Derge To Yilhun Lhatso Trek With Kham

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21 Nights / 22 Days

Derge to Yilhun Lhatso trek is an extremely beautiful and unique Tibet trek in the Far Eastern region of Tibet, Kham in Tibetan. The Tibet trek starts in Chengdu and enables visitors to visit the heart of the eastern region of Tibet, Ganze and Derge. We go on a beautiful Tibet trek dominated by snow-capped mountains, forest, pasture, lakes with nomad camps and their livestock, grazing on the beautiful grassland.

The landscape of this 7 days Tibet trek is said to be very similar to the scenery in Switzerland and many of our clients often admire it even more beautiful landscape than the scenery in Switzerland. In a word, it is the most beautiful trekking in Tibet. Travel by coach.

Tibet Travel by coach from Chengdu to Luding which has a beautiful Hailugou glacier forest park, Lhagang monastery and the nomad camps. Overlanding to Litang and visit the Litang monastery and then continue to Palyul via G 318 China national high way. Visit Palyul Namgyel Jangchubling monastery and then continue to Derge county along the Yangtse river. Derge is the central Kham, visiting Derge Gongchen and the Derge Printing house. From Derge, you will drive to Pelpung monastery and start your 7 days Tibet trek.

After finishing the trek in Kham, continue your over-landing journey to Gardze and Serthal, the two biggest Buddhist colleges, Yachen monastery Palyul county and Serthal monastery or Larung Gar in Serthal county. Continue your journey to Ngawa county in Amdo, visiting Zamtang county with beautiful Jonang stupa and monasteries and then to Ngawa county with one of the historical Kirti monastery.

After Ngawa, continue your journey to Chengdu via Dzoge county, Songpan, Wenchuan. Dzoge county is one of the largest nomadic area in Amdo region and you will see a huge nomadic camp and thousands of Yak and sheep, grazing on a vast green grassland.

Day 01: Chengdu (500m)
Arrive in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province. met and taken to your hotel. We will stroll around Renmin Park and sample the tea at one of tea houses.

Day 02: Chengdu to Luding (2000m, 271 KM)
We will leave for Luding and will take between five to six hours drive. Visit the nature reserve center of the Giant Pandas at Bifeng Valley. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 03: Luding to Lhagang ( Tagong ) (3730m, 160Km)
Driving through the gorge until you reach Kangding. After Kangding, you will be crossing the small pass and then reaching the eastern Tibet farmer’s area where you can see beautiful Tibetan traditional houses. The farmers grow barley which is one of the main grains in Tibet where you can get Tsampa which is a grinded roast barley. They also grow potatoes, vegetable, radish. They also rea some cattle.

After around 4 hrs drive, reaching Lhagang town and afternoon visit Lhagang monastery. Lhagang monastery which is one of the 108 small temples, built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in order to press down the branches of the Supine Ogress. The monastery has over 1300 years history and the most sacred statue of the monastery is Jowo Shakyamuni which dates back to the 7th century.

As per the history, the Jowo Shakyamuni was built in Lhagang according to 8 years Jowo after the image of Jowo Shakyamuni magically spoked when it arrived in Lhagang saying that she did not want to move from there but as per the King Songtsen Gampo’s strong wishes to bring the statue to Lhasa, they built the present statue of the Jowo in Lhasa for the stead of the onw which is in Jokang today. The monastery was originaly a Kagyupa sect and then in around 12th cnetury, the monastery was gradually transformed into Sakyapa sect.

I thas over 30 monks noadays. We went to visit some nomad camps from Lhagang to the sought west and there is a big Bhuddist community after around 15Km from Lhagang where all the locals, monks and nuns gather to make thousand offering of flowers, water etc

Day 04: Lhagang to Litang, 4014Mts 220Km
Driving through the mountain pass and seeing beautiful nomad camp. Reaching Litang county. Litang Town (the seat of the county) itself is located at an altitude of 4,014 metres. It is on open grassland and surrounded by snow-capped mountains and is about 400 meters higher than Lhasa, making it one of the highest towns in the world. Lithang was part of Kham, Tibet, and several famous Buddhist figures were born here, including the 7th Dalai Lama, the 10th Dalai Lama, the 11th Tai Situpa, four of the Pabalas, as well as the 5th Jamyang Zhépa of Labrang Monastery.

