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Home > Tibet Self Drive Tour with Own Vehicle
22 Days Private Tour (Laos) - Mohan – Mengla – Pu’er – Yuanyang – Jianshui – Kunming - Dali – Xizhou - Shaxi - Lijiang - Shangri-La – Feilai Si / Meili Xueshan - Markam - Zuogong – Ranwu – Lulang - Linzhi – Basum Tso – Lhasa - Yamdrok – Gyantse - Shigatse – Shegar – Rongbuk / Everest – Paiku Tso / Xixiabangma – Kyirong – (Nepal)
Highlights
Self Drive Tour from Yunnan to Tibet
DAY
1

Mohan - Mengla

Welcome to China

Today arrive at Mohan border customs in China from Laos, meeting with your guide who will help you to entry formalities. Then go to Mengla and handle relevant formalities for self drive travel in China.

45 km
1 hour
Overnight in Mengla
National Gate at Mohan
National Gate at Mohan
DAY
2

Mengla – Pu’er

Subtropical landscapes in southern Yunnan

Possibly further handle the relevant formalities for self drive travel in China. Drive to Pu’er.

239 km
4 hours
Overnight on Pu’er
Mohan
Mohan
DAY
3

Pu’er - Yuanyang

Sunset of Bada Terrace in Yuanyang

Then drive to Yuanyang Terraces. The Hani terraced fields in Honghe Hani Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan Province has been listed in the world culture heritage list by UNESCO in 2013. Located in the south of Ailaoshan Mountain in south Yunnan, Yuanyang Terraces are the core area of Honghe Hani Terraces. Hani Terraces are agriculture civilization wonder that are cultivated by Hani people and all other ethnic groups from generation to generation, through taking advantage of the special geographical environment and climate. Walking and sightseeing at Bada Terraces, famous scenery for enjoying sunset, terrace, sea of clouds and Hani village. If the weather is well, you can enjoy the beautiful sunset of Bada Terraces in the late afternoon and evening (usually at 18: 00-19: 30 o’clock). Attention: the best season for photographing Hani Terraces is winter and spring, namely, from November to April of the following year. There is no rice in it and Hani Terraces are horizontal and bright, which produce terrific light and shade effects.

348 km
5 hours 49 minutes
Overnight in Yuanyang
Rice Terrace of Yuanyang
Rice Terrace of Yuanyang
DAY
4

Yuanyang

Sunrise at Duoyishu Terraces, Blue Terraces, Colorful Terraces at Eagle’s Beak, Tiger Mouth Terraces

Get up early, don’t miss the wonderful sunrise at Duoyishu Terraces in the morning (usually at 06:30 – 07:30 o’clock). Duoyishu Terraces are the best place for enjoying the beautiful sunrise. And then visit Blue Terraces in Aichun Village. Only at 9:00-10:00 AM you can enjoy the “blue” and every January to February is the most beautiful period of Blue Terraces. The combination of clear water in the fields, the angle of the terraces, and the clear blue sky formed the beautiful Blue Terraces. Besides, the beautiful Blue Terraces, golden ridges, distant Hani villages, scattered trees, and Hani women carrying baskets make up a magic grand spectacle. Afterwards, go to Colorful Terraces at Eagle’s Beak (Laoyingzui) that is near Mali Village. The beauty of Colorful Terraces is due to its rich color. Especially the blood-red terraces are very attractive, the blood-red of which is red algae floating on the surface of the fields. Finally, walking along the Tiger Mouth (Laohuzui) Terraces. If the weather is well, you will enjoy the beautiful sunset at Tiger Mouth Terraces in the late afternoon and evening (usually at 18:00-19:30 o’clock). Tiger Mouth is the best place for enjoying the beautiful sunset of Yuanyang Terraces.
Rice Terrace of Yuanyang
Rice Terrace of Yuanyang
DAY
5

