The 1100 kilometer (685 mile) overland journey from Lhasa, Tibet to Kathmandu, Nepal has everything you would want in a Himalaya adventure! This journey begins with spending 3 nights in the Buddhist holy city of Lhasa. You will explore all the main pilgrimage sites including Jokhang Temple, Drepung Monastery, the Potala Palace, Sera Monastery and Ramoche Temple.
From Lhasa, you will then travel through Central Tibet seeing the most beautiful places along the way. You will see Yamdrok Lake, the Karo La Glacier, rural farming villages and the Pelkhor Chode Monastery in Gyantse. Gyantse also has one of the best Old Towns in Central Tibet. Next, you will go to Shigatse, Tibet's second largest city and home to the massive monastery of Tashi Lhunpo.
The next destination is the Himalaya Mountains! After Shigatse, you will start climbing over some high passes, including the Gyatso La, which offer sweeping views of the world's highest mountain range. You will continue on through remote villages to the North Face Everest Base Camp...face to face with the highest mountain on the planet!
But wait...there is more! After watching the sunrise over Mt. Everest, you will continue driving through the Himalaya towards Nepal. In the village of Old Tingri, there is a fantastic panoramic view of the Himalaya, including Cho Oyu (6th highest peak) and Mt. Everest. Next, you will travel along the shores of the stunning lake of Peiku Tso, surrounded by the Himalaya Mountains
From Peiku Tso, you will descend down to the Tibtetan border town of Kyirong and will cross over into Nepal and meet your Nepali driver and guide. Coming from the Tibetan Plateau, everything in Nepal seems so lush and green! You will stop at a few Nepali villages before checking into your hotel in central Kathmandu. You will then spend a few days seeing all of the main sites in the Kathmandu valley including Pashupatinath Hindu Temple, Boudha Stupa, Swayambhunath Temple and the ancient city of Bhaktapur.
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Day 1: Arrive to Lhasa, Tibet
The Tibetan capital sits at 3590 meters and is the cultural and spiritual heart of Tibet. After getting situated in a modern, centrally located hotel, we will explore and photograph the center of the Old Tibetan Quarter in the heart of Lhasa. The Barkhor is the main shopping market for local Tibetans. It is one of the most interesting markets in all of Asia and is an excellent place to photograph modern Tibetan culture.
Day 2: Around Lhasa
After breakfast, you will spend the morning going through the Jokhang, Tibet’s holiest and most famous temple. Each day, thousands of Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims work their way through this nearly 1400 year old temple. You will also explore Tsamkhung Nunnery, one of the largest nunneries in the Lhasa area. In the afternoon, you will photograph the Buddhist philosophy debates at Sera, one of Tibet’s largest monasteries. The monk debates will be a major highlight during your time in Tibet.
Day 3: Around Lhasa
You will start the day by exploring Tibet’s most iconic building, the Potala Palace. Towering above Lhasa with more than 1000 rooms, the Potala Palace served as the winter residence of the Dalai Lama’s for hundreds of years. After this, you will explore Ramoche Temple and more of the Old Tibetan Quarter of Lhasa.
Day 4: Lhasa to Yamdrok Lake, Karo La Glacier and Gyantse
In the morning, we will depart from Lhasa and drive to Gyantse via Yamdrok Lake. Yamdrok Lake, during clear weather, is a brilliant turquoise color and is one of the 4 main holy lakes in Tibetan Buddhism. The huge, glaciated 7191 meter Mt. Nojin Kangtsang forms the backdrop of the lake. The lake sits at an elevation of 4441 meters above sea level. Along the way to Gyantse, we will stop by the glaciers of Mt. Nojin Kangtsang at the Karo La Pass, which come down almost to the highway. Gyantse is a small, but modern Tibetan town, that lies at 4025 meters. You will be visiting the Pelkor Chode Monastery as well as the Gyantse Kumbum, the highest stupa (Buddhist pagoda) in Tibet. The drive from Lhasa to Gyantse covers 260 kms (162 miles).
Day 5: Gyantse to Shigatse
The scenic drive from Gyantse to Shigatse goes through several traditional farming villages that you will stop at. Shigatse is home to Tashilhunpo Monastery and its 600+ monks. This monastery, one of the largest in Tibet, is the seat of the Panchen Lama, the second most important lama in Tibetan Buddhism. You will walk around the pilgrim route that goes up and around the famous monastery as well as explore inside the huge monastery complex. In the afternoon, you will explore the walking street and markets in the Old Town. The distance from Gyantse to Shigatse is 95 kilometers (60 miles). The elevation of Shigatse is 3840 meters.
Day 6: Shigatse to Shelkar
The mid-way point of your journey will take you from Shigatse to the small town of Shelkar. There are several scenic mountain views along the way, especially at the 5200 meter high Gyatso La Pass. From the Gyatso La, there is a sweeping view of the Himalaya. You will stay the night in the small town of Shelkar, elevation 4300 meters. The distance from Shigatse to Shelkar is 250 kilometers (156 miles).
Day 7: Shelkar to Everest Base Camp
From Shelkar, you will cross over the 5050 meter Geu La Pass, which offers one of the most spectacular views of the Himalaya. From here, 5 of the world's 15 highest mountains can be seen, including Mt. Everest. Your next stop will be Rongphu, the highest monastery in the world at just under 5000 meters. A fantastic view of Everest can be seen from Rongphu. You will then continue on to Everest Base Camp, gazing out to the world's highest peak. The distance from Shelkar to Everest Base Camp is 105 kilometers (65 miles). The elevation at Everest Base Camp is 5200 meters.
