11 Days Lhasa Heaven Lake Namtso Trekking Adventure
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Namtso Lake is also called “Heavenly Lake”. It is the second biggest lake in Tibet. This lake is salt lake situated 250 km north-east of Lhasa. Namtso lake is beautiful on the background grassland and mountain peak rises which makes a perfect match of greenish grass and bluish lake and sky. The Mt. Nying Cheng Thangla is also spectacular.
Vacation Style Holiday TypeTrekking
Activity Level Moderate
Group Size Medium Group
We have option of riding horse and Yak to get different experience in our trek. Trekking in this region gives both experience of nature and local nomad people. It is one of the most popular Tibet trekking program.
- Tibetan Local trekking guide;
- Tibetan mountain cook for the trekking days;
- Vehicle for all transfer airport-Lhasa-airport, Transportation to Tsuphu Yangpachen hot spring transportation;
- Comfortable hotel accommodation with good location in Lhasa;
- Tents, with mattresses, sleeping bags, lights, stoves, gas cylinder, stools or chairs, dining table, etc (all necessary trekking and cooking equipment);
- Full board meals (only for the trekking days as marked as B,L,D);
- All Sightseeing tickets per the itinerary (as listed above);
- All necessary Travel permits;
- Fresh food (all kinds of vegetables such as Tibetan potato, tomato, green peppers, eggplants, beans, cabbages, etc, beef, eggs, fruits such as bananas, apples, etc);
- Mineral water;
- Yaks and yak men for shipping luggage during the trekking days
- Chinese visa fee;
- Flights and train;
- Other personal expenses such as hotel laundry, souvenirs, etc;
Fly or take train to Lhasa [3650 m]
Once landed at Lhasa Gonggar Airport or reach to Lhasa Newwu Train Station, your private Tibetan tour guide and your Tibetan driver will pick you up with your name sign,they will transfer safely to your hotel in Lhasa, rest well for high altitude (behave wise to avoide heavy mountain sickness).
Guided sightseeing tour in Lhasa
Today what we will visit in Lhasa is the vital Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple with her vicinity. Potala palace is Lhasa’s most important landmark and she a wonder of Eastern architecture. Your first site of this massive structure will be a magical moment which will be remembered for your rest life time. It has been a palace since the fifth or sixth century and was once the home to the Dalai Lama. Well another visit we will take is to Jokhang Temple which locates at Barkhor Bazaar. This temple is the most revered shrine in Tibet and is constantly bustling with devout worshipers. We will also be given the opportunity to shop in Barkor Bazaar, the crowded central market in ancient section of Lhasa where is the residence of many local people.
Guided sightseeing tour in Lhasa
After breakfasts in hotel, we will drive to west Lhasa city section (about 11 km) and give a visit to the Drepung Monastery, which was once the world’s largest monastery. Housing 10,000 monks, Drepung monastery lies hidden in rocky ridges just beyond the city. Surprisingly much of the building was left untouched throughout so many hundred of years.
In the afternoon, the site we will visit is Sera Monastery, a fifteenth century sprawl of golden roofs and whitewashed walls. This well preserved monastery is located just a few miles North of Lhasa and is home to several hundred monks. Its famous debating activities are happening 3-4 pm quite regularly every working day, we will not give it a miss.
Free day in Lhasa
Today is a free day for your own relaxation,get fully acclimatized,and see more of Lhasa. You may do some of your own preparation for the outgoing trekking adventure comping up soon.
Lhasa/Namtso Lake(4718 m)/Bali Village/Droja Monastery
Head for Namtso Lake by bus. The Mani Gounds and streamers at the pass of Galmud are very splendid. Droja Monastery, which was built in 1716, was the biggest monastery around the lake.
Trekking around Namtso Lake-Droja Monastery/Buguzari/Ampa Komlong Island
Start to trek. Visit the caves in Buguzari, where many animals, plants and special letter-shaped patterns can be seen.
Buguzari/Kado Nanka Island/Ampa Komlong Island
Kado Nanka Island is a holy land, where there are lots of figures of Buddha and cave. There was Kado Monastery on the island but it was ruined during the Cultural Revolution. Fortunately there are the traces. Here is exactly the opposite side of the Mt. Tanggula and there are several grand stone standing so they are called the Gate of Tanggula that are very splendid. We can see many Mongolian gazelles.
Ampa Komlong Island/Jiachangcuiguo/No. 1 Camp
Jiachangcuiguo Yumen, which means the place to bath, is one of the four famous Yumens of Namtso Lake. It is said that people who bath here can get rid of evils and have good luck. The sand road around the lake many make you tired. Camping.
