On this trip, we will travel by Japanese Made bus or Land Cruiser 4WD depend on road condition, following the Friendship Highway through some of the most amazing landscape on Earth and staying in the best available hotels Tibet. We'll pass small Tibetan settlements, nomadic herdsmen wandering across the wide arid plains and awe-inspiring mountain peaks. Equally as fascinating is the wealth of cultural interest and we will have plenty of opportunity to explore this side of Tibet, both in Lhasa and the other towns we pass through on our journey from Kathmandu. We spend 3 nights in Lhasa, another 4 nights in different cities or small towns.
Day 1: Drive Kathmandu (1300m) - Zhangmu (2100m), 123km. We leave Kathmandu early in the morning, driving through the beautiful Nepalese countryside to Kodari on the Nepal Tibet border. After completing the border formalities at both the Nepalese and Chinese immigration posts we check in to our hotel in Zhangmu, Zhangmu Hotel (**best available).
Day 2: Drive Zhangmu (2100m)/Nyalam - Shegar (4050m), 244km. Today's drive takes us from the lush, green lower hills into the dry, arid landscape of the Tibetan Plateau. We cross several high passes including the Lalung La (5050m) from which, weather permitting, there is a breathtaking panorama of the Himalayan range including Mt Everest - a fitting backdrop to the vastness of the Tibetan Plateau. We stay overnight in the town of Shegar at the Hotel Quomolongma (***best available).
Day 3: Drive Shegar (4050m) - Shigatse (3900m), 245km. Continuing along the Friendship Highway, we pass by lonely monasteries and the camps of nomadic herders. We then cross the highest pass of our journey, the Gyamtso La (5220m) before descending once more to the barren splendor of the plains. Tonight, we stay in Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet at either the Mansarovar Hotel or Wutse Hotel (***best available hotels).
Day 4: Drive Shigatse (3900m) - Gyantse (3950m), 90km. This morning we have time to visit the Tashilungpo Monastery, one of the largest functioning monasteries in Tibet, before setting off on the relatively short drive to Gyantse. Once in Gyantse, we can explore the Pelkor Chode Monastery and the Gyantse Kumbum. The Kumbum is a large gold-domed stupa and its many chapels house an impressive array of Tibetan Buddhist murals. Our overnight hotel is newly built Wutse Hotel (2 star) in Gyantse.
Day 5: Drive Gyantse (3950m) - Lhasa (3680m), 265km. A spectacular day's drive today will take us over the Karo La (5045m) where we are treated to the awesome sight of a huge glacier tumbling down to within a few hundred meters of the road. Beyond the small, developing town of Nagartse, the road follows the bank of a beautiful turquoise lake, the Yamdrok-tso, for about 20 Km. We then cross the Khamba La (4794m) and continue on to Lhasa, where we check in at the Dhood Gu Hotel or Shambala Hotel (both Tibetan sytle *** hotel near Jorkhang Sqaure the old city center).
Day 6: In Lhasa. On this second day morning we will take an easy visit to Jokhang Temple. This temple is the most revered shrine in all of Tibet and is constantly bustling with devout worshippers. We will also be given the opportunity to shop in Barkor, the crowded central market of Lhasa. In the afternoon we will visit is Sera Monastery, a fifteenth century sprawl of golden roofs and whitewashed walls. This well preserved monastery is located just a few miles North of Lhasa and is home to several hundred monks. its famous debating activities are happening 3-4 pm quite regularly every day, so remind our guide not to miss it.
Day 7: In Lhasa. A trip to Tibet would not be complete without experiencing the vital Potala Palace. This palace is Lhasa's cardinal landmark and is a wonder of Eastern architecture. Your first site of this massive structure will be a magical moment remembered for years to come. It has been a palace since the fifth or sixth century and was once home to the Dalai Lama. This truly amazing day will ended with a visit to the Drepung Monastery. Once the world's largest monastery, housing 10.000 monks, Drepung monastery lies hidden in rocky ridges just beyond the city. Surprisingly much of the building was left untouched throughout so many hundred of years.
Day 8: Fly Lhasa (3650m) - Kathmandu (1300m). Sadly we leave Lhasa early in the morning for the 2 hour drive to Gonggar Airport and our flight back to Kathmandu or your onward destination. The China Southwest Airlines Boeing 757, takes us right across the main Himalayan range and the mountain views are spectacular.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Tibet Local Culture Cultural Journey