This is a legendary culture discovery journey to Tibet and Nepal, two distinct destinations holding different regions and customs. You will take the chance to visit the central culture areas in Tsedang, Gyantse and Shigatse, following the wonderful Tibetan monasteries discovery in Lhasa. On the way to Kathmandu by overland, you will further get to see the magnificent Mount Everest and the highest monastery in the world. While in Nepal, you will enjoy the landmark architectures and temples in Kathmandu, and get inspired by the picturesque view in lake city Pokhara.
- Discover Lhasa city with all its best, including the Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple and the Barkhor Street.
- Marvel at the turquoise waters of Yamdrok-tso, one of Tibet’s most sacred lakes.
- Visit Yambulakhang Palace, the first building of Tibet which is built in the 2nd century for Tibetan Kings.
- Climb the dazzling Gyantse Kumbum, a monumental chorten with mural-filled chapels.
- Sleep in nomad tents and gaze upon the north face of Mt. Everest.
- Travel across Nepal to explore the Buddhist culture.
- Enjoy the magnificent Himalayan at the best viewpoint in Nagarkot.
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.Along the way you may view Kyichu River and see Tibetan homes with their trapezoid shaped windows and fluttering prayer flags, and Tibetans walking on 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. Stay at the hotel after arrival for adapting to the high attitude.
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, 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. 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 area 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.
Day 3: Lhasa Tour: Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery
In the morning you'll visit Drepung monastery, which used to be the 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. In Tibetan language, means Monastery of Collecting-Rice. Learn about the lives of Tibetan monks there.
In the afternoon, visit Sera monastery, which 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. Catch the famous debate session of the monks before returning to Lhasa.
Day 4: Lhasa to Tsedang (3500m)
Drive about 4 hours to Tsedang in the morning, which is known as the capital of the ancient Yarlung Kingdom. Take a ferry to cross Yarlung Zangpo River and visit Samye Monastery en route.
The Samye Monastery is the first temple to be built in Tibet and the first contains three Buddhist jewels of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. With these unique features, this splendid temple has become an attraction for visitors from near and far. Then continue to visit Tsedang.
Stay overnight in Tsedang
Day 5: Tsedang Tour - Yambulakhang Palace, Trundruk Monastery
Drive 7kms to visit Yambulakhang Palace, the first building of Tibet which is built in the 2nd century for Tibetan Kings. It situates on a summit of a small hill on the east bank of the Yarlung River.
Then drive to explore the burial tombs of Tibetan Kings. We will also visit Trundruk Monastery in the afternoon.
Stay overnight in Tsedang
Day 6: Tsedang to Gyantse
Drive about 300km to Gyantse. Passing by the green farmland of Nyangchu Valley, Yamdrok lake, Karo-la glacier roadside at 4960m, we move westwards to the traditional Tibet town, Gyantse.
The most important attraction for today is Yamdrok Lake and Kubum Monastery in Gyantse. From the top of the pass Kangpa-la at 4700m high, you can see the fabulous shade of deep turquoise Yamdrok Lake if the weather is clear. Kubum monastery has a 35m-high chorten (stupa) with its white layers trimmed with decorative stripes and its crown-like golden dome.
Stay overnight in Gyantse
Day 7: Gyantse-Shigatse-Sakya
In the morning, we drive towards Shigatse. In Shigatse, you will visit the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery where you can see the well-preserved largest statue of Jampa (future Buddha) in the world. This monastery is the seat of Tibet's second highest incarnation, the Panchen Lama.
In the afternoon, we drive to the Sakya county where tourists can visit the famous Sakya Monastery. It was founded in 1073 and was the principal monastery of the Sakya sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Sakya monastery consists of two parts, northern and southern monastery. The Northern monastery is only visible as a ruin while Southern monastery was built like a fortress, surrounded by a moat.
Stay overnight in Sakya
Day 9: Exit Tibet via Gyirong Border to Kathmandu
In the morning, our Tibetan guide will escort you to Gyirong border. Then, 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.
After you get to Nepal side, please find our guide. The guide will accompany you in a comfortable vehicle to the hotel in downtown (7-8hours’ ride) and help you with the check-in procedure. The rest of the day is left for you to have a good rest or to become familiar with the capital city of Nepal by yourself.
