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We had a wonderful time in Tibet. We have learned a lot about this unique destination because of the wonderful guide Degyi who is so knowledge and always available towards our tours. We stayed at the Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa, and we would never imagine a Tibet travel could be so nice and amazing without the help of Degyi.

Also, thanks a lot to our Tibetan driver Mr.Wongdun for his safe driving and a good sense of service along the way.

We shall return Tibet in the near future!

P.B. and A. A - Europe
Tibet Travel

June 2018 (Private Tibet Journey from Kathmandu)

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  You are here: Home > Off The Beaten Track > Self-drive Holidays in China > Driving from the Himalayas to the Mekong River
Driving from the Himalayas to the Mekong RiverTour Name:         Driving from the Himalayas to the Mekong River
Tour Code:          M75D360
Duration:            22 Days & 21 Nights
Destination:        Kodari (Nepal), Zhangmu/Dram (Tibet), Mt.Everest Base Camp, Shigatse, Gyantse, Lhasa, Nyingtri, Bome, Ranwu Lake, Zuogong, Yanjing, Feilaisi, Shangri-la, Lijiang, Dali, Kunming, Jianshui, Yuanyang, Jiangcheng, Jinghong, Mohan, Laos
Features:            From the snow-capped Himalayas on the Tibet Plateau to the steamy tropical jungles by the Mekong, this driving is the quintessential of any Asian journeys. Starting from Kodari, the Nepalese and Tibetan border, travel to the mighty Mt.Everest Base Camp, wilding your way to Shigatse and Lhasa, two of Tibet's largest towns and local culture centers showcasing the Tibetan identity, driving through valleys dotted with huge range of landscape beauties in East Tibet, cascading down along the Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Route  and the Golden Sand River to different ethnic minorities of Yunnan Province at Shangri-La, Lijiang, Dali, Kunming, southwards to the rice paddies and villages in Yuanyang and Jianshui, and finally you reach the tropical Xishangbanna where the Mekong leading you to the Laos and . Enjoy your driving in this part of Asia, one of the most spectacular driving journeys in the world!
Departure Date:
 You Choose!
Tour Price:          From $ P.P

Itinerary Day By Day:

Day01 Kathmandu - Zhangmu
Drive from Kathmandu to Kodari, and cross the border to Zhangmu in Tibet, vehicle check and customs declaration etc. Overnight at a local hotel

Day02  Zhangmu - Mt.Everest Base Camp (B, L, D)Mt.Everest From Rongbuk Monastery in Tibet
Vehicle check and drive via Tingri to the Base Camp of Mt.Everest. With an altitude of 5,030 meters it is the highest temple in the world. It was said the Rongbuk Monastery had been built as early as the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama. Mount Everest, meaning "Goddess" in Tibetan is the highest mountain on earth with an altitude of 8, 848.13 meters. Its snow peak sends out silver radiance year after year. Its waist is hidden in the clouds. The optimum weather to visit Mt. Everest is from April to June, a golden period for mountaineers. Each year, a great number of brave robust mountaineers come from all over the world to visit and climb Mt. Everest, hope to fulfill a life-long wish by climbing onto and looking over from the world's highest peak. We drive to the Base Camp and do some explores there. Tonight we will sleep at Rongbuk Guesthouse.

Day03 Rongbuk - Shigatse (B, L, D)Sakya Monastery,Central Tibet
Enjoy sunrise over the Mt.Everest, drive to visit Sakya Monastery, then onwards to Shigatse. The Sakya Monastery (4.280 m) is the centre of the Sakyapa Sect (White Earth Order). The construction of the monastery was started in 1073 by Kung GungQuijiepuo with the order from basba. The southern founded in 1268 by a famous abbot of Sakya named Pagpa who once had ruled the whole of Tibet under the Yuan Dynasty's supervision. So it is of typical Yuan Dynasty style resembling powder or cinnabar. It has over 10,000 volumes of Tibetan books on astronomy, medicine, calligraphy, and history. Owing to its valuable and voluminous amount of Buddhist sutras and cultural remains, the Sakya Monastery is often considered as the "Dunhuang the Second". Overnight at Mt.Everest Hotel

Day04 Shigatse - Lhasa (B, L, D)Pelkor Chode Monastery,Gyantse,Tibet
This morning we will visit Tashilhunpo Monastery, head out to Gyantse and stop for Pelkor Chode Monastery & Kumbum Stupa, drive via the shore of holy lake Yamdrok to Lhasa. Tashilunpo monastery of Gelug Sect, the seat of the Panchen Lama built in 1447. The monastery is the biggest Gelugpa monastery in the Tsang regions of Tibet, sprawls on the slope of Mt. Niser, south-west of Shigatse. Tashilhunpo is associated with the Gelugpa order and is one of the six great Gelugpa institutions along with Drepung, Sera and Ganden in Lhasa and Kumbum and Labrang in Amdo. It is probably the largest functioning monastic institution in contemporary Tibet and is an impressive place to explore. In Gyantse you will visit Pelkor Chode Monastery and the splendid Kumbum Stupa (100-Thousand-Buddha Pagoda) close by, both of them built in the15th century and situated in the northwestern edge of Gyantse. Check in hotel upon arrival Lhasa. Overnight at Lhasa Kyichu Hotel

