9 Days Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland Tour with Everest Base Camp

Kathmandu - Gyirong - EBC - Sakya - Shigatse - Lhasa

From USD p.p

This wonderful tour of Kathmandu and Tibet starts in the capital of Nepal, and drives up to the border with Tibet, before crossing to head for the world’s highest mountain, and some of the most spectacular monasteries in the world. The route takes in spectacular sights such as Everest, Old Tingri, Pelkor Monastery, Rongbuk, Sakya, and Tashi Lhunpo, before heading towards Lhasa, for the final days of the tour.

The tour is one of the most comprehensive short tours in Tibet, and covers all of the major sights along the route from Kathmandu to Lhasa. In Lhasa, you will get to visit the famous Potala Palace, the sacred Jokhang Temple, and Sera and Drepung Monasteries, two of the Three Great Monasteries in Tibetan Buddhism. You also get to see glaciers, mountain vistas, shimmering lakes, and the best that the Tibetan countryside has to offer.

Itinerary Day by Day

Day 1: Kathmandu to Chinese Border and Gyirong Port (2000m)

You will be picked up by our staff from your hotel, and transported along the small, mountain road that leads to the Nepal side of the border. The route passes spectacular waterfalls, river gorges, and stunning ancient forests before arriving at Rasuwagadhi, the Nepalese border town and the site of an ancient, ruined fort. Once you cross the border, you will be met on the other side and taken to your guesthouse in Gyirong County.

Stay overnight in Gyirong.

Day 2: Gyirong Port to Old Tingri (4300m) (B)

From Gyirong, your guide will take you to Old Tingri, via the Tong La Pass, at 5,100 meters above sea level. The route from Gyirong passes along the beautiful border country of Tibet, with its spectacular evergreen forests and stunning snow-covered mountains. The views of the awe-inspiring mountains along the road to Tingri are some of the most beautiful in the world, and well worth the long drive.

You will get to visit the Milarepa Cave on the way to Tingri, which is the ancient site of meditation once used by the great Tibetan philosopher. The road runs over the Thong La Pass, at 5,050 meters, and the Lalung Pass, at 5,082 meters, before dropping down to the town of Old Tingri.

Stay overnight in Old Tingri.

Day 3: Old Tingri to Everest Base Camp (B)

In the morning, it is just a few hours’ drive to Rongbuk, and the road that winds its way through the mountains is new and smooth running. On the road you will pass by wild grasslands, lofty mountains, and deep river gorges, and will get to see the Himalayan panorama, if the weather is clear enough. There are four mountains in the range that are over 8,000 meters high - Mt Lhotse (8516m), Mt. Everest (8848m), Mt. Cho Oyu (8201m), and Mt Makalu (8463m), and in good weather, they are clearly visible.

Stay overnight in a tent or at the Rongbuk Monastery Guest House.

Day 4: Everest Base Camp to Sakya (B)

As the dawn comes, you will be able to greet the sun as it rises over the mountains, framing Everest in its morning glow in the distance. The view of Everest from Rongbuk is magnificent, with the mountain standing proud in front of you. Then you can move on to Everest Base Camp.

After visiting EBC, and taking all the photographs you can manage, you will head back to Rongbuk for a tour of this amazing monastery. The highest monastery in the world, at 5,000 meters above sea level, it is part of the Nyingmapa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and is unique in that both monks and nuns live together in the same monastery.

After Rongbuk you will be driven along the same road back to Tingri, and then on to Sakya.

Stay overnight in Sakya.

Day 5: Sakya to Shigatse (B)

After breakfast, you will get to visit the famous Sakya Monastery, which was founded in 1073 AD by the renowned Lama, Khon Kunchok Gyalpo. The main monastery of the Sakya sect of Tibetan Buddhism, the Sakya sect is unique in that it does not believe in the reincarnation of the lamas, and the head of the sect wears white robes, and is allowed to marry and have children. Consisting of two separate parts, the northern monastery is now only a ruin, while the southern monastery - which was built like a fortress, complete with moat - is still in constant use.

