General

The Sichuan-Tibet Northern Highway Overland Tour is a dreaming route for adventures. It is a long way of a total distance of 2,600 km but the scenery is well worth seeing. The plateau pasture surrounded by snow-capped mountains is a natural picture of wild animals, flowing streams, valleys, lakes and hot springs. The landscape is stunning and it is definitely a photograph tour route. Because of the high terrain and isolated geographic location, the Northern Tibet remains the primitive natural scenery and has the unique charm for lots of explorers. We hope you have this amazing experience with us and have an unforgettable memory.

Overland Tour Overview

Day 1: Chengdu Arrival (512m)

Day 2: Chengdu-Leshan Giant Buddha-Ya’an (601m, 260 km, 2.5 hours)

Day 3: Ya’an-Kangding (2,480m, 189 km, 4 hours)

Day 4: Kangding-Xinduqiao-Litang (4,040m, 285 km, 7 hours)

Day 5: Litang-Batang-Markam (3,875m, 294km, 7 hours)

Day 6: Markam-Bangda-Qamdo (3,960m, 444km, 14 hours)

Day 7: Qamdo-Riwoche-Dingqing-Baqing (4,148m, 415km, 13 hours)

Day 8: Baqing-Sok-Nagqu (4,500m, 260km, 6 hours)

Day 9: Nagqu-Namtso Lake (4,700m, 230km, 6 hours)

Day 10: Namtso Lake-Yambajan-Lhasa (3,650m, 250km, 4 hours)

Day 11: Highlight one-day tour in Lhasa (3,650m)

Day 12: Norbulingka-Drepung Monastery-Sera Monastery (3,650m)

Day 13: Lhasa Departure

Highlight:

  • Handpicked local Tibetan tour guide and driver
  • Comfortable licensed vehicles according to your group size
  • 100% Tibet Travel Permits Guaranteed
  • Instant tour booking
  • Fantastic landscape from Chengdu to Lhasa
  • Leshan Giant Buddha view
  • Typical plateau pasture views in Qamdo and Nagqu
  • Crystal blue Namtso Lake sightseeing
  • Lhasa two-day highlight tour

What you can expect

Day 1: Chengdu Arrival

We will meet you at the airport or train station and transfer you to the hotel. After you check in and have a rest, we will have dinner together. Chengdu is famous for its delicious food, so we will recommend local tasty food for you. After the dinner, you can go back to hotel and sleep well.

Accommodation: 4 star standard hotel in the central part of Chengdu

Day 2: Chengdu-Leshan Giant Buddha-Ya’an 601m, 260km, 2.5 hours

Today we will head to Leshan to see the world famous Giant Buddha. Leshan Giant Buddha is a huge statue of Maitreya located in a hill according to the terrain. The total height of the Buddha is 71 meters, which makes it the world’s tallest stone carved Maitreya’s statue. It looks very solemn and majestic and people can feel human’s small standing before it. The Buddha was constructed in the 8th century and lasted for 90 years to complete the giant project. After visiting the Giant Buddha, we will drive to Ya’an, which will take about one and a half hour. Ya’an is an ancient city with very beautiful scenery. It is also called “A City of Rain” because there were much rainfall in this city. A proverb said in Ya’an there were no consecutive three sunny days. Ya’an is also the home of Panda. In Bifeng Gorge, there is panda base and there are so many trees in the mountains. We will live in Ya’an today and head to Kangding the next day.

Accommodation: Brilliant Moon Star Hotel or Similar one if late booking 

Day 3: Ya’an-Kangding 2,480m, 189km, 4 hours

Today we will leave Ya’an and head to Kangding, the capital city of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province. Along the way, you can view the typical landscape of West Sichuan plateau. Kangding is famous for its ancient history and Tibetan culture. From the history, it was the strategically important city between Sichuan and Tibet and a city connecting Han cultural and Tibetan culture. We will stay in Kangding for tonight and head to Litang the next day.

