This classic overland tour leads you to fully experience the scenery and culture difference in both sides of the mighty Himalayas from Nepal to Tibet. At first, you will spend 2 days in Kathmandu to explore Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Boudha as well as Durbar Square of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. Then, continue your car ride to the Sino-Nepal border, Gyirong Port, and meet your Tibetan guide after passing through China Customs. After one night’s acclimatization in Gyirong Town (2700m), you will start your trip to Tibetan plateau via the Friendship-Highway, and visit Everest Base Camp (5200m) and Rongbuk Monastery, Tashilunpo Monastery and Kumbum Stupa, and Yamdrok Lake along the way to Lhasa. The visit to the iconic Potala Palace and holy sites like Jokhang Temple, Drepung and Sera Monastery in Lhasa gives you a perceptual understanding about the difference between Nepal and Tibet.
Itinerary Day by Day
Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu
Upon your arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport, Kathmandu, you will be greeted by our Nepali staff and be transferred to your hotel. You can have a good rest at the hotel or walk around by yourself.
Stay overnight in Kathmandu.
Tips: Since it takes at least 3 business days to get your China Group Visa, it is advisable to arrive earlier in Kathmandu so as to give your original passport, photo, and Visa fee to our staff to apply for your Visa on time.
Day 2: Day tour to Kathmandu City, Swayambhunath, and Patan City (B)
The day starts with a tour of Kathmandu City, and takes in the famous Kathmandu Durbar Square. The most famous square in the city, the Durbar Square is the Royal Palace square in the city, and is surrounded by ancient buildings from the early 16th century. The magnificent architecture, exquisite decorations, and the intensity of historical items gives a great insight into Nepali culture.
You then continue the tour with a visit to the Swayambhunath Pagoda, which is one of the oldest Buddhist sites in Nepal. Swayambhunath is a huge golden stupa festooned with prayer flags that flutter in the breeze, on a hill that overlooks the entire city. Then it is on to Patan City, the second largest city in the Kathmandu Valley area. Patan City has one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Nepal that dates back to the 12th century, and is a great place to explore the Buddhist culture of Nepal.
Stay overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 3: Day tour to Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, and Bhaktapur City (B)
You will also get to go further afield in Nepal, to visit the ancient Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, and Boudhanath, one of the largest stupas in Asia, and a focal point for Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. Set on the banks of the Baghmati River, Pashupatinath is one of Nepal’s famous UNESCO sites, and the sunset over the temple roofs is spectacular.
Another great place to see is Boudhanath, located on the ancient trade route. It is a place of meditation and part of the spiritual journey around Kathmandu. With one of the largest stupas in the world, it has been the site of many Tibetan prayers over the centuries. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the last place to visit for the day, with its pagoda and shikhara temples strewn around the royal palace. The square really highlights the ancient building arts of Nepal.
Stay overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 4: Kathmandu to Syabrubesi (137km)
You will get hotel pick-up during 9:00-9:30 am and head for Gyirong Border. When getting closer to Mt. Himalaya, you can admire the deep gorges, snow-capped mountains along the way. You will also cross the Luang Tang National Park.
Stay overnight in village guesthouse in Syabrubesi.
Day 5: Syabrubesi to Gyirong (40km, B)
After breakfast, take a car ride to Gyirong Border 15km away. After passing the border, you will meet our Tibetan tour guide waiting for you in China side. It takes about 1 hour to drive from Gyirong Border to Gyirong Town (2800m) where is surrounded by lofty snow-capped mountains and dense forests.
In the afternoon, you can visit Paba Temple (2850m) which is within minutes’ walk away from your guesthouse. This Nepali style temple of Gelugpa Sect was built by Tibetan King Songtsan Gambo at the proposal of his wife Nepali Princess Bhrikuti.
Stay overnight in Gyirong.
Day 6: Gyirong to EBC to Tingri (480km, B)
Today, you will visit Everest Base Camp (EBC). On the way, you will first pass by Peikutso Lake, a beautiful alpine lake with a water area over 300 square kilometers and have a far view of the world's fourteenth highest mountain, Mt. Shishapangma. Keeping heading for EBC, you will pass over the famous Gawula Pass (5,198m) and get a great view of the four highest peaks in the world there - Mt. Lhotse (8,516m), Mt. Everest (8,848m), Mt. Cho Oyu (8,201m), and Mt Makalu (8,463m).
After appreciating the spectacular views of the Himalaya mountain ranges and taking plenty of photos at EBC, you will visit Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery in the world as well as the unique Nyingma Sect monastery where nuns and monks live together. After that, you will leave EBC for Tingri.
Stay overnight in Tingri.
