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Overland Trip from Xinjiang to Lhasa

Last Update: March 23, 2020

Tibet occupies an important position in the hearts of travel enthusiasts. The passionate visitors from all over the world often put the Tibet as one of the places they must go. Indeed, Tibet has a bewitching quality that attracts the tourists very easily. The hospitable Tibetan people, mysterious Buddhist culture, mist-covered mountains, and delicious foods all attract the tourists.

Besides, the wonderful Tibet overland trips provide additional experiences for travelers. Taking an overland trip from Xinjiang to Lhasa is an extremely challenging, interesting and alluring journey that the travelers often indulge in it.

Why Choose Xinjiang to Lhasa Overland Trip?

This road trip is extremely adventurous and mind-boggling. The Kashgar to Lhasa highway is considered the longest way to Tibet. The Xinjiang Tibet highway connects the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Tibet Autonomous Region.

 The road trip from Xinjiang to Tibet is extremely adventurous and mind boggling The road trip from Xinjiang to Tibet is extremely adventurous and mind boggling

You can enjoy a serene and mesmeric view of Mount Kailash along with Lake Manasarovar. This line will cross through western Tibet, which is considered the ‘No Man’s Land’, owing to its remoteness. You can feel the authenticity of Tibet, while you pass through these regions. The route flows along the northern foot of the Himalayas.

On the way, you will encounter the barren western lands and the infrequent views of Gobi and desert. On entering Tibet, you will see numerous Tibetan wild animals including Yak, Mongolian Gazelle and so on. Thus, Xinjiang Tibet overland trip is an essential experience for you, at least once in a lifetime.

When is the Best time to Make the Overland Trip?

Because of the relatively low altitude, China faces a tolerable winter. However, the extremely high altitude of Tibet makes the winter extremely harsh. Being situated in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Tibet is a plateau climate. Its winter is marked by extreme cold with gust of strong winds, the wind blowing almost all the time. Therefore, it is better to avoid any overland tour to Tibet during winter. Half of the roads remain closed due to heavy snowfall. And the weather becomes too dry to sufferable.

 The best time to make this overland trip is considered to be from May to the beginning of October The best time to make this overland trip is considered to be from May to the beginning of October

The best time to make the overland trip is from May to the beginning of October. The driving conditions are perfect during this time. Even though the climate remains cold, it can be acceptable. The climate overall remains favorable and the air remains gentle and cleaner too.

A Classic Itinerary for the Xinjiang Tibet Overland Trip


First of all, visit China and take a day or two offs. You can visit the nearby places of interest in China, if you come from other countries. Road trips should be started with fresh minds and energetic bodies. Therefore, take one- or two-days rest to restore your energy after a long journey. If you are from China, visit Xinjiang directly.


To visit some interesting places like the Xinjiang Museum. You can also visit the Erdaoqiao market. The whole day should be kept for relaxation.

Xinjiang Museum Xinjiang Museum


You need to arrive in Kashgar by plane. The altitude changes from 60m in Urumqi to 1,290m in Kashgar. Then, spend a day in Kashgar and see some special buildings like Apak Hoja Tomb, a beautiful epitome of Islamic architecture. You can also take a stroll through the bustling markets. Everything you want is available in the market. Make time after lunch to visit Id Kah Mosque which is considered as the largest mosque in China.

 Apak Hoja Tomb Apak Hoja Tomb


From Kashgar, the real road trip begins. From Kashgar, drive to Yechen. On the way, you can enjoy the desolate yet mesmeric view of the famous Taklamakan. You will also meet Xinjiang Minority and experience their culture. The total distance from Kashgar to Yechen is 246km. The altitude declines from 1290m to 1100m. Have a rest in Yechen.

 Taklamakan Taklamakan


Today is go to Dahongliutan. There are several passes fall like the Heika Pass, Kudi Pass and the Maza Pass along the way. All these passes belong to Mount Kunlun. The total drive is about 430km. The altitude will rise from 1100m to 4200m.

 Mount Kunlun Mount Kunlun


The journey then continues to Rutog. After through Rutog, you will finally enter the precincts of Tibet Autonomous Region. The journey is about 518km. The altitude gets even higher, up to 4260m. Because of the steep altitude that Rutog is often known as the ‘roof of roof of the world’.

