16 Days Sichuan-Tibet Northern Route Adventure




16 days

Best Months To Travel

June, July, Aug, Sept


The splendid Sichuan-Tibet Northern route is one of the best overland drives in Tibet, passing the well-known Tibetan Khampa culture heartland Ganzi and Kham Dege, the isolated beauty of Riwoche Tsuglhakang, the sparsely populated nomadic grasslands of Tengchen and Sok, then finally the stunning beauty of holy Namtso lake and mystical Lhasa. Within the alpine terrain of far eastern Tibet, traverse numerous high passes and photogenic valleys, northern route is slightly different from the southern road, where you will experience the distinctive breathing cultures of the Khampa people and their beautiful costumes.

Nevertheless, Sichuan to Tibet route highlights the crisscrossing route over the narrow and steep slopes and sharp ridges with spectacular views of nomad communities on the vast plateau grassland, picturesque sceneries of mighty rivers and snow-capped peaks within the beautiful fertile valleys, then the following the Qinghai-Tibet train track to Lhasa after a memorable night at Namtso Tashi Do promontory.

Generally, the Northern and far eastern parts are receiving a cold climate due to their high altitude, so this adventurous journey is accessible from April to Mid June and then Sept to Nov, since some high passes are blocked by snow


Tour Cost Includes:

  • - All necessary travel permits to Tibet;
  • - Entrance ticket fees for all the sight spots listed in the program;
  • - Private transportation in Tibet: Ranging from 4WD land cruiser to bus depending on the group size and trip route (car gasoline is included), SEE VEHICLE PHOTOS HERE;
  • - Private guide: English speaking local Tibetan guide;
  • - Lodging: available from 5 star hotels to budget guesthouses, SEE HOTEL PHOTOS HERE;
  • - Pick-up and send-off services at the beginning/end of the tour;
  • - Oxygen canisters: 2 canisters for each person;
  • - Lodging and meals for guide and drivers;
  • - First aid kit;
  • - Liability travel insurance;
Tour Cost Excludes:
  • - Travel insurance covers trip cancellation and emergency evacuation(recommended);
  • - Expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, phone call, etc.);
  • - International and domestic flight/train.(Note: we accept flights and train tickets bookings in advance, please check the updated cost and ticket availability with your travel consultant);
  • - Meals that are not specified in the itinerary (Averagely a meal in Tibet cost USD5 per person);
  • - Gratuities for the guide and driver:

Tour Amenities

Accepts Credit Cards
Car Parking
Free Coupons
Laundry service
Outdoor Seating
Smoking Allowed
Wireless Internet

