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19 – days Genyen Trek

This itinerary is focused mainly in the valleys of Lithang and Mt.Genyen, a remote area quite distant from the most trailed treks. Mt. Genyen is a sacred peak in the nomad area around Lithang. A perfect spot to enjoy a beautiful scenery, interact with Tibetan nomadic communities, attend to local festivals, and learn about Tibetan Buddhism. At Neygo Monastery, you can visit the meditation hall, and meet some local monks, who are always willing to talk  about their monastic life. There are many holy around the valley, most of them attributed to Karmapa Dhuesum Khenpa who is supposed to have spent a many years spreading the dharma in the area. Moreover the region is blessed with spectacular and unique scenery. 
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What’s included
•Deluxe private transportation
•A fantastic Tibetan tour guide (english speaking)
•All the meals during the trekking and driving days
•Tents, dinning tents, toilet tents and matts, outdoor tables and chairs, and camping equipment
•Horses and horse man
•Luggage car
•Tea, coffee and snacks during the trip
•Entry fees
Not Included:
•Medical and travel insurance
•Personal expenses
•Any other expenses
Price upon request (Click) 

DAY 1, Kunming / Gyalthang
We’ll transfer to the airport for an early morning flight to Gyalthang, the capital of the Dechen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. The short flight gives us spectacular views of the Jade Dragon Mountains of Lijiang as well as the legendary First Bend of the Yangtze. Gyalthang, known to Tibetans as the “bejeweled land” is a frontier town located at an elevation of 10,000' feet on the edge of the Himalaya. For centuries this was an important stop on the trade route between Tibet, South China, Burma, and India. After checking into our hotel (which is built in the characteristic fortress-like dzong style) we’ll meet our trip leader, then take a tour of the 17th-century Sumtensling Monastery, which was commissioned by the fifth Dalai Lama. Here we’ll have the chance to witness a prayer in the Main Assembly Hall and get an overall feel for monastic life by visiting the various chapels and monk’s quarters. We will also take a walk in the nearby village of Kena, whose villagers have always helped support the monastery with their farming and carpentry labors.

DAY 2, Gyalthang

Today we’ll take a short drive to the holy Ringa temple, located on a small hill surrounded by pine forests and fluttering prayer flags. Ringa is revered as one of the oldest Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Eastern Tibet and it originally belonged to the classical Nyingma sect, also known as “Red Hat” or “old school.” Ringa is also believed to hold the sacred key needed for the Buddhist pilgrimage to Mount Chicken Foot and Erhai Lake. After Ringa, we will drive to Bita

Lake where we can have two hours of walking there. B,L,D

Day 3, Chatreng
We’ll drive to Chatreng, crossing two major passes that sit at an altitude of over 13,700 feet. Some people say that in his 1933 novel Lost Horizon, British author James Hilton used this area as his inspiration for Shangri-La. Although that may be an apocryphal claim, it’s not hard to see why this region of serene mountain valleys could be considered paradise. At Chatreng we’ll visit the Sampheling Monastery, completely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution but now lovingly restored with elaborate murals and woodcarvings. (6-7 hours driving.)
B,L,D…Bamoshan Hotel

DAY 4, Lithang
Another long drive (and two high mountain passes) brings us to Lithang. Along the way we’ll have expansive views of the glaciated terrain leading to the Haizi Shan mountain range. Next we’ll visit the Sumdo Monastery and also Drakar Ney, the site of the “Buddha of Compassion.” This is the main site for worship during the Tibetan New Year and the Lithang Horse Festival. From here it’s on to the grasslands of Lithang!

DAY 5, Lithang
In the morning we’ll visit the Lithang Jhampa Choekorling Monastery, an important site in the Geluk sect of Buddhism. We’ll venture out into the Banyak grasslands, the main pastoral area for thousands of Lithang nomads. Yak-hair tents and grazing animals dot the landscape. Time permitting, we will also visit the home and birthplace of Kelzang Gyatso, the 7th Dalai Lama.

DAY 6, Neygo Monastery
We’ll drive to a trailhead Neygo Monastery (11,985')by passing Lekerdo, an isolated village where about forty farming and shepherd familes live. We’ll have our first views of Mount Genyen (20,354') today, as well as the entire range surrounding this mighty peak. Neygo Monastery (13,471'), which is located in the Shambhala Valley. Founded in the 12th century, the monastery housed 600 monks in its heyday. But the Cultural Revolution saw the crippling of monastic culture, and the destruction of many sacred artifacts. However, many of these treasures were hidden away and have now been restored to their place of privilege. For example, here we will see a conch shell that is believed to have been used by the founder of the Karmapa sect, the spiritual leader who is credited with having sanctified Mount Genyen. During the reign of the 5th Dalai Lama, Neygo converted to the Geluk sect, and today nearly 100 monks still practice here. We’ll also discover amazing secret sites such as the Pang Serpo Chorten (a natural yellow grass stupa), as well as an unusual boulder that is said to have the imprint of the mythical Tibetan King Gesar’s head armor. We’ll camp or stay in the monastery, which offers a rear side view of Mount Genyen. (6 hours hiking.)
B,L,D…Camp or monastery stay

DAY 7, Choejung Theng
Hike from Neygo Monastery to Choejung Theng. Along the way we’ll pass the Eternal Spring, which neither dries in summer nor freezes in winter. Nearby are the hermitage caves where many of the Karmapa lamas retreated for their meditation. We will also pass through the Gesar Temple and the ruins of the Gonkar Temple, which, like Neygo, sustained serious damage during the Cultural Revolution. Later we’ll hike up to serene Secret Lake, which is tucked into a mountain valley in the shadow of Mounts Maitreya (Gyalwa Jampa) and Milarepa. It is here that we will find rock etchings done by the first Karmapa himself in the late 12th century. Another boulder with the vowel “Ah” (the most sacred sound and vowel in the Tibetan alphabet) also appears on the rock naturally. Hike back to Choejung Theng for this and the next night, as it is one of the most beautiful campsites in the midst of Maitreya and Milarepa. The area is also considered the most sacred on the pilgrimage route. (6-8 hours hiking.)

