Code: TB22

Tsurphu Monastery

Tsurphu Monastery, Tibet
Overview: Tsurphu Monastery is located in Gurum town in Doilungdeqen County in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, 70 km from Lhasa. There is a regular bus from Lhasa to Tsurphu Monastery every day, around 7:00 am to 8:00 am. The bus departs once it is full. The bus stops at a narrow lane which can be found by going south for 200 meters from the west garden of the Jokhang Temple. The bus ticket is ¥15.00 per person.

On the first day, you are suggested to arrive at the Tsurphu Monestery by bus from Lhasa. Tsurphu Monastery can be dated back to the 11th century and boasts being the biggest monastery of the Kyigyapa sect, it is also the residence of the current living Buddha Karmapa, the reincarnated lama of the Kyigyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. You can rent a horse and a guide for the following 4 days trekking. There is no accommodation in the Monastery, so it is suggested you camp in a tent in the backyard of this Monastery.
On the second day, it is suggested you walk for 4 to 5 hours for 11 kilometers to reach Leten, a spectacular first day's trekking up a green valley crisscrossed with mountain streams. This valley is to the west of Tsurphu Monastery. After you cross Karmapa Lingka, the valley divides into two branches; you just need to continue in the original direction instead of taking the left turn. About one hour later, a branch meets the main stream from the northwest. Here, several small nomadic communities camp for the summer herding their animals, and you may stop in a yak-hair tent for a cup of salt butter tea or some fresh yak milk! Crest the ridge top four hours later, emerging onto a high plateau with a scattering of rock-enclosed huts, and look for a flat area to camp. From today, the scenery is breathtaking, classic Tibetan beauty. Overnight in Leten, where is regarded as the highest elevation habitation in the world.
On the third day, after acclimatizing yourself in Leten for one night, you will leave for Bartso, which is 15 kilometers away and will take approximately 5 to 6 hours to reach.
Looking towards Yangpachen, you can find the trail to the west of a vault-shaped hill, and then cross the low ravine below.
Crossing your first small pass, the Damchen Nyingtri, bear left at the cairns at the crest, and descend into a magical valley of lichen-coated boulders, meandering streams and expansive, powder-blue sky. Three hours later, you will cross the Lasar La and descend into the Yangpachen valley, with its wide open plateaus, spiky grass hummocks and tundra-like parched, cracked patches of earth, and head towards Bartso. The views of Brize (translated as female yak herder) and Tarze (horse keeper) are superb, and you will feel safe in the care of the local mountain god, Nyenchen Tanglha. You are advised to camp near Bartso. It is a nomad village of five or six houses, surrounded by the juniper used for incense all over the Tibetan world.
On the fourth day, another 15 kilometers will lead you to the Dorje Ling Nunnery. Leaving the village of Bartso behind, head towards a wide trail leading across the valley and over another ridge, from where you will be rewarded with views of Nyenchen Tanghlha (7111 m), the holy mountain in central Tibet. Emerge at Tajung village, and then climb gently up rolling hills where young nomadic boys and girls picnic on the plateaus as they watch their yaks and sheep graze. The vistas are, again, just amazing! Mid-day, you should reach the small Djore Ling Ani Gompa (nunnery), near which you will set up camp. It is possible that these nuns, some of the friendliest in Tibet, will drag you into the gompa s tea-house and pass around a heaping plate of yak meat (use the bowie knife provided to hack a piece off) before getting into the requisite photo session.
On the fifth day, you will achieve the goal of this trekking - Yangpachen Monastery and Yangpachen Hot spring. It will be about 14 kilometers to reach there, walking for 3 to 4 hours.
Namtso Lake, Tibet
Namtso Lake, Tibet
From the beginning, you can see a gentle road with motorbikes and tractors on the way in a westerly direction, and also some houses dotted on the edge of the ploughed land. Trek for 40 minutes and head to the south bank of the river and the valley will soon turn left. At that time, you will find yourself in the Yangpachen valley, surrounded by the Nyainqentanglha Range. 15 minutes later, cross a cement bridge to the right side of the Yangpachen, follow the trail of a grassy valley; one and a half hours later you will reach Tsabarung (4330m). Cross the iron bridge, and head for Yangpachen Gompa. This old Kagyupa monastery, with Tibetan mastiffs keeping guard, overlooks part of the Trans-Himalaya range. There are land cruisers waiting for the clients at the monastery. You might have a hot spring at Yangbachen.
The Sacred Namtso Lake is about 100 kilometers from Yangbachen, and you might rent a car to appreciate the scenery and return to Lhasa.
If you want to return to Lhasa directly, as there isn't regular bus to Lhasa from Yangbachen, you need to walk for 19 kilometers to Qinghai - Tibet highway and get on a passing truck to Lhasa, which is 83 kilometers away; otherwise, you might rent a car from the Gompa to Lhasa.
Important note: Trekking Permits in Tibet - There are two requirements for foreign tourist's tour in Tibet. One is the Chinese Visa, which you can apply for at the Chinese Embassy in your country. Another is the Alien Travel Permit, which is issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau. There are no independent trek tours allowed in Tibet. You should join an organized group or have the local travel operator arrange a trek tour for you.
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