Day 1 Lhasa Arrival
Welcome to the roof of the world! Your Tibet journey starts with a warm Tibetan style greeting from your local tour guide who will present you with Hada (traditional Tibetan scarves). You will be picked up at the airport or train station, and then be escorted to your hotel in Lhasa city at the comfort of your own private vehicle. During the hour long drive to your hotel in the city, you can enjoy the breathtaking view along the Yarlong Tsangpo River. Tibetan features can be seen along the way, including Big Buddha engravings on the hill near the road, colorful prayer flags and friendly Tibetan people.
Overnight at Lhasa.
After you arrive at your hotel, the rest of the day is free for you to explore the local area and become acclimatized to this high altitude city at the top of the world.
The altitude in Lhasa is about 3,650m above sea level. Take time out to relax and acclimate to the high altitude after arrival at your hotel. We recommend that you avoid strenuous activity for the first few days. It is advisable that you do not take showers. For first time visitors, it is common to have different degrees of high altitude sickness symptoms. Drink more water, have fresh fruits and plenty of rest will help to prevent the sickness. Have a good rest tonight, and get ready for tomorrow’s journey.
Day 2 Lhasa (B)
Take the challenge of climbing up to Potala Palace (3,650m above sea level) and get a great view of Lhasa’s urban areas. Great photographic opportunities along the way will overwhelm you as great view of the traditional Tibetan architecture is nothing short of spectacular. Hear the story of Dalai Lamas and see chapels where Dalai Lama studied, rested and worked in. Pass former Lama graves which are decorated with beautiful treasures.
Continue your tour to Jokhang Temple, which is within walking distance from Potala Palace. It is considered the spiritual center of Tibet. You will see many pilgrims worshipping within or nearby the temple. Enter the first floor of the temple and absorb the religious atmosphere, you will see pilgrims donating butter oil to keep the lights burning for Lord Buddha. While learning about Buddha and Lamas, more than you can possibly remember, you will acquire a huge respect and knowledge of the vast history of Tibetan Buddhism. You might also hear red-robed Lamas praying. Walk up to the roof of the temple, take some pictures of the golden roof and enjoy the beautiful sunshine of Lhasa while observing pilgrims praying and chanting mantras in front of the temple.
Finally, join the locals in a traditional pilgrimage route by taking a relaxing walk in a large circular path around Jokhang Temple at Barkor Street. The street is filled with pilgrims taking part in religious activities and street vendors selling a wide variety of traditional Tibetan goods and religious items. If you like you can also ask your tour guide take you to visit a Thangka workshop to marvel the fabulous Thangka art work. There are cafes along the street as well where you can lay back and enjoy one lazy afternoon of Lhasa life.
Tips: As you climb up to the Potala Palace, you might experience slight shortness of breath due to the exertion. Take your time and rest whenever needed. Please try not to bother pilgrims; you can take pictures from a distance. In Barkor Street, you will have a chance to pick a few unique souvenirs for your friends and do remember to bargain and compare the price in different shops. If you still want to go out in the evening, you may go to the square on your own in front of the Potala Palace around 8:30 p.m. to enjoy the 2-hours music fountain for free. Or else, simple take pleasure by looking at all the beautiful pictures you took during the day and get good sleep! On this day, you will be mainly outside, therefore you are required to bring plenty of water, a hat, sun cream, and sun glasses.
Day 3 Lhasa (B)
After breakfast, you are driven to visit the Norbulingka Park, the former summer palace of Dalai Lama. Explore the beautiful gardens and experience one of the most holy sites in Tibetan Buddhism while soaking up the rich history. Next, come to Drepung Monastery, which were once the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery housing 10,000 monks in its heyday. Learn about the lives of Tibetan monks.
Your tour ends at Sera Monastery, where you will get the chance to experience “Buddhism Scriptures Debating”. These debates are unique to Sera and are quite famous. Enjoy the debates!
Tips: This day, you will be driven to the outskirts of Lhasa City and will spend less than an hour driving in total. The road condition is good. A little walking or climbing is involved. You are required to pack plenty of water with you along with your sun glasses and sun cream.
