The Friendship Hwy from Lhasa to Kathmandu in Nepal is the main travelers’ route through Tibet. This classic overland route can be done in a week.
After exploring Lhasa city, we head straight to the coiling scorpion-lake -Yamdrok-tso before heading over the glacier-draped Karo-la pass to Gyantse. Then Driver to Shigatse, a 90-minute journey, tourists will reach Shigatse , visit impressive Tashilunpo Monastery.
Close to the border, it emerges the most magnificent Everest region to enjoy the extraordinary views. Then a short stop in old Tingri with wonderful views of Cho Oyu, before the straight and scenic rollercoaster ride to the Nepal border.
- Go down into the bowels of the Potala Palace, the impressive but spiritless citadel of the Dalai Lamas.
- Join the shuffling, murmuring pilgrims around the shrines of the Jokhang Temple, the spiritual heart of Tibet.
- Follow monks, mendicants and fellow pilgrims around the Barkhor, Lhasa’s fascinating medieval pilgrim circuit.
- Take in a prayer meeting or some monk debating at Sera and Drepung, two of the largest and most intact of Tibet’s great monasteries.
- Marvel at the turquoise waters of Yamdrok-tso, one of Tibet’s most sacred lakes.
- Climb the dazzling Gyantse Kumbum, a monumental chorten with mural-filled chapels.
- Worship before a 26m gold Buddha at Tashilumpo Monastery, a walled complex the size of a village.
- Sleep in nomad tents and gaze upon the north face of Mt. Everest.
Day 1: Arrive in Lhasa, get the first impression of Tibetan daily life
Welcome to the roof of the world. Your Tibet journey starts with a warm Tibetan style greeting from your local tour guide who will present you with Hada (traditional Tibetan scarves). Then be escorted to your hotel in Lhasa city at the comfort of your own private vehicle.
You may view Kyichu River on your way to Lhasa, and could see Tibetan homes with their trapezoid shaped windows and fluttering prayer flags. Tibetans walking along the roads wearing their distinctive national costumes. Do have a comfort stop near Nietang Buddha where a giant statue of Buddha has been carved out of a stone cliff-face centuries ago.
One of the first buildings you could see as you enter the city is the Potala Palace, sitting majestically on a hill dominating Lhasa.After check in the hotel, you can take a rest and get acclimatized to high altitude. Avoid strenuous exercise and drink more water.
Day 2: Lhasa highlights escorted tour
After breakfast, we go to the Potala Palace, a golden feather upon the roof of the world, which Tibetans proudly claim to be the prime miracle since the creation of this world. It is visible from any distance, with the golden roof shinning in the sun. It's the traditional home of Dalai Lamas. Spend one hour to fully explore inside of the palace.
After lunch,tourists head to Jokhang Temple. You will see statues, wall paintings, icons, the central prayer room and many buddhas of varying significance here, Future Buddha, the original Buddha, and Protection Buddhas. Yak Butter candles are kept burning by villagers who pilgrimage here, an interesting sight to see.
Barkhor street surrounds the Johkang Temple and is filled with pilgrims prostrating themselves on the ground, locals walking around with their spinning prayer wheels and many markets stalls with Tibetan handcrafts . Follow the crowd and get a feel for life in Tibet
Day 3: Drepung and Sera Monastery
In the morning tourists will go to Drepung monstery, which used to be the largest monastery with more than 10 thousand monks. Located at the foot of one of the many rocky and majestic slopes that surround Lhasa, Drepung Monaestery is surrounded by striking scenery.
Afternoon,go to Sera Monastery---It was one of the “three great” Gelug monasteries of Tibet and was founded in 1419. The highlight is the Monks debate at around 3 - 5 in the afternoon.
Day 4: Lhasa-Gyantse-Shigatse
After fully explore Lhasa, you'll have a chance to get lost in the endless Tibetan landscape while you take a short hike along the turquoise waters of Lake Yamdrok. The lake is one of the 3 largest sacred lakes in Tibet. The scenery is simply gorgeous, take your time to savor the whole stunning views . The best view is from a distance, the top of a high mountain pass. Then you can see the turquoise color of the lake! The sky was super blue and you really feel like in heaven. There are local people with animals for you to take your picture with, such as yak and mastiff dog.
Then tourists will move forward to Gyantse (3,950m). Visit Pelkor Monastery as well as the splendid Kumbum Stupa (100-Thousand-Buddha Pagoda) nearby, both of them built in the15th century and situated in the northwestern edge of Gyantse.
In the afternoon drive about 90 kilometers to Shigatse (3880m), the second largest city with 40,000 inhabitants in Tibet and the traditional capital of the Tsang.
Day 5: Shigatse to Rongbuk Monastery
Today we have an early start to drive westwards the Friendship way to Rongbuk. Enjoy the magnificent scenery along the way especially at the high passes including Gyatsola (5248m). The road to Everest diverts off the newly paved Friendship highway near the town of Shegar and turns into bumpy gravel trail, which is still 90km to get to Rongpuk.
If the weather is clear, you can have a glimpse of 4 peaks, all of them are 8000m high or more, such as: Mt. Lhotse (8516m),Mt. Everest (8848m), Mt. Qowowuyag (8201m),Mt Mayalu (8463m).
Day 6: Snake down to Gyirong
Open your eyes, and wake up to the first sunlight shining over the pyramid-shaped summit of imposing Mt. Everest. Grab your camera for an epic shot and stroll to the Rongbuk Monastery, exploring this world’s highest Buddhist compound. If you wish, you can do the meditation and experience the unparalleled tranquility and harmony there. Or you can interact with monks and nuns with the help of guide to learn more of their unique spiritual life.