Day05 Lhasa (B, L, D)Potala Palace,Lhasa,Tibet
Sightseeing in Lhasa for the Potala Palace, Drepung Monastery, Jokhang Temple and walk on the ancient Barkhor Street. The Potala Palace, was originally constructed in 637 by Songtsen Gampo, the first king of the united Tibet, and later expanded and served as the winter residence of the Dalai Lamas as well as the religious-political nexus of traditional Tibet. Then you will admire Jokhang Temple, the center of the Tibetan Buddhism and the sacred land of Buddhist followers where thousands of pilgrims come for worship everyday. Walk on the holy Barkhor Circuit and do some shopping if desired. Drepung Monastery the sacred land of Gelug Sect, which was established in 1416AD and the second, third and fourth Dalai Lama once resided in. Overnight at Lhasa Kyichu Hotel

Day06 Lhasa - Nyingtri (B, L, D)Basum Tso Lake,Tibet
Morning explore Norbulingka, Summer Palace of the Dalai Lama, drive to Nyingtri and on the way explore Basum Tso Lake. Basum (Draksum) Tso is also named as Cuogao Lake meaning green water in the Tibetan language. Located within Gongbugjiangda County, it is about 300 kilometers to the east of Lhasa and 20 kilometers to the Sichuan-Tibet Highway. The lake is 3700 meters above sea level and covers a surface area of 27 square kilometers. About 50 kilometers to Gongbugyangda in the deep valley of the upper reaches of Bahe River, it is a famous holy lake of the Nyingma Sect. The lake is surrounded by mountains and enjoys a temperate climate. At the feet of the snow-clapped mountains, the vegetation is luxuriant and the trees of black maples, birches, pines, cypresses and azaleas connected each other to form a world of greenery. Basum Tso is about 18 kilometers long and has an average width of about 1.5 kilometers. The deepest point of the lake reaches 120 meters. The lake surface does not ice up in winter. The replenishment of the lake water comes from the rainfall and melting snow and ice. The lake is rich in the resources of water conservancy. Overnight at Shangbala Hotel

Day07 Nyingtri - Bome (B, L, D)Peak Namche Barwa,Tibet
This morning you shall visit Buchu Temple and Lamaling Temple, drive through alpine valleys and view the mighty Mt.Namche Barwa all the way to Bome. Not far away to Bome town you will reach Poto-chu Valley at Tramog (2,743 m/8999 ft), located deep in the thickly forested gorge of Parlung Tsangpo with glacial waterfalls streaming from the mountainsides. You will go down several hundred meters in altitude as you reach the lowland jungle settlement of Tang-me where the Tsangpo and Parlung Tsangpo rivers meet. Overnight at local hotel

Day08 Bome - Ranwu Lake (B, L, D)Ranwu Lake,Tibet
Drive to Ranwu Lake along one of the most scenic road in East Tibet. You will drive along some of the most beautiful landscapes today. Lush green forests, crystal blue alpine lakes, snowy peaks, and picturesque farm houses will be a feast to you all. You will see Midui Glacier, the glacier tongue of which reaches woodland flowers and bushes. Overnight at local lodge

Day09 Ranwu Lake - Zuogong (B, L, D)Snow Peaks,East Tibet
More explore at the scenic Ranwu Lake. Then you will drive to Zuogong along the Salween River. Ranwu Lake, is a spectacularly crystal blue lake cupped by snow peaks. The two main parts of turquoise water are linked by a small stream. It is the main supply of Palong Tsangpo, a branch of The Yarlong Tsangpo River. Overnight at local hotel

Day10 Zuogong - Yanjing (B, L, D)Local Salt Fields by the Mekong,Tibet
Drive across high mountain pass and get down to the Langcang River Valley (upper Mekong) to enjoy natural hot spring. Overnight at Hotspring Hotel

Day11 Yanjing - Feilaisi (B, L, D)Yunnan to Tibet Road Scenery
Drive to Feilaisi and hike to admire Mingyong Glacier beneath the snow mountain Kawa Karpo. Enjoy stunning landscapes of this part of the Hengduan Mountains. Overnight at local lodge

