Tibet Overland Trip & Tour - 11 DAYS
Tour Name : Tibet Overland 11 Days Tour Entry / Exit : Drive in / Drive out Grade : Easy to Adventurous Max Elevation : 5200m/17056ft Accommodation : Hotel /Guest house Meal : Bed & breakfast Transport : Flight & Private vehicle Tour Days : 11
- Visit of Potala Palace (Red Palace, Winter Palace)
- Visit Jokhang temple and Barkhor market.
- Khumbum and Pelkhor in Gyantse, Tashilumpho in Shigatse
- Rongbuk monastery and Everest Base Camp
Most adventurous Tibet Overland tour & Trip
Tibet Overland Tour is one of the best and adventurous trip from Kathmandu, Nepal to Tibet. An opportunity to visit the base camp of Everest (5200m) with an experience across the Tibetan Plateau. True to its nickname, “the Roof of the world”. Kathmandu to Tibet Overland tour gives you an opportunity to discover the real Tibet and introduces you to the rich Tibetan culture, art & history. From the rustling old cities to the primeval villages and settlements, you get to observe Tibetan lifestyle at close quarters. Tibet is more or less an untamed land of Tibetan Nomads (drokpas), monasteries, yaks, sand dunes, and high altitude desert that goes as far as the eyes can take it. On this Tibet overland tour you have 4 days in Lhasa and other ancient cities Gyantse, Shigatse, Tingri visiting major Places, Monasteries, acclimatizing and to absorb the exoticism of Tibetan heritage and to explore this history-laden city to its core.
The Tibet Overland tour is start from Kathmandu the capital city of Nepal to Lhasa the capital of Tibet. Mainly the overland tour is customized with the Travelers needs but the tour is about of 11-15 days. Crossing the Nepal-Tibet Friendship Bridge you’re leaving Nepal and climbing up the narrow dirt road towards the heights of the Tibetan Plateau. Departing from Nepal you encounter miles of terraced hillsides, isolated villages and splendid views of snowcapped Himalayas mountain.
En route, you cross over several high mountain passes with spectacular mountain views, including the majestic Mount Everest, Makalu, Cho Oyu and Shishapangma. Travelling overland can be exciting, unplanned, and offer you better experiences way to travel. As you drive across the Tibetan Plateau you can visit all the Tibetan Monasteries, monuments, temples and other major tourist sites.
Overland tour to Tibet offers you more flexibility to stop for longer in a favorite place, or whip through one that’s not so pleasant! You can experience the local transport on offer this way, meeting like-minded travelers and interesting local characters.
In Lhasa, you will find many Tibetans speak a slice of English & are happy to have a chat with you. Travelers to Tibet inevitably find Tibetans to be loving and carry a great sense of humor. It is appreciated when you try and use Tibetan language when communicating with locals. Religion is highly important to the majority of Tibetans, and travelers should endeavor to respect their customs and beliefs.
Kathmandu to Tibet Overland tour gives you an insight into the rich culture and history of Tibet.
|01||Drive to Zhangmu.||Hotel (BB)|
|02||Drive to Shegar.||Hotel (BB)|
|03||Drive to Gyantse. Visit Khumbum & Pelkhor Stupa.||Hotel (BB)|
|04||Drive to Lhasa.||Hotel (BB)|
|05||Sightseeing tour of Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Market||Hotel (BB)|
|06||Sightseeing tour of Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery.||Hotel (BB)|
|07||Drive to Shigatse via northern route. Visit Tashilumpho monastery.||Hotel (BB)|
|08||Drive to Shegar||Hotel (BB)|
|09||Drive to Rongbuk Monastery Excursion to Everest Base Camp. Drive to Shegar.||Hotel (BB)|
|10||Drive to Zhangmu.||Hotel (BB)|
|11||Drive to Kathmandu||—|
Drive to Zhangmu
After breakfast you will be briefed about the day’s program. Sightseeing begins as follows:
Today you will traverse along the Friendship Highway amidst picturesque landscape driving past small town of Lhatse and Gyantse La pass at 5220m. Shigatse the capital of Tsang Province was one of the first towns to be visited by westerners due to close distance with the Indian border. O/N at Hotel in Gyantse (BB).
