Kathmandu Lhasa Overland Tour - 9 Days

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary

Kathmandu to Lhasa Tour via Everest Base Camp is a journey to experience the beauty of Tibetan landscape and to understand the rich culture of its people. This 9-day adventure starts from Kathmandu followed by Nyalam, Dingri, Shegar then the base camp of the world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest followed by visits to Shigatse, Gyantse and finally to Lhasa. During our Kathmandu to Lhasa Tour via Everest Base Camp, we also explore the mystical Yamdrok Tso Lake, conquer a few high passes, and visit popular Tibetan monasteries like Sakya, Tashilhunpo, Shalu, Sera and Rongbuk, the world’s highest monastery, all the while being surrounded by the magnetic allure of the Himalayas.

If we wish to go back to Kathmandu on our way home, Eight Eyes Travel advises us to fly to Lhasa instead and make an overland trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu. This will help us with acclimatization in high altitudes and prevent us from acquiring any AMS symptoms.

Day 01: Kathmandu to Nyalam (3,800m/12,467ft): 153 km, 5 - 6 hours

After breakfast, we start our journey along the Friendship Highway for the Tibetan border. Along the way, we pass through some really splendid sights- cascading waterfalls, rivers and hill-side villages. At the border, we have our lunch and pass through the Nepalese side of the customs and immigration. Upon crossing the Friendship Bridge, we will be at Tibet! Then, we take a 30-minute drive from Kodari to Zhangmu where we must pass another immigration checkpoint . From Zhangmu to Nyalam, we drive on a steep winding road. Overnight in Nyalam.

Day 02: Nyalam to Lotingri (4,050m/13,284 ft): 150 Km, 3 hours

In the morning, we stroll around Nyalam which would help us to acclimatize with the high altitude. We depart for Lotingri after lunch. On the way, we will visit Milarapha Cave and Chamda Hot spring for a little fun-filled afternoon. On our journey we encounter two spectacular passes: Thong La pass (5050m/16,568ft) and Lalung La pass (5082m/16,668 ft). Along with the two passes, we also get to enjoy fabulous views of the high mountains including, Mt. Everest (8848m/29,028 ft) and Shishapangma (8,013m/26,289 ft). We spend the night in Lotingri.

Day 03: Lotingri to Shegar (4,150m/13,615 ft) via Everest Base Camp (5,250m/17,220ft): 270 km, 9-10 hours

After breakfast, we drive towards Shegar. The drive from Lotingri to Rongbuk will be adventurous as the roads are coarse and bumpy. In Rongbuk, we visit the Rongbuk monastery which is the highest monastery in Tibet. Then we drive towards Everest Base Camp (5,250m/17,220ft) while enjoying views of high mountains like Cho Oyu (8,201m/26,906 ft), Shishapangma (8,013m (26,289 ft) and, of course, the mighty Everest also known as Mt. Chomolongma in the Tibetan side. It will certainly be a great experience to come face-to-face with the greatest mountain on earth. The base camp itself is dry and barren, but the view of Everest is more than compensating with the sheer north face of the highest mountain in the world towering above us. Overnight in Shegar.

Note that on rare occasions due to bad weather or political riots the local government may close down the road to the Everest base camp for safety reasons and without prior notice.

Day 04: Shegar to Shigatse(3,900m/12,795 ft) via Sakya Monastery: 300km, 5 -6 hours

After breakfast we drive towards Shigatse via Sakya. In Sakya, we visit the Sakya Monastery, which is the ancestral temple of Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The main architectures inside the castle are the Dajing Hall, the Buddhism Hall and the hall where the Sakya archbishop lived. After the visit of the Sakya Monastery whose medieval Mongolian architecture is quite different from temples in Lhasa and Yarlung, we continue our drive to Shigatse, the second biggest city in Tibet. Overnight in Shigatse.

Day 05: Shigatse to Gyantse (3,950m/12,959 ft)viaShalu Monastery: 95km, 2 hours

After breakfast, we visit the popular Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse which holds both historical and cultural importance for being founded by GendunDrup, the First Dalai Lama in 1447. After touring the Tashilhunpo Monastery, we continue our drive to Gyantse. On the way, we visit Shalu Monastery.  Founded in 1040, Shalu Monastery is known for its beautiful and ancient mural paintings. We continue to Gyantse and while there visit Khumbum Stupa, Phalkot Monastery and GyantseDzong (Fortress), which is one of the best preserved dzongs in Tibet. Overnight in Gyantse.

Day 06: Gyantse to Lhasa (3,650 m/11,972ft)via Karo La pass and Yamdrok Tso Lake: 200km, 4-5 hours

From Gyantse, we continue to Lhasa crossing the Karo La (5,010m/16,432 ft) and Kamba La (4794m/15,725 ft) passes and Lake Yamdrok Tso (Turquoise Lake), one of the three largest sacred lakes of Tibet, also believed to be the transformation of a Tibetan goddess. Furthermore, we cross the YarlungTsangpo (Brahamaputra) River and see Potala Palace for the first time from a distance. Overnight in Lhasa.

Day 07: Lhasa sightseeing: Potala Palace, Norbulingka Palace and Tibet Museum: 5 - 6 hours

We begin sightseeing in Lhasa after breakfast. Today is the day we visit the beautiful Potala and Norbulingka Palaces. Built in the 17century, Potala Palace provides amazing views of the entire city and houses the private quarters of the Dalai Lama, numerous grand state rooms and chapels. Norbulingka Palace is the summer palace of the Dalai Lama and houses what is considered to be the largest man-made garden in Tibet. Next, we visit the Tibet Museum, the official museum of Tibet, which has a permanent collection of around 1000 artifacts related to the cultural history of Tibet. Overnight in Lhasa.

Day 08: Lhasa Sightseeing: Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Bazaar: 5 - 6 hours

After breakfast we visit Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Bazaar.  Drepung Monastery, which was built in the 14century, is believed to have sheltered around 10,000 monks in the past but as of now there has been quite a declination resulting in only a few hundred. The history, culture, and religious beliefs of the Tibetan people are strongly concentrated and centered in this marvelous monastery.  Sera Monastery is a preserved monastery of white-washed walls and golden roofs. Jokhang Temple is another important sacred site which unravels more deep-seated mysteries of Tibetan Buddhism. We further stroll through Barkhor Bazaar (market). With its open air stalls, shops and crowd of pilgrims, it is the nerve centre of Lhasa. Overnight in Lhasa.

Day 09: Final Departure

Our adventure in the Himalayas comes to an end today. If time permits, we can engage in shopping or sightseeing. A representative from Eight Eyes Travel will take us to the airport for our next journey. We can either go back to Kathmandu or continue to mainland China on our way home.