Located in the western region of Tibet, with an average altitude above 4,500 meters, Ngari or A-Li prefecture is known as the "the roof of the world's roof" and the most “Tibetan” part of Tibet. It’s the place where the Himalayas, the Gangdise, the Kunlun Mountains and Karakorum Mountains meet. There are great mountains, beautiful lakes, vast grasslands and spectacular snow mountains in Ngari. Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarova in Ngari are symbolized as the "Sacred Mountain and Holy Lake" of the Buddhism and are the spiritual center of Buddhists.
If you have already been to the more common and commercial areas/sights in Tibet, such as Lhasa, BoMi (波密) of Nyingchi prefecture (林芝), Shigatse (日喀则), Namtso Lake (纳木错) and even Mount Everest base camp but still eager to see the much lesser-travelled areas of Tibet, where amenities are not yet well established, this is the program for you! Starting from the capital city Lhasa in Tibet, our journey brings you westward towards Shigatse. Our first key stop is Lake Manasarovar (玛滂雍错), Lake Rakshastal (拉昂错) and Mount Kailash (岗仁波齐). Mt Kailash is deemed the spiritual center of Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and the indigenous religion-Bon. Those who wish to do a pilgrimage trek (going around the mountain in a clockwise manner) of the 52-km circuit usually take 2-3days to complete.
The overland journey continues to Zanda (扎达), to see the magnificent “clay-forest” (土林) before arriving to GuGe ancient kingdom (古格遗址) at Gar. There is a grassland 阿里草原 that is worth visiting as well. We have also included a 2-day off-track to RiTu 日土 to see BangGong-tso (班公错). BanGong-tso is a 150km, border-crossing high-altitude lake that stretches across China and India. From Gar, we turn off to the northern route to enter KeKeXiLi region (可可西里), or Hoh Xil, in Mongolian language. This is probably the least populated region in Asia, and the third least populated region in the world after Antarctica and northern Greenland. En-route, you may have the opportunity to spot wild animals such as chiru (藏羚羊), Tibetan antelopes native only to the Tibetan plateau, black-necked cranes (also known Tibetan crane), yaks, white-lip deer, wolves & donkeys.
Tibetan Monasteries including Potala Palace, Jokhang, Taishilungpo, Palchoi,
Mount Kailash Trek (pilgrimage trek around 52-km circuit)
Lake Manassarovar and Rakshastal
Zanda clay-forest (TuLin)
RiTu murals and BanGong Lake
Wild deers, Tibetan antelopes, mules, and yaks (if you are lucky)
KeKeXiLi ShuangHu special region
DISTANCE : 3,800 km
DURATION : 18 days
PRICE : 15600RMB
Includes chartered vehicle, accommodation, local guide and entrance fees
This is the travelogue of the recent 4×4 overland trip we did in western Tibet Ngari (阿里) prefecture. we drove some 3800km on the big north route (大北线). besides doing the 52-km pilgrimage trek around sacred Mount Kailash, we also treaded to the Shuanghu Special Administrative Zone （双湖）. This trip provides an unparalleled opportunity to view Tibetan antelopes, deers, mules and yaks in the wilderness.
Day01 – Arrive in Lhasaday
Day02 – Lhasa – acclimatization day
Day03 – Lhasa – acclimatization
Day04 – Lhasa / Shigatse (3900m) Drive 270km
- you need to register at the tourist permit office at 日喀则地区公安处出入境管理科. Take note that the office is only open Mon-Fri.
- Hotel with attached shower
Day05 –Shigatse (日喀则) / Lhatse (拉孜) (3900m) àSagar (萨嘎) (4500m). Drive 420km
- 3 major high-passes: 4780m, 4930m and the last one at 5080m before arriving Sagar.
- Paved road till Sang Sang, after Lhatse
- Hotel with attached shower
Day06 –Sagar / PaYang (帕羊) (4650m) Drive 300km
- Lunch point at ZhongBa (仲巴). Good food at 重庆饭店
- Visit PingAn monastery (平安寺) just next to the village
- Can see Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Fish-tailed peak on clear days in the south-west direction
- Gustehouse without shower
Day07 –PaYang à Darchen (塔钦) (4600m)
- Lunch at Hor (霍尔), then drive to Chiu Gompa, a unique ancient monastery atop a hill overlooking Lake Manasarovar
- See Lake Rashakstal (拉昂措, 鬼湖), it is about 28km on paved road from 219 from the junction to PuLan (普兰) at 巴嘎乡.
