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17 Days Yunnan-Tibet Overland Tour from Kunming to Lhasa

This Kunming to Lhasa overland tour starts from Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan province and ends at Lhasa, the holy city on the Tibet Plateau. Following the ancient Tea Horse Road, you can experience the colorful ethnic culture in Dali Ancient Town, Lijiang Ancient Town and Shangri-la in Yunnan province, with stunning natural beauty of the Hengduan Mountains. After you entering Markam, you will drive to Tibet along the southern route of Sichuan Tibet highway. The beautiful landscapes of Nyingchi will show you the marvelous landscape of Eastern Tibet before you arrive in Lhasa. And of cause, the city tour in Lhasa will take you to visit the famous Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple, the Barkhor Street and other highlights of this city and explore the Tibet culture and religions.

Highlights

  • [Yunnan-Tibet Highway] Experience one of the most classic overland tours to Tibet
  • [Dali Old Town] Walk along the ancient street to seek the tranquility you have ever felt;
  • [Shangri-la] See the famous “little Potala Palace” – Sonzanlin Lamasery and discover the Ancient Tea-horse Trade Caravan;
  • [Nyingchi] Enjoy the stunning nature beauty of the “Switzerland of Tibet”;
  • [Lhasa] Explore the mysterious Tibetan culture and religions in the holy city.

Tour Summery

  • Day 1: Kunming Arrival
  • Day 2: Kunming
  • Day 3: Kunming Dali
  • Day 4: Dali Lijiang
  • Day 5: Lijiang
  • Day 6: Lijiang Shangri-La
  • Day 7: Shangri-La
  • Day 8: Shangrila – Deqen – Feilaisi
  • Day 9: Feilaisi – Yanjing – Markam
  • Day 10: Markam – Zogang
  • Day 11: Zogang – Baxoi
  • Day 12: Baxoi – Ranwu – Bome
  • Day 13: Bome – Tongmai – Lulang – Bayi
  • Day 14: Bayi – Draksum – Lhasa
  • Day 15: Lhasa
  • Day 16: Lhasa
  • Day 17: Lhasa Departure

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Kunming Arrival

Kunming Gragon Gate Kunming Gragon Gate

Upon your arrival at the Kunming Changshui International Airport, our tour guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel in Kunming. After settling down your luggage and a short rest, you will start your tour in Kunming. First, you will be transferred to the Flower Market to appreciate the colorful and fragrant flowers. And then head to Western Hill which is lying next to the Dian Lake, looked like a graceful young lady. On the way, stop by to see the Dragon Gate.

  • Altitude: Kunming (1,895m)
  • Kunming Business Hotel

Day 2: Kunming

17 Days Yunnan-Tibet Overland Tour from Kunming to Lhasa
After breakfast, you will head to the famous Stone Forest, “The First Wonder of the World”. The Stone Forest in Yunnan is vast in area with lots of towering stones with peculiar shapes, creating a picture of stone world.

In the afternoon, you will visit a minority village of Sani People, which is inhabited in the area of Stone Forest for generations. You can dance and chat with the local people and learn the profound and colorful cultures of this minority.

  • Drive 80km to Stone Forest Scenic Area
  • Altitude: Kunming (1,895m)
  • Kunming Business Hotel
  • Breakfast

Day 3: Kunming – Dali

17 Days Yunnan-Tibet Overland Tour from Kunming to Lhasa
After breakfast, drive from Kunming to Dali, another popular tourist destination in Yunnan with traditional atmosphere, colorful minorities’ cultures and beautiful landscapes. There are three famous attractions you will pay a visit in Dali: Three Pagodas, Erhai Lake and Dali Old Town.

The three pagodas are independent, forming a a symmetrical triangle which is rare in China. Erhai Lake is one of the seven largest fresh water lakes in China. And the Dali Ancient Town boasts ancient architectures with the original design, the grand city wall, the traditional Bai ethnic minority folk houses and the streams running through the city.

  • Drive 20km to Three Pagodas Park
  • Altitude: Dali Ancient Town (2,052m)
  • Dali Ancient Town Hotel
  • Breakfast

Day 4: Dali – Lijiang

17 Days Yunnan-Tibet Overland Tour from Kunming to Lhasa
Take a slow walk in Dali Ancient Town to enjoy the serenity and beauty of it. Dnd drive to Jianchuan to pay a visit to Shaxi Ancient Town. After the tour, drive to Lijiang Ancient Town.