Yuanyang - Jianshui

Sunrise of Duoyishu Terraces. Ancient city Jianshui, Chaoyang Tower, Garden of Family Zhu, Confucian Temple, Double Dragon Bridge at sunset

If you are interested in the sunrise, you can get up early to enjoy the beautiful sunrise of Duoshuyi Terraces again. Then keep driving to Jianshui City, an earthy city built at the earliest in Nanzhao Period (around 810 AD) and was extended as brick city in 1387 of Ming Dynasty. In the afternoon, take a pleasant stroll in the ancient city of Jianshui and visit Chaoyang Tower. Built in 1389 of Ming Dynasty and preserved completely, Chaoyang Tower is the symbol of the important border town in Chinas old time. Then visit the Garden of Family Zhu that was built in Qing Dynasty (1636-1912) and keeps glorious till now. Then visit Jianshui Confucian Temple. Built in Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), it is the third biggest Confucian temple next to the Qufu Confucian Temple in Shandong and the Confucian Temple in Beijing. Many ancient music programs with large scale are performed here every weekend. The programs are divided two fields in the morning and in the afternoon and performance time are 9:00-11:00 and 14:00-16:00. At last, visit the Double Dragon Bridge, five kilometers in western suburb of Jianshui Old Town. The bridge at the sunset has unique charm! Recorded in the history of bridge building in China, the Double Dragon Bridge was built with 3 arches during the reign of Emperor Qianlong in Qing Dynasty and 14 arches were built to connect it during the reign of Daoguang in Qing Dynasty, so it was also called Seventeen-Arch Bridge. There are three-storey pavilions in the bridge and one pavilion at each end. The bridge body is made of rock, and it has a total length of 148.26 meters and a width of 3 meters. Today, you can try roasted tofu (doufu), the special dishes in Jianshui. With long history, it has earned a very good reputation as early as since the middle and late of Qing Dynasty (1636-1912).

134 km
3 hours 39 minutes
Overnight in Jianshui
Double Dragon Bridge
Double Dragon Bridge
DAY
6

Jianshui - Shilin - Kunming

Karst landscape, stone forest

After breakfast drive to Shilin, a county of Sani people of the Yi minority, to visit the Stone Forest. The bizarre karst stone rocks feature in various formation and some of them tower above to 30 m high. The Stone Forest is just a natural museum that was shaped by 270 million years of erosion. Walking in the forest, you’ll feel the magic power of the nature. Afterwards drive to Kunming (1891 m), capital of Yunnan province in southwest China, also called “Spring City” due to its fine climate all year round. Yunnan in Chinese means "to the south of the clouds".

316 km
4 hours
Overnight in Kunming (1891 m)
Stone Forest (Shilin)
Stone Forest (Shilin)
DAY
7

Kunming - Dali

Visit the Three Pagodas, Erhai Lake, stroll in the old town of Dali

In the morning drive to Dali (2090 m) at the foot of Cangshan Mountain (4295 m), a city of Bai Minority. Upon arrival in Dali have a walk by the picturesque Erhai Lake, the shape of which resembles a huge ear, so gave "Ear Lake" as its name. The lake with an area of 249 square kilometers, is 40 km long and surrounded by high mountains such as Cang Shan. Then visit Dali's landmarks - the three white pagodas of Chong Sheng Temple. Especially when the ensemble is reflected in the small pond, a wonderful photo motive appears for you! At last stroll in the alleys of the ancient small town. The well-preserved ancient city gates and the historic buildings have shown the city’s long history.

339 km
4 hours 32 minutes
Overnight in Dali (2090 m)
Three Pagodas of Chong Sheng Temple
Three Pagodas of Chong Sheng Temple
DAY
8

Dali – Xizhou – Shaxi – Lijiang

Old towns Xizhou and Shaxi. Ancient tea horse road

After breakfast drive to visit the old town Xizhou that is best known for its houses with the remarkably well-preserved traditional Bai architecture. Continue to drive to Lijiang (2416 m), the hometown of Naxi Minority. On the way visit the old town Shaxi, most of its residents are Bai People. Shaxi was an important caravan station on the ancient tea horse trade road between Yunnan and Tibet. Salt, tea and horses were exchanged on this route and the trade brought prosperity to the region. Located at the foot of Jade Dragon Mountain (Yulong Xueshan, 5596 m), the Old Town Lijiang is famous for its old wooden houses and the layout of the town’s streets. It has been listed as a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 1997.

