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Shigatse - Lhatse - Saga - PaYang - Darchen - Zhada - Shiquanhe - Duoma - Dahongliutan - Yecheng - Kashgar
Of the four main roadways in Tibet, the Tibet-Xinjiang Road is the toughest one to travel on. The condition of the road, the restaurants and the accommodations along the way are very poor. However, many people come to challenge this route because of the legendary holy mountain and lake in A-li---Mt. Kailash and the Lake Manasarovar. The experience of this trip will leave you with unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.
Sutra-debate, Sera Monastery
Please refer to our previous advice for information about the route from Lhasa to Shigatse. Our first day will start by traveling west to Lhatse. On the way, visit Sagya Temple, the main temple of the Sagya sect, one of the four sects in Tibet. Under the protection of the Yuan dynasty, the Sagya sect once ruled all of Tibet and had a great impact on the history and culture of other sects in Tibet. The road is poor quality, covered by sand and stone. You can stay overnight in the town of Lhatse.
On the second day, drive to the town of Saga. Saga county is located at the southern border of A-Li, an important crossroad for trade and transportation. Along the way, enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery including Mt. Shisha Pangma, Mt. Everest, Mt. Labujikang, Mt. Nanlytri and Mt.Yangtri. The total distance traveled today is 293km, which requires about 8 hours driving on an unpaved road. Local rest houses are available here, however, if you want a hotel with better facilities, try the Xing Yue Hotel, which costs about CNY150.00 per room per night.
Guge Kingdom Ruins, Tibet
The next day, drive on to Pa Yang. Pa Yang is a prairie town steeped in the traditions of western Chinese rural culture where you can see Tibetan residents dressed in their unique clothing, cows and sheep grazing in the green grassland with the white snowy mountains in the background. What a pastoral scene, like a poem or a picture. The total distance today is 282km, along a bumpy road covered with sand and stone. The driving takes about 9 hours and you can stay at a rest house in Pa Yang.
On the fourth day, drive to Parga. The driving distance is about 330km, but the road condition is better and it takes about 8 hours. In Parga stay at a local rest house.
The next day, leave Parga and drive about 20km to arrive at Darchen. Look towards the holy Mt. Kailash (6656m) and you will see pilgrims circling the mountain in an act of devotion. If you want to walk around the mountain personally, you need approximately 3 days. Drive southeast for 26km to reach Lake Manasarovar. The lake has an altitude of 4587m, and it is considered the king of holy lakes in Tibet. It is believed that bathing in its water will cleanse one of all improper thought, sin and trouble. Drinking its water will always keep one healthy. Stay overnight at a local hostel.
On the sixth day, drive to Zhada.Visit the Tsaparang Toiling Monastery, also known as the Guge Kingdom Ruins. It was built in the 9th century, and lies scattered around the hills in Zhada covering an area of 180,000 square meters. You can see temples, audience halls, the summer and winter palaces, stupas, and mummy caves within the ruins. Many murals and clay sculptures can still be seen today. The driving time today is about 10 hours, covering 330km on the unpaved road. Stay at a local hostel.
Devout people in Tashilhunpo Monastery, Shigatse
On the seventh day, drive on to Shiquanhe. The total distance today is 300km, which takes about 9 hours, still on unpaved road. Shiquanhe is the capital town of the A-li area and has relatively modern facilities. It is a newly built town (only 20 years old). The altitude of the town is 4300m, and it is surrounded by the Himalayas, Mt. Gangdise and Mt. Kunlun. After several days of hard traveling, you can find a better hotel to take a good rest. We suggest the Shiquanhe You Zheng Hotel. The room rate is about 220 per night.
On the eighth day, travel to Duoma, which is the last town you can stay overnight in Tibet. The altitude is about 500m. On the way to Duoma, visit the famous Birds Island Bangong Co. It not only a haven for birds, but also has great landscape for taking pictures. On the lakeside of Bangong Co, don't miss the fish banquet, which is delicious and not expensive. Please do not eat fish from other lakes because it is considered sacrilegious to the Gods. Today's travel mileage is 273km and takes about 7 hours. The road is unpaved.
On the ninth day, leave from Duoma and cross the desert. After a 2 to 3 hour drive pass over the broad mountain Daban (6700m), and cross the fountain valley (5200m) to finally arrive at Dahongliutan (4200m). The travel distance today is 358km and takes about 9 hours. Stay at the depot priced at CNY20.00 to CNY30.00 per night.
Natural scenery of Tibet
On the tenth day, drive to Yecheng via thirty miles barracks, Mazha and Kudidaban. While in Mazha, you can see the second highest peak in the world, Mt. Qiaogeli (8611m). Today we will drive 487km.The road condition is much better and it will take about 10 hours. Stay at the best hotel in Yecheng, the Dian Li Hotel priced at about CNY160.00 net per night. You can have a free evening to explore the city and try some local delicacies.
On the last day, have a short city tour in Yecheng, visit the Great Mosque and local bazaar, then drive to Kashgar.
Tibet Holy Land Tour: 12 Days, Beijing - Xian - Lhasa - Shanghai
More Hiking Routes:
Hoh Xil Tour: 7-Day Travel to Hoh Xil
Monastery Tour: Tibet hiking tour to Mindroling Monastery
A Buddhist Legacy Exploration: Hiking to Ganden Monastery and Samye Monastery