Traveling to Tibet is normally done as a pre-arranged tour, as this is the requirement for international tourists traveling to the high-altitude region of China. The most popular tour length is normally around 7-8 days, which is usually enough for a trip across the plateau to either Mount Everest or into Nepal for Kathmandu. The first few days of most tours in Tibet are spent in Lhasa, acclimatizing to the higher altitude and sightseeing around this ancient city. The time in Lhasa is required to allow you to adjust to the increase in altitude before traveling elsewhere on the plateau. If you do not give yourself time to acclimatize, then you will begin to feel the symptoms of altitude sickness, which can be severe if left unchecked. The rest of the week is up to you to decide where to go.
One-Week Tibet Tour of Overland Adventure
One of the most popular week-long tours of Tibet is the overland trip between Lhasa and Kathmandu. This unique travel experience can be done in either direction, though it is a day longer when traveling from Kathmandu to Lhasa due to acclimatization after crossing the Sino-Nepal border.
The trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu is an amazing overland experience that begins in the Tibetan capital and takes you all the way across the vast Tibetan plateau to the Kathmandu Valley. The tour starts with the first few days being spent in Lhasa, sightseeing and acclimatizing. You will get the chance to visit the Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple, and the monasteries surrounding the capital.
After your sightseeing around Lhasa, you will then travel overland to Shigatse, passing through the town of Gyantse along the way, once the largest town in Tibet. You also pass alongside the stunning Lake Yamdrok on the way to Gyantse, with its stunning scenery and beautiful turquoise waters. In Shigatse, you will visit the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama, before heading off to stay overnight at the amazing Everest Base Camp (EBC). Here you will get to see the stunning sights of the summit of the world’s highest mountain, and tour around the Rongbuk Monastery, the highest Buddhist monastery in the world.
Trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu pass alongside the stunning Lake Yamdrok.
After departing from EBC, you will travel around the mountains to the beautiful Gyirong Valley, and on down to the town of Gyirong. Here you will stop for the night before heading off to the border in the morning. After crossing the border between China and Nepal at Gyirong Port – Rasuwa Gadhi, you will take the scenic journey from the mountains to the Kathmandu Valley and the most exotic capital city in the world.
The alternative to this 7-day epic adventure across the plateau is to do the same trip in reverse, which takes eight days instead of seven. This is because you will acclimatize along the way from Kathmandu and at Gyirong Town, before heading off to EBC and the rest of the plateau.
One-Week Tibet Tour in Lhasa and Surrounding
An alternative to crossing the plateau to Nepal is to head in a different direction and travel north to Lake Namtso after departing from Lhasa. One of the Great Three Sacred Lakes of Tibet, Namtso is also known as the Heavenly Lake, and is the highest saline lake in the world and the largest saltwater lake in Tibet. The tour is a mere six days for this amazing experience, and begins and ends in the Tibetan capital.
The Namtso Lake also known as heavenly lake.
Starting with the sightseeing tour of the City of Sunshine, and your acclimatization, you get to visit all the major landmarks of the Tibetan capital. Then it is out of the city and along the road north, known as the Qinghai Tibet Highway. The trip up to Lake Namtso in Damxung County takes around five hours, and you will arrive at the lake around lunchtime. After you arrive, you will set up camp on the Tashi Dor Peninsula, and enjoy the afternoon beside the lake.
The views of the Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains are spectacular from here, and you get a great view of the peak of Mount Nyenchen Tanglha itself, standing 7,162 meters above sea level. The lake is sandwiched between the Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains to the east and the vast open plains of the Changtang Grasslands to the west. And if you are lucky enough, you can even get to see the traditional nomadic herders tending their yaks along the lakeshore.
The sunset over the grasslands and the distant Himalayas is outstanding, and you will have the chance to see the immense multitude of stars in the night sky if the weather is clear. In the morning, you can enjoy a trek along the lake shore and around the small Tashi Dor Monastery kora, and explore the meditation caves, before heading back to the Tibetan capital in the afternoon.
The drive back to Lhasa is still filled with delights, as you will be able to stop at the famous Yangpachen Hot Springs, where you can rest and relax for a while, before heading on to the capital. The natural geothermal springs vent into the area around Yangpachen, and are used for geothermal energy production for Lhasa.
One-Week Tibet Tour with Train Experience
One of the best ways to reach the Tibetan plateau is by train, and the trains from mainland China run daily to the regional capital of Lhasa. Our Golden Route Experience tours by train to Tibet, complete with an overland tour as well, are the idea way to explore this great landscape in all its glory.