229 km
4 hours 3 minutes
Overnight in Lijiang (2416 m)
Old Town Shaxi
Old Town Shaxi
DAY
9

Lijiang

Old town Lijiang, Black Dragon Pool, Dongba Culture Museum, mural at Baisha Village and residence of Josef Rock at Yuhu Village

In the morning stroll in the old town of Lijiang. With its narrow streets, canals, bridges and wooden houses, the old town creates a cozy atmosphere. Climbing the Lion Hill, you have a wonderful panoramic view of the old town Lijiang from the Wangu Pavilion. Then visit the beautiful park Hei Long Tan (Black Dragon Pond) at the foot of the Elephant Mountain (Xiang Shan), located north of the old town Lijiang. The peaks of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulong Xueshan, 5596 m) are clearly reflected in the water of the pond. Then visit the Dongba Culture Museum. The Dongba culture is considered as the basis of the Naxi people. “Dongba” means “wisdom” and is a polite salutation for their religious priesthood. The Dongbas are highly respected, as the culture carriers and culture disseminators in terms of pictograms, music, dance of the Naxi people. With 1000-year history, the Dongba culture originated at the latest in the Tang and Song dynasties. After that drive to Baisha Village to admire these religiously-inspired murals that were painted in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Compared to other religious murals, the mural boasts an important feature that figures of Buddhism, Taoism, Lamaism, as well as the artistic styles of different nationalities, e.g. Naxi, Tibetans, Bai and Han Chinese can be found in a single image. Continue driving to Yuhu village to visit the small museum at the former residence of the famous Austrian-American explorer, geographer and botanist Josef Rock. Finally, drive back to Lijiang Ancient Town.

Overnight in Lijiang (2416 m)
Old Town Lijiang
Old Town Lijiang
DAY
10

Lijiang - Tiger Leaping Gorge – Shangri-La

Walking in the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Old town Dukezong

Today, you can enjoy the spectacular spectacle of nature in the legendary Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiaoxia) on Jinsha Jiang (Golden Sand River) - the upper reaches of the Yangtze River (the longest river of China, 6380 km). The Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hu Tiao Xia), one of the deepest and longest canyons in the world and about 15 km long, was formed by a cliff of about 4000 meters high and was named from a legend that a tiger can jump over a canyon of 30 meters wide with one jump. Continue the journey to Tiger Leaping Gorge, soft hiking in the gorge. Keep driving to Shangri-La (3280 m, former Zhongdian) in northwest Yunnan, what is the southern gateway to Kham and Tibet. “Lost Horizon”, a novel wrote by British writer James Hilton and published in April 1933, describes a xanadu paradise in the southwest of China, a peaceful, quiet, eternal and mysterious living place for Tibetan, and there is a beautiful Lamasery, the center of “Shangri-La”. Lamasery leads the entire valley, forming a "Shangri-La" society. The author was inspired by the series of articles and photos published in “National Geographic Magazine” by Josef Rock during his expedition in northwestern Yunnan from 1924 to 1935. The word "Shangri-La" means in Tibetan “the sun and moon in heart”. Located on the old trade route to Tibet and literally called "Tea Horse Road", the region around Shangri-La is set in an enchanting landscape of snow-capped mountains, deep gorges, high mountain lakes, grassy steppes and primeval forests. Here, several nationalities, including Tibetans live in the northeast of Yunnan Province. Arrival in Shangri-La, discover the old town Dukezong.

