I have looked at more than 15 Tibet packages and was looking for one that include Mt. Everest in the itinerary. Most travel agencies offer 9 or 10 days packages that do not include Mt. Everest. The reason is that a side trip to Mt. Everest base camp will add $400-$500 more to the package and there is little demand for it. Most people want a shorter and cheaper trip. So far, I have found only 1 travel agency that offer a 12D Tibet tour that includes Mt. Everest and the tour is confirmed. Let’s call this agency A.
For agency A, the departure date is 9 June, 2014. The cost is 2888 (package) + 350 (taxes) + 72 (tips) = $3310. It was more than I initially expected. But, after talking to the agent, I think the cost is justifiable and reasonable. She promised that there will not be any compulsory optional tour, no shopping tour and the cabin for the train ride is 4 to a room with soft beds. Some travel agencies provide 6 to a room with hard beds. For those with 6 in a room, the door cannot be locked (security is compromised) and the windows are dirty (cannot take photos through the window).
Beside the above mentioned travel agency, there are 2 other agencies that offer 12D Tibet tour with Mt. Everest. None of them have received any booking. Let’s call these 2 agencies B & C, and the details of the packages are given below.
B: Depart 5 June, Requires 10 to depart, Estimated cost $2900 (includes package, taxes, tips and compulsory optional tour), Shopping stops on the trip
C: Depart 5 June, Requires 6 to depart, Estimated cost $3050 (includes package, taxes, tips and compulsory optional tour), Shopping stops on the trip
In 2008, three of my friends (with one of them from Xian, China) have decided to visit Tibet in April 2008 on a Free n Easy trip. Due to the riot in March 2008, the Tibet trip was cancelled. Since we have already purchased our air tickets to Xian (we plan to take a train from Xian to Lhasa), we decided to fly into Xian and spend most of our time in Xian and the surrounding regions. At that time, we estimated the cost to be about $2000+ on a shoe string budget and plan to stay at budget inns.
So far, Jane Chua and I are confirmed going. If you are interested in any of the packages, please reply with your preference (indicating A, B, C or no preference), preferably asap as we have to make a decision soon. If we can get enough people, we can consider the lower cost package.
EO: Moon Wong
The itinerary of Agency A is given below. The tour is conducted in Mandarin. Its Chinese version of the itinerary is very detailed with names of hotels given.
Potala Palace, World’s highest palace / Jokhang Monastery – sacred place of worship for the Tibetan / Barkhor
Street – characteristics of Tibet local folk art-crafts & Tibetan-style daily goods / Yamdrok & Namtso Lake, heavenly
Nyingchi – The Jiangnan of Tibet / Lhasa River / Niyang River Scenic Area & Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon
Shigatse – Tashi-Lhunpo Monastery: Panchen Lama’s residence
Train Journey Highlights
– Ride the most luxurious train on the world’s highest railway
– The world’s most advanced oxygenized cabin
– Marvel at the snowy landscape at the top of the world
Mount Everest : The highest point on the Earth’s continental crust
Day 1: Singapore Chengdu (L/D) CA404 SINCTU 0200/0630
Assemble at Singapore Changi Airport for our flight to Chengdu, provincial capital of Sichuan. Upon arrival, visit
Kuan-zhai Lane where is a conservation of old architectural structures that have been implanted with modern decoration in a bustling
Chengdu city. Enjoy Sichuan spicy hotpot for dinner. After dinner, proceed to check into hotel.
Day 2: Chengdu Nyingchi CA4431 (07:20/08:50) (B/L/D)
Transfer to airport for your domestic flight to Nyingchi. Nyingchi is also known as the Jiangnan of Tibet with an average
sea-level of 2,500m. After lunch, proceed to King Cypress Natural Reserve. King Cypress is located near the village of
Bajie, about 7km from the town of Bayi and it has a history of more than 2,500 years. In the afternoon, travel 70km north in
the Yunnan-Tibet highway to the fairty-tale world ‘Lulang Forest Area’ which is known as ‘Little Switzerland of Tibet’. It is
the most impressive is the forest of Tibetan cypresses of about 10ha at the Bagyai Village in Nyingchi County at 3,040m
above sea level. Take a distance look at Najiabawa Peak. The main peak of Nanjiabawa is 7,782m high and famed as “the
father of icebergs”. The Nanjiabawa Peak is the highest in the Prefecture of Nyingchi and the 15th highest in the globe. Its
colossal triangle body is covered with deep snow and mists all year around which makes people hard to see its real face.
Day 3: Nyingchi / Lhasa (8hrs drive to Lhasa) (B/L/D)
Before depart Nyingchi, proceed to the most beautiful Kadinggou. Drive over the 5,013m above sea level Mila Mountain and
arrive Lhasa. Check-in to hotel after dinner.
Day 4: Lhasa/ Potala Palace / Jokhang Monaster / Barkhor Street (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we begin our exploration of the famous Potala Palace, perched on the northern side of Morburi Mountain.
Throughout the ages, it had been the winter palace of Dalai Lamas. Its name means ‘sacred Buddhist site’ in Tibetan
language. This palace-like complex of buildings was first built in the 7th century by King Songtsen Gampo to mark his
marriage with the Tang Dynasty’s princess Wencheng as well as to house the Buddha images brought by Wencheng and
the Nepalese princess Bhrikuti Devi. Over time, the palace was restored and expanded. The buildings are built of wood and
stone over 13 levels that span a height of over 117m, and a width of 400m from east to west and 360m from north to south.
