Chengdu to Lhasa Discovery Trip from 22nd Aug to 4th Sept 2024

Introduction – Tibet and Lhasa
A trip to Tibet and its capital city, Lhasa, is a truly extraordinary experience that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and spiritual significance. Here are some of the aspects that make this journey so captivating:

Stunning Natural Scenery:
Tibet is known for its breathtaking landscapes. The region is home to the world’s highest peaks, including Mount Everest, and offers spectacular views of the Himalayas. You’ll encounter serene lakes, lush valleys, and vast plateaus that seem to stretch into infinity.

Spiritual and Religious Significance:
Tibet is often referred to as the “Roof of the World” and is a center of Tibetan Buddhism. Lhasa, in particular, is home to numerous monasteries and temples, with the iconic Potala Palace being the most famous. The spiritual ambiance and the devotion of the Tibetan people are deeply moving.

Potala Palace:
This UNESCO World Heritage site is the former winter residence of the Dalai Lama. It’s a masterpiece of Tibetan architecture, perched atop a hill in Lhasa. The intricate artwork, gold-plated roofs, and the historical artifacts inside make it a must-visit attraction.

Jokhang Temple:
Located in the heart of Lhasa, the Jokhang Temple is one of the holiest sites in Tibetan Buddhism. It’s a place of pilgrimage and is surrounded by a bustling market called the Barkhor, where you can experience the vibrant local culture.

Tibetan Culture and Traditions:
The Tibetan people have a rich and unique culture that revolves around their spiritual beliefs. You can witness traditional dances, music, and rituals during your visit, and you’ll have the opportunity to interact with locals and learn about their way of life.

Tibetan Cuisine:
Try traditional Tibetan dishes like momo (dumplings), tsampa (roasted barley flour), and yak butter tea. Tibetan food is hearty and well-suited to the high-altitude environment.

High-Altitude Experience:
Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world, situated at an altitude of around 3,656 meters (11,975 feet). While this can present altitude-related challenges, it also adds to the unique character of the trip. Acclimatization is important to fully enjoy the journey.

Hospitality and Warmth:
Despite the harsh environment and challenging living conditions, the Tibetan people are known for their hospitality and warmth. You’ll likely feel welcome and cherished during your visit.

Road Trip from Chengdu to Lhasa via Route 318 and Train from Lhasa to Xining

A road trip from Chengdu to Lhasa via Route 318, the Southern Route is a breathtaking adventure through some of the most scenic and remote areas of China and Tibet. This route takes you through the heart of the Tibetan Plateau, allowing you to experience the unique culture, stunning landscapes, and high-altitude challenges of the region.

The leisurely pace of ascending to Lhasa minimizes the chances of suffering from Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). It gives time for the body to acclimatize and adapt to the high altitude. We have organized a road trip from Xining to Lhasa in 2014. There were 15 participants and none of the participants suffered from AMS.
This trip is unique, we will be going up from Chengdu to Lhasa vis the scenic Highway 318 and return by the Tibet-Xining train so that we can experience the beautiful Tibetan Plateau. This is trip offers the best of two very beautiful and scenic routes to Lhasa.

Our Route Map

Best Time to Go:
The best time for this road trip is during the late spring (May to June) or early autumn (August to October) when the weather is relatively mild, and the roads are more accessible. Avoid traveling during the winter months when the roads can be icy and dangerous.

Permits and Regulations:
Travelling to Tibet requires other permits besides the Chinese Visa. The permit requirements are more stringent for foreigners. We will handle all the permits.

How to get to Chengdu?

Indicative airfares

Difficulty of trip

You need to be reasonably fit to embark on this discovery adventure. There will be some walking in the places of interest. Bear in mind that Tibet is a mountainous place.  Also, we will have to acclimatize to the high altitudes


Day 1 – 22nd August – Arrival at Chengdu                                                                                                                      

Arrive at Chengdu and transfer to Chengdu Hotel

Free and easy

Day 2 – 23rd August – Chengdu to Kangding (2500m) (B,L) – 360km

Drive from Chengdu to Kangding, the capital of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Perfecture.

We will stop along the way for toilet breaks, lunch and photography of scenic places.

Day 3 – 24th August Kangding – Xinduqioa -Litang -Batang County (2,700m) (B,L) -540km.

We leave for Batang County after breakfast. We will visit Xinduqiao town. This town is regarded as “Paradise for photographers”. It is surrounded by beautiful scenery. We will pass by grasslands and arrive at Batang in the late afternoon.

Day 4 – 25th August  – Batang – Mangkang – Zuogong – Basu (2,500m) (B, L)

Depart after breakfast. Today we drive from Batang to Basu via Mangkam County. We will visit the ancient salt wells (1,000 years old). After that we will travel on the scenic view of the winding roads (16km) which follows the Nujiang River before arriving at Basu

Day 5 – 26th August – Basu – Ranwu Lake – Bomi (2,700m) (B,L) 300km

Compared to the last two days, today is a leisure drive to Bomi County. We will be able to view Ramwu Lake which lies at eh foot of snow-capped mountains. If time permits, we will visit a local papermaking workshop on the way to our destination.ioa

Day 6 – 27th August – Bomi – Linzhi (3,100m) (B,L) 290km

Today we will be able to Namjagbarwa snow peak that’s 7,782m high. We will visit Qingduo Monastery and Tasha Village

Day 7 – 28th August Linzhi – Lhasa (3,600m) (B,L) – 450km

We will visit Pasumtso Lake and a 1,500-year-old Tsuozonggongba Monastery. From there we will drive to Lhasa, the capital and centre of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. We will check into our hotel and have a short walkabout.

Day 8 – 29th August – Lhasa (B,L)

In the morning, we will visit Potala Palace. This is a UNESCO heritage site. After lunch we will visit the famous Jokhang temple. This temple is 1,300 years old, and this is where the pilgrims journey ends. The unique architecture of this temple combined the styles of Tibetan, Tang Dynasty, and Nepali architecture. After that we will do a walkabout in the Barkor market.

Day 9 – 30th August – Lhasa (B,L)

Today we will visit Drepeng and Sera Monastery. These monasteries were built in the 15th century during the Ming Dynasty.  We will also be able to witness the “Lama Monks debating” at the Sera Monastery.

Day 10 – 31st August – Lhasa – Xining by Train (B)

Today we are taking the famous Lhasa to Xining train. This train offers the views of the scenic Tibetan Plateau. You may have a chance to see the famous and elusive Chiru (Tibetan antelope). The train leaves at 12:40 and will arrive in Xining at 10:20. The journey takes around 21 hours. No meals on the train will be provided. Participants are encouraged to arrange their own meals before boarding.

Day 11 – 1st September – Xining to Chengdu (L)

Lunch will be provided after the train ride. You will be transferred to the Xining Airport for the flight to Chengdu

Overnight at Chengdu

Day 12 – 2nd September Chengdu (B, L)

Visit the Panda Reserve or Conservation (to be decided), and Jinli Ancient Street

Stay at Chengdu Hotel

Day 13 – 3rd September Chengdu (B,L)

Visit a local ancient village around Chengdu (to be decided)

Stay at Chengdu Hotel

Day 14 – 4th September – End of Trip (B)

Transfer to Airport

End of trip

Kangding town
Tibetan Plateau
Tibetan Plateau
Potala Palaca
Ganden Monastery
Having tea at a local Tibetan house
Johkang Temple, Lhasa
Monks at prayer
Tibetan Plateau