Dusum Khyenpa, 1st Karmapa Lama. Visit Ganden Thubchen Choekhorling Monastery (Lithang Gompa, Litangsi). The monastery is just on the northern edge of town and belongs to the Gelukpa sect of Tibetan Buddhists. The monastery was founded in 1580 by the third Dalai Lama Sonam Gyatso on the site of an older Bön-monastery. There are three main temples in the compound, of which one is currently under construction.

The oldest seems to be the one on top of the hill, still featuring the wooden construction of the upper rim of the buildings. Inside, you can view several chambers and a bedroom in which the 7th Dalai Lama is said to have resided. Many more famous and influential personal figures were born here, including the 7th Dalai Lama, 10th Dalai Lama, the most influential Zebutsundaba Lama of Mogonia, the 7th Gyamuyang Lama, the 7th, 8th and 9th Pabalha living Buddha of Chamdo monastery and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Xianggen living buddha.

Day 05: Litang to Pelyul ( 3150m, 278Km )
Driving through the G318 highway before reaching Batang county and then take shortcut road to Pelyul. Today’s drive will take you around eight hrs and will see the beautiful nomad camp and Tibetan farmers villages.

Day 06: Palyul to Derge ( 3292M, 180Km )
Morning visit Palyul monastery. Palyul Namgyel Jangchubling is one of the six mother monasteries of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. It was founded in 1665 by Rigdzen Kunzang Sherab in Derge, on the eastern edge of Tibet, a town in today’s Baiyü County, Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China’s Sichuan province. The monastery is the seat of the Nam Cho Terma of Terton Migyur Dorje. Penor Rinpoche was the 11th throne holder of the Palyul lineage. Upon his death in March, 2009, Karma Kuchen Rinpoche became the 12th throne holder. Afternoon, driving to Derge along the Yangtse river.

We will pass by some beautiful Tibetan villages on the way. Derge is often regarded the heart of Kham Tibet. It lies on the bank of Sugchu River, a tributary of Yantze River. It is administratively belong the the Ganzi prefecture of Sichuan Province. The town of Dege located next to Dege Gomchen and Parkhang(Dege Printer house) in the Sugchu valley. It takes about 10 minutes walk from town to the Dege Gomchen Monastery.

There are more than 50 monasteries in Dege County. Among which most are Sakyapa Monasteries but Nyinmapa, Gelupa and Kagyupa as well as Bon monasteries are also established in the county. The Dege area had been an independent kingdom until 19 century. Among all the Dege Kings Tenpa Tsering(1678-1738) is famous for his contribution to Buddhism and culture preservation.

Day 07: Derge to Palpung monastery (4050M, 84KM)
Morning visit Derge Gonchen and Dege Parkang or Derge printing house. Dege Gomchen, it was founded in 1448, the monastery originally built as a Sakyapa Monastery, therefore, it has kept strong ties with Sakyapa and the center of Ngor Gompa. However, the monastery introduced different traditions.

It was destroyed during the cultural revolution but it has been reconstructed and now houses more than 300 monks. Dege Gomchen is not only name of the monastery but it is also the seat of Dege Kings. Derge Parkhang/ Derge Printing House, In the 18th century, the king Tenpa Tsering brought Dege to the peak of it’s power by conquering the outlying northern districts of Dzachuka. Under his instructions and assistant from local tribes, Dege Parkhang is founded in 1729, and the construction completed in 1750 during the reigns of his successors.