Day 8: Everest Base Camp to Old Tingri
After watching the sunrise on Mt. Everest, you will make the 75 kilometer (48 mile) drive to the small town of Old Tingri. Along the way, there are more mountain views to be had as well as a couple of small Tibetan villages inhabited by semi-nomadic shepherds. Old Tingri is very small, but has a commanding view of both Everest and Cho Oyu, the 6th highest peak. The elevation of Old Tingri is 4325 meters.
Day 9: Old Tingri to the Nepal border
This day will take you over a couple more high Himalayan passes with more awesome views. You will also stop at the pristine lake of Peiku Tso, which is surrounded by towering Himalayan peaks. From the lake, you will descend to the Tibetan border town of Kyirong. You will stay the night on the Tibet side of the border, your final night in Tibet. The distance from Old Tingri to the Nepal border is 200 kilometers and the elevation is 2100 meters.
Day 10: Nepal border to Kathmandu
After breakfast, you will say goodbye to your Tibetan driver and guide and cross the international border into Nepal. You can purchase your Nepal visa on arrival. After clearing Nepal immigration, you will be met by your Nepalese driver and guide and continue to Kathmandu. The landscape in Nepal is lush and green. You will stop for lunch along the way as well as at a couple of small villages. The distance to Kathmandu is 125 kilometers. The elevation of Kathmandu is 1350 meters.
Day 11: Around Kathmandu
You will spend the day exploring the fascinating city of Kathmandu. You will start by visiting Pashupatinath, one of the most revered Hindu sites in Asia. From there, you will go to Boudha, home of the largest and most famous Tibetan Buddhist stupa (pagoda) in the Himalaya. After lunch you will then explore the famous Monkey Temple (Swayambhunath).
Day 12: Kathmandu to Bhaktapur
You last full day in Nepal will lead you to the well-preserved ancient city of Bhaktapur. This ancient city served as the capital of Nepal until the mid 15th century. Bhaktapur, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is full of traditional architecture, colorful local markets and traditional culture. You will stay in a nice boutique hotel in Bhaktapur. From Kathmandu to Bhaktapur is 20 kilometers (12 miles).
Day 13: Depart Kathmandu
This day you will be transferred to the Kathmandu International Airport and depart Nepal.
Overland from Lhasa to Everest and Kathmandu
Participants are responsible for their own travel arrangements to Lhasa, but we will take care of just about everything else after that!
We can arrange this journey for groups of up to 10 people. Price is discounted for groups of 3 or more. Contact us for the price for this journey at firstname.lastname@example.org
Included in the price:
- All accommodations (based on double occupancy; single room supplement available)
- Breakfast each morning in Tibet and Nepal
- Welcome dinner in Lhasa, Tibet
- All bottled drinking water
- All ground transportation in Tibet and Nepal
- All entrance fees per itinerary
- All Tibet travel permits
- Local Tibetan and Nepalese guide fees
- All meals and accommodations for your guide and driver
- Lhasa airport pickup on Day 1 and Kathmandu Airport transfer on Day 13
Not included in the price:
- Passport, Nepalese and Chinese Visa fees
- Lunch or Dinner
- International airfare to Lhasa, Tibet or from Kathmandu, Nepal
- Travel vaccinations
- Insurance (travel, medical, etc)
- Souvenirs or personal items such as laundry, excess baggage fees, snacks, alcohol drinks, etc
- Photography fees inside temples and monasteries
- Gratuities to the Tibetan/Nepalese guide and driver
Each participant will be sent a list of required and recommended gear for this journey that they will be responsible for.
Accommodations: In Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse, you will be staying in pleasant and highly rated 3 and 4 Star Tibetan-owned hotels. Hotels in other areas of Tibet will be the best available. They will be clean and comfortable with private bathrooms and showers except at Everest Base Camp. In the Everest Region (Shelkar, Everest Base Camp and Old Tingri), accommodations will be very simple as these areas are very remote and poor. Guesthouses have no heat, but plenty of blankets. Toilets are usually outside and are not always clean. Showers are often unavailable or are available at a local shower house that is not attached to the hotel. In Nepal, you will stay at highly rated boutique hotels in a central location. Hotel upgrades are available in Lhasa and Kathmandu upon request.
Eligibility: Participants must be in good health and be able to spend each day walking around towns, villages and monasteries while carrying their own equipment. Though you will be doing a lot of walking each day, no trekking is required. Most of this tour will take place in mountainous terrain between 3600 meters and 5200 meters (11,800 feet to 17,000 feet) above sea level. You will spend 3 nights in Lhasa for altitude acclimatization before going above 3600 meters. Ascent will be slow and gradual to reduce the risks of altitude-related illness. This tour is not recommended for those who have severe asthma or who have had problems with high elevation in the past.
Responsible Tourism: Himalaya Journey is foreign-owned, but Tibetan and Nepali staffed. All of our guides and drivers are local Tibetans and Nepalis who have been working in tourism for many years. It is a top priority for us to support as many locally-owned businesses as possible so that your tourism money goes directly to local people. We will recommend you to stay in locally-owned hotels and to use locally-owned restaurants during your journey. The preservation of the culture of Tibet and Nepal, as well as the protection of the environment of the Himalaya, are extremely important to us. In fact, when we are not out leading journeys across the Himalaya, we are working with local people in numerous eco-tourism and conservation projects.