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COT-TBT-EX-11 20 Days Sichuan Tibet Horse Riding Tour

  • 20 Days Sichuan Tibet Horse Riding Tour

Itinerary Assistances
Best Travel Time: May, June, September, October.
Price: from 4500 USD per person.
Inclusions: private guide & vehicle, hotels, meals, admissions & certificate (visa) application.

Day 1

On this morning you will be driven from Chengdu to Kangding. Once outside the Sichuan basin, your vehicle will begin to climb the mountain roads of the Erlang Mountains. Kangding is a fairly large city tucked within a river valley. The sidewalks of Kangding are crowded with members of the Hui ethnic minority group, Chinese Muslims, and Tibetans who have come down from the highlands to sell wild mushrooms, vegetables, yak skins and various other items. Stay overnight in a 2 star hotel.

Day 2

You will visit a Tibetan School, one of China's specialized Tibetan language institutions to learn some useful Tibetan phrases to help you communicate during your journey in Tibet. You will also learn about the art of Tibetan painting. During lunch, you will have the chance to practice your newly acquired language skills as you eat with the students. The afternoon will be spent exploring Kangding, where you can either climb the hill to a monastery or relax in the hot springs. You will also learn about the Kham Aid Foundation and the many projects this non-governmental organization initiates and supports. Stay overnight in a 2 star hotel in Kangding.

Day 3

You will be driven from Kangding to Rongbatsu. You will leave Kangding in the morning and head west, crossing back over the Gye La pass (4,290 m/14,075 ft) and pass along tree-lined roads through small towns, each of which features distinct architectural styles and characteristics. You will stop along the way to photograph wild animals, herds of yaks, temples, stupas, people and anything that catches your fancy. Upon arriving in Rongbatsu after a full day's journey, you will rest your weary bones in the hot springs at the base of the stunning mountains. The guest house is located in a traditional Tibetan home.

Day 4

This day will be left open for you to explore the town on your own, with a guide, or even with a friendly local resident willing to take you around the most popular spots. A couple of hours' walk from the guesthouse along the Yalong River is the Hadhi Nunnery, where you can spend an afternoon with Buddhist nuns to learn about their lives. You could also meet Gyalten Lobsang Shampa Rinpoche, a living Buddha, visit the Dargye Gonpa, a monastery belonging to the Gelukpa sect, or visit a local school.

Day 5

You will be driven from Rongbatsu to Yilhun Lhatso (Xinlu Hai). After a witnessing morning prayer with the monks, you will be driven west for three hours through Manigango to a grassland region known as Yilhun. Here is one of the most beautiful lakes in all of Tibet. You will pitch a tent here and stroll along the Buddhist pilgrim's trail where you can see thousands of carved Mani stones.

Day 6

You will be driven from Yihun Lhatso to Dege. From the heights of Tro La Pass (4,916 m / 16,129 ft), you will have a spectacular view of the Yangtze Gorge stretching to the southwest. The landscape makes a dramatic ascent into a blanket of pine forests as we approach Dege. There are plenty of places to explore in Dege. The Dege Printing House has a library of more than 270,000 printing blocks used to print Buddhist sutras; and across the street stands the Tongtong Gyalpo Temple, a charming old temple which has miraculously escaped the ravages of time relatively intact, and retains many of its original murals and artistic treasures. The Tibetan Medicine Hospital, which is also a medicine factory, is a storehouse of herbs, antlers, bats, snakes and other plants and animals collected from the far reaches of the Tibetan plateau. Stay overnight in a local guesthouse.

Day 7

In the morning, you will have breakfast with a Tibetan family. You will ride a horse accompanied by the family to the Palpung Tubten Chokhorling Monastery, where you will spend the night. Palpung ranks second in the hierarchy of Karma Kagyu sect monasteries, and has Ugyen Rinpoche, a 19-year-old (in 2008) living Buddha, in residence. The route from Dege to the monastery will take you through endless fields of corn and barley growing on the steep hillsides. Once over Gotse La Pass (4,481m/14701 ft), you will see expansive grasslands which are home to nomads living in yak hair tents.

Day 8

You will ride a horse from Pelpung to Pewar on this day. Traveling along the river and through golden wheat fields, you will arrive at the Temple of Pewar, which houses one of the finest collections of Buddhist murals in western Sichuan. The paintings, which are more than 270 years old and cover more than 370 square meters (1214 sq ft), have survived hundreds of years in wonderful condition. We will spend a leisurely afternoon here drinking tea and eating tsampa with the rinpoche. With a bit of luck we may have the privilege of viewing the monastery's collection of ancient art and historic treasures, which are locked safely behind ancient carved wooden doors. Stay overnight in the temple.