DAY 8, Karpuma
A roundtrip hike to Karpuma, a holy spot where many pilgrimages conclude. Karpuma itself is a large white rock covered with thousands of prayer flags left by Tibetan pilgrims. (5-6 hours hiking.)

DAY 9, Thagpa Thang
Our hike today is mostly along the Neychu river and its brooks and meadows, with a backdrop of gentle, forested mountains and spectacular views of Mount Genyen. At Thagpa Thang we’ll come across a massive stone cairn called Jang Miredore, which, legend has it, was built by the Naxi people who came here from Lijiang. (7 hours hiking.)

DAY 10, Ruibay Kha (Turtle Mouth)
Hike through lush pastures and valleys as we leave the Neychu river in a southerly direction, passing through some very important pilgrimage sites on the way. Among them is the ruin of Amdo Gonthok Monastery, founded by the great Amdo teacher, master Jamyang Shipa of the famed Labrang Monastery in present-day Qinghai province. Soon after his death, however, his disciples returned to their hometown perhaps because of the strong Karmapa influence in the region. We then continue to Shabjedo (Footprint Stone), a boulder believed to have the imprint of the mythic King Gesar’s horse’s hoofprint. Shortly thereafter we arrive at Ruibay Kha where we will camp at around 13,100'. (7 hours hiking.)

DAY 11, Tsachuphu
Today we trek in the direction of the Trasong Shik river with great views of Mount Genyen from its western side. As we move north, the valley opens up to a huge expanse of open pastures and meadows. We also pass through pristine forests, rocky terrain, and come very close to one of the glaciers of Mount Genyen, where we will camp for the night. This region is the haunt of nomads and the main collecting grounds for caterpillar fungus, snow tea, medicinal herbs, and snow lotus, which are prized by urban Chinese. We also pass a small hot spring after which this area is named. (6 hours hiking.)

DAY 12, Taorong
Today we’ll pass through valleys carpeted with azaleas and other wildflowers. Our camp is on the flanks of Drakar (White Mountain). Camp at Taorong at 14,370'. (6 hours hiking.)

DAY 13, Sha Tsonak (15,059')
Trek in a southeasterly direction toward the Kagrab Shik river, following high nomad trails and enjoying vistas of pristine forests and streams, with Mount Genyen still in view. This area is dotted with more than 40 small lakes, and we’ll camp near the largest of them in the shadow of the high peaks. (7 hours hiking.)

DAY 14, Shijug Gang
Today we cross the Gongkarla Pass (15,125') and come to Yutso, or Jade Lake. There are many unusual rock formations here that were created during glacial movements. This region is home to wild sheep and deer, and is one of the main grazing areas of the nomads. Camp at Shijug Gang (14 452'). (5-6 hours hiking.)

DAY 15, Shinag
It will take us about six hours of hiking to reach Shinag Pass (15,459'). The path to get there is filled with thick bushes and flowers in bloom. Shinag is famous for its medicinal herbs, especially the caterpillar fungus, which according to Tibetans is a caterpillar in winter and an herb in summer. The caterpillar fungus is thought to increase strength and reduce healing time. In recent Olympic Games Chinese athletes have credited their medal-winning performances to this traditional tonic. (6 hours hiking.)

DAY 16, Dranag Beshab
Today’s hike is a long one, bringing us to Dranag Beshab (13,465'), and through the pastoral area of Ngyugula (15,243'). Dranag Beshab literally means “black rock,” and the area is a nomad camp that has been as a caravan stop on the trade route for hundreds of years. (7-8 hours hiking.)

DAY 17, Donjung Village
We’ll hike along the Dongjung River through the Dongjung Valley, an area famous for Matsutake mushrooms and other edible fungi. This is our last day of hiking among the mountains and along the trails that have been used by nomads and their herds since time immemorial. (6-7 hours hiking.)

DAY 18, Gyalthang (Shangri - La)
We’ll make our way by car to Gyalthang, with views of the Yangtze Gorge along the way. We’ll stop in at several villages along the way and also tour the Rathak Monastery before we arrive in Gyalthang. (7-8 hours driving.)

DAY 19, Departure
From Gyalthang we’ll catch a flight to Kunming and then connect with homeward-bound flights.

• Shangri La

• Sumtensling Monastery

• Ringa templ

• Chatreng

• Sampheling Monastery

• Lithang

• Sumdo Monastery

• Drakar Ney

• Lithang Jhampa Choekorling Monastery

• Neygo Monastery

• Lekerdo Village

• Mount Genyen

• Shambhala Valley

• Choejung Theng

• Secret Lake, 

• Mounts Maitreya (Gyalwa Jampa) and Milarepa

• Karpuma

• Neychu river

• Thagpa Thang

• Ruibay Kha (Turtle Mouth)

• Tsachuphu

• Taorong

• Sha Tsonak

• Shijug Gang

• Gongkarla Pass

• Yutso, or Jade Lake

• Shinag Pass

• Dranag Besha

• Donjung Village

• Yangtze Gorge

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