201 km
3 hours 40 minutes
Overnight in Shangri-La (3280 m)
Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiaoxia)
Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiaoxia)
DAY
11

Shangri-La – Benzilan - Dechen – Feilai Si

Sumzanlin Monastery, Benzilan Village, The first bend of Jinsha Jiang, sunset of Meili Snow Mountain

In the morning visit Sumzanlin Monastery that was created in 1679 by the Fifth Dalai lama. Characterized by its Han-Chinese and Tibetan construction style, the monastery is the most important monastery of Gelugpa sect in Yunnan Province. Its appearance is strongly influenced by the Potala Palace in Lhasa, so it is also called "Little Potala". Today about 800 monks live here. Then drive through the Hengduan Range along the Jinsha Jiang (upper reaches of Yangtze) to Meili Snow Mountain (6740 m, Kawakarpo), a famous holy mountain of the Bon Religion and one of the greatest holy mountains of Tibetan Buddhism. At first, cross the 4292-meter mountain pass and look at the Baima Snow Mountain (5430 meters). Have a break in the beautiful small town Benzilan and enjoy the panoramic view of the “first bend of Jinsha Jiang (Golden Sand River)”. Finally, reach Feilaisi. If the weather is well, you can enjoy the panoramic view of sunset of Meili Snow Mountain.


183 km
3 hours 36 minutes
Overnight at Feilai Si (3400 m)
Sumzanlin Monastery
Sumzanlin Monastery
DAY
12

Feilai Si - Yanjing - Markam - Zuogong

Sunrise of Meili Snow Mountain. Drive through the three rivers area, main part of the Hengduan Mountains. Farewell to Yunnan and greetings from Tibet.

Get up early. If the weather is well, you can enjoy the glorious panoramic view of sunrise of Meili Snow Mountain. At this time, Kawakarpo Peak looks like covered in gold when the sun rises in the east, just like the British writer James Hilton wrote in "Lost Horizon". Then drive across the Jingsha Jiang (Golden Sand River, upper reaches of the Yangtze) to Markam. Cross the Jingshajiang Bridge that is always considered as the border between Yunnan and Tibet, and meet the first city Markam in the Tibet Autonomous Region on your overland trip. Then you drive through the three rivers area where the three major rivers - the Jingshajiang River, the Nujiang River (Salween in Myanmar) and the Lancang Jiang River (Mekong) that originate from the Tanggula Mountains of the Tibetan Plateau - flow parallel to the south. After going through the three passes Lawu (4358 m), Jueba (3880 m) and Dongda (5008 m), you will reach today's destination, Zuogong.

378 km
8 hours
Overnight in Zuogong
Meili Snow Mountain (Meili Xueshan)
Meili Snow Mountain (Meili Xueshan)
DAY
13

Zuogong – Bangda - Baxoi – Ranwu

Overcome 72-turn, stay be the beautiful Ranwu lake

Drive along upstream to Bangda, a town junction where Lhasa connects to the Chamdo-Kunming Highway. Keep drive across Yela Mountain (4,618 meters), then enter the famous 72-turn, it is the most tortuous road in Tibet. Afterwards drive to Ranwu Lake (Ngan Tso), a spectacularly crystal blue lake surrounded by snow peaks. As a part of Parlung Tsangpo River, Ranwu Lake is composed of Upper Ranwu Lake and Lower Ranwu Lake. And there is a large meadow between Upper Ranwu Lake and Lower Ranwu Lake. Parlung Tsangpo River originates from Laigu Glacier that is 40 km away from Ranwu Town. Walking along the Upper Ranwu Lake and Lower Ranwu Lake, you can enjoy the scenery of beautiful snow mountain and meadow, as well as village by the lake.

