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jahlie May 28th, 2013 02:47 PM

Proposed Itinerary for Tibet in early November...any suggestions?
Finally, after so many years of talking about it, my husband and I are traveling to Tibet in late October/early November this year. We're traveling with another couple, flying to Chengdu where we will pick up the Tibet permits delivered by our Tibetan travel agency and then fly to Lhasa. I would appreciate and consider advice on our itinerary, restaurants, hotels or whatever from those of you out there who've been fortunate enough to have made the journey.

First of all, no, I won't take the train (for a lot of reasons starting with my actually getting any sleep on one will NEVER happen, regardless of how many sleeping pills I take) so don't try to suggest that as an option. We are flying.

Day 1 - fly to Lhasa Kyichu Hotel
Day 2 - Lhasa
Day 3 - Lhasa
Day 4 - Drive to Basum Tso Lake - Basumtso Holiday Resort
Day 5 - Drive to Nyingtri - Azalea Hotel
Day 6 - Drive to Langxia via Lama Ling monastery - Langxia Hotel
Day 7 - Drive Tsedang via Samye monastery - Yarlung River Hotel or Tsedang Hotel
Day 8 - Drive to Gyantse via Yamdrok Tso Lake - Yeti Hotel
Day 9 - Drive to Sakya then to Shegatse - Tashi Choten Hotel
Day 10 - Drive to Lhasa via Tashi Lhunpo monastery - Kyichu Hotel (or Sheraton depending on how much we liked the Kyichu)
Day 11 - Lhasa
Day 12 - fly back to Chengdu

FYI, I want to drive into the eastern region because it is supposed to be very beautiful and different from the high barren plateau of central Tibet. I want to stay in the "best hotel in town" which I realize might not be on par with what I'd expect in the US or Europe. One or two of our overnight stays might be situated just because it's a convenient stop. Of course I want to experience Tibet and Tibetan culture but realize that Han Chinese are part of the picture now whether I like it or not. Tibet undergoing change is interesting as well.

Specifically I'm wondering if one night in Shegatse and one night in Gyantse are enough?

rkkwan May 28th, 2013 06:44 PM

This a great route to travel. The only thing I worry is the quality of some of the hotels enroute. Basically, outside Lhasa, Nyingtri and Shigatse, even the "best hotel in town" won't be very nice. You may want to change the itinerary a bit.

For example, on Day 4, if you leave Lhasa early enough on Day 4, you can visit Basum Tso AND arrive in Nyingtri same night.

Or Day 8, Gyantse is only 60 miles from Shigatse, and the road is flat on that section. Probably better to go straight to Shigatse and stay in a nice hotel for 2 nights. Especially after already two nights on the road. Unless you're still going to visit the monastery at Gyantse the next morning.

jahlie May 29th, 2013 08:44 AM

Those are great ideas. Shigatse for two nights will be exactly what we need after hotel hopping in rural Tibet! What about our hotel choice?

As for day 4, will we have enough time to explore Basum Tso Lake if we rush off to Nyingtri? Have you seen the Basumtso Holiday Resort? I was thinking a night on the lake would be fun - beautiful sunrise, etc. According to LP that whole area is full of monasteries and very scenic.

As for the quality of hotels, thank you rkkwan for worrying - I do too but if I want to travel in that part of the world, I just figure that's part of the deal. I've experienced "the best in town" before and if the travel gods are good to me, I'll experience many more in the future :-). It's the kind of thing that makes for adventure and pretty funny travel stories!

rkkwan May 29th, 2013 06:14 PM

No I don't have hotel recommendations and since I went to Tibet 3 years ago, things could have changed and many new and better ones would have opened.

You should have enough time to visit Basum Tso, and got to Nyingtri - doesn't matter if you arrive late. The lake is pretty small and doesn't take too much time to visit. I don't know about that resort, bur unless it is run by a major international outfit, I wouldn't have much expectations. I could be wrong though.

rkkwan May 29th, 2013 08:18 PM

I looked up the Basumtso Resort. It is most likely 巴松措度假村. Opened 1995, last remodelled 2004. I saw a few pictures online, and I can imagine what it is like in my head. Anyways, it's up to you to decide whether you want to wake up near the lake or go to Nyingtri, which is about an hour away.

Anyways, when we travelled to Tibet in June 2010, the only hotel prebooked is in Lhasa. For the rest, basically, we just tell our guide to bring us to whatever fits us for that night - whether we want "the best in town", or "cheap but clean", or "Tibetan-Style guesthouse". You're not going in the peak summer holiday period, so I can't imagine most of the hotels to be more than half-full anyways.

jahlie May 30th, 2013 09:32 AM

Oh, you're really helping me out here - I can't thank you enough. Perhaps you are right and staying for two nights in Nyingtri, would be better than hotel hopping. Plus, I googled the Chinese characters you provided and maybe the "Holiday Resort" isn't so much of a resort? A bit lonely as well.

I honestly haven't spent too much time investigating the hotels (only Lhasa) because I wanted to get the basic itinerary down, and then follow up with the hotels. I like hotels situated in areas where I can walk around some in the evenings or early mornings, watching people go about their business, checking out shops or just looking around. In remote areas, the best in town is what I have to settle for. Clean and friendly fits the bill. Comfortable beds are usually a pleasant surprise.

So now I'll start trying to get some up to date info about hotels and wish for the best. Thanks for all your input and I'll certainly let y'all know how it goes.

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