Yunnan Tibet Ancient Horse Caravan - 16 Nights/ 17 Days

Kunming-Zhongdian-Deqin-Yanjing-Markham-Zuogong-Bamda-Rawo Lake-Tongmai-Nyingchi-Basum Tso-Lhasa

For thousands of years, there was an Ancient road treaded by human feet and horse hoofs in the mountains of Southwest China, bridging the Chinese hinterland and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The road stretched across more than 4,000 kilometers mainly in Southwest China's Sichuan and Yunnan provinces and the Tibetan Autonomous Region . Along the unpaved and often rugged road, tea, salt and sugar flowed into Tibet, while horses, cows, furs, musk and other local products came out. This ancient commercial passage, dubbed the "Ancient Tea and Horse Road", first appeared during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and lasted until the 1960s when Tibetan highways were constructed. Meanwhile, the road also promoted exchanges in culture, religion and ethnic migration, resembling the refulgence of the Silk Road. Just as the Silk Road, the Ancient Tea and Horse Road disappeared with the dawn of modern civilization, but both routes have played very important roles in the development of China. Different Chinese ethnic cultures, such as the Dai, Yi, Han, Bai, Naxi and Tibetans, have met, fused and developed along the historic road. The road ran across the Hengduan Mountains and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau -- an area of the most complicated geological conditions and most diversified organisms. Besides its cultural and historic value, the road was also highly appreciated by adventurers and scientists. Recent years, we find that the people come from everywhere of the world scattered on the road who are charmed by the environment of the region.

This trip takes you into areas well away from the usual tourist trail. But this mean groups share very basic accommodation often with limited access to hot water, no showers for several days, pit toilets, simple food with very little spoken or written English. Landslides or vehicle malfunction may cause disruption to the trip. There are some long travel days, often on rough dirt roads.

Yunnan Overland via Northern Tibet - Day to Day itinerary

Day 01: Arrival in Kunming

Meet our local representative at the airport and transfer to hotel. Accommodation in Harbour Plaza Hotel (5*)

Day 02: Kunming Sightseeing

Full day sightseeing of Stone Forest, Minority Village, Golden Temple, Flower & birds Market. In the evening, enjoy the typical Yunnan Cuisine with local cultural performance in tourist restaurant. Overnight Harbour Plaza Hotel (5*)

Day 03: Flight to Zhongdian

Morning flight to Zhongdian (Shangri-La), airport pick up and transfer to hotel. Visit Somtsang Lin Monastery, and Tibetan family. Overnight in Zhongdian Holy Palace Hotel (4*)

Day 04: Zhongdian to Deqin (190km)

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 Mt. Meili, the highest peak in Yunnan Province, with an altitude of 6740m above sea level. Overnight in Meili Hotel (2*) in Deqin

Day 05 Deqin to Yanjing (115km)

Drive along the unpaved road following the Mekong River, till the small town of Yanjing (3109m)-the first town of Tibet Autonomous Region. Yanjing means salt well; it was once the main source of salt for half of the Kham Tibetan areas, which ranged from NW Sichuan down into Yunnan. We’ll visit the Natural hot springs(Qu Zi Ka in Tibetan)located on west bank of Mekong. And Cizong Catholic Church which has been reconstructed in 2003, the original was built start of 20c by French priest. Nowadays it is Lu, a friendly Naxi priest. Overnight in Yanjing Guesthouse. (Very basic!!)

Day 06 Yanjing to Markham (111km)

Today we drive from Yanjing towards northwest to Markham. It is the only region to meet traditional horse caravans on the way. This section is so-call 126 bents or 99 bents. Markham is the intersection town where Yunnan-Tibet highway joins the Sichuan-Tibet highway. Will visit Gartok Gompa(Weise Si in chi.), 10km before reach Markham (Gelukpa), affiliated to Drayub sub-branch. Overnight in Markham Guesthouse. (Very basic!!)

Day 07 Markham to Zuogong (173km)

Drive to Zuogong (3780m), the condition of this section of road is unbelievable good for 40km. Zuogong , the town Overlooks Yu-chu river (major tributary of Salween), amid forests. Overnight in Hotel - Liangshiju Guesthouse in Zuogong which Offers room with private bathroom.

Day 08 Zuogong to Bamda (107km)

Today will drive passes Denpa, ascend to Dungda La (5008m). Road continues through grassland along Yu-chu river valley. Visit Gelukpa monastery(Tiantuo Si in chi.)founded as branch of Drepung, Stupas along roadside. The Monks are extremely hospitable. (Watch out for the dogs!) and Bamda (3780m) airport, 50km from intersection, there are flights to Lhasa & Chengdu. Overnight in Bamda guesthouse

Day 09-10 Bamda To Rawok Lake (190km)

Today drive ascend to Game La (4618m), Alpine forests, road follows Ling-chu valley after its confluence Salween up to Pasho. Note: No photos on Salween Bridge for military reason. Both Bamda & Pasho are good place for dinner stop. Here are Watershed of Salween and Brahmaputra rivers. Rawok-tso (3950m) on North shore of Ngan-tso, shores nice for camping. Take one day off for photos and rest. Overnight in Peace Guesthouse.

Day 11 Rawok Lake to Bomi to Tongmai (197km)

after breakfast, you have some time to stroll by the lakeside. Then 130km to Bomi, with lunch stop in Songzong. At Bomi, visit a temple and continue to Tongmai. Accommodation guesthouse.

Day 12 Tongmai to Bayi (Nyingchi) (116km)

Driev to Bayi, the capital of the old county Nyingchi. Nyingtri & Lulang landscape is extremely magnificent, characterized by dense primeval forest, Plateau Lake, high mountains and deep fertile valleys. Taktse Yungdrungling Bon, road into Nyingtri passes through Takste town, approached via turnoff on left below. There is a 2000+years old juniper tree, sacred to Bon religion followers. Overnight in Nyingchi Hotel (3*)

Day 13 Nyingchi to Basum Tso (Lake) (160km)

Leave hotel early morning for Basum Tso Lake. The he snow mountain, the Crystal Lake, the lush trees and the monastery make the area so beautiful that if paradise exists anywhere on earth, it should be at Basum Tso. Overnight at the Lakeside Lodge.

Day 14 Pasum Tso to Lhasa via Medrok Gongkar and Ganden Monastery.

Turn-off at Lamo, about 7 km detour to Ganden Monastery. Ganden monastery (3200m) was founded in 1409 by Tsongkhapa-the founder of Gelugpa sect of Buddhism, on the Gokpori ridge of Mount Wangkur, overlooking the south bank of the river. Ganden was the first and foremost Gelukpa monastery, constructed by Tsongkhaoa himself. Overnight Dhood Gu or similar hotel.

Day 15: Lhasa sightseeing

In the morning, visit the grand -- looking Potala Palace, which was built in the 7th century for the King. In the afternoon, visit Jokhang temple and stroll in the famous local bazaar - Barkhor street. Overnight Dhood Gu or similar hotel.

Day 16: Lhasa sightseeing

Visit Drepung monastery which is the biggest monastery in Tibet. Then visit Sera monastery and Norbulingka which can give you deep impression of Tibet arts and civilization. Accommodation hotel.

Day 17 Depart Lhasa

Drive to Airport and Train station for onward destination

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