Good News: Gyirong Border has been opening in 2023. You can book the 7 days Kathmandu to Lhasa overland tour now. As a local-based tour operator in Tibet, we guarantee you the best Kathmandu to Lhasa experience at the best price!
Embarking on a journey from Nepal to Tibet is a popular way to experience the magic of the holy land on the high plateau. Covering a distance of approximately 160 kilometers, the route leads up to the Gyirong Border, where the adventure begins. If high altitude prevents you from visiting Mount Everest Base Camp, our 7-day Kathmandu to Lhasa tour is a suitable alternative. Or, for those who are interested in EBC, you’d better take 8 Days Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland Adventure Tour with EBC Experience.
Over the first two days, you will travel from Kathmandu to Rashuwaghadi and cross the border into Tibet via the Gyirong Border. From there, you will continue your adventure to Tingri, with a stop at the captivating Sakya Monastery. Later, you'll head to Shigatse, where you'll have the opportunity to visit the impressive Tashilhunpo Monastery, explore the turquoise waters of Yamdrok Lake, and have a glimpse of the breathtaking beauty of the Karola Glacier on your way to Lhasa. In the holy city of Lhasa, you'll witness the grandeur of its attractions, including the world-renowned Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and Sera Monastery. Throughout your journey, you'll travel in comfort and at a smooth pace, ensuring ample time to fully immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring scenery and cultural treasures of Tibet.
Gyirong Border (1 Day)
Tingri (1 Day)
Shigatse (1 Day)
Shannan & Gyantse (1 Day)
Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier
Lhasa (3 Days)
Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery
Altitude: 2700 meters | Distance: 130 km, about 6 hours’ drive
In the morning, you'll be accompanied by a local guide and driver as they pick you up from your hotel in Kathmandu. From there, you'll head towards Rashuwaghadi, situated near the border on the Nepalese side. As you travel along the winding mountain road, you'll be treated to primitive views of cascading waterfalls, flowing rivers, majestic gorges, and lush forests.
In this evening, you will stay overnight at a local guesthouse in Rashuwaghadi.
Altitude: 5000 meters | Distance: 300km, about 5-6 hours’ drive
After breakfast, you will be transported to the border for entry into China, where you will be greeted by your local guide and driver on the Chinese side. Upon passing through the Gyirong Border, you will continue your trip to Tingri. As you pass Tongla Pass (5100m), you can take a glimpse of the stunning Himalaya Mountain range.
Stay overnight in Tingri.
The Friendship Highway is an 800-kilometre scenic route that connects Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, to the Chinese/Nepalese border at the Sino-Nepal Friendship Bridge between Zhangmu and Kodari. (Note: Currently, the Zhangmu Port is primarily used for freight, while Gyirong Port is used for tourism.)
Altitude: 5200 meters | Distance: 360 km, about 5-6 hours’ drive
As you travel from Tingri to Shigatse, you will be able to view the vast plain of Shigatse. Along the way, you will visit Sakya Monastery, the seat of the Sakya sect of Tibetan Buddhism, which is one of the four main Buddhist schools in Tibet. Founded in 1073 by Konchok Gyalpo, a disciple of the famous Indian Buddhist teacher Atisha, the monastery's outer walls are painted with red, white, and gray, symbolizing Avalokitesvara, Manjushri, and Vajrapani. One of the most notable features of Sakya Monastery is its extensive library, which boasts a vast collection of Buddhist scriptures, commentaries, and other texts. Considered one of the largest and most important Buddhist libraries in the world, it is said to have the largest book in the world, written in gold.
After the tour, transfer to Shigatse and accommodate there.
In this morning, you will take a visit to Tashilhunpo Monastery. Founded by His Holiness the 1st Dalai Lama, Gyalwa Gedun Drup in 1447, Tashihunpo Monastery is the largest monastery in Tsang Area, Tibet. In Tashi Lumpo Monastery, you can unveil the traditional seat of successive Panchen Lamas, Tibet's second-highest incarnation. Pay a visit to the ancient tombs of the fourth and tenth Panchen Lama and the chortens, which hold the bones and remains of the sacred Tibetan lamas. Learn more from your guide about Panchen Lamas and Dalai Lamas while appreciating the brilliant religious painting on Tibetan architecture, listening to the Tibetan Buddhism chanting by local monks, and even participating in the kora like locals. Don’t forget to hike up to the top of the monastery and have a stunning bird view of the monastery itself and Shigatse City.
