North of India, Nepal, and the great Himalayas lies an ancient land unparalleled in its beauty and majesty. This land of Tibet, often referred to as the roof of the world, is the largest and highest plateau on earth. Its unique Buddhist culture, magnificent wildlife, and grand peaks have been sealed from outsiders for years. You are now given the chance to experience this land of mystery and fantasy!
The majority of this trip will be spent traveling the Friendship Highway, home to some of the most breathtaking scenery this side of heaven. Our route will lead us through seven days of rugged beauty. Along this journey we will pass through spectacular mountain peaks, numerous Tibetan settlements, and more ancient monasteries than you could imagine. We will have plenty of opportunities to explore this wealth of natural and cultural allure. While in Gyantse and Shigatse we even immerse ourselves in the Buddhist culture.
The first four days of our journey will be spent in the old city of Lhasa. This time will allow for excellent sightseeing and proper acclimatization. The awe-inspiring Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple will be some of the mains sites we see while in Lhasa. Soon after we will depart in four wheel drive Toyota Land cruisers. Along the amazing Friendship Highway we will stay in first-rate yet traditional Tibetan hotels every step of the way.
The highlight of this trip for many is our visit to the base camp of Everest. The sheer brilliance of this mountain is something which must be seen first hand to be truly appreciated. You will be blown away by its beauty and astronomic size.
Day 1: Arrival in Lhasa by train or air. Once you arrive at Gonggar airport or Lhasa Train Station, an easy one hour or half hour drive will take you to your final destination of the traditional Dhood Gu Hotel or Yak Hotel or Shangbala Hotel, etc. The remainder of the day can be spent relaxing and exploring some of the many sights in Lhasa.
Please be aware of that you can take overland train tours from China side, and of course you can enter Tibet by air.
Day 2: 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 worshipers. 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 3: 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 4: In Lhasa. This last day in Lhasa will be one of leisure, exploration, and relaxation. The members of the tour group will have many choices of what to do. Many choose to explore Lhasa further, revisit their favorite monastery, tour additional monasteries, or simply relax around Lhasa. There are many wonderful cafes and shops throughout Lhasa. This is the last chance for acclimatization before we depart so once again we recommend you take it easy.
Day 5: Drive Lhasa - Gyantse (3950m), 261 km. Today we finally begin our overland journey culminating in Kathmandu, Nepal. One of the first sites we will see while traveling along the majestic Friendship Highway is the Khamba La. The breathtaking view at Khamba La allows one to see all the way to the summit of Nazin Kang Sa. Truly an amazing view! While continuing westward we will travel over the Karo La, a high pass surrounded by stupendous glaciers. The rest of the day will be spent enjoying the many magnificent valleys and exquisite Tibetan villages we pass through. The day will end in the town of Gyantse. We will spend the night in a hotel in this historical city.
Day 6: Drive Gyantse (3950m) - Shigatse (3900m) 90km
First thing in the morning we will visit Gyantse Dzong. This fort dates back to the fourteenth century and offers some of the most amazing views of Gyantse and the surrounding valley. Before leaving we will also visit the famed Gyantse Kumbum. This magnificent tiered structure is the largest stupa in all of Tibet. If the exquisite gold dome is not enough, this stupa is packed with Tibetan sculptures and paintings.
The drive today, only 90 km, takes us to the second largest city in Tibet. Shigatse is a laid back city that provides excellent opportunity for both relaxation and exploration. As a group we will explore the local market and the Tahilhumpo Monastery. Tahilhumpo Monastery is one of the largest functioning monasteries in Tibet and was able to last through the Cultural Revolution nearly unscathed. It is a great pleasure to spend some time exploring the busy cobbled lanes twisting around these ancient buildings. At night we will relax and rest in Wutse or Mansarovar Hotel.
Day 7: Drive Shigatse (3900m) - Shegar (New Tingri),(4050m), 244km. The views of this desert plateau provide for wondrous entertainment as we travel along the Friendship Highway. This stretch is some of the most spectacular landscape in Tibet. After passing through the small town of Lhatse we will cross Gyatmso La, the highest pass on our journey. The land quickly descends to plains after Gyatmso La. While traveling through the plains we will see many nomadic herders, quiet countryside, and secluded monasteries. The night will be spent in Hotel Quomolongma in Shegar.
Day 8: Drive Shegar (4050m) - Ringbuk (5000m), 68km. After leaving Shegar we will travel only a short while before turning off the Friendship Highway. Our four wheel drive vehicles will takes us South towards the main Himalayan range while passing over Pang La. The view from the top of Pang La is truly stunning. One is able to see all the way from Makalu to Shishapangma. In the afternoon we will descend into the Rongbuk Valley and Everest will jump quickly into view. This is your first chance to catch a glimpse of this awe-inspiring mountain. We will spend the night at the Gompa Guest House.
Day 9: Drive Rongbuk (5000m) - Tingri (4390m), 65km. This morning is the highlight of the trip heading to Everest Base Camp, we will take a horse carriage to cover this 8 km distance to reach Everest Base camp. The views of Everest from so close make the mountain seem even more impressive than before. It is a truly breath taking experience to stare up at the sheer North face of this highest mountain in the world. Mount Everest towers above you in a looming yet magical way.
After Lunch we will get back on the Friendship highway and continue our amazing journey. We will spend the night at the high class Snow Leopard Lodge in Tingri.
Day 10: Drive Tingri (4390m) - Zhangmu (2300m), 181km. Continuing along the Friendship Highway we will leave Tingri and cross the Lalung La and the Shung La, two more incredible passes. The views from these passes are breathtaking once again. While standing on these passes one is surrounded by grandiose mountains such as Shishpangma, Cho Oyu, Gauri Shankar, and many more.
In the afternoon we begin descending from the arid Tibetan plateau to a small town of Zhangmu. Zhangmu is much lower in elevation and as a result is much more lush and green than what we have experienced so far. The Zhangmu Friendship Hotel provides great rooms to relax and rest on one of our last nights.
Day 11: Drive Zhangmu (2300m) - Kodari - Kathmandu (1400m), 123km. We will leave Zhangmu in the morning and head to the Nepalese border. The Friendship Bridge lies at the Border of China and Nepal and is only a few kilometers from Zhangmu. It spans the impressive Bhote Koshi River. Sadly we must say goodbye to our Tibetan guide and driver at this point. Our Nepalese staff will meet you at the immigration Control in Kodari and help with all the reentry formalities. The city of Kathmandu, our end destination, lies only five hours to the south.
Note: You can start this trip entering from Kathmandu, in Nepal side, as well as from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Canton (Guangzhou), Chongqing, Kuming, Xian, Xining - all these cities in China side by train or air for your convenience.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Tibet Nepal Local Culture Cultural Journey