Then it is a run along the Highway to Shigatse, where you will stay overnight.

Day 6: Shigatse to Lhasa via Gyantse (B)

The following morning, you will get to visit the famed Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, with its ancient statue of Jampa, the “future god”. Tashi Lhunpo is also the seat of the Panchen Lama, the second highest spiritual leader in Tibetan Buddhism. You can also see the monastery’s Barley Mill, and the fields of barley around the site, and see how the barley is ground into flour to make the staple food of Tibetans, tsampa.

Afterwards, you will drive the short distance to Gyantse and visit the famed Pelkor Monastery and Kumbum Stupa. The 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.

The rest of the day is spent driving back to Lhasa along the famous Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway. The road to Lhasa is 280 km long and it takes around six hours to drive. The road follows the course of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, which is the longest and largest river in Tibet. As you pass the Manak Dam Lake, you will have chance to get out and hang prayer flags on the Simila Mountain Pass, before moving on to pass the beautiful Karola Glacier, with its pristine white ice face.

The last part of the long drive takes you past the beautiful, turquoise waters of Lake Yamdrok, one of the three holy lakes in Tibetan Buddhism, and the spectacular Nyenchen Khangsar Mountain, the highest mountain near Lhasa.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 7: Lhasa Tour - Potala Palace Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street(B)

The following day your first stop will be the world famous Potala Palace, the winter palace of the Dalai Lama. Sitting atop Moburi (Red Hill), the palace looks down on the town of Lhasa from its 3,750-meter vantage point. The temple dates back to the 7th century, and houses artifacts and works of art from throughout Tibetan History. The palace also has the gilded burial stupas of the past Dalai Lamas, and below ground lies the ancient meditation cave of the 33rd King of Tibet.

After some lunch, you will head downtown to Jokhang Temple, the primary seat of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It was built by the 33rd King of Tibet in 647AD, and is the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest temple in Tibetan Buddhism. Inside sits the most precious object in the temple, a life-sized statue of Buddha Sakyamuni when he was just 12 years old. Adorned with many precious gems, this gilded statue is the most sacred object in Tibet.

Running around the temple is the famed Barkhor Street. As well as the route of the holy kora, or religious circumambulation, it is also the site of many sellers where you can buy authentic souvenirs from across the region. You can join the pilgrims on their clockwise walk around the temple.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 8: Lhasa tour - Sera and Drepung Monastery (B)

The next morning you will leave early for a trip outside Lhasa, first to Drepung Monastery, one of the Great Three monasteries of the Gelugpa sect. Sitting at the foot of Gambo Utse, 5 kilometers outside Lhasa, it was founded by Jamyang Choge, one of the disciples of Tsong Khapa, in 1416. The Ganden Potrang, sited in the southwest corner of the monastery, was the former residence of the Dalai Lama, until the move to the Potala Palace.

In the afternoon you will travel back across the city to the northern suburbs, to visit Sera Monastery, another of the Great Three monasteries. Founded in 1419, the name, Sera, means "wild rose" in Tibetan, and was named because of the roses that were in bloom on the hill behind it when it was built. The main attraction of the monastery is the colorful and animated debating of the monks, held under the trees in the debating field every afternoon. Definitely something to watch, even if you do not understand what is said.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 9: Depart from Lhasa (B)

On the last day of your tour, our guide will take you to the airport or train station, and help you with checking in and boarding.

Service Inclusion

  1. Tibet Travel Permit and all other necessary permit to Tibet
  2. Domestic train/flight tickets as indicated in the itinerary
  3. All lodging listed in the itinerary
  4. Meals listed in itinerary
  5. Entrance fees of all tourist sites listed in the itinerary
  6. Local Tour Transfers according to group size
  7. Excellent local English-Speaking Tour Guide
  8. Government tax and travel agency service

Service Exclusion

  1. Nepal visa
  2. International flight to and out of Nepal
  3. Domestic flight/train not listed in the itinerary
  4. Meals not specified the itinerary
  5. Tips and gratitude to tour guide and drive
  6. Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks, optional tour activities, etc.

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