Noted: Opportunity to experience the Yak Ride (Yaks are found mostly over 4000m elevation and is the most important animal in Tibet) and see Tibetan Mastiff Dog in Khampa La pass (extra cost).
Khumbum monastery: is a large gold-domed Stupa and its many small chapels house an impressive array of Tibetan Buddhist murals. It is an architectural masterpiece built in the style of 108-sided Mandela. It is the most revered Stupa in Tibet and houses 112 chapels of which only 23 are open to the public.
Pelkhor Chode Temple: which is a fort dating from the 14th century? From there you can enjoy the spectacular views of Gyantse and the surrounding Nyang Chu Valley
After exploring the Khumbum Monastery and Pelkhor Chode Temple in Gyantse you will drive along the Friendship Highway, you drive past Khamba La, at 4970 meter with a brief halt to savor majestic views of Yamdrok-Tso Lake and Mt. Nojin Kangsang, standing at 7191m. On turning westwards, you come across another pass, Karo La at 5045m. After driving 265 km further you will arrive in Lhasa. O/N in Hotel in Lhasa (BB)
After breakfast you will be briefed about the day’s program. Then your Guide will take you on a tour to Jokhang Temple, Sera Monastery and Barkhor Market respectively.
Jokhang Temple: A seventh-century geomantic temple at the heart of Lhasa is the most sacred temple in Tibet. It is considered to be a Power Place in the Tibetan region. Queen Bhrikuti, a Nepalese princess married to King Songtsen Gampo founded Jokhang Temple, and in recognition of Queen Bhrikuti the main gate of the temple faces west towards Nepal. Princes Bhrikuti was the reason behind the special friendship between Tibet and Nepal till date. The most impressive structure of the Jokhang Temple are the many chapels surrounding the temple.
Sera Monastery: This monastery is approx. 5km drive away from Lhasa. Sera Monastery was founded in 1419. It sits in the prettiest and most charming atmosphere at the base of Mount Purbuchok. Sera Monastery used to be an important center for learning where in the past approx. 5,000 to 6,000 monks resided. Currently about 550 monks are supposed to be living there. The important structures inside the monastery include Coqen Hall, (the main assembly hall), three Zhacangs (Buddhist colleges) and twenty-nine Khangtsens (monk dormitories).The most intriguing feature here is the nine-meter image of Maitraya which was erected in 1419; here one can also witness the practicing of debate among the monks, who pitch their knowledge against each other.
Barkhor Market (Bazar): The most popular Barkhor Market (Bazaar) is a square where Tibetan handicraft items, Buddhist artifacts, carpets, paintings etc. are all in sale for your delight.
At the end of the day your guide will escort you back to your hotel. Lhasa offers variety of Restaurant for both Lunch and
Dinners. O/N at Hotel in Lhasa (BB)
After an early breakfast, you will be escorted by your Guide to the majestic Potala Palace and the beautifully landscaped Drepung Monastery.
Potala Palace: Also known as the “winter palace”. The imposing structure of the palace dominates the landscape of Lhasa. is a 13th storied complex monument rising to a height of above 117m which houses 10,000 shrines and over 200,000 images and about 1000 rooms.As you are guided through the ancient chambers of the palace, you get to see Tibetan art at its best. The Potala Palace has a vast array of intricate Tibetan murals and beautiful statues. You will also get to view the tombs of the eight Dalai Lamas.
Drepung Monastery: is a beautifully landscaped monastery where you can observe nuns and monks chanting and performing religious discourses. After the day’s tour is over, you are escorted back to your hotel for a well- earned rest. O/N at Hotel in Lhasa (BB)
Note: Since only a limited number of visitors are allowed inside the Potala palace every day, the order of sightseeing places will be decided upon by your guide.