  • Drive about 188km to Lijiang
  • Altitude: Lijiang (2,400m)
  • Lijiang Ancient Town Hotel
  • Breakfast

Day 5: Lijiang

17 Days Yunnan-Tibet Overland Tour from Kunming to Lhasa
Today, you will pay a visit to the famous Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. It is the largest snow mountain in the southernmost of the Northern Hemisphere with a height of 5,596m. You can take the cable car to the top of this mountain and enjoy the happiness of the height.

Then head to Baisha Village to observe closely at the murals combining the cultures of Han, Tibetan and Naxi people. After that, head for Black Dragon Pool Park and Naxi Dongba Culture Museum where you can learn Naxi pictograph character and explore the rich Naxi minority culture.

  • Drive about 30km
  • Altitude: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (5,596m)
  • Lijiang Ancient Town Hotel
  • Breakfast

Day 6: Lijiang – Shangri-La

17 Days Yunnan-Tibet Overland Tour from Kunming to Lhasa

Today, you will be transferred to Shangri-La. While on the way, you will have a chance to view the First Bend of Yangtze River and Tiger Leaping Gorge, the deepest gorge in the world.

  • Drive about 175 km
  • Altitude: Shangri-La (3,280)
  • Shangri-La Local Hotel
  • Breakfast

Day 7: Shangri-La

17 Days Yunnan-Tibet Overland Tour from Kunming to Lhasa
After breakfast in Shangri-La County, head for the Songzanlin Lamasery. It is located in a area of an altitude of 3,380 meters and is the largest Tibetan Buddhist lamasery in Yunnan Province. Then take a stroll along the bank of Bitahai Lake and Shudu Lake.

After that, pay a visit to a local Tibetan family to have a little chat with the local people to learn about the lifestyle and culture of them.

  • Drive about 10km
  • Altitude: Shangri-La (3,280m), Songzanlin (3,380m)
  • Shangri-La Local Hotel
  • Breakfast

Day 8: Shangrila – Deqen – Feilaisi

17 Days Yunnan-Tibet Overland Tour from Kunming to Lhasa
In the Morning, we will drive to Deqing County through Baima Snow Mountain Nature Reserve. The scenery along the way is fantastic and if the weather permits, you can see the Baimang Snow Mountain clearly.

After a short stop at Benzilan Town, we will keep driving to Feilaishi. You could take some shots at the first bend of Jinsha River, Dongzhulin Monastery and Baima Snow Mountain.

  • Drive about 200km, about 5 to 6 hours
  • Altitude: Deqin (3,400m), Feilaisi (3,400m)
  • Feilaisi Guesthouse
  • Breakfast

Day 9: Feilaisi – Yanjing – Markam

17 Days Yunnan-Tibet Overland Tour from Kunming to Lhasa
After breakfast, we will drive northward along the Lancangjiang River and cross the border between Tibet and Yunnan at Yanjing. Then, we will join in the Sichuan-Tibet highway southern route after 111 kilometers from Yanjing to Markham.

  • Drive about 215km, about 8 to 9 hours
  • Altitude: Markham (4,371m)
  • Markam Business Hotel
  • Breakfast

Day 10: Markam – Zogang

17 Days Yunnan-Tibet Overland Tour from Kunming to Lhasa
Today, we will climb over the highest mountain pass – Dongda Pass (5008m) along the southern route from Chengdu to Lhasa.

Arrive in Zogong in the afternoon. Stay overnight at Zogang.

  • Drive 158km to Zogang
  • Altitude: Zogang (3,750m)
  • Zogang Business Hotel
  • Breakfast

Day 11: Zogang – Baxoi

17 Days Yunnan-Tibet Overland Tour from Kunming to Lhasa

We start our journey from Zogang. Driving upstream, we will firstly arrive in Bangda, a town junction where Sichuan-Tibet highway crosses Chamdo-Kunming highway. After acrossing Gama La Pass (4,168m), we will arrive in Baxoi.

  • Drive 201km to Baxoi
  • Altitude: Baxoi (3,280m)
  • Baxoi Business Hotel
  • Breakfast

Day 12: Baxoi – Ranwu – Bome

17 Days Yunnan-Tibet Overland Tour from Kunming to Lhasa
Before arrive in Bome, we will visit Ranwu Lake en route. Ranwu Lake, surrounded by glaciers and snow mountains, is quiet and blue with verdant grassland by the side.

After visiting Ranwu Lake, we will go ahead to Bome, where you could see the most beautiful landscapes along the road.

