As you land at Lhasa airport you’ll witness a sea of Himalayan mountain peaks beneath you. After you’ve collected your baggage, you’ll be taken to central Lhasa. Make sure you drink lots of water and take it easy. Many travellers get headaches shortly after arriving, so drink lots of water to help alleviate altitude sickness symptoms. Today is yours to go for a gentle walk and explore.
During your stay you’ll be accompanied by an English speaking guide to go sight-seeing. It’s necessary to make reservations to visit the Potala Palace so our agent will let you know the time of your scheduled visit. Your plans for today will depend on the time of your visit. The view from the front of the palace will leave an unforgettable impression on you and you’ll have around two hours to explore..
You’ll also visit the Drepung and/or Sera Monasteries. The Sera Monastery has an afternoon debating session tradition where philosophy college student monks practice their debating skills but if your visit to Potala is planned for the afternoon, you’ll visit the monasteries in the morning.
Travel to Gyantse
Today you’ll leave Lhasa and drive to Gyantse; a 260km drive of which only the first part is on a paved road. Along the way you’ll see Buddhist monasteries, picturesque villages, camps and nomads roaming with their yaks. After a while you’ll start to see the first pass, the Kamba-La. On top of the pass you’ll have a breathtaking view of the deep-azure blue Yamdrok-Tso, one of the 4 holy lakes.
You’ll have lunch in one of the villages along the way and then continue on to the next mountain pass, the Kora-La at an altitude of 5045m. At the end of the afternoon you’ll reach Gyantse (3950m). Gyantse was once an important trading post on the route between India, Sikkim, Bhutan, Tibet and China. Your hotel is located on main street and you’ll have your own bathroom. If you feel up to it you can go for a walk through town and have a look at the monastery and the outside of the fortress.
Travel to Shigatse
Gyantse was once an important trading post on the route between India, Sikkim, Bhutan, Tibet and China. The main street leads back to the Pelkor Chode Monastery and the Kumbum Stupa in the historic part of town. This afternoon you’ll drive to Tibet’s second largest city, Shigatse. You’ll spend the night in a comfortable hotel located in the heart of the city.
Travel to Sakya
Shigatse, a city of 40,000 inhabitants, is home to the Tashilhunpo Monastery, where a gigantic golden stupa marks the 4th century Panchen Lama’s tomb. This is a holy place and the Gelukpa sect’s most important monastery. You’ll visit the monastery with an English-speaking guide. If you feel like getting some exercise afterwards, you can climb the mountain the monastery is built up against.
Before reaching the top you’ll see the Kora, the pilgrim’s path lined with prayer wheels where pilgrims say their mantras. Next, you’ll continue on to Sakya. You’ll spend the night in a modest hotel in this small town and have time to walk explore. If you have a wander off into the hills you’ll have a fantastic view of the whole town, dominated by the Sakya Gompa.
Travel to Rombuk
This morning you and your guide will visit the Sakya Gompa. From the roof you’ll have a view of the surrounding area. Next, it’s time for the real adventure to begin as you leave civilisation and head for Everest base camp. You’ll travel through remote plateaus, past small villages and over some of the world’s highest mountain passes.
At Shegar you’ll leave the Friendship Highway and follow an unpaved road from this point on. The landscape will become flat and barren, the mountain peaks will become whiter and at the end of the day you’ll reach the Rombuk Monastery; at 4980m it is the world’s highest. The Rombuk Guest House lies next to it where you’ll spend the night in a basic room with shared facilities.
Everst Base Camp & Journey to Lao Tingri
Brace yourself; this will probably be a tough but unforgettable morning. Today you’ll visit the Tibetan Everest base camp. Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world. By experiencing how strenuous it is to simply walk in this area, will give you renewed respect for Everest climbers. If you don’t feel like walking, or can’t walk any further, you can pay 25 Yuan on the spot to take the shuttle bus.
In the afternoon, you’ll travel across a very bumpy unpaved road back to the Friendship Highway. You’ll pass through small villages, dusty plateaus and here and there you’ll cross small river streams and brooks. Along the way you’ll stop for lunch in Lao Tingri (also known as Old Tingri). You’ll spend the night here in a simple guest house. This is your last stop in Tibet.
Travel to Kathmandu
Today you’ll start early and travel across rolling plains scattered with monastery ruins to the last two passes. You’ll take one last look around for a spectacular view of the Himalayas before leaving the Tibetan plateau. The road slopes down to the border village of Zhangmu, all at once, everything turns green and you’ll see waterfalls in the distance.
Keep in mind that the border formalities at Zhangmu can take some time. You’ll continue through a part of no-man’s land until you reach the Friendship Bridge where you’ll say goodbye to your driver and guide. You’ll cross over the bridge on foot until you reach Kodari, the Nepal border crossing. It’s a tiring walk, but porters are available to help you out with your baggage for a small fee. A transfer will then take you to Kathmandu, approximately a 5-hour drive.
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