292 km
5 hours 32 minutes
Overnight in Ranwu
Winding Mountain Road
Winding Mountain Road
DAY
14

Ranwu – Midui – Bome - Lulang

Midui Glacier, Parlung Tsangpo, Lulang Town

Drive to Bomi along Ranwu valley. On the way, visit Midui Glacier which is consisted of beautiful Tibetan village, farm fields, snow mountains, glaciers, forests, lakes, etc. Midui Glacier is on the upstream of Midui River and melting glacier flows into Midui River and then into Parlung Tsangpo River. Midui Glacier is the most important marine glacier in Tibet and the lowest elevation glacier in China. The main peak of the glacier is 6800 meters above sea level and its snow line is only 4600 meters above sea level. From Ranwu to Bomi, about 100 km, is the most beautiful part of this overland tour. Driving along the Parlung Tsangpo River and enjoying the beautiful primitive landscape of snow mountains, forests and rivers. Drive down a few hundred meters then reach the lowland jungle settlement of Tongmai. Pass by Guxianghu Lake (2600 m) and Tongmai Bridge, through the Tongmai No. 1 Tunnel, finally reach Lulang Town. Leisurely walking in the natural oxygen bar - Lulang.

305 km
5 hours 36 minutes
Overnight in Lulang
Parlung Tsangpo
Parlung Tsangpo
DAY
15

Lulang - Linzhi - Basum Tso

Overlook Gyala Pelri and Namjabarwa, Buchu monastery, Lamaling temple, Ancient Giant Cypress Forest, Niyang River, Basum Tso Lake

After breakfast, drive through picturesque Lulang Forest. When crossing Serkhyem La Pass (Seji La, 4,515 m) you will have spectacular views of Mount Gyala Pelri (7,150 m) and Mount Namchak Barwa (Namjabarwa, 7,782 m), when the weather is so fine. During downhill, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of Niyang River valley and the panorama of Lingzhi. Before arrive in Linzhi (Nyingtri, 2900 m) visit the two neighboring monasteries: From the golden roof of the Buchu monastery to view the unique scenery of the Lamaling temple. After the visit of Ancient Giant Cypress Forest, drive along the Niyang River to the Basum Tso Lake, a holy lake of Nyingma school. More than 6000 m high snow-covered mountains’ reflection images make the lake very cinematic. It is no doubt that the main actor is Tsodzong Monastery on the Tashi Island. Hike on the island to visit Tsodzong Monastery. If you are interested, you can continue to walk by Basum Tso, enjoy the snow mountain and thick forest, and enter the Jieba Village that maintains pure Gongbo style. Basum Tso is located in Gongbo’gyamda County. The Tibetans who live in Gongbo’gyamda County are called “Gongbo people” by other Tibetan people. They have their own costume, special buildings, different festivals, and even different dialect. Visiting a family at Jieba Village, you will be treated warmly by them.

222 km
3 hours 29 minutes
Overnight by Basum Tso (3500 m)
Mt. Namjabarwa
Mt. Namjabarwa
DAY
16

Basum Tso – Gandan – Lhasa

Mi La Mountain Pass. Gandan Monastery. Welcome in Lhasa!

Drive over the impressive Mi La Mountain Pass (4865 m) to Lhasa (3650 m), capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. On the way visit Gandan Monastery. It was built in 1409 by Tsongkapa, the founder of the Gelugpa of Tibetan Buddhism. Gandan, Drepung and Sera are the three largest monasteries in Lhasa. And Gandan is the place where Tsongkapa passed away. Therefore, it has the highest reputation of all the monasteries of the Gelugpa. If you are interested, you can walk along the pilgrimage way to the left and right hillsides of Gandan Monastery to visit Tsongkhapa’s meditation cave and enjoy the panorama of Gandan Monastery and magnificent scenery of Lhasa River valley.