  • Drive 220km to Bome via Ranwu Lake
  • Altitude: Ranwu Lake (3,850m), Bome (2,750m)
  • Bome Local Hotel
  • Breakfast

Day 13: Bome – Tongmai – Lulang – Bayi

17 Days Yunnan-Tibet Overland Tour from Kunming to Lhasa
The whole journey for today is about 222 kilometers to Bayi. You will climb over Mount Segila (4,702m) and pass by the gorgeous alpine valleys en route. If the weather permits, you could have a chancve to see the grand peak of Mt. Namche Barwa (7,756m).

  • Drive 222km to Bayi via Tongmai and Lulang
  • Altitude: Tongmai (1,800m), Lulang (3,285m), Bayi (2,930m)
  • Bayi Local Hotel
  • Breakfast

Day 14: Bayi – Draksum – Lhasa

17 Days Yunnan-Tibet Overland Tour from Kunming to Lhasa
In the morning, we will drive to visit Draksum Tso (also known as Basum-tso). You could enjoy the beautiful scenery around the lake, and explore the culture and religions from the Tsodzong Monastery at the Tsodzong island.

After the tour in Draksum Tso, we drive ahead to Lhasa along Niyang River. We will cross the Mila pass (5,020m) en route, and arrive in Lhasa in the afternoon.

After checking into your hotel, the rest of the day is free for you to have a good rest and acclimatize yourself to the high altitude at Tibet.

  • Drive about 460km, about 8 to 9 hours
  • Altitude: Draksum Tso (3,700m), Lhasa (3,680m)
  • Lhasa Business Hotel
  • Breakfast

Day 15: Lhasa

17 Days Yunnan-Tibet Overland Tour from Kunming to Lhasa
After breakfast in your hotel, your personal private will pick you up to visit the splendid Potala Palace, the cardinal landmark in Lhasa. The whole morning is for you to appreciate this world-level architectural work.

In the afternoon, you will visit the Johkang Temple, the spiritual center of Tibet. Tibetan people from all over the world come here to kowtow in the front of the entrance with their pure heart.

Finally, you can spend some time walking on around the Jokhang Temple in Barkhor Street where is full of religious atmosphere.

  • Drive depends on your location of hotel
  • Altitude: Lhasa (3,680m)
  • Lhasa Business Hotel
  • Breakfast

Day 16: Lhasa

 17 Days Yunnan-Tibet Overland Tour from Kunming to Lhasa
After breakfast in your hotel, you will be picked up to visit Drepung Monastery, the most important monastery of Gelugpa in Tibetan Buddhism.

In the afternoon, head to visit Sera Monastery to see the famous scriptures debating in this monastery.

  • Drive about 20km
  • Altitude: Lhasa (3,680m)
  • Lhasa Business Hotel
  • Breakfast

Day 17: Lhasa Departure

17 Days Yunnan-Tibet Overland Tour from Kunming to Lhasa Tibetan people

This day is free for you until you head to your next destination or take flight to get back home.

  • Altitude: Lhasa (3,680m)
  • Breakfast

Price Details & Guide

Itinerary Alteration

Once we receive your tour deposit, which is followed by signing the contract, your reservation is secured with legitimacy. Our staff will reserve the accommodation, vehicle, site tickets, meals and more, and pay the deposit for our suppliers. So if you want to alter to another itinerary, you need to cover the deposit we’ve paid, while no service charge is needed if you make some changes on the itinerary you booked.

Price Inclusions

  • Private transportation to the destinations and sites listed in the itinerary; ranging from 4WD land cruiser to bus depending on the group size and trip route; car gasoline, road toll and in-transport refreshments (free bottles of water, air pillow and headscarf) are included;
  • Lodging: Business hotel in Kunming, Dali, Lijaing, Shangri-La, Markam, Zogong, Baxoi, Bome, Bayi and Lhasa; guesthouse in Feilaisi;
  • Private experienced English-speaking trip leader;
  • Airport/railway station pick-up services at the beginning of the tour;
  • Entrance ticket fees for all the sight spots listed in the itinerary;
  • Meals listed in the itinerary ( 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches );
  • First aid kit;
  • A coverage of 300,000RMB Chartis travel insurance;

Price Exclusions

  • International and domestic flight/train to Kunming (Note: we accept the domestic flight/train tickets booking to Kunming from other cities in advance, check the updated ticket availibility and cost with your travel consultant);
  • Meals that are not specified in the itinerary (Averagely a meal in the 3rdpole region cost 3~10USD per person);
  • Tips and gratuities for the trip leader and driver;
  • The expense of a personal nature like alcoholic beverages, laundry, phone call, etc;
  • Optional activities and excursions not specified in the itinerary;
  • China Entry visa fees;

Cancellation and Refund Policy

If you cancel the tour beacuse of your personal issues, you will be liable to pay cancellation charges that are bounded by 3rdpoletour.com cancellation policy as follows:

  • If you cancel the tour more than 30 days before the trip starts, you will forfeit 10% of the total land cost per person;
  • If you cancel the tour 15-30 days prior to your trip start date, 20% of your total land tour cost will be forfeited as a cancellation fee.
  • If you cancel the tour 7-15 days before the trip starts, you will forfeit 30% of land cost.
  • If you cancel the tour 7 days prior to your tour start date, you will forfeit 50% of land cost.
  • If you fail to show up or cancel at your scheduled arrival time without prior notice or later than that, you will forfeit 100% of the land cost.