The famous Sakya Pa scholar Zhuchen Tsultrim Rinchen edited Gargyur and Tangyur. The Tibetan book of Gargyur and Tangyur are knowns as the most accurate and completed Tibetan Buddhism scripture. There are total of 217000 wooden printing blocks housed in the this printing house and the works of this print house has been used all cross Tibet Plateau. Today, Dege Parkhang printing house is still functioning as it was a century years ago, all the works are done by manual.

It became the biggest printing house in Tibet. The printing house produces traditional mathematic, science, Tibetan medicine books and scriptures and books from Nyingmapa, Gelukpa, Kagyupa and Sakyapa as well as Bon religion. After visiting Derge, driving into the gorge of Pelpung Monastery, one of the most gigantic temples of Tibet, competing only with the Potala Palace. Many lamas are studying in their small colorful wooden houses. Visit this great Kagyupa monastic center, built in 1717 by Situ Rinpoche, one of the 4 regents of the Karmapa. Today there are always practical studies in Tibetan Philosophy.

Day 08: Horla Pass to Dzongsar monastery (By Trek)
Through the Horla Pass (4400m), trek up to the Dzongsar monastery (3690m, 6-7hrs walk).
Hike across the confluence rivers to Pelpung monastery, through the forest of conifers and hardwoods. We will hike up to Hor La Pass into a valley of pastures where there are quite a few simple shelters for shepherds. Walk into the Meshoe valley, the agricultural center in the region of Derge. Passing the small villages with beautiful decorated houses in the barley and cornfields and gardens. Make a visit to the great Dzongsar Monastery of Sakya Sect, founded by Phagpa in 1259 and built on the hill. Visit this magnificent complex of houses, monks, temples and schools. Today this place is still the most famous School in Tibet for high studies of this Sakya Sect tradition.

Day 09: Climb up to Pema Shelphuk Hermitage & Guru Rinpoche Cave
Climb up to Pema Shelphuk Hermitage (4510m, 5-6hrs walk) and Guru Rinpoche Cave
We will hike up to the pass, and then crossed over the ridge to another hermitage site Pema Shelphuk (4510 m), a site visited by many locals, also associated with Padmasambhava, which is a meditation cave for the hermits. Picnic and visit the site, afterwards we will descend into the valley. Camp outside the villages at 3700 m.

Day 10: Trek along high Tibetan plateau and cross two passes. Hachung La & Dzongkar La
Trek along high Tibetan plateau and cross two passes. Hachung La (4740m) and Dzongkar La (4790m). Walk down to the village of Rongme at (4180m, 6.30hrs)
Walk upward through forests, meadows and villages. we see the shocking Rongmei Kamo, a secrete meditation center built on a steep hill. No visitors are allowed to enter. The colorful prayer flags at the foot of the hill flow in the winds, make you reminded of the ancient battlefield. It is said Padmasambhava from India the founder of the Nyingma Sect once practiced Buddhism in the meditative caves here. The scenery for today is a rocky cliff, beautiful grassland, small bushes, flowers.

Day 11: Trek up to Reda Pass (4180m) then to Yangkarna, 3800mts, 6hrs walk
We will walk steady up to Redak La Pass (4180 m) from where we will se a vast valley ahead. We will descend 800m to Meshoe in 4 hours walk. Enjoying the pastures and coniferous forest. Along way we will see the summer camps of the nomads. Camp on the side of the river at 3800 m.

Day 12: Trek Yangkarna to Nomads camp, 3998mts/ 6-7hrs walk.
The trail leads us into the forest, Walk along the valley of the Ding Chu. We will pass by wooden bridges and small tributaries of Ding Chu. The trail is dotted with nomads¡¯ shelters in summer time. The trail finally leads us into the forest. Approaching to the grassland beneath Redak La Pass. Camp at 3998mts

Day 13: Cross Dzen la Pass, climb down to Dzentso Lake,4942mts 5-6hrs.
Ascending from Ding Chu valley with grasslands covered by flowers where we will set up out tents to the Dzen La Pass. We will hike up to the pastures, walk across Dzen La Pass(4960 m) will be covered by light snow. We will have a view of Trola Mountain.. Here we will meet our vehicle.