Tour Plan

Today you will be greeted by our local guide and driver at the Chengdu International Airport and a short drive of 30 minutes get you to hotel in the Chengdu downtown, rest in the hotel and alleviate jet-lag. Overnight in Chengdu.
Attraction: Giant Panda Breeding Centre, cute giant Pandas and Red Pandas. This morning our guide and driver meet you at the hotel lobby about 8 am and start the beautiful day with a visit the Panda breeding centre, the cute pandas are very active in the morning and there you will see them rolling, climbing and eating bamboos, Chengdu Giant Panda breeding centre was founded in 1987 with 6 rescued Pandas from the wild and now there are about 83 Pandas rearing in it. You will enjoy the time by seeing both Giant Pandas and red Pandas, you will definitely impress by seeing the newly born Panda cubs in the nursery. After lunch, you have time to pack and prepare for your long overland journey through the Tibet plateau, you will meet your Tibetan guide and drive this afternoon and confirm your departure time of the trip. Overnight in Chengdu.
Attractions; Chengdu country side view, Kangding Tibetan town situated in the narrow valley. Today we will drive to Kangding via Ya’an and Luding, the well paved highway ends at Ya’an, then the twisted and narrow road within the gorge sometimes take longer than expected, continues drive through the Mt.Erlang(3437m) tunnel and following river upstream to Kangding. Kangding is the capital of Ganzi Tibetan Prefecture, but in these days more and more Chinese merchants trading in the town and settled there, the river passing in the middle of the town plays and important role during the sunny summer days. You may have a short walk around the street after dinner. Overnight in Kangding.
Attractions; Mt. Zheduo(4270m), vast nomadic pastures of Tagong, Tagong Phalhakang monastery, blooming wild flowers, mighty snowcapped peaks and local Tibetan house. Today we will drive across the Zheduo pass(4270m) and it is remarked by a heap of prayer flags and a stupa, Tibetan pilgrims put prayer flags up on the passes which is considered as most clean spot, further driving into the valley pass by the recently opened Kangding airport, before we get to XinduQiao, you will be impressed by the colorfully designed triangular prayer flags and well carved mantras over the hillside along the road, among Chinese tourist, XinduQiao is well known as heaven for photographers, especially in spring, when the trees along the road shed its leaves with yellowish color, the whole surrounding looks like a great painting and crowds of Chinese tourist occupies the whole region. The southern and northern highway is also divide at Xinduqiao, we will take the spurroad toward the north and Tagong is noticed by the huge mantra curving on the small hill with lines of prayer flags, Tagong is famous for its pasture with Tibetan herders and Pha Lhakang monastery, Lhakang monastery originate its history prior to the Jokhang temple in Lhasa, the replica Sakya Muni Buddha statue was curved when Princess Wencheng traveled to Tibet with the original Buddha image in 7th century. Then after lunch we will keep on drive to Bamei (Garthar). Overnight in the guesthouse.
Attractions; Nomads and herds of yaks over the vast pasture, Ganzi Gompa. Bamei is a beautiful village located in a basin valley, you will have some nice shots in the morning the sun rise falls over the town, the lines of stupas next on the road and the monastery is busy with locals making circumambulation early in the morning. After breakfast, we will drive straight to Ganzi via Tawu and Drango, today the road condition is comparatively the worst and it may take longer to get to the final destination, passing through the nomadic areas and herd of yaks grazing in the valley, afternoon we will get to Ganzi and you have time to visit Ganzi monastery at the arrival, it is the largest monastery in the region with over 500 monks and located up on a small hill that visible from the downtown, you may get chance to see the monks debate in the afternoon in the cuordyard. Overnight in Ganzi.
Attractions; Manigango nomads, Yilhun Lhatso lake, Trola pass(5050m), Dege Parkhang. Today we will drive to the famous Khampa culture heartland Dege, driving over the plateau grassland and views of nomads family tents are can be seen all around the region, and after 15km from Manigango and before crossing the Trola pass we will stop at fascinating lake Yilhun Lhatso, the lake is decorated with thousands of giant rock curved with mantras “Om Ma Ni Pad Mi Hum”, every year, nearby villagers gather here voluntarily and curve mantras on the rock for several days, after a short hike up to the lakeshore and then drive ahead to Dege by crossing the might Trola pass(5050m), at the arrival in Dege, we will visit the famous Dege Parkhang (Printing house), Dege Parkhang was famous for printing scriptures since from 18th century, this three-storeyed building was also damaged during the Cultural Revolution in 1960s and the later restored its murals and woodblocks, you will get chance to see some of the old woodblocks preserved on the 2nd floor and functioning printer too. Overnight in Dege.
Attractions; Drichu (Yangzi) river, nomads and herds of yaks. Today we will cross several different passes to Chamdo, we will cross the Yangzi river bridge and it is borderline to the Tibet Autonomous Region, the check point at the end of bridge will check the documents and permits to enter TAR, Chamdo is local in a wide valley in the middle of two rivers. It is a one of the largest city in TAR and you may shop some provisions for the remaining days to Lhasa. Overnight in Chamdo.
Attractions; Mekong river, 1500-year-old juniper forest and Riwoche Tsuglhakang(monastery). Today we will follow road along the Dza-chu(Mekong river) to some distance and then leave the river and head toward south to Riwoche, spectacular fusion of alpine conifer and deciduous forest can be seen beyond the pass, slowly ascent the Trugu la pass or Zholpel la (4688m) and then again follow the Dzichu upstream to Riwoche(Ratsaka) town, from there only 29km over a newly built road to Riwoche Monastery, it is founded in 1276 by Sangye On, whose teacher Yarjon is the third lineage-holder and abbot of the Taklung branch of Kargyu sect, it is painted in the distinctive black, white and red vertical stripes, which are a hallmark of the Taklung lineage. Later in the afternoon drive back to Riwoche town for the night. Overnight at Riwoche.
