This 7-day tour is special designed for those who want to take an overland trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu, but don’t desire to visit Everest Base Camp. Comparing with our classical 7-day Lhasa to Kathmandu small group tour, except not going to EBC, this route will bring you to visit Sakya, where you can see the world’s largest gold gilded bronze statue of future Buddha. In the same number of travel days, this trip may make you feel more relaxed, because the trip wasn't that rushed.
You will start your journey in Lhasa, then through Gyantse, Shigatse, and Sakya to Gyirong, where you will leave from China to Kathmandu. You can fully explore the culture and nature of Tibet in this trip.
- 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, 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, one of the largest and most intact of Tibet’s great monasteries.
- Marvel at the turquoise waters of Yamdrok Lake, 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 Tashilhunpo Monastery, a walled complex the size of a village.
Day 1: Arrive in Lhasa
Welcome to Tibet! Upon arrival, be greeted by our local guide at airport or train station and be presented with traditional Tibetan White Scarf to wish you good luck!
After group photo at airport, you will board on the coach and transfer to your hotel. You will enjoy the spectacular scenery and the typical Tibetan villages on the way.
Stay at the hotel after arrival for adapting to the high attitude. It is helpful to take things easy for the first few days, and try to drink some water just and now.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 2: Lhasa Sightseeing - Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street
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, spend one hour wondering around the inside of this magnificent building exploring the rooms previously used by the Dalai Lama and the many Buddhist icons within.
In the afternoon we go inside of the Jokhang Temple. The Jokhang, like most of the larger temple structures have numerous individual temples within it dedicated to specific enlightened beings, protectors, high lamas, or saints. Images, both sculpted and painted, are everywhere. Every inch of wall and ceiling is brightly painted with images of clouds, beings, mandalas, or decorative patterns. Colorful silk banners, three stories high, hang in various places. Color, pattern, and images crowd in around you. The central image inside the building is a 30-foot high gilded image of Maitreya Buddha.
Then stroll around the back alleys of the Barkhor Street of Old Lhasa. The streets smelled of yak butter and incense while hordes of pilgrims shuffled along the main Kora (circumambulations) around Jokhang Temple. If someone just walked at a normal pace, one kora would take about 15-20 minutes.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 3: Visit Drepung and Sera Monastery
In the morning, you will have a tour for Drepung Monastery, the ever-largest monastery with more than 10 thousand monks, Buddhist debates often occur there. Seen from afar, its grand, white construction gives the monastery the appearance of a heap of rice. As such, it was given its name which, in the Tibetan language, means Monastery of Collecting-Rice. Learn about the lives of Tibetan monks there.
In the afternoon, you are going to visit Sera Monastery, have a little hike for the beautiful valley scenery nearby and picnic there. Sera monastery was created in 1419 and has always been an important Buddhist seminary. As rose are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called “the court of wild rose”. Today still 200 lamas live in there. You may have the chance to watch the famous Monks Debate (usually from 15:00 to 17:00) before returning to Lhasa.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 4: Drive to Gyantse
Today, you will leave for Gyantse. There are many attractions to see along the way. Yamdrok Lake is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. It is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains. According to local legend, Yamdrok Lake is the incarnation of the goddess. You can see magnificent Karola Glacier by going westward along the lake. At last arrive in Gyantse, the was third largest city of Tibet.
Stay overnight in Gyantse.
Day 5: Drive to Sakya
In the Morning, after sightseeing the famous Gyantse Kumbum in Gyantse, you will departure to Shigatse to visit Tashilhunpo Monastery. It is the largest temple in Shigatse, and you can see the world’s largest gold gilded bronze statue of future Buddha in there. In the afternoon, you will head for Sakya county to sightsee Sakya monastery. It is surrounded by high black colored walls with watch towers on all four corners.
Stay overnight in Sakya.
Day 6: Drive to Gyirong
Today, you will head for Gyirong, where you will leave from China. On the way, you can enjoy the stunning scene of Himalaya and Gangdise Mountain.
Stay overnight in Gyirong.
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 cars or buses are parking here to pick up travelers; 3,000 Nepali Rupee for a taxi rental to Kathmandu (around US$ 50), 50 Nepali Rupee (around US$ 1) for a bus seat. Tour ends at the border in Tibet side.
Optional Service: Our company provide Kodari (Nepal border) to Kathmandu private transfer service at 150USD/car, if you need, please ask it from your travel adviser.
All Tours in Kathmandu and Lhasa
* Pick up from hotel before the tour
* Drop off to hotel after the tour finish
* All Entrance Fees of tourist attractions listed in the itinerary
* One Dinner included in Lhasa
* Local English Speaking Tour guide
* AC comfortable tourist Vehicle
* All Hotels in the tour are included. We choose best value 3 star hotels with good location for you. All hotels include breakfast.
* Tibet Travel Permit, Alien's Travel Permit.
* Chinese Visa Invitation letter Application service
* Airport-Hotel pick up and drop off service in Lhasa and Kathmandu
* Meals except breakfast are not included, check the meals plan
* Round way flight tickets Kathmandu - Lhasa - Kathmandu flight tickets
* Chinese Visa fee paid to Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu is not included
* Chinese Visa application agent service at Kathmandu, 20USD/person is not included
* Additional single supplement for requiring single room for yourself
* Gratuities to tour guide and driver
* Other personal expenses
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.