Lhasa to Everest Base Camp Trips (8-10 days)
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After meeting you at the Gongkar airport, you will spend the spend the first four days in Lhasa and nearby. Then you will set out for the New Mt. Everest Base Camp. To complete your trip, you can cross into Nepal or return to Lhasa, directly or via other destinations.
DAY 1: Arrive Lhasa by plane or train, transfer to your hotel of choice and relax.
The holy city of Lhasa was founded as the capital of the Tibetan Empire in the 7th century by the Emperor Songtsen Gampo. Since the beginning of the ascendancy of the Dalai Lamas in the 17th century, it has had no rivals on the Tibetan Plateau. "The Place of the Gods", (10 950 ft.) which straddles the Kyichu Valley, is the planet's majestic rooftop city where amid temples, wafting incense and devoted Buddhists, the traditional Tibetan culture continues. Filled with sights, sounds and an abundance of shops, restaurants and historical monasteries, the Tibetan quarter of Lhasa will keep you busy!
DAY 2: Visit the Jokhang Temple and the Barkhor in the morning and nearby Sera Monastery in the afternoon.
The Jokhang was built in the 7th century by King Songtsen Gampo and his two wives—the Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti and the Chinese Princess Wencheng. It houses the famous Jowo Rinpoche (Buddha Shakyamuni) statue, the holiest object in Tibet. Over the centuries, the complex has expanded and been rebuilt several times but remarkably, the core of the original temple still remains and can be visited. The Jokhang is a UNESCO World Heritage site and its importance to the Tibetan people cannot be exaggerated.
DAY 3: Visit the Potala Palace in the morning and Norbulingka or Drepung Monastery in the afternoon.
The glorious Potala Palace, truly an architectural gem, was the residence of the Dalai Lamas known to the Tibetans as Yishin Norbu, Wish-fulfilling Gem. The Emperor Songtsen Gampo is believed to have built the first palace in 637 and later it was rebuilt and expanded by the Great Fifth Dalai Lama in the 17th century. Today the Potala is a state museum but the vibration of its sanctity can still be felt.
Drepung or Rice Heap Monastery located at the foot of Mount Gephel, is one of the great three Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet. The others are Ganden and Sera. Drepung is about 8 km west of Lhasa and is built below a valley wall. It once housed more than 7,000 monks. Much has been destroyed but the four primary buildings have been preserved.
The Norbulingka is a park that was developed in the mid-18th century as the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lamas. It was also the seat of government during the summer months. The complex includes a debating courtyard and three palaces. To the east, there is an open-air stage and gardens where operatic performances are held during the Shoton Festival.
DAY 4: Today, you will enjoy a scenic excursion to Ganden Monastery about 45 km from Lhasa and return to Lhasa for dinner.
About 45 km from Lhasa, Ganden was founded in the 15th century by Tsongkapa. For centuries, Ganden, named after the paradise of Maitreya Buddha, has been a major institution of the Gelukpa tradition. The pilgrim's circumambulation or walking circuit route follows a path that passes several important religious relics, sacred places and rock impressions. The hour-long circuit descends into a burial ground, passes through a narrow cleft then ends at Tsongkhapa's hermitage.
DAY 5 (380 km): Leaving the city of Lhasa, you will drive along the scenic Kyi Chu River and cross the highest river in the world—the Tsangpo River which becomes the Brahmaputra in India. After climbing a high pass, you'll arrive at Yamdrok Yutso Turquoise Lake.
The sacred lake of Yamdrok Yutso sits at 4,408 m/14,461 ft and is believed to be the life-force of the Tibetan nation. Stretching over an area of 754 km, its teal blue waters create the largest lake in southern Tibet. Surrounded by snow-capped mountain ranges, the lake is fed by icy streams and inlets that flow down from the higher elevations during the warm summer months. Its curved pincer shape boasts nine islands, numerous bays and is home to several monasteries. At Gampa La Pass, on the winding road that leads to Yamdrok Yutso lake, you'll see an unforgettable vista of shimmering turquoise beneath a backdrop of glaciers.
In the afternoon, you will reach Gyantse where you will visit Kubum Stupa and Pelkor Monastery. Kubum Stupa one of Tibet’s most outstanding artistic achievements. Built in the 15th century, the Kumbum or gomang—many doored—stupa is 35 m tall, with nine gates and nine stories and contains a total of 75 chapels. Built as a three-dimensional mandala that represents the universe, its circle within a square design is meant to aid an individual on the path to enlightenment Many of the statues were damaged during the Cultural Revolution but the main temple survives intact and contains important 14th century murals and images.
In the evening, Gesar Hotel awaits you in the city of Shigatse.
DAY 6: In the morning, we will visit Tashilunpo Monastery and then drive to New Tingri (Shegar) with views of Mt. Everest on the way. Hotel in New Tingri. *
DAY 7: We will have a spectacular drive on a paved road to the new Mount Everest North Face Base Camp at Rongbuk. Enjoy the views and visit the monastery. Tourist campsite or Monastery guesthouse.
In 1865, Mount Everest was so-named by the Royal Geographical Society of England. Tibetans honor the mountain as Jomolangma or Queen of the Universe. Often pictured with a plume of condensation streaming from its pyramidal summit, the mountain peaks at 8,848 m/29,029 ft. Tibet is home to Everest’s stunning North Face. From the new Everest Base Camp at Rongbuk Monastery, 5,150 m/17,000 ft., the mountain face soars another 3,648 m/11,969 ft overhead.
*For a shorter trip, you can skip Day 6 at New Tingri.
OPTIONS TO COMPLETE YOUR TRIP:
Cross into Nepal:
Day 8: After sunrise, drive to the Nepal border town of Kyirong while enjoying views of Mt. Cho Oyu, Sheshabangma and Peguo Lake. Hotel. Then on Day 9, we will help you to cross the border into Nepal.
Options for Returning to Lhasa:
Day 8: Return directly to Lhasa and leave Tibet on Day 9 or extend your visit.
Day 8, 9, 10: Return to Lhasa via Namtso Lake where you spend the night and arrive in Lhasa the following day (Day 9). Leave Tibet on Day 10 or extend your visit.
Namtso "Sky" Lake lies at 4,718 m/15,479 fts, approximately 70 miles from Lhasa. Bordered by the snowy peaks of the Nyenchen Tanglha, Namtso Lake is the second largest salt-water lake in Tibet. It has five, uninhabited islands and Tashi Dor Gompa, a small monastery located on a southeastern peninsula. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and vast grasslands, this crystal clear lake is a bird sanctuary. There is a 2-3 hour hiking circuit that runs along the shoreline.