Day 8: Sakya - Gyirong Port
Drive to Gyirong Port. Pass Mount Shishapangma (26,286 feet) on the way and cross two major passes - the Lalung La (16,811 feet) and the Nyalam Ton La, also known as the "pass to hell” at 17,060 feet. Below Nyalam, the road descends steeply into the river valley of the Bhote Kosi. The flourishing border town of Gyirong clings to the mountainside with the highway crisscrossing between homes and storefronts.
Stay overnight in Gyirong
Day 10: Kathmandu Sightseeing
Start the morning with a visit to the Katmandu Durbar Square. As the most noted square in Katmandu, the square assembles many splendid ancient buildings between 16th and 19th century, including over 50 temples and palaces.The magnificent Nepal architecture, exquisite decorations and numerous historical items will show you the unique culture of Nepal.
Then continue to visit the Swayambhunath Pagoda, one of the oldest Buddhist holy lands and famous for the glistening pagoda. Your next destination is the Buddhanikantha Temple, where you will see the huge statue of Vishnu lying on the giant snake Ananta. Today's visit will end up with the Bouddhanath Stupa which is about 11 km (7 miles) from the city center of Katmandu and is the largest spherical stupa in the world.
Stay overnight in Kathmandu
Day 11: Kathmandu Sightseeing
After breakfast, you will visit the oldest Hinduism Temple in Katmandu, the Pashupatnath Temple. Although the temple is only open to the Hindus, you can still see the splendid buildings on the viewing platform across the river.
Then proceed to the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Bhaktapur means the city of devotees. About 19 kilometers (about 12 miles) from Katmandu, the Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the best model of Nepalese craftsmanship. The highlight of the square is the royal palace with its 55 windows of brick and wood, and the Golden Gate, carved with the portrait of Goddess Durga.
Afterward, head for another famous square, the Patan Durbar Square, where you will pay a visit to the Golden Temple, one of the most famous Vihara in Katmandu Valley.
Day 12: Nagarkot to Pokhara (230 kms, 6 hours’ drive)
Have breakfast at Hotel. Appreciate the sunrise and spectacular view of snow-capped mountains and drive from Nagarkot straight to Pokhara by private car and stay overnight in Pokhara.
Nagarkot: Situated about 35 km east of Kathmandu city, Nagarkot is the nearest panoramic view point and from here one can see the beautiful view of the Himalayan peaks. Nagarkot is located between Kathmandu valley in the west and Indrawati in the east. The top of Nagarkot commands accelerating views in all directions. The altitude of Nagarkot is 2229-m/7133m above sea level. Eve: Walk around Nagarkot for 1-2 hours. Sunset view over the Himalayas – if the weather permits.
Stay overnight in Pokhara
Day 13: Leisure time at Pokhara
Early morning excursion to Sarangkot to view the spectacular scene of the sun rising out of the mountain peaks. At an elevation of just under 1,600 metres, Sarangkot is perched on a high ridge to the northwest of Pokhara and has panoramic mountain views from Dhaulagiri and across the Annapurnas to Manalsu, as well as south over the Pokhara Valley. Sunrise - subject to weather.
In the morning we do the Sightseeing tour in Pokhara City. The World Peace Pagoda can be seen on top of a hill on the southern fringe of Phewa Lake. It has four images of the Buddha facing the four directions. The dome-shaped pagoda is an impressive sight, and its hilltop location commands a great view. It is a great vantage point which offers spectacular views of the Annapurna.
In the afternoon, we do the Boating at Phewa Lake. The center of attraction in Pokhara is the Phewa Lake - the second largest lake in the Kingdom. It is the largest and most enchanting of the three lakes that add to the resplendence of Pokhara. Here, one can sail or row a hired boat across to the water or visit the island temple in the middle. The favorite home base for travelers is the eastern shore You can do some outdoor activities like paragliding, helicopter in Pokhara, cost is not included in the package.
Day 14: Pokhara to Kathmandu (200 kms, 5 hours’ drive)
Drive back to Kathmandu after breakfast. Transfer to hotel and stay overnight.
Day 15: Kathmandu Departure
You will be transferred to the International airport to connect onward flight.
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.