 Prayer Flags Ancient Fortress in Rutog Prayer Flags Ancient Fortress in Rutog


You can visit the Pangong-tso lake, which is situated at about 12km from Rutog County. The landscape of the lake is stunning and many migratory and local birds flock there. Therefore, it is also called the bird lake. Start from Rutog, you have to keep driving until you reach Siquanhe. The total covered 117km. The altitude of Siquanhe is 4225m.

 Pangong-tso lake Pangong-tso lake


Depart from Siquanhe, keep going to Zanda, which located in the southern direction of Siquanhe. The total travel is 255km and the altitude drop to 3700m.


In Zanda, the ruins of Guge Kingdom is worth a visit, where the first foundation of civilization in Tibet was laid. It is a time travel from the present century to some hundreds and thousands of years back. After the visit, continue driving to Darchen. Here you can see Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar. The altitude goes up to 4700m. The distance is 328km. If you have enough time, never miss the 3-days Mount Kailash kora in Ngari.

 Ruins of Guge kingdom Ruins of Guge kingdom


Then drive from Manasarovar continues to grassland. The name of the region is Paryang. The altitude of Paryang is 4600m and the journey is 200km.


From Paryang, following drive first to Zhongba. After a small momentary rest, leave for Saga. The altitude of Saga is 4052m. The distance covered is about 250km.


Departure to Tingri. The drive involves about 100km distance and the altitude of Tingri is 4800m. On the way, you can view lake Peikucuo. Walking by the lake and imbibing the pure atmosphere of the place. Then continue your journey.

 Lake Peikucuo Lake Peikucuo


After taking a day off at Tingri, and leave the place after visiting the famous Rongbuk Monastery, at an altitude of 5154m. The journey to the Everest Base Camp will be worth remembering. Then drive to Shegar. The distance covered will be about 220km. the altitude of the place is 4800m.

 Rongbuk Monastery Rongbuk Monastery


The journey then continues from Shegar to Shigatse. Positively, Sakya Monastery should be visited. The total distance of the journey is 250km. The altitude of the place is 4280m.

 Sakya Monastery Sakya Monastery


After the meals, the tour is continued towards Gyantse. Tashilhunpo Monastery should be visited, as it is the epitome of authentic Gelugpa sect of Buddhism. The total distance covered will be 100km. The altitude of Gyantse is 3880m.

 Tashilhunpo Monastery Tashilhunpo Monastery


Today’s drive will incorporate many famous tourist spots of Tibet. In Gyantse, Pelkor Monastery should be absolutely seeing. On the way, you will be able to witness Yamdrok tso, the heavenly lake with mesmeric beauty. Then arriving at Tsedang, do not forget to visit the Yumbulakang Palace, one of the oldest buildings of Tibet. The distance covered is about 325km.

 Pelkor Monastery Pelkor Monastery


Finally, from Tsedang, drive to Lhasa. You should visit the Samye monastery. The drive will take about 175km. The altitude of Lhasa is about 4650m.

 Samye monastery Samye monastery

Highlights of the overland trip

It can be understood from the above itinerary, the overland tour from Xinjiang to Tibet is an interesting, exciting and adventurous journey. The major interests of the journey are lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash. The scenery is spectacular, the misty Mount Kailash and the holy lake Manasarovar are bound to touch your hearts.

 The scenic beauty is spectacular The scenic beauty is spectacular

Furthermore, the unique landscape of western Tibet is yet another attraction of the journey. The 100 kilometers barren land provides you an apocalyptic and adventurous feeling. Then through Everest Base Camp, view Yamdrok tso lake, glimpse Gobi and Desert, and visits the monasteries, all make the journey worth remembering.

What You Should pack with You?

Following items should be packed:

• Adequate numbers of woolens
• Raincoats
• Comfortable cotton clothes
• Woolen and cotton socks
• Scarves
• Woolen and cotton undergarments
• Shoes of good quality
• Gloves
• Sunglass
• Sunscreens
• Enough polythene bags
• Enough tissues along with wet tissues
• Soaps and shampoos
• Toilette accessories like toothbrush and toothpaste

Though food will be provided in the hotels and guesthouses, you can take some dry fruits and snacks and chocolates. Sufficient bottles of water are also necessary.

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.


Among all the overland routes to Tibet, the Xinjiang-Tibet highway is the most challenging one. The average elevation of this highway is above 4500 meters and the highest is more than 6000 meters above sea level. But you can enjoy some unexpected sceneries, such as rolling snowy mountains, dense forests, magnificent desert, etc. And you can explore the different cultures of Uighur and Tibetan on the way. If you have any questions about the Xinjiang Tibet overland tour, please feel free to contact us.

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