This journey on land-cruisers on the Lhasa - Kathmandu Friendship Highway crosses several major Tibetan towns and villages giving you an opportunity to get a sense of the Tibetan way of life. Though this trip does not involve any trekking, it is still strenuous as you will be crossing several passes - some over 18,000 ft - and will be sleeping and eating in lodges with basic facilities.
The journey begins in Tibet's capital, Lhasa. Lhasa is the site of the Potala Palace the ancient palace of the Dalai Lamas. In and surrounding Lhasa are many other important monasteries such as the Sera Monastery, the Jokhang temple and the Drepung Monastery. You will visit all these monasteries. From Lhasa you will drive to Gyantse which is the site of the largest stupa in the world, the Kumbum stupa. Continue to Shigatse the site of the very impressive Tashilunpo monastery complex and seat of the Karmapa Lamas. Shigastse is the last of the larger Tibetan cities and past Shigatse amenities are limited. Continue to Everest Base Camp and depending on current regulations, you will either sleep at a make-shift tent at the Base Camp or at Rongbuk. After a day of exploring at the Everest Base Camp, descend to Nepal where you will be met by our Nepali guides at Zhangmu (Nepal and Tibet border).
- Explore monasteries and palaces in the once forbidden city of Lhasa
- Drive on land cruisers on the Friendship Highway through numerous Tibetan towns and villages
- Savor views of Mt. Everest
- One full day to explore the Everest Base Camp
Arrive Kathmandu or Beijing. Transfer to Hotel. Overnight Hotel. (Dinner)
Day 02 - Free day in Kathmandu (4,200 ft.)/Beijing
Free day in Kathmandu. Optional sightseeing of Pashupatinath and Bodhnath in Kathmandu or The Temple of Heaven and Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Your Tibet permit will be obtained today. (Breakfast)
Day 03 - Lhasa (11,900 ft.)
Fly from Kathmandu or Beijing to Gonggar Airport (Tibet). Met on arrival and transfer to Lhasa. Day free. Overnight Hotel. (No meals)
Day 04 - Lhasa (11,900 ft.)
Visit the Jokhang temple at the Barkhor Square. The Jokhang is the most sacred temple for many Tibetans and was built by King Trsong Tsang Gampo. A not to miss experience is to circumbulate the temple along with thousands of Tibetans. Overnight Hotel. (Breakfast)
Day 05 - Lhasa (11,900 ft.)
Visit Potala Palace, the official residence of the Dalai Lama until he fled to India after the Chinese invasion. The palace has over a 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and 200,000 statues. Continue to Sera Monastery, one of the three major Gelukpa temples along with Drepung monastery and Ganden monastery. A highlight is watching the monks practicing their debating skills in the monastery courtyard. Overnight Hotel. (Breakfast)
Day 06 - Lhasa to Gyantse (13,000 ft.)
Gyantse is located 159 miles south-west of Lhasa. The drive to Gyantse can take upwards of 8 hours. Traveling on a land-cruiser, cross the Khamba la (15,700 ft.) from where there are stunning views across the waters of Yamdrok-Tsho. Continue over Karo La (16,600 ft.) driving past a road which is within a few hundred meters of a huge glacier. Overnight Hotel. (Breakfast)
Day 07 - Gyantse to Shigatse (12,600 ft.)
In the morning, explore the sites of Gyantse. Gyantse is famous for Kumbum, the largest stupa in Tibet. The Kumbum stupa and the Pelkor Chode Monastery are housed within the monastery compound. The chorten is packed with exquisite Tibetan sculpture and painting and rises 35m over four main symmetrical floors. A clockwise route leads pilgrims and visitors through the six floors.
Continue to Shigatse; a short 56 mile drive on the paved Friendship Highway. After lunch visit Tashilunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama and the largest functioning monastery in Tibet. The monastery is essentially a walled town in its own right with busy cobbled lanes twisting around the ancient buildings. Overnight Hotel. (Breakfast)Day 08 - Xegar (14,900 ft.)