After breakfast 2 hours, 90km straight drive to Shigatse the second largest town in Tibet. Shigatse the capital of Tsang Province was one of the first towns to be visited by westerners due to close distance with the Indian border. Here in Shigatse you will be visiting Tashilumphu Monastery. This monastery is one of the largest functioning monasteries in Tibet and there is much to explore within its high surrounding walls. There are about 39 amazing chapels inside including the huge Maitreya Chapel coated with gold; its workmanship certainly impresses everyone.After detailed visit of Shigatse, we will visit the local markets for shopping and local sightseeing. O/N at Hotel in Shigatse (BB)
Today you will traverse along the Friendship Highway amidst picturesque landscape driving for approx 5 hrs. You will be crossing one of the highest Gyatso la pass (5220m) of the tour; you will come across many nomads together with Yak’s Ship. Today you will traverse along the Friendship Highway amidst picturesque landscape driving past small town of Lhatse and Gyamtso La pass at 5220m. As the route opens into plains, many monasteries and camps of nomadic herders become visible en route to Shegar. O/N at Hotel in Shegar (BB)
Away from Shegar, you will drive to the south crossing Pang La pass at 5150m. Along the drive you can bask in the splendor of majestic views of snow-capped peaks from Makalu to Shishapangma. After driving for approximately 85 km, you eventually reach Rongbuk at 5100m. You can then view spectacular sight of Mount Everest. You have the opportunity to explore Everest Base Camp (5150m.) which is approx. 15 km further. The base camp itself is dry and barren, but the views of Everest more than compensate for it. After an awesome experience you will be drive back to Shegar or Old Tingri for your overnight stay. O/N at Hotel in Shegar or Old Tingri (BB)
Noted: Offer “Lungta” and prayers flag (printed prayers for the peace and good health/happiness) together with your Tibetan Guide. Offering Lungta in high passes and temple is believed to bring good fortune and long life in Tibetan culture
You will drive past Tingri crossing Lalung La pass at 5050m and Thong La pass at 5150m. Savoring the enchanting views of the surrounding peaks of Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, Menlungtse and Gauri Shankar, Melarapa Cave before Nyalam you descend from the arid Tibetan Plateau to verdant Zhangmu on the Nepali and Tibet border.. After driving for 300 km, you find yourself amidst the lush and verdant vegetation of Zhangmu at 2300m Zhangmu is a small border town teetering on a precipitous hillside. It serves as the main port of entry into Tibet when coming overland to and from Nepal. O/N at Hotel in Zhangmu (BB)
After breakfast we drive down to the Chinese Immigration, Zhangmu. The Friendship Bridge across Bhote Koshi River brings you closer to Immigration Control in Kodari where you will part with your Tibetan guide and driver and walk across the river to meet your Nepalese escort who will drive you to Kathmandu. After 5 hours of driving for 123 km along Bungy jump site, Dhulikhel you finally arrive in Kathmandu.The Nepali foothills and the greenery will make the drive pleasant and enjoyable.
Cost Inclusion / Exclusion
- Twin sharing accommodation as per the itinerary on bed & breakfast (BB) basis.
- English speaking Tibetan Guide.
- Transportation as per the itinerary by necessary vehicle.
- Monastery entrance fee.
- Tibet Travel permits.
- Emergency mineral water in the vehicle.
- Emergency portable oxygen cylinder in the vehicle.
- Service of Porterage while crossing Friendship Bridge (Nepal-China border).
- Trip briefing by Tibet expert & entertain question.
- Trip Information pack.
- Gift pack (prayer flag or string of flag & paper prayer Lungtha).
Note: Offer Prayer flag or Lungtha (string of prayer flag) in high passes, temple for good fortune & long life.
- Tibet Visa Fee (Acceptable in US$ cash only).
- Any arrangements in Nepal.
- Travel insurance.
- Expenses during any rescue operation.
- Transportation: Kathmandu - Kodari - Kathmandu or vice versa.