The 130,000m2 architectural wonder has more than
1,000 gilded rooms and halls. The palace also houses priceless artefacts and artworks. Continue to Jokhang Monastery,
situated in the centre of Lhasa. It was first built in 674AD to celebrate the marriage of King Songtsen Gampo with Princess
Wencheng and Bhrikuti Devi, both devout Buddhists. This monastery underwent expansion over the years and today, its
four-level main hall sports a gilded roof and a blend of Han Chinese, Tibetan, Nepalese and Indian architectural styles. The
centre hall is supported by 20 beautifully carved wooden beams, while the under the eaves of the second and third levels of
the main hall are intricate sculptures of sphinxes and woodcarvings depicting animals. The corridors and halls are also
densely adorned with colourful murals of a total length of over 1,000m, which portray historical episodes and mythological
legends. Buddha images, including one of Sakyamuni at 13 years old, preside over the main hall, while the side halls feature
lifelike statues of King Songtsen Gampo, Princess Wencheng and Princess Bhrikuti Devi. Proceed to Barkhor Street in the
old city, which offers glimpses of traditional Tibetan life. The faithful chant and circumambulate around Jokhang Monastery.
In this circular street there are also shops selling a wide variety of crafts such as Tibetan knives, bangles, shoes and more.
Day 5: Lhasa/ Namtso Lake (B/L/D)
After breakfast, coach to Namsto. When you arrive Na Gang Kou, you can see the bright lake surface of Lake Nam-tso in the
western side. Follow the smooth road down the mountain, you may then see the lake. However, the road is heading for Nam
village government at the north side. You cannot see the other side of the shore of Lake Nam-tso..
Day 6: Lhasa / Yamdrok lake / Shigatse (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we depart for Shigatse. Along the way, we pass-by Yamzo Yumco Lake, whose name means ‘swan lake’.
Also known as Baidi Lake, it is wedged between two mountains, hence like a swan spanning its wings. The crystal-clear
lake, located over 4,000m above sea level, has an area of 638m2, about the size of Singapore. It is the largest freshwater
lake in Tibet, with a depth of up to 59m.
Day 7: Shigatse / Dingri (B/L/D)
In th morning, visit Tashi-Lhunpo Monastery, the largest monastery of the Tibetan Buddhist Yellow Sect and seat of the
Panchen Lama. This monastery, whose beauty is on par with that of Potala Palace, is located 2km west of Shigaze. It was
founded by the first Dalai Lama, Gyalwa Gendun Drup, in 1447AD. Its name means ‘all fortune and happiness gather here’.
Built against the mountain, this complex of overlapping buildings looks like a little town from afar. Covering 300,000m2, the
complex is enclosed by a wall of 1,500m. The oldest building is the Main Chanting Hall. Constructed over 12 years, it is
fronted by a courtyard where Panchen Lamas presided over Buddhist lectures. The courtyard walls are covered with
Buddha images. The Main Chanting Hall houses the Panchen Lama’s throne and several chapels, including a Sakyamuni
chapel, Bodhisattva chapel and Tara chapel. Don’t miss the Tenth Panchen Lama’s Stupa. The Tenth Panchen Lama was a
highly respected Tibetan Buddhist leader.
Day 8: Dingri/Mount Everest/ Shigatse (B/L/D)
Zhumulangma Peak (Chinese: ????? Zh?mùl?ngm? F?ng) or Mount Chomolangma – is the highest mountain on
Earth above sea level, and the highest point on the Earth’s continental crust, as measured by the height above sea level of
its summit, 8,848 metres (29,029 ft). The mountain, which is part of the Himalaya range in Asia, is located on the border
between Sagarmatha Zone, Nepal, and Tibet, China.
We’ll go to the highest Mount Everest nature protection area and watch sunrise by early morning.
After that going to Mount Everest station by walk, it will take about 1 hour. Feels the nature grandness, also may see
fortunately has Mount Everest flag cloud which like fire of the life flutters. Across the Mount WuJiaLa(5200 m), we can find
out Mount ZhuoAoYou (8201 m),Mount LuoZi(8201 m),and Mount MaKaLu(8463 m) around the Mount Everest. All the white
world, stand here, Life, even the whole universe is absolute reality.
Day 9: Shigatse /Visit Tibetan Family /Lhasa (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we proceed back to Lhasa. On the way, we can enjoy scenic views of the Yarlung Zangbo Gorge. Upon
arrival, visit the Tibetan family. Continue coach to Lhasa.Stay Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 10: Qingzang Train: Lhasa/Xining (B)
Transfer to Lhasa railway station by Train start at 12:45pm.It is a high-elevation railway that connects Lhasa, Tibet to Xining,
Tibet Autonomous Region, in the People’s Republic of China.The length of the railway is 1,956 km.
Day 11: Xining (B/L/D)
After breakfast, a site not to be missed is the Dongguan Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in northern China.
Day 12: Xining Chengdu Singapore CA403 CTUSIN 2000/0040+1
Train arrival Chengdu at 08.00am.Enjoy free time in Chengdu until transfer to airport for our flight back to Singapore.
1. Moon Wong (No preference)
2. Jane Chua (No preference)