Day 14: Dzentso lake-Yilhun Lhatso-Kardze (3200m, 4 hrs drive ).
From Dzentso lake to Yilhun Lhatso, nowadays, there is a road available and our vehicles will come to pick us up there and it will only take around 1 hr drive to Yilhun Lhatso. Visit Yilhun Lhatso and continue your journey to Kardze for another 3hrs drive.

Day 15: Excursion to Yachen Gar or monastery and back to kardze
Excursion to Yachen Gar or monastery (130Km, 2hrs drive) and back to kardze
Yarchen Gar or monastery officially known as the Yaqên Orgyän Temple is located in Baiyü County Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture , in Sichuan province, China. It lies in an isolated valley 4000m above sea level. The monastery is associated with the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism . With more than 10,000 Sangha members now, it’s the largest concentration of nuns and monks in the world. Most of the Sanghas are nuns.

Day 16: Kardze-Serta county (3650m,160Km)
After breakfast, you will visit Kardze monastery which is just a five minutes drive from the hotel. There is a very beautiful neighborhood below the monastery where they have beautiful Tibetan Kham styled houses. The monastery was originally built in the 17th century during the time of the 5th Dalai Lama but the present size was rebuilt. The monastery has 450 monks today. The main assembly hall of the monastery is dedicated to the statues of Bhuddha Shakyamuni and statues of Tsongka and his two main desciples, Kedrup je and Gyeltsop Je in the centre, 6 ornaments and two suprems are to the both sides. The wall painting of the monastery is beautiful.

There is a chaple next to the main assembly hall which is dedicated to the Lamrim Lama Tsokshing or the Lamrim Lama tree. It is the biggest Lamrim tree or Lamrim refugee tree which I have ever seen. After that, we went to the second floor of the assembly hall and there is a very beautiful small chaple of Amitayus and the monk in the chapel gives you initiation of Amitayus for your longevity. The next is the chaple of protector deities which are dedicated to the statues of Palden Lhamo, Gyelpo Kunga etc. The monks do protector deities prayer every day and they are doing very deep ritual protector deities prayer.

The next one is the chaple of Demchok, Jigje, Sangwa Dhupa etc. The third floor is the chaple of Jowo Shakyamuni and mandala of Kalachakara. Next to the Lamrim Lama tree, there is a chaple of Maitreya Bhuddha but we could not visit that chaple of because of the time. After visiting the monastery, we will walk down till the bridge and enjoy our walk through the old neighborhood. We drove down to Den Gonpo which belongs to Kardze monastery and it is located in the town centre. The main temple is dedicated to the statue of Gurgye Gonpo and they also have beautiful wall paintings. From Kardze to Serta county, there are around 160Km and we will be driving throuhg the main road to Drango around 25Km until we reach the top of the pass. From the pass, we will turn left and take the short cut to Serta county.

The road condition is ok and we will be driving through some passes, some beautiful villages and nomad camps and finally reaching Serta county. On the way, you will also see some beautiful monasteries but most of them are new.

Day 17: Serthar-Larung Gar or Serthar monastery – Serta county (40Km)
After breakfast, start your journey toward Larung Gar through the main road to Sichuan. After around 20Km, you will turn left for Larung Gar. Larung Gar or Serthar monastery, the Larung Valley is a town in Sêrtar County of Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in Tibet. The Larung Five Sciences Buddhist Academy is a Buddhist academy located in the Larung Gar.

The population of over 10,000 comprises primarily monks and nuns making it possibly the largest religious institute in the world, and is based around the Serthar Institute founded by Jigme Phuntsok in 1980 in the uninhabited valley by Jigme Phuntsok, a lama of the Nyingma tradition. The academy has grown substantially since: as of 2015, it is home to over 40,000 monks and nuns. Nuns and monks are segregated by age and sex. Housing for monks and nuns are divided by a winding road that divides the city.

