14 days, 13 nights
Difficulty Level: 3
Price (US$): From $3,295.00
Months Available: May through November
This trip has currently been suspended because the Nepal-Tibet border at Zhangmu is closed after the earthquake in 2015. It is still possible to go to the Everest Base Camp, return to Lhasa, and fly back to Kathmandu. Contact us for details.
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).
Day 01 (Wed)- Kathmandu (4,200 ft.)/Beijing
Arrive Kathmandu or Beijing. Transfer to Hotel. Overnight Hotel. (Dinner)
Day 02 and 03 (Thu and Fri) – 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 04 (Sat) – 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 05 – 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 06 – 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 07 – 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 08 – 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 09 – 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 10 – 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 11 – 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 12 – 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 13 – Zhangmu to Kathmandu
At the border, complete formalities and say good-bye to your Tibetan guides. Transfer to Kathmandu. (Breakfast)
Day 14 – Depart for home
Transfer to airport for final departure. (Breakfast)
Per person price for 2016
2 participants: $3,795 USD per person
3 – 4 participants: $3,495 USD per person
5 or more participants: $3,295 USD per person
Single Supplement: $400 USD
Contact us for quotes for smaller group sizes.
Price does not include:
Daily departures available from Beijing and Tuesday and Saturday departures avaiable from Kathmandu for private groups of 2 or more participants.
“Michael & I would like to extend our sincere appreciation for your excellent service in putting this trip together for us. Although the trekking was quite arduous because of the extreme altitude and difficult terrain, the astounding views to which we were treated make the difficulties pale in our memories.
The Tibetan guide chosen for us by Jwalant could not have been better. A university educated student of Tibetan history and culture, he graciously and patiently led us through many of Tibet’s precious cultural sites, all with perfect English. The Nepali team Jwalant brought together for our trip, including Monju, Padam and Pema, were amazing. Even in the most extreme conditions, their proficiency in cooking delicious and nutritious food led us to eat huge meals even when we thought we had lost our appetites!
Thank you, Jwalant, for doing a great job in putting together this complex trip for us, and for choosing Tashi as our Tibetan guide! ”