- Stay overnight at guesthouse at Darchen (圣山达青那部岗齐宾馆) with twin-share, no shower. But shower is available at a nearby facility
Day08 – Darchen– Zanda (扎达) (3840m) Drive about 6hrs
- Good view of the south face of Kailash at marker 1300.
- 门士乡 at marker 1244
- Dirt track all the way to Zanda, with 2 major high-passes to cross
- Accom at Zanda 水利宾馆, a brand new hotel next to 湖北宾馆.
Day09 –Zanda – Gar (噶尔, 狮泉河) (4380m) Drive about 6hrs
- Visit TuoLin monastery 托林寺in the morning. See footprint of the great Tibetan translator 仁钦桑布.
- Drive through 扎达沟, out to 219at marker 1311
- There is a high pass at 沙子达板4782m,before arriving at Gar (219 marker 1060)\
- Accom at 邮政宾馆 ( barely satisfactory)
Day10 - Gar – RiTu (日土) (4300m) – BanGong-tso (班公措) – Gar. Drive 125km, about 2hrs
- Paved road all the way to RiTu at marker 935
- Another15km on dirt track to BanGong-tso
- A small pass in between Gar & RiTu
- Lunch at RiTu enroute back. Ferry to bird’s island was suspended due to an accident earlier that killed 6 tourists
- Accom at Gar, 三元宾馆 (just next to狮泉河桥)
Day11 – Gar to YanHu (盐湖) (4380m) Drive 294km
- lunch point at GeJi (革吉) marker1232(106km)
- enter S301省道, starting from Amdo (安多) Gar S301 marker1338
- from GeJi à 左左乡 marker1310 à 雄巴乡 marker1135 (97km) àYanHu marker1044 (91km)
- YanHu is a small village, 3-way street, meal at 川味饭店
- Accom at 羌麦村招待所
Day12 –YanHu to CuoQin (措勤) (4700m) Drive 430km
- About 1hr drive to 文布当桑乡, then 75kmto 物玛乡. There is a nice little “clay” village, with many stones about 2hrs
- Drive from YanHu, before 物玛乡.
- Lunch point at GaiZe (改则) marker865(179km)
- Junction to 洞措/措勤 on S206 at marker788 (77km)
- CuoQin at S206 marker (174km)
- Accom at 拉孜扎西宾馆,Tibetan-style accom along road side, with common shower room.
Day13 – CuoQin to NiMa (尼玛) (4545m) Drive 400km
- From CuoQin, drive 45min to see 扎日南木措.
- There is a dirt track to cut across to 当热雍措, 3rd largest lake in Tibet, very bluish, generally in the E/NE direction. This route is difficult to determine. It is about 5hrsto the high-pass where you will catch the first glimpse of 当热雍措
- There is a small depression/canyon to get over to the village. The road goes near the lake, before turning left and into the canyon and up to the little village on the slopes. Keep going right up the slope to get back onto the right track, skirting alongside the lake. Generally going N/NE toward NiMa.
- From this lake, it is another 5hrs to NiMa. NiMa is a small county with petrol kiosk, supermarkets
- Accom is very basic 尼玛宾馆 (no shower), or 尼玛二部招待所 (big & spacious common rooms, no shower). Shower facility available outside below the hostel.
- Lunch on the move, prepare yourself food & water!
Day14 –NiMa to ShuangHu (双湖) (4900m). Drive 420km, about 13.5hrs
- first drive passed 达则措, traveling E, before turning N/NE.
- there is a big lake on the right, 诺尔玛措. Able to see Tibetan antelopes, wild deers/donkeys/yaks here
- ShuangHu is located right below a giant triangular-shape (Mt Fuji alike) mountain visible from far away.
- It has petrol kiosk
- Accom at ShuangHu Hotel.
Day15 –ShuangHu to BanGe (班戈) (4720m)/ Drive400km, about 8.5hrs
- Main way out to S301, going generally S. dirt road but clear. Join S301 at junction 382道班
- Will get to see 色林措, salt-water lake, 2nd largest lake in Tibet.
- BanGe is a nice and clean county, with many eateries and marts.
- Nice accom, clean rooms, with in-house shower facility at 天湖宾馆.
Day16 –BanGe to Namtso Lake (纳木措) (4750m). Drive180km, about 3.5hrs
- Paved road all the way, passed 下荣乡 and青龙乡, before arriving at the junction of纳木措乡.
- Skirt around a portion of the lake before arriving at 扎西半岛
- Accom at 神湖纳木措宾馆, trek around the small island
Day17 – Namtso Laketo Lhasa. Drive about 300km
Day18 –Depart Lhasa