If the tour has to be cancelled because of the natural disaster or the government restrictions that is beyond both parties control, we will charge only USD50 per person, this is just the service fee and larbor fee during the preparation. This is a rare occurrence!

Know Before your Go

Meals

Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with 3rdpoletour you will experience the vast array of wonderful local food that is only available in the places we visit. We have most of the breakfast in the hotels except for the camping; for the long-driving and transportation day the lunches are included as well; the featured local flavor dinner is arranged as well in some places. Included breakfasts will usually be asian style consisting of noodles or congee (rice porridge) or bread and eggs, although in some remote areas the choice maybe very limited. Generally, the food in the plateau areas is worse than in the morden cities of the plains, but it’s much cheaper, about 3~10 dollars one person one meal. No group dinner.

For the Meals not included in the trip price, we would like to leave you a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, when and what to eat. Our trip leader will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. Vegetarians will be able to find a range of different foods, although in some areas the choice may be limited.

Accommodations

In most of the 3rdpole area (Western Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet, Qinghai, Xinjiang and Gansu) they might not be like what you are used to back home as service and efficiency can vary. In some areas we stay in simple local guest houses in stunning locations, and rooms are small and simple and there may only be shared toilet facilities and showers. But we guarantee to arrange the best local hotels for our guests. The accommodation condition of every night is shown on the itinerary description, please refer for the details.

Trip Leader

All 3rdpoletours trips are accompanied by one of our professional English-speaking trip leaders who are different from the tour guides you may book from most of the online China travel agencies. Our trip leaders are trained strictly and they are not allowed to take guests to commission shopping factories. All of them are our full-time staff and work 8 hours every day in our office to do the editing and website friendly design when they don’t have the trip on the road. Not like most agencies who pay their guides and themselves with commision earnings, we put the cost of paying our guides a good wage straight into the tour price so they are happy and not reliant on guests spending money shopping to earn their own salaries. Thus they concentrate on your needs and being the best hosts to you that possibly can.

They know the areas like their backyards and have explored like hundreds of times. With a experience of more than ten years, everyone of them has served more than hundreds of guests from all over the world. They are responsible, trustworthy and have their own life experience and story to share which will add more fun and safety to your trip in the plateau highland.

Transportation

We include all transportation during the trip except for the international flight or train, although you need to pay by yourself for the horse riding, cablecar, and more that are not included in the price quotation in some destinations.

We will be using a variety of types of vehicle on our trips, mainly depending on the number of your group. Land cruiser 4WD is the most popular vehicle in 3rdpole tourism that is suitable for rocky and bumpy road in off-the-bitten-path. Capacity of the vehicle is 4 passengers and bags can kept in the trunk. Most of our land cruiser are almost brand new. The van and mini-bus are mostly used for groups ranging from 5 to 15 people, and most of the vans and mini-buses are pretty new and in a very good condition. Buses are mostly used for bigger groups ranging from 20-40 people.

Our drivers are professional and always consider the safety and comfortable as the priority, although most of them don’t speak English. It is our company policy to provice you with unlimited free drinking water, an air pillow and a headscarf for each one to make your driving more relaxing and comfortable.

Emergency Contact

Your trip leader is the one you could contact at the first place, should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need. If for any reasion you do not receive a satisfied answer, please call or email your travel consultant who organized the trip for you, and they will assist you 7/24. Our office number is 028-8522698, open 7/24.

Visa & Travel Pemit

Except Tibet, you can travel all of the destinations and cities of 3rdpole region with only a Chinese visa. For a visit to Tibet, we will apply for a Tibet travel permit for you in advance.

Tipping

Tipping for your trip leader and driver is expected – though not compulsory – and shows an expression of satisfaction with them who have assisted you on your tour. Tipping is appreciated if they did an excellent job for you.

High Altitude Sickness

Average altitude in 3rdpole area is more than 2000M, and you may be worried about the altitude sickness. We prepare the medicine to reduce high altitude sickness symptoms. Please load this page to read the detailed information about the 3rdpole elevation and high altitude sickness.

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