Day 9

You will ride a horse back to Dege and then be driven to Jomda. Along the way, you will cross the Yangtze River, which marks the border between Sichuan Province and Tibet Autonomous Region. After crossing Nge La Pass (4,245 m/13927 ft), you will be welcomed at Wara Gonpa, an important monastery of the Sakya School. We will stop for the night in Jomda, a moderately large town, at a finely decorated traditional wooden cabin, and visit a Tibetan hospital which supplies herbal medicine to the region.

Day 10

You will be driven from Jomda to Chamdo, crossing over four passes, the Khargang La Pass (4,352 m/14278 ft), the Lashi La Pass (4,450 m/14600 ft), the Jape La Pass (4,680 m/15354 ft), and the Tama La Pass (4,511m/14800 ft). Along the way, you will see Buddhist prayer flags waving in the wind on the peaks and friendly nomads waving at you from the grasslands. Stay overnight in a 3 star hotel in Chamdo.


Relax in the city of Chamdo, Tibet’s third largest city. Straddling the Mekong River, Chamdo possesses a rich history as one of the earliest commercial centers on the Tibetan plateau and home to Kalden Jampaling, the great monastery founded in 1436. You will spend the day stretching your legs and exploring the monastery and doing some shopping in Tromzikhang, an open-air market where colorfully dressed Tibetans pawn their wares.

Day 12

On this day you will be driven from Chamdo to Bangda. You will follow the Mekong River downstream through alpine forests to the village of Kyitang, where the Khampa houses are built on horizontal timbers. You will then turn west to cross the Lona Pass (4,511 m/14800 ft) and follow the Yu-chu River downstream to Bangda, a town junction where Lhasa connects to the Chamdo-Kunming Highway. The Yu-chu Valley lies north of the Salween Gorges in the highlands of Tsawagang, where the immense geographic spatial dimensions of the landscape will dwarf your presence. Stay overnight in a local guesthouse.

Day 13

You will be driven from Bangda to Baxoi, a distance of less than 100 km (63 mi). While passing through the breathtaking scenery, you will cross the Gama La Pass an altitude of 4,618 meters. Stay overnight in a local guesthouse.

Day 14

You will be driven from Baxoi to Ranwu and then on to Bome. On the road to Bome, you will stop at Ranwu to go fishing in the pristine waters of Ngan Tso, a spectacularly crystal clear blue lake surrounded by snow capped mountains. After a lunch of freshly caught fish, you will wander along the Poto-chu Valley at Tramog (2,743 m/8999 ft), located deep in the thickly forested Parlung Tsangpo Gorge which features glacial waterfalls cascading down the mountainsides. You will then descend several hundred meters to reach the lowland jungle settlement of Tang-me where the Tsangpo and Parlung Tsangpo rivers meet. Stay overnight in a guesthouse in Bome.

Day 15

You will be driven from Bome to Nyingchi. Along the way, you will cross the Serkhyem La Pass (4,515 m/14813 ft), the last major pass before reaching Lhasa. This pass offers spectacular views of the Gyala Pelri (7,150 m/23458 ft) and Namchak Barwa (7,756 m/25446 ft) mountains. On the way to Nyingchi, you will pass through Bayi, the capital of the Nyingchi District. North of Bayi, the village of Bajie lies on the edge of a primeval forest filled with ancient cypress trees which are more than two thousand years old. If you visit in May, you will see three to five-meter high rhododendrons in full bloom. Stay overnight in a 3 star hotel in Bayi.

Day 16

You will be driven from Nyingchi to Lhasa. The last leg of the journey is 270 kilometers (169 mi) across a high plateau into Lhasa. You will pass through scenic terrain with lush alpine forests and clear streams fed by melting snow. Stay overnight in a 4 star hotel in Lhasa.

Day 17

On this day you will be free to wander around Lhasa on your own and discover the mysteries that this ancient city holds.

Days 18-19

You will have two full days in Lhasa to visit Lhasa’s cardinal landmarks. The Jokhang Temple, the principal Buddhist temple in Lhasa, is known for its large gold image of The Buddha, which was constructed in the 7th century. The Norbulingka, a richly decorated complex located in a beautiful garden setting, is the traditional summer palace of the Dalai Lamas. The Sera Monastery, founded in 1419, is a monastery of the Gelugpa order. Its numerous beautiful white buildings sit at the base of a rocky hill. The Monastery used to house over 8,000 monks. You will also visit Barkhor Street, a colorful market offering items not found anywhere else in the world. The Potala Palace, reputed to contain 1,000 rooms, is considered as one of the world's most remarkable buildings. Sitting at top of a mountain overlooking Lhasa, the magnificent Potala Palace contains thousands of magnificent Thangkas, frescoes, and images built in an era when religious art was created anonymously as a means of gaining merit for future lives. Stay overnight in a 4 star hotel.

Day 20

On this day you will be free until you are escorted to the airport for your flight to your next destination.

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