Day 4 Lhasa - Gyantse (B)
Today you will drive from Lhasa to Gyantse (5-hour). Crossing over the summit of Kamba La Pass (4,794m), you’ll see the tranquil turquoise waters of Lake Yamdrok below. Far in the distance you’ll spot the towering, massive, Mt. Nojin Kangtsang (7,191m), and the stunning Karo-la Glacier (5045m). After arrival in Gyantse, you will tour Pelkor Monastery to admire fancy frescoes, statues and sculptures. Stay overnight in Gyantse.
Tips: The road condition from Lhasa to Gyantse via Yamdrok Lake is rough road around mountains. Feel free to ask your driver to stop and have a chance to stretch your legs and take pictures of the beautiful surroundings.
Day 5 Gyantse - Shigatse (B)
On the fifth day, you will drive to Shigatse. Visit Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of Panchen Lama and one of the largest functioning monasteries in Tibet, as well as the oldest and largest Gelugpa Monastery in Tibet. Here you will see a giant statue of Future Buddha, the largest one of its kind on earth, decorated with precious pearls, turquoises, corals and ambers. Stay overnight at Shigatse.
Tips: The road condition is fairly good so the 90 km drive from Gyantse to Shigatse should be pleasant. Please do not hesitate to tell the driver if you want to take a break to stretch your legs or take pictures on the way.
Day 6 Shigatse - Sakya Monastery - Tingri (B)
Today you’ll drive to Tingri and stay there overnight. En route visit Sakya monastery. In the 13th century, the monastic town of Sakya emerged as an important center of Buddhist scholarship. With Mongolian military support, the Sakya lamas became rulers of all Tibet. Sakya Monastery, built in 1268, is a massive fortress like compound with high defensive walls in the southern section of the monastery. There are a lot of historical articles in the monastery, among them are: imperial certificates, gold signets, crowns, and clothes given by the Yuan Dynasty emperors. Sakya monastery has over 84,000 Tibetan volumes of on astronomy, medicine, calligraphy, and history.
Tips: If you are particularly interested in history or architecture, it may be worthwhile to do a bit of research in preparation for this visit.
Day 7 Tingri - Rongbuk Monastery - Everest Base Camp (B)
Although it's just 100km from Tingri (Shegar) to Everest Base Camp (5,200m), it takes about 4 hours since the cracked winding roads demand great caution. But the views are stupendous on a clear day and feature a huge sweep of the Himalaya range including peaks over 8,000m, Makalu, Lhotse, Everest, Gyachung and Cho Oyu. When you finally get to the Base Camp, the first sight of the mighty Everest will be stunning. All the hardship you bear along the way will be well worth it. The best time to watch Mt. Everest is early morning and late evening when the sun is rising or setting, it’s simply breathtaking to witness the majestic Everest bathing in the sunlight.
Visit Rongbuk Monastery which is located at the foot of Mount Everest, and has earned the title of the world's highest monastery standing at 4,980 meters high.
Tips: If you stay overnight near Rongphu Monastery either in a tent or guesthouse, it takes about a 2 hours trek from the monastery to the first base camp. Obviously, it can be quite cold there, so pack warm clothes. If you take a shuttle bus from Rongphu monastery to the Everest base camp (8km) it should take about 15 mins. At night, visitors can get up to take photos of Mt. Everest surrounded by the moon and stars. Be sure to get up early to see the sunrise over Mt. Everest. April is probably the best time to visit Mt. Everest as the sky tends to be clear and the weather relatively better.
Day 8 Everest Base Camp - Zhangmu (B)
Drive via Old Tingri and enjoy the panoramic views of snow-capped Himalayan Range on the way to Zhangmu. Zhangmu which is quite close to Nepal, about 350km from Mt. Everest.
Tips: The drive will take most of the day, so be sure to bring plenty of snacks and tell the driver whenever you want to take a break to stretch your legs or take pictures.
Day 9 Zhangmu - Kathmandu (B)
After breakfast, drive to the border of Nepal and China. Your overland trip to Kathmandu ends here. We can also arrange your pickup from the border to Kathmandu if you want.
Tips: Our services will end at the border of Tibet and Nepal. If you want we can arrange transfer pickup from the border of Tibet to Kathmandu for you. Some clients choose to hire a private car on the border and share cost with other travelers. It is also possible to start the tour in Kathmandu and come to Lhasa, though the price is slightly higher.