Day12 Feilaisi - Shangri-la (B, L, D)Kawa Karpo,NW Yunnan
Enjoy sunrise at the mighty Kawa Karpo, drive cross the Golden Sand River to Shangri-la. On the way enjoy the views of the Golden Sand River and visit Dondrup Ling Monastery. 105km to Gyalthang, by the famous Yunnan - Tibet Highway, Dondrup Ling Monastery is one of the most influential monasteries of Gelupa Tradition housed over 700 Buddhist monks during its peak time by the end of the 19th Century. Overnight at Gyalthang Dzong Hotel

Day13 Shangri-la (B, L, D)Shangri-la,NW Yunnan
A full day guided tour in Zhongdian. You will visit Songzanlin Monastery, which was created in AD1679 by the Fifth Dalai lama. often called Ganden Sumtseling Monastery or Guihua Monastery, is located at the foot of Foping Mountain near Shangri-La County in Yunnan Province. The monastery was built on a hillside and looks like an ancient fort. The Songzanlin Monastery is often called as the little Potala Palace because of its traditional Tibetan architectural style. Then you will visit Napa Lake and have some time at the Shangri-la Alpine Botanical Garden and a walking in the Gyalthang Old Town. Overnight at Gyalthang Dzong Hotel

Day14 Shangri-la - Lijiang (B, L, D)Yangtze,NW Yunnan
In the morning set off for Lijaing. You will 220 kilometers along Jinsha Jiang River (Golden Sand River), the upper reaches of the Yangtze River (the longest river of China, 6380 km). The Tiger Leaping Gorge, itself is tucked neatly between the Yulong Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain, which surround its two sides, as the turbulent water of the Jinsha River is forced by Hailuo Shan standing in its way to turn abruptly 100 degrees northeastwards and thus gives birth of the "First Bend of the Yangtze River". In the afternoon you will arrive Lijiang and visit the Black Dragon Pool located in the northern foot of the Elephant Hill. The summits of the snowy mountain nearby are clearly reflected in this pond. Overnight at Lijiang Wangfu Hotel

Day15 Lijiang (B, L, D)Lijiang Ancient Town,NW Yunnan
You will have a wonderful day in Lijiang. First of all you will proceed to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (including round trip cable car up to Spruce Terrace and overlook the Snow Mountain), then you get to Baisha Village to see the ancient fresco painting and visit lama temple Yufeng Si where grows the "king of camellia" . Located 15 km north of Lijiang old town, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain stretches 35 km from north to south with 960-square-kilometers of snow-capped area. Experts say that it has the southernmost glacier in the North Hemisphere. Of all the 13 peaks on the mountain, Shanzidou is the highest with an altitude of 5,596 meters above sea level. Looking from afar, you can see that the mountain just looks like a huge dragon lying in the cloud. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is the holy mountain - "God of Sanduo' of Naxi people. Transferred back your hotel in the old town. On your way back to your hotel you will learn more about Lijiang and the Naxi people at the Dongba Culture Museum. Overnight at Lijiang Wangfu Hotel

Day16 Lijiang - Dali (B, L, D)Lijiang Old Town,NW Yunnan
Leave for Shaxi Old Town on the ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road, en route to Shaxi visit Stone Grottoes on ShiBao Shan Mountain in Jinchuan. Shaxi is an ancient town on the famous Tea and Horse Caravan Road linking Yunnan and Tibet. Then you will drive to Dali. Overnight at Landscape Hotel

Day17 Dali (B, L, D)Dali,Yunnan
You will have a boat ride on the Erhai Lake, visit Three Pagodas in the Chongsheng Temple and stroll in the Dali Old Town. With an altitude of 1972 meters above sea level, Erhai Lake is a beautiful highland lake of Yunnan Province and one of the seven largest fresh water lakes in China. Three Pagodas is a symbol of the history of Dali City, and a record of the development of Buddhism in the area. As its name implies, Three Pagodas are made of three ancient independent pagodas forming a symmetrical triangle. Dali Old Town, also called Yeyu City, Forbidden City, Zhonghezhen, lies 3 kilometers north from Xiaguan, the capital of Dali Prefecture. Embracing Erhai Lake in the east and adjoining Cangshan Mountain in the west, Dali City was first established in the early period of the Ming Dynasty. Overnight at Landscape Hotel

Day18 Dali - Kunming (B, L, D)Stone Forest,Kunming
Drive on express highway to Kunming in 3 hours. Driving further to explore the Stone Forest. Enjoy last dinner in Kunming. The Stone Forest is a wonder of geology. About 200 million year ago the earth's crust shifted and forced the 200 acres of karst limestone stalagmites rise up from what was once a huge expanse of water. Paths wind through its spectacular valleys and around the weird rock formations and its reflecting pools. There are pavilions perched high on these pillars that offer sweeping views. Since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Stone Forest has long been one of the most famous scenic spots in China. Overnight at Kunming Jinjiang Hotel