Accommodation: Yujing Saussurea Hotel or similar one if late booking

Day 4: Kangding-Xinduqiao-Litang,4,040m, 285km, 7 hours

After breakfast, we will leave Kangding and head to Litang, the destination for today’s drive. First, we will drive to Xinduqiao, which is the connecting point of Sichuan-Tibet northern and southern highway routes. The distance between Kangding and Xinduqiao is 80 km and it takes around 2 hours to get there. We will have lunch in Xinduqiao and you have time to take photos there because the natural view is very fascinating. Then we will head to Litang County. Litang has a mixed population of many ethnics, such as Tibetan, Han, Mongolian, Hui, Naxi, Tujia and etc. Although the altitude is above 4,000 meters, you will not have a strong feeling of Mountain Sickness, instead the climate is very pleasant there. You will feel very comfortable while staying. We will live in Litang at night and head to Markam the next day.

Accommodation: Genie Yuntian Hotel or similar one if late booking

Day 5: Litang-Batang-Markam 3,875m, 294km, 7 hours

Today we will leave Litang and head to Markam. Along the way, we will arrive at Batang first and have lunch there. The landscape between Litang and Batang is much like Mongolian pasture. There are vast beautiful lands of pasture and many yaks and sheep graze on it. Batang is the last county we will stay in Sichuan Province and Markam is the first county we will stay in Tibet. So after leaving Batang, we will enter Tibet. We can see Jinsha River soon after leaving Batang. It is a boundary river between Sichuan and Tibet. Markam is located in the easternmost part of Qamdo prefecture. It is the connecting point of Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibet. In Tibetan, Markam means “Kind and Excellent Area”. There are many mineral resources and various kinds of animals and plants here. We will stay in Markam for tonight and head to Ranwu Lake the next day.

Accommodation: Gesar Hotel or Similar one if late booking

Day 6: Markam-Bangda-Qamdo 3,960m, 445 km, 14 hours

Today we will have a very long distance drive so we need to get up early and after breakfast we start our drive. Along the way, you can see vast land of pastures under blue sky. Yaks and sheep wildly graze on it. High mountains are on both sides of the road. There are three mountains above 4000m we need to climb until we reach Bangda and we will have lunch there. After lunch, we will continue our drive to Qamdo city. Qamdo city is one of seven prefectures in Tibet. It has a beautiful name of “Pearl of East Tibet”. It was also a significant city along Tea House Ancient Road. We will stay in Qamdo for tonight and head to Baqing the next day.

Accommodation: Qamdo Hotel

Day 7: Qamdo-Riwoche-Dingqing-Baqing 4,148m, 415km, 13 hours

From Qamdo we continue our drive. First we need to climb a high mountain with an elevation of 4,688 meters. The road will be steep and we need to drive carefully and slowly. About three to four hours, we will arrive Riwoche and have lunch there. Then we head to Dingqing for about three hours’ drive. From Dingqing to Baqing, the distance is about 225km and we need to climb the highest mountain in Sichuan-Tibet Northern Highway tour, which has the elevation of 5,800 meters. The path is rough and there are many curves. We will drive carefully. We will stay in Baqing for tonight and head to Nagqu next day.

Accommodation: Himalaya Hotel

Day 8: Baqing-Sok-Nagqu (4,500m, 260km, 6 hours)

Today we will leave Baqing and head to Nagqu. Along the way, we will arrive at Sok County at first and have lunch there. It is only 30 km from Baqing to Sok for about one hour’s drive. In Sok, we can take some photos and have a rest. You can also visit Zaandan Temple near Sok. It is the branch temple of Drepung Monastery. It looks like small Potala Palace and there are many Buddhism frescos and scriptures in it. From Sok to Nagqu, there are vast lands of pastures and high mountains. After about 4.5 hours, we will arrive Nagqu. Nagqu County is an important county in northern Tibet. It lies between Tanggula Mountains and Nyencheng Thanglha Mountains. We will stay in Nagqu for tonight and head to Namtso Lake next day.

Accommodation: Northern Tibet Yingbin Hotel

Day 9: Nagqu-Namtso Lake (4,700m, 230km, 6 hours)

Today we will leave Nagqu and head to Namtso Lake, one of the three holiest lake in Tibet. On the way, we can see vast Nagqu pasture with snow-capped Nyencheng Thanglha Mountains. You can talk photos when stop. There are rivers and streams lies in the pasture and wild animals like yaks and sheep graze on it. When we arrive Namtso Lake you will be deeply impressed by the clear blue water, just like crystals. Surrounded by rolling white snow mountains, the lake is blended with the surroundings and constitute a marvelous picture. There are yaks near the lake and you can take some photos with them. The peaceful landscape will wash your soul and leave you a peaceful mind. We will stay at the guesthouse near the lakeside and go back to Lhasa tomorrow.

