Thanks to its relative isolation of the years, Tibet has remained one of the most mysterious countries in the world, until now. The country is slowly becoming more accessible, and this 12-day trekking tour will uncover the best of what this breathtaking Chinese territory has to offer. You’ll start by exploring the administrative capital of Lhasa, before embarking on an epic overland journey both in car and on foot. A three-day drive will take you to Mount Kailash via the remote towns of Saga and Paryang. Three days are then dedicated to trekking, where you’ll pass stunning mountain gorges, the majestic Lake Mansarovar and end your journey in the ancient Guge Kingdom, all whilst sleeping in untouched monasteries along the way.
per person per day
View more details
On this first day you will arrive in Lhasa, the administrative capital of Tibet. On the journey from airport, stop by the Tibetan Village Project, a humanitarian project that promotes sustainable village life. Check in to the luxurious Shangri-La hotel and have the rest of the day to relax or enjoy the hotel’s signature spa treatment.
A whole day of exploring this fascinating city is on the bill today, with guided stops-offs to Barkhor Square, the incredible Potala Palace (which is perched 361 feet above Lhasa) and the recently renovated Old Town area. Other cultural excursions include visits to an ancient monastery and Jokhang Temple, widely-considered to be Tibet’s holiest place of worship.
Leave the luxury of the Shangri-La behind and make the epic seven-hour journey to Shigatse, passing some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. Along the drive, there will be a chance to see the majestic Lake Yamdrok Tso as well as 600-year-old monastery. Once in Shigaste, the capital of the central Tsang region and Tibet’s second-largest city, you’ll have an authentic dinner at a local family home before checking in to the hotel.
Day four marks the start of a three-day journey to the legendary Mount Kailash, with stop-offs at Saga and Paryang along the way. Most of the day will be spent on the road to Saga, a stunning mountainous town nestled deep in untouched Tibet. After an eight-hour drive with several stops on the way, you’ll check into Saga Hotel and have dinner before having time to relax.
The second full day on the road will take you to Paryang, a particularly remote area that is known to be one of the highest towns in the world at around 15,000 feet above sea level. The eight-hour journey will take you through more stunning scenery and over jaw-dropping Himalayan valleys. Arrive in good time to check in to the hotel, with time in the evening set aside for dinner and relaxation.
The final leg of your three-day overland journey takes you to the picturesque Lake Mansarovar. The drive from your hotel in Paryang to here takes approximately nine hours, and there will be plenty of opportunities to stop off and enjoy the spectacular scenery, as well as lunch along the way. Check in to your guesthouse near the lake in the evening before sitting down to a delightful dinner.
This first day of trekking gives you a great chance to warm up for the rest of the trip, with no steep slopes or particularly difficult terrain. The total trek, which will circle Mt Kailash and end up in at Dirapuk, will take around eight to nine hours. You’ll also be spending the night in the region’s main monastery, Dirapuk Monastery, making for a truly unforgettable night’s stay.
This second day of trekking - lasting eight to nine hours in total - will take you up to the Drolma-La Pass (by around midday), and there’s a chance to visit various holy sites along the way. Drolma-La is a popular pilgrimage spot, and you too can string up prayer flags and make an offering to the Gods above. A steep afternoon ascent will take you to Zulpultruk, where you’ll be sleeping in a historical monastery for the night.
Say goodbye to the peaceful Zulpultruk monastery and head for Tirthapuri, the final destination of your epic three-day trek through Tibet. Along the way, you’ll be treated to more incredible views of Lake Manasarovar, which at 14,948 feet is the highest freshwater lake in the world. There’s also a chance to bathe in and even drink the water here, which is believed to rid believers of their sins. After an eight-hour trek, there is an onwards drive to Tirthapuri (two hours) where you’ll be spending the night in a guesthouse.
A seven-hour drive to Guge Kingdom awaits on this tenth day, a very remote and holy region of Tibet. There, you’ll have the chance to visit untouched shrines, temple ruins and visit the highly-regarded system of mountainous caves, which are currently under consideration to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Check in to Xiangxiong hotel, where you can enjoy dinner and relax in the evening after another full day.
This penultimate day of your 12-day Tibetan adventure is dedicated to more time in the stunning Guge Kingdom, with time set aside for exploring more ruins of this ancient settlement. Your tour guide can take you to several remote towns and former monasteries, many of which lie in ruins today. Dinner will be back at the hotel and the rest of the evening can be spent preparing to depart this remote region back to Lhasa the next day.
After a morning check-out, private transportation will take you to the airport, where you’ll catch the flight back to the Tibetan capital, Lhasa. You’ll be welcomed back to the stunning Shangri-La hotel, where your Tibetan journey first began 12 days ago. The rest of the day can be spent relaxing or doing some final shopping in the city before catching your final flight home the following morning.
Opened in April 2014, this luxury property is a fitting new addition to the Lhasa hospitality scene. Shangri-La is, after all, the mythical kingdom believed to inhabit the Tibetan plateaus. Located in the city center, this stylish urban retreat allows guests to experience time-honored Tibetan customs - being welcomed with a local drink called chima, for instance, and being presented with a ceremonial khata scarf. Visitors at the Shangri-La Lhasa can enjoy being within strolling distance of this historic city's main attractions, including Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple. For those who find Lhasa's high-altitude landscapes literally breathtaking, there's an oxygen lounge and relaxation center at the resort primed for guest recuperation. As with all Shangri-La properties, local culture plays a vital role in both the hospitality and the décor. At the Lhasa resort, this manifests in traditional architecture and design, with contemporary, luxuriously appointed guest rooms accented with local Tibetan textiles and artworks. Guests are also spoiled with far-reaching views of the mountains, the city and the spectacular Potala Palace.
Perfectly located for exploring the surrounding delights of the ruined city of ancient Guge, the Xiangxiong Hotel is set in Shiquanhe Town in nearby Ali. The large hotel, while not luxurious, is one of the best options in the area and provides a comfortable respite after a day of exciting discovery. With 58 rooms, ranging from singles and doubles to suites, there are configurations suitable for all parties. While it’s not overwhelmingly sumptuous by international standards, the accommodation is clean and adequately equipped with televisions, air-conditioning and WiFi, as well as complimentary coffee and tea facilities. The hotel restaurant serves up a range of dishes from local Sichuan specialties and Cantonese classics to western favourites. For guests who still have a little energy left over for some evening entertainment, there is a games rooms as well as singing and dancing in the ballroom. Meanwhile, those seeking a little relaxation can retreat to the beauty salon or the spa and sauna to unwind.