Day19 Kunming - Jianshui (B, L, D)
You will drive out Kunming for Jianshui, an ancient town in South Yunnan, is the home to multi-ethnic groups in Yunnan. On the way you can visit some local villages. Overnight at local hotel

Day20 Jianshui - Yuanyang (B, L, D)Yuanyang Terraced Fields,Yunnan
You will have a day tour at Jianshui. In the morning, visit local living residence - Zhu Family Garden. A grand building cluster of the Imperial Qing period, the Zhu Family Garden is celebrated as the "the finest showcase of the locals' dwelling in Southern Yunnan". In addition you will visit Chaoyang Tower, the east gate tower of Jianshui Town. It was built in the 22nd year of the Hongwu reign of the Ming Dynasty (A.D.1389). The tower has the gable and hip roof with three eaves. It is 24.45 meters high, 26.8 meters wide and 12.31 meters deep. It was classified as the historical and cultural site under provincial protection in 1993. In the afternoon you will head for Yuanyang and on the way visit the minority villages, such as Hani Minority and Dai Minority. Yuanyang is renowned for its rice terraces, which claim as the world's largest and most spectacular one, crafted out by bare hands by the Hani people one thousand years ago and is still in use today. The Hani minority in Yuanyang has been renowned for creating a harmony between man and nature in the village, forest, river and terraced paddies. Here, fields are terraced from the foot of the mountains onto the very top. In addition, we will visit the famous Terraced-Fields at Laohuzhui and appreciate the sunset if lucky. Overnight at Yunti Hotel

Day21 Yuanyang (B, L, D)Sunrise at Yuanyang,Yunnan
Appreciate the sunrise at Yuanyang. You will take photo at the rice terraced fields at Sheng and Duoyishu village in Yuanyang. Additionally you will get to the village of the Hanis at Jikou to watch and get to know their unique custom and traditional lifestyle. The Yuanyang rice terraces are without any doubt the most beautiful and spectacular paddy fields around China! Located all around Yuanyang Old Town, those rice fields have been carved on the Mountain by the Hani people for centuries. Catch a sunrise or sunset on those terraces full of water are one of the greatest highlights to any trips in China. The Hani minority in Yuanyang has been renowned for creating a harmony between man and nature in the village, forest, river and terraced paddies. Here, paddy fields are terraced from the foot of the mountains onto the very top. Overnight at Yunti Hotel

Day22 Yuanyang - Jiangcheng (B, L, D)Tea Plantation,South Yunnan
Drive on backroads to Jiangcheng along tea plantation and little hills. Overnight at local hotel

Day23 Jiangcheng - Mengla (B, L, D)Xishuangbanna,Yunnan
Enjoy your driving through lush valleys to Jinghong and in the afternoon head out to Mengla via the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden. Situated 103 kilometers, or 3 hour ride, from Jinghong, the Tropical Botanical Garden was founded in 1958 and is currently playing an important role in research in the areas of medicinal plants, taxonomy, economic plants and biochemistry. This garden proudly holds 3,000 species of plants, one of the richest botanical concentrations all over the world. Overnight at local hotel

Day24 Mohan (B)
Drive to the border and get into Laos, driving ends in China.

Tour costing varies upon group size, travel season and hotel accommodation levels etc. For price details please email us at info@splendidchinatours.com.

Price inclusions:
All accommodations based on two persons sharing one room/tent/lodge (single occupancy is subject to supplement);
02). All admission fees and activity expenses as listed in the itinerary;
03). All necessary permits for vehicle entry and exit at Chinese customs and border controls;
Chinese Temporary driver's license and Chinese Temporary Vehicle plate/registration;
05). Well designed driving map/route with GPS navigation system for the driving holiday;
06). Daily meals as specified in the itinerary: B denotes breakfast, L denotes lunch, and D denotes dinner (SD signifies special dinner);
07). Services of a local English speaking guide throughout (other languages can be arranged upon request, supplement may apply);
08). Tibet local travel permits such as Tibet Entry Permit (TTB), Alien's Travel Permit (PSB) and Military Permit etc. when applicable;
09). Travel Agency Liability Insurance during the tour;
10). Vehicle compulsory insurance within China;

11). Governmental taxes and fees.

Price excluded:
01). International airfare to/from China;
02). Chinese/Nepalese/Kyrgyzstan Visa fees;
03). Expenses of personal natural such as laundry, telephone, drinks, mini bar etc;
04). Personal shopping, optional activities and excess baggage charges;
05). Gratuities for local tour guides, drivers and hotel bellboy etc;
06). International travel insurance;
07). Toll road, fuel/gasoline and vehicle relative fix/repairment if any;
08). Services and activities that are not mentioned in the itinerary.

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