- Nepal re-entry visa fee.
- Lunch and Dinner in hotels.
- Alcoholic beverages & bar bills.
- All expenses of personal nature, phone calls, laundry etc.
- Gratuity to staff.
- Services of Porterage and other vehicles in between in case of landslides and other natural calamities beyond our control and expenses incurred during rescue services.
- Additional portable oxygen cylinder (US$ 20 per bottle).
- Services not mentioned herein.
Tibet, standing at an average elevation of 16,500ft above sea level, till today, still remains one of the most interesting, mysterious, enchanting, remote and in many of the areas still underdeveloped. Besides being the highest plateau in the world; its transformation from a warring and aggressive to a peaceful, pious and gentle people by the influence of Buddhism, is very amazing. Its isolation nearly till the second half of the twentieth century; its diverse climatic and geographical conditions strongly attract people of all types from historians, adventurers, pilgrims and so on.
A trip to Tibet is more of an adventurous and spiritual for those who believe Tibet as a Power Place. Due to its high altitude, those travelers with a history of heart, lung or anemic problems should consult their doctor before considering a visit.
Overland travel between Kathmandu and Tibet is an incredible journey where you get to see the world’s highest plateau and the Himalayan Ranges in all its glory before you. The trip becomes more wonderful and amazing as you pass through high winding roads and passes.
It’s most important that visitors should understand that Tibet was only opened to tourism since the mid eighties and you should be ready for a bit of adventure regarding hotel accommodation and other services especially en-route.
Budget hotels en-route are very basic provide dormitories accommodation and common toilets. Most of the hotel staff do not speak English. However, many popular deluxe category hotel of international standard have employed English speaking staffs, many of them are from Nepal. There are several continental restaurants available in Lhasa.
We use Land Cruiser 4500 (New Model) or van, mini bus, coaster and deluxe coaches as necessary. All vehicles have air-conditioned.
Flight: Air China is the only airline fly between Lhasa – Kathmandu, this is the only airline in the world that fly over Mt. Everest, make sure you take a left hand seat while flying to Lhasa and vice versa to view the majestic Himalayas including Everest.
Taking photographs is prohibited in sensitive areas like in Check Posts/Army Areas. There is an extra charge if you wish to take photographs inside Monasteries. Sometimes, Monasteries charge extra for each different section of the same Monastery. If you want to take a photograph of an individual please ask him or her first, Carry plenty of rolls of films and batteries.
The road from Kathmandu to Kodari (Nepal-China Border) is quite narrow but most of it is tarmac. The driving in central Tibet is much more comfortable since roads from Zhangmu to Lhasa are fully pitched except in some area between Zhangmmu and Shigatse which is under construction and about to be completed. From Zhangmu to Nyalam it is one of the most mountainous with many twists and turns, you will enjoy breathtaking views including water falls pouring down to the river Bhotekosi. The landscape changes from green forest to barren Tibetan plateau or vice versa.
Toilet en-route Zhangmu to Lhasa during drive is a problem for ladies, you will require going to toilet often due to required consumption of water, it is best not to use common toilet, we advise using open air toilet which is available. One can go behind the rock or off the road. We suggest asking driver to stop the vehicle for toilet in less populated areas before stopping for a meal in town where clean toilets are not available.
Tibetan and Chinese are highly spoken in Tibet Autonomous region, in remote areas more majority speaks Tibetan Language however, there are different Tibetan dialogues used.
Traditional meal of Tibetan is Tsampa (roasted Barley flour) and butter tea. There are not so many choices of restaurant in small towns. However, there are many Tibetan, Chinese and continental restaurants in big cities such as Lhasa, Shigatse, Tsedang. Mostly you get yak meat, sheep meat sometime pork.