363 km
6 hours 30 minutes
Overnight in Lhasa
Gandan Monastery
Gandan Monastery
DAY
17

Lhasa

Potala Palace – landmark of Lhasa, Jokhang and Barkhor Street

In the morning visit Potala, which 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. The crowds of pilgrims, innumerable magnificent murals, Buddhist statues, scriptures and rare treasures altogether create a dense religious and art atmosphere that impresses every visitor. In the afternoon visit Jokhang monastery, the center of the Tibetan Buddhism and the sacred land of Buddhist followers where thousands of pilgrims come for worship everyday. The temple, built in 647, is the earliest wood-and-masonry structure still existing in Tibet. Walk on the Barkhor street surrounding Jokhang, a big free market with its prolific stalls for selling local specialties.

Overnight in Lhasa
Potala Palace
Potala Palace
DAY
18

Lhasa

Panoramic view over Potala, Norbulingka, Debate in Sera

In the morning visit Parla Lupu Cave Monastery, located on the slopes of Yaowang Mountain, was built in the 7th century. It is 22m high and from here you can have a wonderful panoramic view over Potala palace. Afterwards visit Norbulinka, the summer residence of the Dalai Lamas. In the afternoon visit Sera monastery, which was created in 1419 and has always been an important Buddhist seminary. As rose are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called “the court of wild rose”. Today still 200 lamas live in there. The "Buddhism Scriptures Debate" in Sera is very famous.

Overnight in Lhasa
Debate in Sera Monastery
Debate in Sera Monastery
DAY
19

Lhasa - Yamdrok - Gyantse - Shigatse

Karo La Pass and Glacier, holy lake Yamdrok, Palkhor with Pagoda Kumbum

Look forward to a breathtaking mountain world! Today you drive over several passes to Gyantse (260 km). At the highest point of the journey (Karo La Pass at 5,010 m), the glacier of Noejin Kangsa (7,223 m) is within your grasp. On the way, take photos for Yamdrok, the third largest sacred lake in Tibet. When you arrive in Gyantse, you can visit the Palkhor Monastery with the impressive step pagoda of Kumbum. Then continue to Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet.

356 km
6 hours 41 minutes
Overnight in Shigatse
Yamdrok Lake
Yamdrok Lake
DAY
20

Shigatse - Shegar - Rongbuk / Everest

Tashilunpo Monastery, Rongbuk Monastery, sunset on Qomolangma (Everest)

In the morning visit Tashilunpo, "Mountain of Happiness". Tashilunpo Monastery is also one of the six master monasteries of the Gelug Sect. Shigatse is the seat of the Pantschen Lama. The largest gilded statue of Maitreya, the Buddha of the future, can be found in the monastery in China. Then drive to Shegar. After going through the Yalung La (4,520 m) and Gyathso La (5,220 m) passes, continue to the Rongbuk Monastery (5,154 m). Here the Qomolangma’s steep of the north side makes a profound impression on you. On the way take photos at Pang La (5150 m) where the view is magnificent: from left to right are Makalu, Lhotse, Everest, Nuptse and Cho Oyu. Built at the beginning of the 20th century, Rongbuk is the largest monastery in this region. If the weather is well, you can admire the magnificent sunset on Qomolangma (Everest).

334 km
6 hours 6 minutes
Overnight at Rongbuk Monastery
Mt. Himalayas
Mt. Himalayas
DAY
21

Rongbuk - Oldt Tingri - Paiku Tso - Kyirong

Sunrise over Qomolangma (Everest), Paiku Tso

Today you will get up early to see the unforgettable sunrise over Qomolangma (Everest). Then drive via Paiku Tso and Xixiabangma Mountain to the Chinese border station Kyirong (Jilong). With 300 square kilometers, Paiku-Tso is the largest lake in Shigatse Prefecture. Located between three mountains, it is rich in fish and various wild animals, such as wild horses, wild donkeys and yellow ducks etc.

363 km
7 hours 1 minute
Overnight in Kyirong
Mt. Everest
Mt. Everest
DAY
22

Kyirong - Kathmandu

Farewell to China

Drive to the customs at Kyirong, assistance for the exit formalities.

187 km
4 hours 14 minutes
Kyirong
Kyirong
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