This journey takes you to the roof of the world and to the heart of Tibet, where you find fabulous mountain landscapes and rich Buddhist culture and traditions. We start our trip with a short cultural tour in Kathmandu and fly to Lhasa. In Lhasa you experience the hospitality of the Tibetans and you discover ancient palaces, temples and monasteries. After we embark our overland tour over the Friendship Highway. We pause at the Kumbum Stupa in Gyantse, the Tashulinpo Monastery in Shigatse, the Sakya Monastery and end our trip in Tibet with a memorable hike to Everest Base Camp. Before returning back to Kathmandu, we stop at the Last Resort in Barabise, a lovely place for hiking, relaxing and a bungee jump!
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu
Day 02: Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley
Day 03: Flight to Lhasa
Day 04: Lhasa – Sightseeing Sera and Drepung Monastery
Day 05: Lhasa – Potala Palace
Day 06: Lhasa – Gyantse
Day 07: Gyantse – Shigatse
Day 08: Shigatse – Sakya
Day 09: Sakya – Shegar
Day 10: Shegar – Rongbuk
Day 11: Rongbuk – Old Tingri
Day 12: Old Tingri – The last Resort
Day 13: The Last Resort – Kathmandu
Day 14: Kathmandu
Day 15: Fly out Kathmandu
Pick-up at Tribhuvan International Airport, meeting with your guide and transfer to the hotel. First impressions of Kathmandu (1,350 m) – walk to medieval Kathmandu Durbar Square and explore the beautiful complex of palaces, temples, shrines and courtyards built by the ancient Nepali kings between the 12th and 18th centuries. We bring you to our office and Thamel – the vibrant tourist area with hotels, restaurants, bakeries and outdoor shops. We get to know each other over a welcome dinner, check formalities and equipment and discuss your itinerary. Overnight in 2 ** hotel.
Today we discover the highlights of Kathmandu and the valley. We adapt the programm to your interests and desires and what you have seen before. Usually, we go to Pashupatinath on the bank of the Bagmati River, where the most important Hindu temples and burning ghats of Nepal are situated. In Boudhanath we circumambulate together with Tibetan and Nepali Buddhist pilgrims the whitewashed stupa. Our sightseeing usually ends in Patan, the city of Beauty, an astonishing center of fine art and Buddhist and Hindu culture. Overnight in 2** hotel.
We drive to Tribhuvan Domestic Airport to connect our early morning flight to Lhasa. With beautiful weather you enjoy wonderful panoramas over the Everest, Kanchenjunga and other Himalaya ranges. We meet our Tibetan guide and driver at Gongkor airport and make the 60 km long drive to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet situated 3,500 m above sea level. We check in at the hotel and head to the Barkhor Square and Jokhang Temple, the spiritual heart of Tibet which is encircled day and night by prostrating pilgrims. From the rooftop of the Jokhang Temple you have wonderful views over the Potala Palace, the pilgrim circuit and the market bazaar where vendors sell woodcarvings, statues, carpets, jewels and prayer wheels. Overnight in 2** hotel.
Today we visit two majestic monasteries of the Gelukpa sect, Drepung and Sera, just outside Lhasa which were once the home to over 15,000 monks. The Drepung monastery holds huge numbers of white monastic buildings including Ganden palace from where the earliest Dalai Lamas ruled, chapels with exquisite interiors, colleges and the Nechung oracle. Afternoon debating sessions with the monks in the ourtyard of Sera monastery is an experience not to be missed. Overnight in 2 ** hotel.
We climb the nine – story high winter home of the Dalai Lama, the Potala Palace from where the Dalai Lamas executed their political and religious power over Tibet from 1645 till 1959. Perched on a hilltop, the winter palace offers brilliant views over the city. Inside you explore several throne rooms, assembly halls, bedrooms, libraries and chapels with tombs of the Dalai Lamas. Back at the foot of the Potala you can follow the pilgrim path leading to rock paintings and prayer halls or visit more highlights in the city like the Norbulinka Palace, the Ramoche Temple or the Ani Sangkhung Nunnery. Overnight in 2 ** hotel.
We leave Lhasa and make a daydrive to Gyantse. On the way we climb the 4,794 m high Kamba La from where you have wonderful panoramas on the scorpion-shaped turquoise Yamdrok Tso lake. We drive several hundred meters down and spend some time at the shore to enjoy the beautiful views over the sacred lake and the Mount Noijin Kangtsang massive. After leaving the lake a short descent brings us to the 5,010 m high Karo La and its magnificent glacier. Before descending to the fertile valley of Gyantse (3,980 m) we climb the the Simi La pass. Gyantse is an attractive farmers town with medieval whitewashed houses which can be well observed from the top of the dzong, the fortress that dominates the town. From there you also see the compound of the Pelke Chode Monastery and the splendid Kumbum Stupa, a 35 m high chorten with numerous tiny chapels holding exquisite paintings, statues and mandalas. The stupa is described to be the finest of Tibet! Overnight in 2** hotel.