Driving on the Frienship Highway towards, from today, you will begin to notice the huge expanse of the Tibetan plateau. On this 150 mile journey, you will cross one of the highest passes Gyamtso La (17,200 ft.) from where you descend to the plains of Shegar. Overnight local lodge. (Breakfast)
Day 09 - Xegar to Rongbuk (16,400 ft.)
Turn south from the Friendship Highway towards Pang La (16,900 ft.). From the pass, views of Makalu and Shisapangma are possible. Today’s is a mere 42.5 mile journey but it will take several hours as you weave through several switch-backs on unpaved road Overnight local lodge. (Breakfast)
Day 10 - Rongbuk (16,400 ft.)
Depending on the current rules you either drive or be required to hike three hours to the Everest Base Camp. At the Base Camp, climb a small hill for views of the north face of the highest mountain. Back at Rongbuk, visit the monastery where there is a monastery. Overnight local lodge. (Breakfast)
Day 11 - Rongbuk to Zhangmu (7,500 ft.)
Return to the Friendship Highway and cross two major passes, the Lalung La (16,800 ft.) and Shung La (17,100 ft.). Atop the pass, magnificent views of Shisapangma, Cho Oyu, Melungte and Gauri Shankar are possible. The descent from Nyelam to Zhangmu at the Nepal – Tibet border is simply amazing. From the barren Tibetan plateau, the landscape transforms into lush valleys with cascading waterfalls. Overnight local lodge. (Breakfast)
Day 12 - Zhangmu to Kathmandu
At the border, complete formalities and say good-bye to your Tibetan guides. Transfer to Kathmandu. (Breakfast)
Day 13 - Depart for home
Transfer to airport for final departure. (Breakfast)
Cost and Inclusions
5 or more participants:
$2,745 USD per person
Single Supplement: $300 USD
Group discounts available for 6 or more participants.
- Expert pre-trip advice and detailed information
- Meeting and assistance at airports and airport transfers
- Twin sharing accommodations in Kathmandu/Beijing, Lhasa and enroute
- Meals as indicated on itinerary
- Tours, excursions and shows as indicated on itinerary
- Airfare: Beijing/Kathmandu to Lhasa
- Tibet permit
- Chartered bus: Zhangmu (Nepal - Tibet border) to Kathmandu
Price does not include:
- Your international airfare
- China/Nepal Visa
- Meals not indicated on itinerary
- Tips and gratuities
- Travel insurance
- Other expenses of a personal nature (Soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, mineral water, laundry, phone calls, internet, comfort food, etc.)
Dates and Availability
Daily departures available from Beijing and Tuesday and Saturday departures avaiable from Kathmandu for private groups of 2 or more participants. Group discounts available for 6 or more participants.
Book This Trip
Step 1: Contact Us
We like to talk to our customers! Call us at 1-888-586-7750 for a free phone consultation and receive $25 off the cost of your journey when you book. Or if you prefer, send us an email to confirm availability for your preferred travel dates, and get started planning your dream trip today!
Step 2: Send Deposit and Registration Information
Make a copy of the photo page of your passport. If your trip involves a trek in Nepal, email or send us a passport-sized color photo. Mail a check for $500 per person for Nepal Treks or $1,000 for other journeys (non-refundable deposit), passport copy, photo and completed reservation form.
Our mailing address is:
Grand Asian Journeys
PO Box 608
Indianola, WA 98342
Once we receive your payment and documents we will send you additional details of your trip including travel details, VISA information, packing list, specific trip information and insurance options.
If you are traveling to Bhutan, we are required to purchase your airfare. When you are booking your trip with us we will let you know the current cost of the Druk Air flights into Bhutan from your chosen port. We will need to collect payment for those flights in addition to the trip deposit at the time of booking.
If you cancel:
- More than 60 days prior to departure; deposit is forfeited, the remainder is refunded
- 60 to 30 days prior to departure, 50% of tour cost subject to refund
- No refunds will be provided for any unused services or cancellations made within 30 days prior to departure