Day 18: Serthar-Yuthok-Zamthang (3300m, 160Km)
You will drive to Dzamthang from Serthar at the distance of 160Km through a river called Serchu. There is a junction at Serwa and from there we turn left for Dzamthang and drove into a gorge of Serchu. The gorge is densely forested. On the way, there are very beautiful villages and mostly they are farmers.

They grow barley. Their houses are in very attractive designs. The ground and second floors are made of rocks and the third floor is made of wood with a very beautiful balcony. After around 60Km driver, you will be reaching a town called Nyalong Xiang by crossing a mountain pass at the elevation of around 4700M, you will reach Reach Yuthok monastery. Visit the monastery and then continue your drive to Zamthang for one hundred more Km drive.

Day 19: Zamthang to Jhamda (3900m, 230Km)
Zamtang County or Dzamthang County or Rangtang County is a county of Sichuan Province, China. It is under the administration of the Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture From the junction, we drove 15Km to Jonang culture centre through a beautiful valley with full of typical Tibetan styled houses whch are extremely beautiful.

There are three monasteries at Jonang culture centre which are Tsechu, Choeje and Sangnga Gompa. Among them, the oldest monastery today is Choeji and the assembly hall of Choeji is old and it has many old Thangka and Statues. In the upper part of Choeji, an old statue of Shakyamuni. Underneath the statue, you can go and do clockwise direction around the pillar under the statue in order to get blessing and get rid of once’s bad karmic action.

It is said that the statue is always not be able to be taken nice photos. The three monasteries are all together and the most upper part or on the left side is Tsechu Gompa and the main statue is also Bhuddha Shykyamuni and an old statue of Dolpopa who is the main lineage of Jonangpa. The middle one is Choeji which is the oldest one. The last one or the biggest one is Sang Nga. It is a newly re-built monastery and there is a big tomb stupa of the monastery Lama who passed away. There are beautiful wall painting of Kalachakara and it’s attendents, Bhuddha’s life sotry. The forth floor chaple is dedicated to the great masters from different orders in Tibet.

Fifth floor is the library and printing boards shelfs. The top floor is dedicated to a mandala of Tara. Next to this temple, there is a temple of a huge Maitreya Bhuddha. There are also a tantric college and philosophical college where they call Shedra and Drupdra nowadays. Joangpa order is said to be started from Dolpopa based on Bhudha Shakyamuni teachings. Dolpopa is the first lineage of Jonangpa and now they are 47th lineages.

Dolpopa was born in Dolpo in Nepal. Jonangpa is mainly practising Tantra and they have a very deep source of Kalachakara practice and meditation. They are building a giant new mandala of Kalachakara which will be the world’s largest Kalachakara Mandala. We drove back to the juntion and continued to Pedma via Nagpa road. From a junction where there is a tributary of a big river, we drove left side from Ngapa road through a densely forested gorge.

The road condition is immaidiately getting better when we are entering Qinghai prefecture. We arrived in Pedma county by around 10Pm and we stayed in Pedma hotel. Pedma county is also under construction and the fascility of the county is not very good.

Day 20: Jhamda to Ngawa ( Aba in Chinese ) (3290m, 150Km)
Driving through some beautiful grassland with nomad camps. On the way, We will visit one of the nomad camps to see how the Tibetan nomads in Amdo and their life style. You will see lots of Yaks and sheep grazing on the wide plateau. Ngawa or Aba town (Chinese) is the seat of Ngawa (Aba) County, within the Ngawa (Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in northwestern Sichuan, China.

