Breeze blowing, wind chimes and prayer flags. The feel of the sun on your face. Sit quietly, facing the mountains. And be.
So teaches the Buddha. So teaches Tibet.
Locked away by the mighty Himalayas and other mountain ranges, Tibet has been a mystery world for a very long time. No more. Things are rapidly evolving, notably because of political and climate changes. Five-stars hotels are opening in Lhasa, Tibetan cuisine is being reinvented, and new roads are linking old forgotten cities.
Rich in natural beauty, monuments, temples, unique architecture, and most importantly its culture and heritage, Tibet should be on your must-see list, before it changes. The unique landscape of the roof of the world and its cultures and traditions are still there to be discovered, but for how long?
Longitude 80 has developed two different ways of offering you Tibet.
The first option is where we include the traditional discovery of Lhassa and the Tibetan plateau with four to ten day itineraries including the usual Lhasa / Gyantse / Shigatse triangle. But we also propose to you to go further east, outside the well-traveled paths, across ever changing breathtaking panoramas to the fabled Mount Kailash where you can do a three to four day trek in a place of immense spiritual power, believed to earn you great karma.
So, on top of the fabled Potala and the historical Jokhang Temple, the turquoise Yamdrok Lake and the magnificent Tashilhunpo monastery, you can also discover the harsh natural contrasts of the Tibetan plateau, the rolling Himalayan foothills, the rural life of Tibetan families. You can walk with pilgrims doing the Kailash Trek and earn merits. All of this with our usual touch of distinctiveness: an helicopter trip to the base camp of Mount Everest; a picnic near Mount Kailash, lunch at nomadic camps, philosophic discussions with monks.
Come to Tibet and touch the sky!
Nearly 10 million Chinese visit Lhasa in the summer months. So we recommend either April and May or September and October.
WHERE DOES IT START?
We recommend getting to Lhasa via China by plane (through Beijing and Chengdu, the bustling capital of Sichuan Province). Another option to get to Lhassa would be by flying to Golgud and then boarding the Shangri-La Express for an 14-hour daylight train journey along the 1,142km ‘Roof of the World’ rail line to Lhasa, cresting the 16,640ft (5,072m) Tangula Pass. This is the world’s highest railway pass, reaching an unbelievable 3 miles (5km) above sea level.
A minimum four-day stay if you only want to see Lhasa, due to the altitude, everything takes more time and this will facilitate acclimatization. The second option adds Gyantse and Shigatse to your itinerary and will mean an extra 5-6 days. Pushing further to Western Tibet and doing to the Kailash Kora Trek will imply a full 12-14 day trip due to extensive transfer times.
Accommodation outside Lhasa will be on the “rustic side” of things. Transfers between each major centers require driving times from 4-7 hours every second or third day.