Before driving to Shigatse (3,900 m) we visit the Pelkor Chode Monastery and the Kumbum Stupa. After a short 1 hour drive through the fertile Nyangchu Valley we reach Tibet’s second largest town Shigatse. The modern city – divided into a tiny old Tibetan city at the foot of the fortress and a rapidly expanding Chinese city. We visit the main attraction of the city, the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama. The monastery is one of the 6 great Gelugpa institutions, contains numerous impressive chapels and prayer halls and was largely untouched in the Cultural Revolution. The 26 m high statue of the Future Buddha and the tombs of the Panchen Lamas are absolutely impressive.
Overnight in 2** hotel.
Today we drive to Sakya Monastery which is divided into the south and north two parts by Trum River. It is of typical Mongol style of resembling castles with thick walls and watchtowers and was built in mid-13th century by Phagpa. The elaborately decorated hall has rich brocades statues, and butter lamps and holds thousands of religious texts (sutras). It has over 10,000 volumes of Tibetan books on astronomy, medicine, calligraphy, and history. Overnight in 2** hotel.
We continue along the Friendship Highway to Shegar (4 150 m). Beyond the small town of Lhatse we cross the Gyamtso La, 5220m. From here we descend to the plains, passing lonely monasteries and camps of nomadic herders. We overnight in Hotel Chomolangma.
6 km west of Shegar we leave the Friendship Highway and head to the checkpoint of Everest National Park. It is a four hour drive to Rongbuk (4,900 m). This road is often not paved but the scenery along our route is breathtaking. After a winding drive up we reach Pang La (5,050 m) from where we have a magnificent panorama of Everest, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Gyachung Kang and Makalu. We drop down and take lunch in Tashi Dzom. The road snakes around hillsides until just before Rongbuk when the north face of Everest comes into view. From our guesthouse we can see the mighty Everest and observe the changing colors during sunset. On arrival you have still plenty of time to explore the highest monastery of Tibet, Rongbuk monastery situated at 4,900 m and is inhabited by monks and nuns from the Nyingmapa sect. You can also take the bus or hike the 9 km walk to Everest Base Camp. The small hill decorated with hundreds of colourful prayer offers splendid views of Everest. Overnight in guesthouse.
If you didn’t see Everest yesterday, you still have another chance to walk or drive to Everest in the early morning. After breakfast we retrace the same road leading us once more through the glorious nature of the Qomolangma park and to Pang La. We drive further to Old Tingri (4,250 m) from where you have on a clear day excellent sunset views over Cho Oyu. Before driving to the Tibetan – Nepali border, we enjoy our last night in a simple cozy guesthouse.
Leaving Old Tingri we cross barren plains which offer a last view of Everest. We climb steadily to the Lalung La (5,000 m). Ahead we have the most amazing panoramic views of the Himalaya. A little further on we reach the summit of the Tong La (5,100 m) which has a splendid panorama of the 8,000 m + Shishapangma peak. The road drops a little further into a gorge between the magnificent snow-capped peaks of the main Himalayan range. A long steep descent brings us down to Nyalam. We continue on down the gorge until we arrive at the border in Zhangmu where we go through Chinese Immigration and say goodbye to our Tibetan guide and driver. After finishing the formalities at Nepali Immigration in Kodari, we drive 15 km to Barabise (1,250 m) where we spend the night in the Last Resort located on a ridge above the Bhote Kosi River. You sleep in a deluxe safari tent and you can participate in a range of thrilling activites like rafting, canyoning, bungee jumping, mountain biking or relax in the spa, sauna or garden. Today’s drive is a total of approximately 180 km.
We make a 4 hour scenic drive along the Bhote Khose and Indrawati River to Kathmandu. On the way you see the Mahabharat hills and with beautiful weather the 7,000 m high Langtang and Dorje Lakpa Ranges. Overnight in 2 ** hotel.
You conclude your journey with more sightseeing in the vibrant capital of Nepal, relaxing or shopping.
Transfer to Tribhuvan Airport. We hope you enjoyed your journey!
If you wish to stay longer in Nepal: Traveltimes Treks can offer you plenty of suggestions, we can arrange treks, rafting and safari trips, helicopter flights, mountain biking, multi-day tours to the old historical city of Bhaktapur, the mountain stations of Nagarkot & Dhulikhel or retreats in the serene monasteries of Namobuddha and Kopan.