Attractions; Numbers of Bon monasteries. Today the we will pass some Nyingmapa monasteries and Bon monasteries along route, crossing several mountains like Seya la (4680m) and white marble mountain before the pass, this region is famous for the diversity of natural herbs use for Tibetan medicines. Through the barley fields and red rock gorges we will get to the day’s destination Tengchen, this area is heartland of Bon religions, people in these areas are mainly depends on selling caterpillar fungus. Overnight in Tengchen.
Attractions; Glimpse of Nyenchen Thangla range, vast nomad camps and herds of yaks. Today we across several passes to the high plateau of northeastern Tibet, fabulous views of vast pastures with nomads communities and mighty snowcapped mountains are so called Jangthang drogpas(northern nomads land). Crossing over the Shel la pass(4905m) which is the highest and vivid pass along the northern route, through the alpine valleys reach us to Bachen county bypass by the main road and then from there it is 33km to the Sok. Overnight in Sok.
Attractions; scattered nomad villages and tents along the route. Today we will drive through several nomadic counties and villages, the spectacular vast pastures are sparsely populated but they live in the peaceful nature by moving from season to season, crossing couple of gentle passes we will see the Nakchu city from the ridge of the Tuoka la pass(4640m). Nakchu is the largest and most developed city in the northern Tibet plateau, due to its important location on the Qinghai-Tibet highway and train road, it plays the centre of trade for entire nomadic region of northern Tibet, it is also well known for its horse racing festival in Aug, which is the most popular nomadic traditional festival of the area. Overnight in Nakchu.
Attractions; Nomadic villages, Qinghai Tibet train track, Holy Namtso lake. Today well paved road follow next to the Qinghai-Tibet rail way until Damshung county, the picturesque scenery of the nomads villages and herds of yaks grazing on the grassland is wonder of the day, from Damshung we turn-off to the west crossing the Lagen la pass(5190m), you will have the first view of the stunning lake Namtso from the pass and further drive through the paved road over the grassy field pass several nomads family tents, then Tashi Do peninsula offers a great view of the miraculous shade of turquoise color with surrounding snowcapped ranges. Namtso lake is 2nd largest saltwater lake in China (largest saltwater lake is Kokonor in Qinghai) and world highest saltwater natural lake. In the late afternoon, you can follow the pilgrimage trail around the peninsula. Overnight at local guesthouse on the peninsula.
Attractions; Nomads family visits. Today we will explore more around the like in the morning and then drive back to Lhasa, we will stop at a local family tents to experience their home structure and lifestyle. Afternoon you have time to explore around the Bakhor street on your own and you may need some time to shop souvenirs for your family and friends at home. Overnight in Lhasa.
Attractions; Jokhang temple and bustling Bakhor street and Sera monastery. Today is your first day on the high plateau and some of you may have little head ach which is very common for travelers by the high altitude, so drinking enough water and mild activity on the first few days is recommendable. In the morning our guide will meet you at the hotel and take an easy visit to Jokhang Temple in the centre of the Old Lhasa city. Jokhang temple is one of the most scared temple in all over Tibet and it is always bustling with earnest local pilgrims since from early days. After that you have time to walk around the Bakhor street which is the one of the most devotional circuit as well as crowded central market of Lhasa, during the old days it is the most famous local market but now it is changed to tourist gift shopping centre. The amazing day will have ended with a visit to the Sera Monastery, it is built in the fifteenth century by the Jamchen choji Sakya Yeshi who is disciple of Tsongka pa, few different monastic colleges in Sera is home to several hundred monks from different part of Tibet, the famous Buddhist philosophical debates among the monks are happening every day in the afternoon except Sunday. Continues acclimatize and alleviate jet lag rest of the day. Overnight in Lhasa.
Attractions; Potala palace and Drepung monastery. Today we will visit the famous Potala Palace, the cardinal landmark of Tibet and the masterpiece of Tibetan architecture, it was first built by 33rd King Songtsen Gangpo in 7th century and later in 17th century rebuilt by 5th Dalai Lama, since then it was home to the Dalai Lama and his government. Walking though the long steps are quite challenging but it is worthwhile to leave your foot steps in the spiritual palace of God of compassion which listed in the world heritage in 1994. And in the afternoon, we will visit the Drepung monastery, once the world's largest monastery that housed for more than 10,000 monks, it was resident of the Dalai Lama prior to Potala Palace, but several destructions were taken place in different time but still you have lots of things to see by walking through numbers of narrow and twisted lane through the monk’s apartments is thrilling. Continues acclimatize and alleviate jet lag rest of the day. Overnight in Lhasa.
Today our guide and driver will send you to the airport or train station and it is time to say your good bye and depart to your next destination. The trip is officially ended.

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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Cristian Pumarino Jun,11 2019 01:29:35
We are 3 people that will travel from Chengdu to Lahsa by train, arriving around August 5th. We want to take 4 days tour in Lhasa.  We need to know how to book the tour with you, the price, how to pay it and what are the documents we need to go there. We will get our tourist visa to visit China after we book the tour. Two of us will travel form Chile in South America and our son -also chilean- will do it form South Africa. Stay tuned to reply
Lakshmi May,23 2019 15:20:14
Hi, I am interested in this tour. But I cannot exert myself much and was wondering if I can skip the Kailash Kora and use other forms of transportation. I do however want to see Mt. Kailash. Also are you able to provide oxygen?
matteo May,18 2019 16:19:11
Hello! we would kindly like to know what’s the cheapest offer you have for this guided tour. We’re two people thank you!!

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