On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel for the trip briefing and the completion of your Tibet visa application.
Evening drinks are held in the hotel for all World Expeditions clients arriving today. Drinks and snacks will generally be served from 6:30 pm until 7:15 pm, and this is a great opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow group members before heading out to dinner.
This morning a sightseeing tour takes in the key attractions in and around Kathmandu. We will visit Pashupatinath and Boudhanath, returning to the hotel by 2pm. In the afternoon you may have time to explore Durbar Square, Patan, Swayambhunath or Bhaktapur, and the lesser-known towns that dot the valley on foot, by bicycle or trishaw. The area has an amazing range of fascinating highlights, whatever your interest. Excellent bookshops, extensive markets, and novelty and handicraft shops contrast with fantastic centres of cultural and spiritual significance - Kathmandu has more World Heritage sites than any other city in the world.
The flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa takes an hour and is without doubt one of the most spectacular flights in the world. The flight path takes us just east of the Everest massif, with unrivalled views of the remarkable Kangshung face of Everest. On arrival at Lhasa Airport you will be transferred to the city a drive that takes around two hours.
Two days are scheduled to appreciate the rich cultural history of Lhasa. We include visits to the Jokhang, the Norbulingka (the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lama), and the famous Potala Palace. We also include visits to the nearby monasteries of Drepung and Sera. The Old City of Lhasa was built around the Jokhang, the most sacred temple in Tibet.
Fifty kilometres north-east of Lhasa lies Ganden. Ganden Monastery was founded in 1409 by Tsongkhapa, the revered reformer of the Gelugpa order. It is the first and one of the major Gelugpa monasteries and is the main seat of the Gelugpa Buddhist order. The monastery is extensive with many buildings, courtyards and tombs. A visit here is a highlight of any trip to Tibet. Later in the day we proceed to Gyana where we have our first camp before commencing our trek. The Ganden to Samye Trek travels through alpine landscapes and past beautiful turquoise lakes. It also has much to offer culturally as we pass through two of Tibet's greatest centres of religious culture. We will pass by herders camps and be rewarded with a rare insight into Tibet life and culture.
This is a 5 hour trek. From the highest point of the Ganden kora, trek along an ancient trail and take in scenic views of unusual beauty. Walk along a ridge of reach the ancient Hepu village. In the afternoon, you'll walk through Ani Pagong, a narrow part of the trail that was once home to a nunnery. In the late afternoon, ascend to Yama Do. Camp overnight at Yama Do.
We depart early this morning to trek from Yamo Do through a steep gully to the banks of a stream. We climb to Shug La pass and begin a descent through fields of glacial boulders. Tsotup Chup is actually a large stream that flows through the valley, and we will cross this stream towards the end of the trek. Camp overnight in Tsotup Chu valley.
We follow the Tsotup Chu towards the rocky mountain pass of Chitu La and descend into the exquisitely beautiful camping grounds and fields around the tributary of the Tsotup Cho. En route we pass the picturesque Herder's camp.Overnight at the Herder's Camp.
The trail widens and the walking becomes easier. We follow the trail through beautiful rivulets of water and fertile forests. There are many varieties of trees, scrub, rhododendrons in full bloom, and vistas of meadows that will take your breath away.The landscape in this region are a stark contrast with desert like terrain not too far away. Along the way, we will pass the village of Changtang, where we have the option to hike to the holy Buddhist meditation site of Yamalung, an ancient hermitage. Eventually, the trail cuts through the Samye valley along a beautiful stream. Camp at a site near Samye.
Gyantse is a remarkable place that has escaped much of the Chinese influence evident in other major Tibetan towns. It is dominated by the ancient fort that was besieged by British forces in 1904 during the famous Younghusband Expedition. We also visit the remarkable octagonal chorten, the Kumbum (or Pango Chorten) built in 1444 on a series of four levels, each of which contains separate chapels.
In the afternoon we drive to Shigatse. In Shigatse we visit the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery, founded in 1447 by the 1st Dalai Lama. Since the time of the 5th Dalai Lama in 1642, the abbot of Tashilhunpo has been known as the Panchen Lama (literally the 'Great Scholar). Over the generations, the Panchen Lama became established as the chief spiritual and temporal adviser of the huge western portion of Tibet known as Tsang, and at times was even considered a rival to the Dalai Lama. During the Cultural Revolution much of the Tashilhunpo and the nearby fort were destroyed, and what we see today is a huge complex in various stages of rebuilding. Of particular interest are the huge temple to the Maitreya Buddha (the 'Buddha to Be ); the tomb of the 10th Panchen Lama (who died in 1989), which is said to be encased with over 300kg of gold; the Palace of the Panchen Lama; and the tomb of the 5th to 9th Panchen Lamas. The latter, recently reconstructed, contains the remains of the former Panchen Lamas that were retrieved after their separate tombs were demolished by Chinese troops in 1966. Also of interest is the main Assembly Hall, adjacent to many of the important chapels that are in everyday use.
We will leave Shigatse early for the drive back to Lhasa, a distance of 270km. The drive usually takes around 6-8 hours.
A spectacular flight over the main Himalayan range. In clear weather the views of Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Makalu and the extraordinary vista of the Himalaya stretching into the horizon in both directions will provide a fitting finale to this Himalayan adventure. After clearing Nepal's customs and immigration, our private bus will transfer you to our hotel in Kathmandu. Overnight in Kathmandu.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for onward arrangements.