No. 1 Camp/Nam Township/Zhaxi Peninsula
At this moment, we have rounded the lake. Zhaxi Peninsula is the largest peninsula around the lake, which is a tent town now. A great number of Tibetan people from different pastoral areas come here to meet and pilgrimage. It is very lively.Dorm bed.
In the end, we will round the the Zhaxi Peninsula. That is the whole trekking stuff. Then we will drive back to Lhasa.
Lhasa airport dropping off
Basic tip for Namtso lake trek: Situated at an altitude of 4718 m Namtso is an extremely beautiful lake with turquoise blue water. Hiking excursion to Namtso lake is getting popular among visitors in Tibet . The lake is 70 km long and 30 km wide and is the biggest salt water lake in Tibet . It has the Nyechen Tanggla mountain range(7000 m peaks) on its back ground to enhance its beauty. The wide open spaces around the lake , dotted with the tents of local nomads is interesting to see. The 190 km drive from Lhasa to Namtso lake involves the high Yangpachen pass( 5630 m), so proper acclimatization is very important to do this hike successfully. Never take this trip lightly because it is short. The best season for trekking in Nam Tso Lake is late May to October, however you must be prepared at all times for wet weather, snow and cold winds. It is a very remote region and all the supplies must be carried by ourselves.
How can I get my Tibet Travel Permit?
It is critical to book your Tibet tour with a local travel agency like “Tibet local Guide travel service” for smooth travel permit application. Photo copy of your passport and the China visa copies are required for applying Tibet permits.
Please note that you will have to show the original permit in hand while asking for boarding pass and security checking in for flight to Lhasa or Copy of it while boarding the Train to Lhasa. However, Chongqing, Xi’an and Lanzhou railway station may also check original permits.
We will send it to your hotel in your flight departure city in China. While in urgent cases, we can send our permits delivery person to drop it to you at any China domestic airport if you just have few hours transit flight stop.
We do not send your Tibet permits to your home country, because permits come out regularly only 1 week to 2 weeks prior to your arrival date, and Tibet post companies have no efficiencies for handling international package delivery, so it is not trustworthy and not reliable to send your permits to your home county.
For more details of Tibet travel permits, you can email to email@example.com for instant Tibet local policy update.
What are the differences between travelling to Tibet from Nepal and entering Tibet from other Parts of China?
Foreign travelers have only two possible ways of getting to Tibet, one is from Nepal to Tibet by air or overland, while the other is from mainland city in China by train, air or car. Here below are the major differences.
- If you travel to Tibet from other provinces of China, you will need a valid China visa which allows you to travel, work or study in China, with this visa you can come to Tibet (but journalist, diplomats, public government service people, military persons and reporters, etc. must travel via Chinese government specified authorities, in most cases, these people are not allowed in), any Tibet travel agencies here in Tibet do not organize tours for those people whose jobs are listed as above. And the regular China visa categories are “L” tour visa, “Z” or “M” “Q” visa etc.
- Foreign travelers from a few countries such as Singapore and Japan may not need a China visa for specific period of time, in this case, these travelers can get Tibet entry permits without China visa. But please be noted that, you need to double check with your local china consulate to assure how long you can travel in China without a visa.
- Once you can travel in China legally, you can also get Tibet entry permits from local Tibet travel agency like us easily.
- To apply travel permits for foreign travelers entering Tibet from a city in China, none-restricted occupation travelers need to provide valid passport, valid China visa at least 2-3 weeks prior to arrival date to Tibet, and different travel destination in Tibet may require you to provide these documents even 30-40 days prior to arrival date because of many more complicated permits application process. These destinations are Kailash, North-loop-the Grand of Tibet, east Tibet bordering Kham (Sichuan province).
- Foreign travelers entering Tibet from mainland China can choose flight, train or overland driving. All the trains to Tibet will go through Xi’ning, Qinghai province, while the popular driving route is from Chengdu and Shangri-La or Kashgar or Xi’ning. The most picturesque driving adventure is between Tibet and Sichuan or Yunnan.
- If you enter Tibet from Nepal, you can go only by air from Kathmandu to Lhasa or by overland driving via Gyirong port or Purang (Taklakot) border, these are the only open borders between Nepal and Tibet. Currently the Indian-Tibet Sino border is not open for public.
- All foreign travelers from Nepal to Tibet must have 3 working days in Kathmandu to wait for the “Tibet Group Visa” prior to departure date for Tibet. This A4 size Tibet group visa (actually it is a china visa) document paper can only be issued through a registered travel agency in Kathmandu, but the important point is: any registered travel agency in Nepal has to obtain an official visa invitation letter photo copy issued from Tibet tourism Bureau here in Lhasa. To get this visa letter, a local Tibet travel agency like us can apply together with the Tibet permits around 2-5 weeks before visitor’s arrival in Tibet. So, travelers only need to bear in mind that, they do not apply any visa or permits by themselves, they just need to provide passport photo copies to Tibet based agency like us and we will handle all the rest.