The temperature can get bitterly cold in the early morning. Do wear enough cloths like your down jacket, scarf and mittens to protect the extreme coldness.
Then in the afternoon, back to Shegar, and continue go west to Gyirong. The road snaked ever downward. After a few switchbacks you will find yourselves in a lush ravine with waterfalls bursting from the mountains on all sides and flowing to a raging river far below.
Day 7: See you off at Nepalese Border
Our Guide will drop you off in the morning at the border bridge, You are kindly required to hike on your own to cross the border bridge which is 50m long, then check in Nepal side, you can get the Nepal visa upon arrival with US$30, please prepare one photo at passport size to get Nepal Visa. Next step, you need to find a car or bus towards Kathmandu, 50m ahead from border bridge, dozens of car or bus are parking here to pick up travelers.
Tour ends at the border in Tibet side.
Optional Service: Our company provides private transfer service from Nepal border to Kathmandu, if you need, please ask it from your travel advisor.
1.Tibet Entry Permit
2. Comfortable, clean and safe vehicle depending on your group size with reliable local driver;
3. Admission fees of tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
4. Professional English speaking tour guide;
5. Accommodations depend on your preference. Please tell us your preferred accommodation class when submitting the enquiry, and we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.
6.All measl listed in the itinerary;
7.Tourist Accident/Casualty Insurance
What’s not included?
1. International flight to and out of China;
2. Chinese Visa
3. Domestic flight / train not listed in the itinerary (If you need ticket booking service, please leave your requirements in the Online Inruiry form.)
4.Meals not specified in the itinerary;
5.Tips to driver and tour guide, Tip as you wish
6.Personal expenses, such as laundry, phone call, optional tour activities and so on.
1. Tibet Travel Permit
Tibet Travel Permit is a must for Tibet tour. Its cost is included in the tour quotation. Send your passport and China visa copies to us 20 days in advance, and we will apply for the permit after you book a Tibetan tour with us. Shortly after we get your permit from Tibet Tourism Bureau, we will inform you and mail it to your hotel in China via express.
In some extreme cases, our staff will hand it over to you at the airport or railway station. In our experience, we can virtually guarantee to get your permit during times when Tibet is open to foreign travelers.
Tibet is never known for its 5-star luxury resorts, though you can find some like Intercontinental Lhasa Paradise, St.Regis Lhasa Resort, Sheraton hotel, etc in Lhasa. Overall, the accommodation facilities and services are not as good as those in coastal and central parts of China. However, from cheap and clean youth hotel, to distinct Tibetan style 3-star and international 5-star luxury hotel, you will find one that suits your interest and pocket in Lhasa.
We’ve handpicked cozy and safe hotels in the central area of Lhasa, where you will find Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street are just steps away from you. You can easily experience more of the local life and culture. Normally, as you travel to remote areas in some parts of Shigatse like Tingri, or EBC, Ngari, Nagqu, etc. the accommodation would be much poorer. Some may have air-conditioning in the hotel;others may only have electric blanket in the guesthouses. And the food is also very basic.
3.Guiding and Tipping
Our English-speaking guides are natives of Tibet with good knowledge of Tibetan culture, history, and Buddhism. Most are trained to offer Western-standard service. Throughout your stay in Tibet, we will minor your health and provide prompt help to you. If you run into any trouble, please do not hesitate to reach them or our customer service manager.
Travelers’s tipping to Tibetan guide and driver is taken as an extra gratitude to their good service, just like what you do in the west. Normally, a tipping of 7 USD/day is acceptable. The basic rule is good service for good pay.
Admittedly, to many western tourists, using toilets in Tibet is the most dreadful experience. So, please down play your expectation. If you take Tibet train to Lhasa, both western toilet and squat toilet are available in the train. If you stay in hotel above 3-star hotels in Lhasa, Shigatse, etc. you will have no complaining using standard western flash toilet.
However, if you visit some of the attractions like Yamdrok or Namtso, EBC outdoor, mostly you will see the smelly and filthy pit toilet.It's better to carry enough toilet paper.
5. Tibet Weather
One of the biggest features of weather on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the dramatic temperature change between day and night. The annual temperature in Lhasa is -2℃-- 12℃(spring), 9℃-- 22℃(summer), 7℃-- 19℃(fall), -7℃-- 9℃(winter). Do wear clothes properly such as thermal tops, fleece jacket, breathable underwear, down jacket, jeans, beanie, etc.
Of course, sun screen, lip balm, sun glasses are essential to shield you from powerful blinding sunlight on the plateau. Do drink more water and eat more vegetable as you travel in Tibet. It can prevent you from dehydration.
6. Acclimatization to the High Altitude
For the first timer to Tibet, either by flight or train, a good rest is a must for quick acclimation to the high altitude in Lhasa. Never rush to tour the street or attractions on your own. Walk slower and do not exert yourself like running or jumping. Spending at least two days in Lhasa is a good way to get acclimatized before heading to Shigatse or Namtso. If you have any discomfort, do tell it to your guide,and he will help you out.
7. Other Dos and Don'ts
Normally, taking photos is forbidden in the monastery. If you want to take photos of Tibetan pilgrims, a gentle ask of permission would be appreciated or you can do it from a long distance. Swimming and fishing are not allowed in holy lakes in Tibet; Do not talk about sensitive topics like politics; International tourists are not allowed to travel alone in Tibet according to the policy; Walk clockwise around Barkhor Street; Never venture into the unknown trails; do as much as you can to protect the fragile eco-system in Tibet, etc.
As Tibetan Buddhism is deeply-rooted in every facet of Tibetans' life, always follow and respect the unique customs in Tibet. If you are uncertain about something, it’s advisable to ask your guide before you do it at will.