Day 7: Tingri to Shigatse (280km, B)
Today you will head for Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet. On the way, you will visit the 5000m G318 National Highway Milestone in Lhatse. After arriving in Shigatse in the early afternoon, you will visit the seat of Panchen Lama - Tashilunpo Monastery, one of the most important monasteries in Tibet.
Stay overnight in Shigatse.
Day 8: Shigatse to Lhasa via Gyantse (360km, B)
You can see many Tibetan farm villages on the way from Shigatse to Gyantse. After arriving in Gyantse, the historically third largest city of Tibet after Lhasa and Shigatse, you can visit the famous Pelkor Monastery and Kumbum Stupa. Pelkor Monastery is the main monastery for Buddhists in Gyantse and houses thousands of Buddhist sutras, scripts, and artifacts, as well as many paintings, which have left a deep influence on Tibetan art. Kumbum Stupa is commissioned by a Gyantse prince in 1427, the 35m-high chörten, with its white layers trimmed with decorative stripes and its crown-like golden dome, is awe-inspiring. Also you can explore the real Tibet town in Gyantse.
On the way from Gyantse to Lhasa, you will pass over the Korola Pass (5010m) and appreciate the Korala Glacier on the roadside. You can also hang prayer flags at Simila Mountain Pass around Manak Dam Lake. Later, you will visit the turquoise Yamdrok Lake, one of the three holy lakes in Tibetan Buddhism. After enjoying the far view of Nyenchen Khangsar Mountain at Kambala Pass (4794m), you will reach Lhasa soon.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 9: Lhasa Tour - Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and Barkhor Street (B)
Today you will visit the Potala Palace, the UNESCO world heritage site and the winter palace of the Dalai Lama. Inside this grandiose palace, you can explore the former residence of Dalai Lama and the meeting room, and worship the gilded burial stupas of past Dalai Lamas and the meditation cave of the 33rd Great King of Tibet. You can also enjoy a panoramic view of Lhasa City and Lhasa Valley from the top of the Palace.
After lunch, you will head to the most sacred Buddhist site in Tibet, the Jokhang Temple. You can see devout Tibetan pilgrims prostrating in front of the temple and long lines of Tibetans following the Barkhor circuit. Inside the temple, you can see the statue of Buddha Shakyamuni at the age of twelve.
Around the temple is the famous Barkhor Street, you can do the kora by circling the street with pilgrims and locals and buy some souvenirs. You can also enjoy the tasty sweet tea in local tea house and visit Tromzikhang, the famous farm product market.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 10: Lhasa Tour - Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery (B)
Today, you will visit two of the “Great Three” Gelug monasteries in Tibet, Drepung and Sera Monastery. In the morning, you will visit Drepung Monastery founded by Jamyang Choeje in 1416. It is situated at the foot of Gebeiwoze Mountain and is the largest monastery in Tibet which was once home to over 10,000 monks and has the biggest monastery kitchen.
After lunch, you’ll visit the Sera Monastery, which was founded in 1419 by Tsongkapa's disciple Jamchen Chojey. The highlight of Sera Monastery is the monks’ debate in the courtyard at around 3-5 pm in the afternoon.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 11: Depart from Lhasa (B)
The driver will pick you up from your hotel, and drop you off at Lhasa Gonggar Airport or Lhasa Railway Station, and assist you to get on board.
- Tibet travel permit and all other necessary permits to Tibet;
- All entrance ticket fees for all tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
- Personal knowledgeable English-speaking Tibetan local tour guide;
- Personal comfortable, clean and safe vehicle with reliable Tibetan local driver; vehicle ranging from 4WD land cruiser to minibus depending on your group size;
- All lodging listed in the itinerary; it’s your decision about the accommodation class: luxury 5-star international hotel, comfortable 4-star hotel, economic 3-star hotel or budget hostel, guesthouse or tent. Please tell us your accommodation preference when submitting the enquiry; we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.
- Domestic flight/train tickets listed in the itinerary;
- All meals listed in the above itinerary;
- Tourist accident/casualty insurance;
- First aid kit;
- International flight to and out of China;
- Chinese visa (Note: we could help you with the Chinese visa application, like providing the invitation letter, presenting the hotel or domestic flight reservation copies, etc that you may need. )
- Domestic flight/train not listed in the itinerary. (We can provide you the domestic flight/train ticket booking service at the BEST discount price; please contact us our travel experts for the details.)
- Meals not specified in the itinerary; usually it costs about USD3-15 per person for one meal in TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region).
- Tips and gratitude to tour guide and driver;
- Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks (please do the best to avoid the alcoholic beverages during your Tibet trip), optional tour activities, etc.
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