- There is no train between Nepal and Tibet however. Kathmandu-Lhasa airfare is more expensive than via Chengdu, Chongqing, or Xi’an city in most cases.
- The overland driving between Kathmandu to Tibet border Gyirong is time consuming. The overall short distance may take around 10-15 hours especially in rainy seasons of July and August.
- No matter you enter Tibet from Nepal or mainland China, valid China visa (or Tibet group visa from Nepal) and Tibet permits are mandatory. And different permits are for different travel itineraries and specified schedule.
- When you fly from a city in China to Lhasa, original permits will be needed, however, if you fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa, you only need Tibet group visa for flight checking in(our Tibetan tour guide will take original permits to pick you up)
What documents do I have to send to you to secure all necessary Tibet Travel permits?
A short document list as below:
- Photocopies of valid passports data page for all travelers.
- Photocopies of valid China visa.
- Working certificate or student Id card copies if you do not hold “L” China visa but Z or F type of China visa.
- Marriage certificate or relatives’ statement with signature if you hold Q category China visa.
While booking your Tibet tour, we would like you to send us the copy of your Passport and China Visa for every member of the group. The copy of passport should be the same one you will be using to get your Chinese visa. If you renew your passports, but the China via is on the expired passport, please provide both passports photo copies.
If your visa is not the “L” category, i.e., tour category china visa, you will need to provide us the additional supporting document such as student certificates, resident and Work Permit and so on.
Please provide passport copies at least 2-4 weeks before arrival date. For Tibet tour without Kailash, eastern Tibet, North-loop Grand Tibet, we can accept urgent tour booking 2 weeks before your arrival date, but if your trip covers the places mentioned here, you’d better send us your passport photo copies 4 weeks to 5 weeks in advance at least, most of our Kailash travelers provide us passport copies half year in advance. And they can provide China visa copies 1 month in advance.
If you travel to Tibet from Nepal, we will only need your valid passport copies. Yet, we will have to apply for the Chinese Group Visa from the Chinese Embassy in Nepal.
Can I apply for Tibet Travel permit or Tibet group visa by ourselves?Definitely No, you cannot apply for Tibet travel permit or Tibet group visa directly. Tibet Travel Permit is only issued by Tibet Tourism Administration in Lhasa, together with other Chinese authorities such as military office, and foreign affairs office, national security office, public security bureau, etc. Therefore, an only local registered travel agency based in Lhasa can help you apply for it. Hence it is impossible for you to apply permits by yourself, and you will have to book your Tibet tour directly or indirectly with a local travel agency in Lhasa.
What is the Tibet travel documents list so I can check before coming?
During your traveling in Tibet, the three main primary documents are passports, China visa (or Tibet group visa) and Tibet entry permits. Different tour destination will need further document such as military permits, foreign affairs border passing permit, alien’s travel permits,
- Valid Passports.
- Valid China visa (for entering from China);
- Tibet group visa (for entering from Nepal);
- Tibet entry travel permits for all Tibet tours;
- Alien’s travel permits for trip covering Everest. Tsetang (Samye monastery), Kailash and north-loop Grand Tibet, eastern Tibet such as Draksumtso lake;
- Foreign affairs permit (policy keeps changing on this section)
- Border defense passing allowance permit (trip between Nepal and Tibet)
- Military permits.
Can a foreigner travel Tibet without travel permit?
Definitely No. it is not possible to travel to and in Tibet without a Tibet travel permit. No international travelers can visit in Tibet autonomous region of China without Tibet travel permit. It is mandatory for all the foreign nationals to get this permit prior to your arrival in Tibet. Only a local Tibet travel agency here in Tibet can help you make this document in Lhasa.
At all the entry and exit point to Tibet, the authority people will check the permit, passport, and Visa.
Can I have a few days as my own free time in Lhasa without hiring a guide?
Definitely Yes. it is possible but your activity is very limited. You can have some days free time in Lhasa to walk around, and do your shopping, try some local food, drink tea, coffee, and spend your leisure time, etc., BUT never enter a tourist attraction if without a tour guide. Furthermore, you cannot leave Lhasa for any other places in Tibet individually, especially when there is no tour guide and a licensed tour vehicle. You cannot extend further since there are many permits and identity checking points for exiting Lhasa.
How can I apply for a Chinese visa from my home country?
You can apply it through the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in your country. Tibet local guide travel service team strongly recommend applying it without mentioning about your travel plan to Tibet. Your application might get rejected as Tibet is a sensitive region of China. We helped many foreign travelers providing China tour itinerary references together with their own flights booking references, hotel booking references, etc., they can normally get China visa without any hassles.