Some recommended restaurants:
Lhasa: Kyichu restaurant, Snow Land restaurant, Lhasa Kitchen, Third Eye, Tashi Restaurant, Crazy Yak, Duniya
Bars: 52beer bar, Last Bus Bar
Shigatse: Mandala Restaurant, Tashi restaurant
Entertainment in Lhasa: There are discotheques, nightclubs, bars, karaoke, well organized spa facilities, Nangla (cultural show) with traditional music.
Exchange Rate, ATM and Credit Card:
The exchange rate of - approx. US$1 = Yuan 6. Banks in Tibet/China are closed on Saturday and Sunday. Regarding the budget for your tour, it is entirely up to you how much you want to spend with shopping etc. However, we advise you to carry at least US$ 150 per person for a week. Major currencies such as US Dollar, Euro, UK sterling can be exchanged at the Bank of China branches in Zhangmu, Shigatse and Lhasa. There are ATM Machines in Lhasa and Shigatse. Big stores, restaurants and hotels accept major credit cards.
While entering Tibet by overland through Nepal border, you can change with local moneychanger in Zhangmu but consult with your guide for reliability of the money changer in order to avoid any counterfeit notes.
Communication from Tibet:
There are internet centers and private phone booths in Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse, it is best to ask your tour guide, it is usually written INTERNET CENTER on their signboards. Nowadays, there are Wi-Fi facilities in most of the hotels and restaurants in major cities.
Taxi is available, charges Yuan 10 within the city centre. There are three wheeler pushbikes as well for short distances. You will have to make sure you have someone with you who speaks Chinese while taking taxi or any local transport or you must know the Chinese and Tibetan name of the your destination.
Electricity: 220 volt.
Passport Size Photographs:
Please make sure that you carry some passport size photographs in case it is needed.
The agency reserves the right to amend the itinerary at the last minute without prior notice as per the local conditions.
Acclimatization & Altitude Sickness:
Due to the very high altitude - over 12,000 ft, acclimatization is very important. You may be likely to experience some of the minor symptoms and discomfort of altitude sickness (headaches, mild nauseas, loss of appetite) until your body adjusts to the elevation. This can take from a few hours to a couple of days depending on the individual. Do not exert yourself and drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids. It is very important to drink at least 4-5 liters of liquids daily to avoid any altitude sickness; this is probably the best remedy for AMS.
Do not forget - the common effects of altitude such as:
- You may feel breathlessness on exertion; some headache is treatable by aspirin.
- May be some difficulty sleeping and a little loss of appetite.
- You might also wake up suddenly at night trying to catch your breath. Do not panic! Your metabolism has simply slowed down.
- You may also experience an exaggerated thumping headache, which will not go away, breathless even at rest, extreme nausea.
- The lack of oxygen in the system will first affect either the brain (HACE - Height Altitude Cerebral Edema) causing loss of physical and mental coordination OR the lungs (HAPE - Height Altitude Pulmonary Edema), coughing up persistent sputum or both.
- Do not drink any alcohol specially on the first two days of the tour. It seriously impairs the ability to acclimatize, and confuses the symptoms of AMS.
The following medication has been found to be helpful:
Diamox the common name for Acetazolamide originally developed as a diuretic, but pragmatically found to aid acclimatization available in Kathmandu pharmacies. Some people feel it is ‘cheating’, but as trekking at altitude is not a competition and you are here to enjoy it to altitude, not just mask the symptoms. It will make you pee more as intended, and possibly give you a tingly feeling in your fingers, but is understood to have no more serious side effects. Taking it is entirely down to personal choice, but if you do decide to use it as a preventative we have found that a half a 250 mg tablet works just as well as a whole one and minimizes the side effects, each morning and evening, from the night before the trek through to the start of the descent from the highest point.
We provide reserve oxygen cylinder in our private tours. There will be minimum charges for using it.
The length of time of drive everyday may vary from 3 hours to 8 hours including lunch, tea break depending upon the condition of the road; you will notice continuous construction of road in many places. There are many check posts en-route specially while driving outside Lhasa. There are Speed limit rules also and very strict monitoring on vehicles moving on the highway.
