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Overland Trip from Qinghai to Tibet

Last Update: April 30, 2020

Tibet tour calls for a well-charted out plan. The Tibet journey provides you with so many overland trips that you may get confused. There is an interesting overland tour from Xining (Qinghai) to Lhasa worth trying. As a frequently opted route for most tourists, its highlights and itineraries will attract you.

Why Choose Qinghai to Tibet Overland Trip?

Xining to Tibet overland tour is a well suggested one, according to most travelers. The Qinghai-Tibet Highway goes through four mountain ranges: Kunlun mountain, Fenghuo Mountain, Tanggula Mountain, and Nyainqentanglha Mountain. And it also passes through three rivers: Tuotuo river, Tongtian river, and Chuma’er river. The entire overland trip may take 8 days. But these days would be the worthy days of your life since the trip is beset with great glamours and wonders.

 Qinghai-Tibet Highway Travel to Tibet along Qinghai-Tibet Highway

Before going to Lhasa, you may take a day off to visit some attractions of Xining city like Kanbula National Park, Taer temple, Riyue Mountain, Dongguan giant mosque, and Qinghai Lake. Qinghai Lake is the most important one you should tour. Visiting these places before you taking a Qinghai Tibet overland trip shall make your journey more interesting.

Best Time to Take Qinghai Tibet Overland Trip

The most preferable time of a Xining Lhasa overland trip is during the months of May-September. The temperature remains above 10 degrees Celsius and the weather is pleasant. These are also the best months to go hiking in the mountains and camping in the wilderness. From May to September, it seldom rains in Tibet and you can free to trek any routes you want. The Xining Lhasa overland trip shows the greatest beauty during these months. So, you are suggested to choose these months to take an overland trip.

Classic Itineraries for Qinghai Tibet Overland Trip

The overland trip from Xining to Lhasa is made by the Qinghai-Tibet Highway. This Highway runs through fabulous places that leave the tourists enthralled. While driving around the roads, you may also get a majestic view of Tibet train winding through the mountains.

After arriving in Xining, the tour guide will safely drop you to your hotel. You could have a short exploration of the city. The nearby shopping hubs and markets are good choices since you will start your long journey the second day.

 Kumbum monastery Kumbum monastery

The next day, begin your Qinghai Tibet overland trip. The first attraction of the route is the Kumbum monastery. It's a spiritual start to this overland tour. Another major scenery spot is the bird island adjacent to Qinghai Lake. It is a kind of sanctuary for birds. The birds gather in large numbers here especially during summer and spring.

 Qinghai Lake Qinghai Lake

After having a good stroll around Qinghai Lake, you may departure to Chaka which is approximately 200 km away. From Chaka, it is a 515 km drive to Golmud where you can enjoy the magnificent sight of Gobi. A day's rest is vital and necessary.

 Tsaidam meadow Tsaidam meadow

The following day's journey is long and a bit hectic. You will go through Tsaidam meadow of Tibet-Qinghai plateau. Driving along the road that is situated at the foot of Kunlun Mountain. After crossing a steep valley to reach Kunlun pass, you will see the Tuotuo River source. Local guest houses are available for you to spend the night and rest for a while.

 Tibet Qiangtang grasslands Tibet Qiangtang grasslands

Driving 430 km southwards will arrive Nagqu. On the way, you shall feast your eyes on the Tanggula Mountains. From Nagqu, driving across the northern Tibet Qiangtang grasslands where the hospitable Tibetans will greet you. You can experience Tibetan traditions and customs here.

 Namtso Lake Namtso Lake

The next destination is the holy lake, Namtso, which is the most awaited attraction of Qinghai Tibet overland trip. From Tashi Do Island you may get the complete picture of the lake. An authentic Tibetan lunch is something you can't miss. Going to Damxung you will fulfill this desire. After touring the Yangpachen hot spring, you will head for Lhasa.

Highlights of Qinghai Tibet Overland Trip

The Classic itinerary covers all the best places that worth your visit. The journey starts from the most important monastery in Qinghai that is the Kumbum monastery.

 Qinghai Lake Qinghai Lake with boat ride

Qinghai Lake is one of the must-see scenic spots. By boat on the lake is a special experience. The stunning scenery in there makes you unwilling to leave. The bird Island is also a great attraction where you will find some unique birds like wild geese, black-necked cranes, sandpipers, and others. The Qaidam basin, also named as "Treasure bowl", is the oasis in Gobi. It will take your heart away.

The Kunlun Mountain is another highlight in this route deserving fully explore. Namtso Lake, the highest Salt Lake in Tibet, exhibits a wide array of beauty. The lake is clear and quiet. Looking into the distance, the sky merged with the lake. In addition to its own beauty, the pilgrims’ Kora around it make this lake a breeding ground of spirituality.

 Yangpachen hot spring Yangpachen hot spring

On the way to Lhasa, you will see the highest geothermal power plant in the world that is Yangpachen hot spring. Besides, there are a bunch of fantastic scenic spots in Lhasa: The majestic Potala palace, the ancient Jokhang Temple, Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery, the bustling Barkhor Street and so on.

What to Pack?

There is a common saying that travel light. But, making ready is better than regretting. Make sure you bring everything you need.

Tibet has an unpredictable climate. The temperature here varies greatly between day and night. So, it is advisable that you carry warm clothes, gloves, woolen hats, etc. The rain boots and raincoats should also be packed.

 Camping Camping on the way to Tibet

If you have any plans for camping, you have to be equipped with proper camp wares like sleeping bags and moisture-proof pads. Tibet receives higher solar radiations, therefore, it is better to carry sunglasses, sunscreen, and sun hats.

Food & Snacks Food & Snacks

Although you can eat at restaurants on the way, snacks like nuts, chocolate bars, hard candies, beef jerky, energy bars also need to bring. Sufficient bottles of water are also necessary.

 Oxygen Bag Oxygen Bag

Oxygen bags often help a lot to fight altitude sickness. So, they can also be your trip partners. Since you will pass through several grasslands and wilderness, it is safe to carry some emergency medicines along.

What Can We Help You with the Trip?

You need to obtain a Chinese Visa and Tibet Travel Permit before you go to Tibet. If you want to visit some special areas like Mount Everest after arriving in Tibet, you also need to apply for Alien’s Travel Permit, Foreign affairs permit, and Military Area Entry Permit. Once you book Tibet tour package from us, we will arrange for everything, including all required permits, vehicles, accommodation during travel, and a tour guide. The only thing you need to do is give us the necessary information like your photographs and completed application forms.


The Qinghai-Tibet Highway is one of the most stunning routes to Tibet, Stretching for 1,937 km, and with an average elevation of over 4,000 meters. There is plenty of wonderful natural scenery on the way to Tibet, you will pass Qinghai lake, Chaka Salt Lake, Kekexili nature reserve, etc. It is truly rewarding to make an overland trip from Qinghai to Tibet. If you have any questions about the Qinghai Tibet overland tour, please feel free to contact us.

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