The trains depart from either Xining (for a seven-day tour) or Chengdu (for an eight-day tour), and travel along the famous Qinghai Tibet Railway to reach the Tibetan capital. The trip from Xining takes just 22 hours, arriving in the morning of the following day, while the journey from Chengdu to Lhasa takes around 36 hours and encompasses three days. Accommodation on the train is comfortable, and you will be able to book a sleeper berth so that you can arrive in Lhasa refreshed and ready for your high-altitude adventure.
Qinghai Tibet Railway will cross Tanggula Mountains.
The trip to the Tibetan capital takes you through the Kunlun and Tanggula Mountains, crossing high mountain passes at more than 5,000 meters and giving you some of the most spectacular views of these stunning ranges. After the Kunlun Mountains, you will cross Qinghai’s Kekexili National Nature Preserve, the northernmost nature park on the plateau, and home to many indigenous species, including the rare Tibetan antelope. After crossing the Tanggula Mountains, and the world’s highest railway pass, you rode the rails down across the Changtang Grasslands and through the Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains to Lhasa, the City of Sunshine.
Once in Lhasa, you will spend the first few days exploring the highlights of the city, including the Jokhang Temple, the iconic Potala Palace, and the major monasteries. Then you will travel overland to Shigatse, traveling past the beautiful Lake Yamdrok and through Gyantse, stopping to tour the Pelkor Chode Monastery and the Kumbum Stupa. In Shigatse, you will visit the Tashilhunpo Monastery and the major sights of Tibet’s second city, before driving back to Lhasa along the Yarlung Tsangpo River Valley, ready for your trip home.
One-Week Tibet Tour with Everest Base Camp Visit
If you are looking for the ultimate in one-week tours of the Tibetan plateau, then you need look no further than the iconic Lhasa to Mount Everest Small group Tour. As the most popular tour in Tibet, this epic adventure to the world’s highest mountain is one of the best ever tours in the mighty Himalayas in Tibet.
The tour begins in Lhasa, with the usual 2-3 days of sightseeing and acclimatization. Visit the Jokhang Temple and Potala Palace, and explore the pilgrimage route around Barkhor Street. After finishing the city tour with the major monasteries, you will head out of Lhasa, and past Lake Yamdrok to each Gyantse, home of the Pelkor Chode Monastery and the Kumbum Stupa. Then you continue on to Shigatse, and the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery.
On leaving Shigatse, you will head through Tingri Town to turn south to the famous Everest Base Camp (EBC). The long trip takes you all the way to the tourist base camp, which lies a few kilometers from the climbers base camp, and is the furthest tourists can visit at EBC. The base camp gives you the best views of the stunning Mount Everest, and you have the option of staying in the Rongbuk Monastery Guesthouse or the tent guesthouses (in the peak season only).
Enjoy of the stunning Mount Everest.
You can wake in the morning after a good night’s sleep to catch the sun rising on the eastern slopes of the world’s highest mountain. Then get some breakfast before exploring the Rongbuk Monastery, the highest Buddhist monastery in the world. Later, you will depart from this awesome place and head back to Lhasa for your last day in Tibet.
One-Week Tibet Tour with Trekking Experience
If you are hoping to trek in Tibet in your week-long stay, then there are some great hikes on the plateau that you can try. However, one of the best high-altitude treks in the world is the 3-day hike from Ganden Monastery to Samye Monastery. The trek follows the ancient pilgrimage trail between these two famous centers of Tibetan Buddhism.
The hike is normally done after touring Lhasa and acclimatizing, and you will spend the night at the Ganden Monastery Guesthouse, after touring this ancient gompa, before beginning the hike on your fourth day in Tibet. The three-day hike takes you through stunning valleys and across alpine meadows that rarely see people, and takes you over several rocky passes that exceed 4,500 meters.
You also get to pass through nomadic herders campsites, a unique opportunity to see how these ancient people live. Once you arrive at Samye, you will get time to visit this ancient monastery, the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet, built in the 8th century by the Tibetan king, Trisong Detsen. After staying the night at the campsite close by the monastery, you will head back to Lhasa for your last day in Tibet.
While you may only have a week to tour Tibet, this is normally more than enough for you to get a decent taste of Tibetan plateau life. Tibet is a land that would take an entire lifetime to explore completely, and while a lifetime is not often available to most, taking a good and well-organized week-long tour of the Tibetan landscape and cities is a great way to start that whole Tibetan experience. So if you are looking for a good week-long tour of Tibet and all its wonders, come and talk with us and let’s get you off to the Roof of the World.