Here’s another fantastic opportunity for adventure with one of the most experienced and service-oriented guides in Tibet, Jamin “Lobsang” York. This time, Jamin is leading a Tibet photography tour to Mount Kailash, with an itinerary that is a greatest hits of Tibet, all in one journey!
If you’re interested in both Tibet travel and photography, this is an excellent opportunity, not to be missed.
Lhasa to Everest Base Camp, Mount Kailash and Guge Kingdom
Our friend Jamin “Lobsang” York is a well-known Tibet expert who has been leading high quality trekking, photography and cultural journeys through Tibet for more than 12 years.
One of the most epic journeys one can take in Tibet is the route leading from the Tibetan capital city of Lhasa to the North Face Everest Base Camp and on to Lake Manasarovar, Mount Kailash and the ancient Kingdom of Guge.
You will begin by staying 3 nights in Lhasa, the religious center of Tibet. You will explore many of the most important pilgrimage sites including Jokhang Temple, the Potala Palace and Sera Monastery. Clients will rub shoulders with devout Buddhist pilgrims while exploring temples that date back up to 1400 years.
From Lhasa, the real adventure begins as the tour hits the road. The next stop is a high pass above the sacred alpine lake of Yamdrok Tso, one of Tibet’s 4 main holy lakes. The turquoise colored waters give way to the stunning 23,000 foot (7000 meters) glaciated peak of Nojin Kangtsang. From the pass, you will descend to the shores of the lake, stopping to experience the natural beauty of the surroundings. You’ll then begin going back up into the mountains to the Karo La Glacier, one of Tibet’s many rivers of ice and snow. You will then descend to the quaint town of Gyantse where you can photograph the 600 year old Pelkhor Chode Monastery. This monastery is home to the Kumbum, one of Tibet’s largest and most important Buddhist stupas.
From Gyantse, the next stop is Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest city. Along the way there are opportunities to photograph several small farming communities and learn more about how Tibetans can grow crops at such high altitudes. The tour will spend 2 nights in Shigatse while going to Tashi Lhunpo, one of central Tibet’s largest Buddhist monasteries. You will also explore the Old Town and walk the ancient Buddhist pilgrimage route around the monastery. After the time in Shigatse, the tour continues westward stopping to photograph more farming and perhaps even some semi-nomadic communities before arriving in the Everest Region.
In the Everest Region, you will go to the famous monastery of Rongphu, the highest monastery on the planet. Rongphu looks out to a stunning view of Everest’s North Face. Next, you will make the short drive to Everest Base Camp, elevation 17,000 feet (5200 meters). This will be as high as you go on Everest, which is plenty high enough! The views from Everest Base Camp are stunning and are far better than the views of Everest from the Nepal-side base camp.
After the time at Everest Base Camp the next destination is Shisha Pangma base camp. Shisha Pangma is the 14th highest peak on the planet at 26,290 feet (8013 meters). From base camp, you get a jaw-dropping, sweeping view of the Tibet side of the Langthang Himalaya. From there, the path continues to the mid sized town of Saga, where you will continue to acclimatize to elevation. From Saga, you will drive to the sacred lake of Manasarovar. This holy lake is surrounded by glacier-covered Himalayan peaks. You’ll stay one night along the lake shore before starting your trek around Kailash.
Next, the tour takes 3 days (2 nights) to trek around Kailash, the most revered peak in the Himalaya. The circuit around the mountain is 52 kilometers and will take you up and over the 5640 meter Drolma La Pass. You will trek alongside Buddhist pilgrims, many of whom will be prostrating around the mountain. There are guesthouses and simple restaurants along the circuit so no camping is required. After the trek is finished, you will spend the night in the village of Darchen, located at the base of Kailash.
Most journeys to western Tibet end at Mount Kailash….but not this one! From Kailash, the tour will continue further west to the ancient (and largely forgotten) Kingdom of Guge. You will spend 2 nights in Zanda, while exploring the nearby Guge ruins. Guge is visited by very few travelers and is one of the places on our planet that you can’t believe until you see! Not only will you see it, you will explore all through the Tsaparang ruins. After some time in Guge, you will begin the journey back to Lhasa.
28 April: Arrive to Chengdu, China
29 April: Fly from Chengdu, China to Lhasa, Tibet
30 April: Lhasa
1 May: Lhasa
2 May: Drive from Lhasa to Yamdrok Lake, Karo La Glacier and Gyantse
3 May: Drive from Gyantse to Shigatse
4 May: Shigatse
5 May: Drive from Shigatse to the Everest Region
6 May: Sunrise at Everest Base Camp and drive to Old Tingri
7 May: Drive from Old Tingri to Shisha Pangma, Peiku Lake and Saga
8 May: Drive from Saga to Lake Manasarovar
9 May: Drive from Lake Manasarovar to Darchen
10 May: Trek from Darchen to Dira Puk Monastery
11 May: Trek from Dira Puk to Drolma La Pass and Zutul Puk Monastery
12 May: Trek from Zultul Puk to Darchen
13 May: Drive from Darchen to Guge Kingdom
14 May: Guge Kingdom
15 May: Drive from Guge to Darchen or Lake Manasarovar
16 May: Drive to Saga
17 May: Drive from Saga to Lhatse
18 May: Drive from Lhatse to Shigatse
19 May: Drive from Shigatse to Lhasa
20 May: Depart Lhasa
Dates going from Lhasa to Everest base camp and Mount Kailash
Jamin “Lobsang” York leads a journey to Kailash two times each year, once in late April/early May and again in October. The next open journey will be from October 7—26, 2017.
The Leader of the Journey
Jamin “Lobsang” York, from Seattle in the US, has spent nearly 15 years living full-time in Tibet. His expertise on Tibet has been used by The Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, BBC and National Geographic. He has also consulted for most major guidebook companies including Lonely Planet, Rough Guide and Frommers. As an avid photographer, he has had photos published in books and magazines across the globe. Jamin has led over 50 trekking, photography and cultural journeys in Tibet and the Himalaya over the past decade. During each journey, he gives detailed lectures on different aspects of Tibetan culture, history and religion. Joining Jamin on this journey will be Lhasa-native Tenzin Ngodup who has led more than 40 trekking expeditions around Kailash. He speaks fluent English, is an expert in Tibetan religion and culture and knows far western Tibet better than anyone.
Eligibility for this Journey
This journey from Lhasa to Everest, Kailash and Guge in Tibet is an overland journey that includes the 3 day trek around Mount Kailash. Clients should be in very good health and be able to walk around towns, monasteries and villages as well as complete the 3 day 52 kilometer trek around Kailash. This journey is open to all level of photographers. Some clients use high end DSLR cameras, while others prefer using their smartphone. All clients should have an interest in Tibet and its amazing landscape and culture.
The group size for this 23 day journey will be between 6 and 10 clients, with 10 being the maximum.
Costs of the Lhasa to Everest, Kailash and Guge Journey
This 23 day journey costs $3999 USD per person and includes just about everything! Included in the cost are one-way airfare from Chengdu, China to Lhasa, Tibet, all accommodations, all meals, all drinking water, fresh fruit each day, bottled oxygen (if needed), all Tibet travel permits, all ground transportation in Tibet, all entrance fees to monasteries, Everest and Kailash fees, along with professional and local guide fees.