Lhasa, Tibet (PRWEB) July 09, 2012
Update: For 2012 summer Tibet travel, foreign tourists must acquire permits and enter Tibet through Kathmandu, Nepal. Entering Tibet through China is not possible at this time due to government restrictions. S ongtsan Travel is licensed to make travel and permit arrangements for foreign tourists entering from Nepal.
The Kharta Valley trek passes through some of the most spectacular and dramatic landscape on earth, ending under Mt. Everest’s stunning east face, called Kangshung.
The tour begins with four days of altitude acclimatization and sight-seeing in Lhasa, Tibet’s religious and cultural capital city. Highlights of Lhasa include the iconic Potala Palace, the ancient temple of Jokhang with the surrounding Barkhor market and pilgrimage circuit, and the nearby monasteries of Ganden and Tsurphu.
From Lhasa travelers will drive south over several high mountain passes, past holy Lake Yamdrok, stopping for the night at the ancient trading town of Gyantse. Highlights of Gyantse include the Pelkor Chode Monastery and the Gyantse Kumbum, a large chorten filled with religious statues and paintings. Near Gyantse is an ancient dzong (fort) from the 14th century.
The next stop on the journey is the city of Shigatse, a city most famous for the Tashilhunpo Monastery. This monastery is the historic seat of the Panchen Lama, who is second in importance to the Dalai Lama in the Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy.
From Shigatse travelers will drive to the small village of Xegar where the Kharta Valley trek begins. The first day of the hike crosses through fields and ascends into the “Valley of Lakes.” After a night of camping the trail ascends into an alpine wilderness, with views of Mt. Makalu and Mt. Everest.
On the third day of trekking the trail crosses over 15,300-foot Shao La pass. The descent from the pass crosses into a tundra landscape with green, gold and pink vegetation, juniper bushes, silver fir and mountain ash trees, and rhododendron.
The next few day’s trek winds above the Kama Valley with views of Everest, Chomolonzo, and Lhotse mountains. The trail crosses into the Kangshung Valley, ringed by three of the world’s five highest mountains. From here the summit of Mt. Everest is only 18 miles away.
If weather permits, travelers can hike to “Land’s End” across a grassy shelf that overlooks the Kangshung glacier and the base of the immense Kangshung wall, located at 17,000 feet. At this point the summit of Everest is just over eight horizontal and two and a third vertical miles away.
After a few more days of high altitude trekking and camping, surrounded by Himalayan peaks, the trail descends back into the Kharta Valley. From here the group will meet with the driver again and head to the town of Tingri and the Rongbuk base camp under Everest’s north face. After a few day’s exploration the group will drive overland to Kathmandu, Nepal.
Songtsan Travel is a Lhasa-based tour operator with more than 20 years of experience leading Tibet tours. The agency uses part of its proceeds to provide education to disadvantaged children. Songtsan Travel seeks to promote Tibetan culture and help Tibetans improve their livelihood.