Day 1: Lhasa to Basum Tso (3540 m). This beautiful alpine lake,also known as Bagsum-tso and Basong tso,is a long day's drive from Lhasa and a worthly 41 km detour off the Sichuan-Tibet Hwy. Apart from the sheer beauty of the lake and its surrounding 6000 m plus peaks, the site has strong connections to Gesar of Ling, the semimythical ruler of eastern Tibet, and Guru Rinpoche, the Indian sage,both of whom are said to have resided at the lake. Many pilgrimage sites are connected to the two.
Day 2: Basum-tso to Bayi (2990 m). Bayi is a large Han Chinese military town of minor interest, except perhaps as a base from which to visit the surrounding sights or restock your supplies. Bayi in Chinese means 1 August, the founding date of the PLA. It is 125 km from Bagsum-Tso.
Day 3: Bayi to Pomi (3000 m). Formerly known as Tramo, this small country capital has well-stocked shops and several hotels and restaurants, making it a logical place to spend the night. In clear weather the surrounding scenery is stupendous.
Day 4: Pomi to Pashu. Pasho (Chinese: Bashe), fromerly known as pema (Baima),is a pleasant town that makes for a good overnight stop. Explore around Pasho visit Neru Monastery and Dola Monastery.
Day 5: Pashu to Markham. Markham,traditionally known as Garthog Dozong, is where the Vigilant PSB commonly catches permit-less hitchhikers from Sichuan and Yunnan. At Markham the road splits. The southern branch runs 112 km over a pass to Yanjing (salt well) and the border with Yunnan, continuing on the Seqin. Yanjing used to be Tibet's major source of salt, once an essential commodity in these parts.
Day 6: Markham to Litang (4680 m). Surrounded by snowcapped peaks and resting on open grassland, Litang is a pleasant and friendly place to hang out for a couple of days. A horse-racing festival from 1 to 7 August sees the town swells with Tibetan visitors.
Day 7: Litang to Ganzi (3400 m). The noisy market town of Ganzi (also spelled Kandze and Garze) sits in a valley at 3400 m, surrounded by the sleeping giants of the Trola (Chola) range,and is a natural place to break the Trip.The gergeous surrounding countryside is peppered with Tibetan villages and resrgent monasteries.
Day 8: Ganzi to Manigango.
The road winds through deep gorges and pretty Tibetan villages before ascending to the wild and craggy scenery of the 4916m Tro-la in the east of Derge. From the pass,the road descends to the crossroads of Manigango. Yilhun La-tso, a stunning, holy alpine lake bordered by chortens and dozens of rock carvings is about 13 km before reaching Manigango. The lake is backed by the huge glaciers of 6018m Trola peak and it's possible to walk an hour or two up the left side of the lake shore for glacier views.
Day 9: Excursion to Manigango. Resting in a valley between the Tibetan border and the Trola (Chola) range to the east, Derge forms the cultural heartland of Kham. While the Chinese influence is evident and growing ripidly in the town,the old town and surrounding villages are very much Tibetan.There are many historically important monasteries in the valleys south of Derge,namely at pelpung (Chinese: Babang), Dzongsar, Pewar (Baiya), Kathok and Pelyul (Baiyu).
Day 10: Manigango to Derge (4000 m). Chamdo (literally river confluence; Chinese: Changdu),located at the strategic river junction of the Aza-chu and the Ngon-chu,is a surprisingly pleasant town. It is dominated by the hilltop Jampaling Monastery, below which huddle the Tibetan old town and the Chinese new town. Over 1000 km from Lhasa and 1250 km from Chengdu, the town is the major transport, administrative and trade centre of the Kham region. Chamdo has had a troubled relationship with nearby China. The Chinese war lord Ahao Erfeng captured Chamdo in 1909 and ruled the region until the Tibetans recaptured in 1917. Chamdo fell to Communist troops in 1905.
Day 11: Derge to Chamdo (3600 m). Tengchen (Chinese: Dingqing) is an unremarkable but reasonably pleasant two-street town. It's possible to make calls at the town's telecom office. BothTengchen and the surrounding region of Khyungpo are strong centres of the Bon religion. The main reason to stop here is to visit Tengchen Monastery,on a hillside 4km west of town. This interesting Bon monastery is actually made up of two separate institutions.
Day 12: Chamdo to Pangda airport.
Day 13: Fly to Lhasa. O/n Keychu Hotel.
Day 14: Rest day.
Day 15: Fly out.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Tibet Local Culture Cultural Journey