Accommodation: Guesthouse

Day 10: Namtso Lake-Yambajan-Lhasa (3,650m, 250km, 4 hours)

Today we will leave Namtso Lake and arrive Lhasa, the holy city of Tibet. Along the way, we can see the spectacular Qinghai-Tibet railway, the highest railway in the world. We will have lunch at Yambajan and there is a hot spring there. You can take a bath and take some photos if you like. After so many day’s drive, you can relax a little bit. And when we arrive in Lhasa, we will lead you to a local tasty restaurant and enjoy the dinner together. Tonight you can have a good sleep and we will have a highlight Lhasa sightseeing tour tomorrow.

Accommodation: Snow Heaven Hotel or the equivalent one

Tips: 1. You only have one hour to stay in Potala Palace so please manage your time reasonably. 2. When entering the palace or temple, please keep quiet and obey every rule inside. 3. Please do not disturb the pilgrims and show respect to them. 4. When you are outside, prevent sun burning because the sunlight is strong in Lhasa city.

Day 11: Highlight one-day tour in Lhasa (3,650m)

Today we will go to the must-see attractions in Lhasa city. In the morning, we will start our tour from the world’s highest palace, Potala Palace. There are so many to see inside of the palace, such as marvelous Buddhism frescos, statues, scriptures and other religious stuff. After about one hour visiting, we will head to Jokhang Temple, the most significant Buddhism temple in Tibet. You will see the famous Sakyamuni statue which was brought by Princess Wencheng in Tang Dynasty. There are many pilgrims worshipping in and around the temple, which add strong religious atmosphere in the holy temple. Around Jokhang Temple lies Barkhor Street which sells many Tibetan local artifacts, religious stuff an etc. You can buy what you want but remember bargain with the vendors. There are also many pilgrims circumambulating around Barkhor Street. Their devoutness will definitely leave a deep impression on you. The Barkhor Street is a window to know local Tibetan life and provide a real taste of Tibet.

Accommodation: Snow Heaven Hotel or the equivalent one

Tips: 1. You only have one hour to stay in Potala Palace so please manage your time reasonably. 2. When entering the palace or temple, please keep quiet and obey every rule inside. 3. Please do not disturb the pilgrims and show respect to them. 4. When you are outside, prevent sun burning because the sunlight is strong in Lhasa city.

Day 12: Norbulingka-Drepung Monastery-Sera Monastery (3,650m)

Today we will begin our tour from Norbulingka first and drive to Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery which are close to Lhasa city. Norbulingka is located near Potala Pace in the west part of Lhasa city. It is the summer palace of Dalai Lama and collect many precious stuff, such as Italian chandeliers, Ajanta frescos and Tibetan carpets. We will spend around one hour and a half here. Then we will drive to Drepung Monastery, the largest monastery housing 10,000 monks once in history. We will spend two and a half hours here. You can explore the monastery with plenty of time. After lunch, we drive to Sera Monastery, which is in the north of Lhasa city. The monastery is famous for the debating among monks about philosophies and Buddha scriptures. You will be impressed by their serious attitude toward studying Buddhism. Then we will drive back to Lhasa and you can freely explore the city at night.

Accommodation: Snow Heaven Hotel or the equivalent one

Tips: 1. The debate in Sera Monastery will happen from 3:30 pm to 5pm from Monday to Saturday. We may exchange the schedule with the first day-tour in Lhasa to make sure you will see the debate. 2. When in monasteries, do not touch statues and other religious stuff. 3. When in August, there is Giant Buddha Display in Drepung monastery for celebrating Sho Dun Festival.

Day 13: Lhasa Departure

Today is free for you until our tour guide transfer you to the airport or drop you off at the train station. Hope you have a nice trip with us and we welcome you for your next Tibet trip!

Available departures

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