If you do mention your trip covers Tibet, we will have to apply and send the Chinese Visa Invitation from Tibet Tourism Bureau office here in Lhasa. For this, you will need to go to the Chinese Embassy, not the consulate to apply China visa. The Visa invitation will only address to Embassy, not to the consulate. So, we suggest you try to avoid complicated and time-consuming process but choose the simplified and workable process. However, China visa application is beyond our Tibet travel agency, and policy keeps changing due to many factors such as political climate, international relationship, etc., please consult with your local visa agent for more information.
For your reference, the Visa invitation letter can be only applied after Tibet permits application approval. Therefore, you will have to book the tour with us and send us the Passport copies to start making the permit at least 2-3 months beforehand. Please remember, we can never complete the Permit process without the copy of your China visa. So, you will have to email your passport copies to us as soon as you get it.
For what kind of Tibet tour do I need additional permits?
Technically Tibet entry permit is enough to go if you are only visiting the Lhasa Prefecture. If you are visiting other prefectures in Tibet, you will need the additional permit depending on the region you will be visiting.
The military permit is required if you are traveling to Mount Kailash, traveling overland from and to Xinjiang and traveling overland to and from Yunnan and Sichuan.
Alien’s Travel Permit (ATP) is needed if you are visiting from Lhasa to other prefectures in Tibet. Therefore, Mount Kailash in Ngari prefecture, Mount Everest in Shigatse prefecture, Samye Monastery in Lhoka prefecture and Nyingchi prefecture.
Additionally, there is another permit called Borders Permit. You will require it if you are traveling to any border region and arriving from Nepal to Tibet by flight.
But you will not need to worry about it all. Experienced Tibet travel agency in Lhasa will know which permits are required as per the tour itinerary.
How long does it take to apply our Tibet travel permit?
The duration of the Tibet travel permit application process varies from 2 weeks to 4 weeks prior to your arrival date. The authorities do not accept very early permits application submission. Sometimes those people in authority slow down the process without prior notice and all agents have to wait. As professional and experienced Tibet local travel agency and tour operator, “Tibet Local Guide travel service” team always suggest foreign travelers book Lhasa tour at least 3 weeks before arrival date, and book Kailash tours or other restricted regional tours at least 4-6 weeks prior to arrival date. To submit permits application for any Tibet tours around 4 weeks in advance can ensure on time application. If you have urgent booking, please talk with our consultants and see if it is doable or not, and urgent handling cost may occur. Every year, we did help some travelers for last minute Tibet tour booking.
Do I need multiple entry China visa to continue with china tour after Tibet?
Definitely No, Tibet is a part of China, called TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region of China) , single entry China visa or the Tibet group visa can allow your China tour after Tibet. BUT, please remember that, if you hold Tibet group visa (entering Tibet from Nepal) but want to travel to China after Tibet, you will need to hold individual pieces of the group visa to travel individually in China by yourself; while if you travel with the name listed group members together, all people can hold one “Group visa paper documents) since all are travelling together. Otherwise you will get issues when checking in hotel in China. Since 2019, most hotels in China need passengers to have face scanning and ID and or passports registry to check in a hotel room. Most travel agencies in Tibet do not know this, especially many agencies out of Tibet do not have this kind of experiences.
Do you provide Tibet Permit only service?
No, we don’t sell Tibet Permit service only since it is illegal. No agent is allowed to sell the Tibet Travel Permit. Even though on the permits itself, it says free and no commission fee, the permits application process and responsibility of managing foreign traveler’s travel in Tibet is strictly regulated. Tibet permits application is locally and lawful per the China local rules in Tibet for foreign travelers to ensure Tibet long run development, we have to obey the local rules and respect local policy regulations. So do not just book a permit only service, as local experienced Tibet travel agency, we can organize your trip with your maximum free time in Lhasa, meanwhile, not requesting you to hire a guide all the time. This is good for LHASA tours, if your trip covers places out of Lhasa, you will need to book tour including guide, driver and car at least.
Furthermore, we are only allowed to apply the permit when we provide Tibet tour service, which includes professional tour guide, tourist licensed vehicle with a driver and/or hotel accommodation.
All Tibet travel permits application is submitted by local registered travel agencies here in Lhasa, Tibet. No matter the agency is Han Chinese registered or Tibetan registered, if there is legal tourism license, permits can be applied. However, an agency like “Tibet Local Guide Travel Service” official name is Tibet Norpel Lin Travel service has many years experiences with focus on serving only foreign travelers, we can provide hassles free permits and quality Tibet tour services. It is one-stop shop Tibet tour solution with better local prices.
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