08: Drive to Markham

Drive northwards along the Langcang Jiang River Valley, the upper reaches of the Mekong River towards Yanjing country. Yanjing is a nice place to stroll around, enjoy the peace of life, and visit a Church at the north end of the town. In the afternoon, reach Markham, a small but important town on Sichuan - Tibet Highway. Overnight in best available Guesthouse.

Day 09: Drive to Bangda

after breakfast, from the most eastern corner of, start westwards in the direction of Lhasa on the northern side of the Nyenchentangla Shan Range. Pass Zuogong county town and in the late afternoon, arrive in Bangda. Overnight in best available Guesthouse.

Day 10: Drive to Chamdo

After breakfast, drive over the Chuma Shankou Pass (4360m). Then drive down along the Mekong valley, which leads to Chamdo (3200m.). Chamdo was the former capital of Kham in the East - Tibetan area. Visit Galden Jampaling Monastery, built in the 15th century and is the biggest Monastery of Gelugpa sect in East - Tibetan area or Kham. Overnight in best available Guesthouse.

Day 11: Chamdo to Dengchen

Drive over the Zholpel La Pass (4690m), through the Ngamda village in Dzi Chu and up to a small town of Ratsaka . Finally reach Dengchen. Overnight in best available Guesthouse.

Day 12: Dengchen to Bachen

Dengchen is the centre of the Boen religion, a pri-Buddhist religion based on ancient witchcraft and the worship of gods and ghosts. Visit two monasteries: Tengchen and Ritro Lhakhang. Continue over Tsuri La Pass (4200m) and Shel La Pass (4750m) to Bachen. Overnight in best available Guesthouse.

Day 13: Bachen to Nagchu

Drive to Sok Tsanden Zhol village and during the journey stop to visit two monasteries of the Nyimpa sect: Sok Tsanden Gonpa and Kapgye Lhakhang. Then cross over two passes and reach the city of Shakchuka. Another 100km and two more passes have to be mastered before arriving at Nagchu. Overnight in best available Guesthouse.

Day 14: Nagchu - Lhasa

Nagchu is an important and big town in on the Qinghai - Tibet Highway, which starts from Golmud of Qinghai province and ends in Lhasa. Drive over Kyogche La Pass (4850m) and continue down to Damsung. After passing Yangpachen, arrive in Lhasa, capital and center of Tibetan culture.

Day 15-16: At Lhasa

Visit the highlights of Lhasa such as Potala Palace, Drepung and Sera Monasteries, Norbulingkha Palace and Barkhor Street.

Day 17: Depart Lhasa

You are transferred to the airport for your flight to next destination. You can fly to Kathmandu, Beijing or Chengdu and other major Chinese cities and other Asian Cities via Chengdu.

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