It is located on the Tibetan plateau at an elevation of 3,290 metres. The city is about 75 km from Jigdril, 254 km from Barkham and 157 km from Mewa (Hongyuan). Ngawa County has 70,000 inhabitants, about 8,000 of them Tibetan monks. The city has about 20,000 people. There are 37 monasteries in the area, two of the largest in Aba City itself. There are mainly grasslands and forested valleys in the south. Visit Kirti Gompa or Kriti monastery and it was founded in 1472 by Rongpa Chenakpa, a disciple of Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Yellow hat school.

It was established as a branch of Taktsang Lhamo Kirti Gompa (Nama Ge’erde Si) near the border with Gansu Province in 1693 but has outgrown its mother monastery. The first Kirti Monastery founded by Kirti Rinpoche was in Gyelrang. These days the two main Kirti Monasteries are in Taktsang Lhamo and Nagba prefecture, in Sichuan, China.

Day 21: Ngawa to Chengdu ( 500m, 345Km )
After breakfast, you will be driving towards Chengdu through Dzoge, Juzhaguo, Wenchuan county and finally to Chengdu. Since the road condition is good nowadays, it will take you between six and seven hrs drive. Wenchuan is the county where it hit very badly during the earth quake in Sichuan in 2008 but now everything was rebuilt to the normal situation.

Day 22: Drive to Chengdu Shuangliu airport and fly home.
Transfer to Chengdu airport for flight to onward destination.

City Night (s)  Hotels / Camps
Chengdu 01 Holiday Inn
Luding 01 Tourist Lodge
Lhagang 01 Tourist Lodge
Litang 01 Tourist Lodge
Pelyul 01 Tourist Lodge
Derge 01 Tourist Lodge
Palpung 01 Tourist Lodge
Dzongsar 01 Tourist Lodge
Guru Rinpoche 01 Tourist Lodge
Rongme 01 Tourist Lodge
Yangkarna 01 Tourist Lodge
Nomads 01 Tourist Lodge
Dzentso Lake 01 Tourist Lodge
Kardze 02 Tourist Lodge
Serthar 02 Tourist Lodge
Zamthang 01 Tourist Lodge
Jhamda 01 Tourist Lodge
Ngawa 01 Tourist Lodge
Chengdu 01 Holiday inn

– 21 nights accommodation as mentioned in the program.
– 1 English speaking Local Tibetan guide.
– Transportation by good conditioned mini van and one support truck.
– All entry fees to the sites and monasteries.
– Daily Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
– All camping equipments except sleeping bags.
– All camping fee.
– Cook and assistant with all utensils.
– Different kinds of snack like biscuit, cheese, dried and fresh fruit during the camp.
– Yilhun Lhatso conservation fee.
– Panda reserve conservation fee.
– Oxygen in the vehicle and during the trek in case needed.
– All taxes.

– International Airfare.
– Tips, gratuities, Portage, laundry, telephone calls, table drinks, camera/ video camera charges, or any other expenses of a personal nature.
– Visa fees, personal insurance.
– Any item not specified under cost includes.

– Accommodation in good hotels.
– Check-in / out time is 12 noon at most of the hotels.
– Extension to other places is also possible with a minimal extra cost.
– Additional nights are available at each place with minimal supplement.
– A visa is required and must be obtained prior to your departure from your Country.
– If quoted hotel is not available, we will provide one of a similar category and standard.
– Small deviations in the tour program are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, road conditions, flight schedules and room availability.
– In case the government changes presently applicable taxes, increase in airlines prices, fuel surcharge our rates will need to be adjusted accordingly.
– Sometimes, there is no relevance between the distance and time of travelling, as it depends upon the condition of the roads and congestion of the traffic.
– While every effort will be made to maintain the itinerary, in view of local strikes etc that are beyond our control all schedule and itineraries are subject to last moment changes.
– Clients must be fully insured, as the company cannot accept liability for loss or damage to client’s property, medical emergencies or any other loss suffered by them whilst on tour.
– In Case of issuing Domestic or International air tickets, SGV is not responsible for any refund if the flight is delayed or cancelled, as it is the responsibility of airline.

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