The political situation in Tibet is highly sensitive. You would be well advised not to discuss or talk or take anything of political with the local people that may aggravate the situation. Confine yourself to the interests of the tour.
Please note that all tours are organized on twin sharing basis. If you want to stay in a single room than you will be required to pay single supplement, and you must inform us before the start of the tour so as to enable us to book the room in advance, otherwise it will be difficult to get rooms. Hotels in Tibet normally do not have triple sharing room.
We always use our own Guides employed by our office. Guiding is considered the most important factor to ensure quality services. Tourism is still considered new to Tibet compare to many Asian countries, so Guides in Tibet do not get enough exposure, Tibetan Guides have limited English and you may not expect a fluent explanation about culture and religion or any other academic topics however Guide will try to do best to their capacity. Your frequent questioning will encourage him/her to explain more in details.
Zhangmu Immigration is the main immigration point while entering Tibet from Nepal by overland. Gongkar airport is the main immigration where you have to go through the formalities while flying into Tibet.
It is customary to give US$75 each to Guide and Driver per week. It is not compulsory to tip, only if you believe staff have done remarkably good job putting extra effort to make your trip enjoyable.
NOTE: I suggest you to buy few prayer flags and Khadas (scarf) from Kathmandu to offer to your guide and driver upon arrival.
It can easily be bought in local market in Lhasa as well to offer in monasteries in Tibet.
Cold Season (September – March)
- Thermal underwear, Down Jacket, Warm Trousers and sweaters, Woollen Shirts full sleeves.
- Hat (ear cover), Gloves water proof, Woolen socks
Warm season (April – August)
- Comfortable trousers, T-shirt, Windproof jacket, Fleece jacket, Scarf
- Casual wear and comfortable walking shoes, Sleeping bag (if you are trekking or using guest houses)
- Bring all your films, Cosmetics, Personal toilet items that you will need from home, Wind breaker
- Sun hat, Food snacks along way (power bars), Water Bottle, Sunglass, Swiss knife, Sun Cream
- Toilet paper, Flash light batteries, Day pack camera and enough film, Mask : roads can be dusty sometimes
- Rain Jacket, Personal medical kit, Recommended Guide Book (Foot Print by Gyurme Dorje)
- Kathmandu Lhasa Road Map (easily available in Thamel)
Do and don’t:
- Wear proper dress code during visit holy area, remove your hat, do not interrupt prayer
- Do not point with your finger to any holy object
- No antique are allowed to take from Tibet
- China time is 8 hours ahead of GMT
- Always keep copy of your visa or permit with yourself.
- Do not take photograph without asking
- Do not talk about any sensitive issues
- Important Tibetan words are Tashi Delek which means “greetings”, Thucheche means “thank you”.
- Use always both hand whenever you give or take anything.
- Do not touch, walk over, or sit on any religious texts, sacred objects or prayer flags.
- Tibetan people do not eat horse, dog, or donkey, as well as fish (in some areas). While in Tibet, you should follow local dietary restrictions.
- It is not polite to clap your palms and spit behind the Tibetan people.
- Tibetan people stretch out their tongue to say hello to you. Also it is a courtesy to put their hands palm in front of breast.
- Do not smoke in monasteries. Also it is not permitted to touch or photograph Buddha statues and religious articles.
- In addition, when walking around the monastery, you should always walk in a clockwise direction (with the exception of Bon temples).
- When walking around dagobas, monasteries or Mani piles, please go around them in a clockwise direction (with the exception of Bon sites), without crossing them.
- Eagles are sacred birds in the eyes of the Tibetan people. Do not disturb them, drive them away or injure them.
- You should also not disturb sheep or cows decorated with red, green or yellow cloth.
- It is advisable to offer Khada ( silk scarf to anyone you meet for the first time)
- It is advisable to offer Prayer flag or Lungta sacred script (string of prayer flag) in high passes, temple for good fortune or long life.
- Note: We will offer you each prayers flag before you leave for Tibet as a gift.
Have a great time !
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