Next, you will transfer from Shigatse to Lhasa via Gyantse. Pass the Manak Dam Lake and you can hang pray flags at Simila Mountain Pass. After that, you can view one of the most beautiful glaciers in Tibet - Karola Glacier on the roadside, the filming location of the movie "Red Valley" (Hong He Gu). As one of Tibet's three major continental glaciers, backed by the southern slope of Naiqin Kangsang Peak (7,191 meters), one of the four highest peaks in Tibet, this white glacier is also the source of the eastern part of the Nianchu River. And also marvel at breathtaking view of Yamdrok Lake, a freshwater lake down below, as well as spectacular views of the holy Mt. Nyenchen Khangsar in the distance.
After the tour, drive to Lhasa and accommodate here.
Today you will explore Lhasa for its brilliant architectures, culture, and history, then stroll through the famous Barkhor Street with locals and experience the daily kora life of Tibetans.
In the morning, you can walk up to the Potala Palace to explore. Not only is it the landmark of Tibet, but it is also the traditional residence and winter palace of the Dalai Lama (1649-1959). After climbing 365 steps from the gate of the Potala Palace to reach the Red Palace, you will arrive at the highest palace in the world at an altitude of 3,700m, where you can enjoy an excellent panoramic view of Lhasa city. As you explore the principal halls, chapels, and shrines of past Dalai Lamas in the Red Palace, you will be amazed and moved by its remarkable paintings, gorgeous jeweled works, skilled carving, colorful ornamentation, and the mystery stories behind the treasures. Inside the Potala Palace, you will meet many Tibetan pilgrims who come from afar to pray at this sacred site, making it a lifetime destination for them. You can also ask your guide to provide more stories about Songtsen Gampo, the 33rd king of Tibet, who first built the Potala Palace in the 7th century for his marriage to Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty. Please note that the visit order may be adjusted based on the visiting time specified on your Potala Palace ticket. All visitors are required to visit the palace with a tour group and remain inside for one hour. Please be advised that photography is prohibited inside the palace.
After exploring the Potala Palace Museum, move to the 1300-year-old Jokhang Temple, the spiritual center of Tibet and a world cultural heritage site. It is said that the Jokhang Monastery is built for King Songtsen Gampo's two brides: Chinese Princess Wencheng and Nepal Princess Bhrikuti. "Jokhang" means "House of Buddha", it houses the statue of the life-size 12-year-old Sakyamuni which is the treasure of the Buddhism world. That is why Buddhist pilgrims take it as the holiest destination. The time seems to stand still when you watch them pray in front of the temple during the day and night.
Afterward, take a walk on busy Barkhor Street near the Jokhang Monastery, which was a place for Buddhists to do a kora (pilgrim circuit) in ancient times. Nowadays, it has become a thriving local market where you can drink a pot of yak butter tea, dress in Tibetan clothes for photos, and pick up some local Tibetan, Nepalese, and Indian handicrafts and souvenirs.
Today you will enjoy the culture tour of Lhasa via a visit to two of the "great three" Gelug university monasteries of Tibet, the Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery.
In the morning, drive about 35min (12km) to visit Drepung Monastery which was the largest Tibetan monastery (Gelug Sect, Yellow Hat) in Lhasa. It used to be Dalai Lama’s palace before he moved to the Potala Palace in the 17th century. Now it is famous for Drepung Shoton Festival held each August, people come to offer yogurt to the monks who finished the 100 days’ meditation while enjoying the grandest Buddha (thangka) unfolding ceremony. Besides the unique architecture and amazing buildings, you can watch monks debating in Tibetan Buddhism vibrant and active with expansive gestures, clapping, and stamping. After Drepung Temple, you will have about a 2-hour Tibetan culture tour, which includes an introduction, Tibetan incense making, and block printing.
In the afternoon, drive another 40min (14km) to visit Sera Monastery. Step on one of the most beautiful monastery compounds, and its white stone roads and walkways makes you feel almost Mediterranean. The highlight of Sera Monastery is watch the monks’ debate at around 15:00 - 17:00 (except Sundays). It is an interesting form of debate, you can see one monk, the questioner, standing while the answerer or group of answerers, sitting. The standing monk will ask question and slap his palms and stomp, each action has its special meaning, such as activating wisdom, and are not meant to be aggressive.
After that, be escorted back to your hotel in Lhasa.
It is time to end your 7-day Nepal Tibet overland tour. You will have some free time in Lhasa and explore more on your own till your guide escorts you to the airport/train station for your flight or train to your next destination.
Extension Ideas: If you prefer to travel longer in Tibet, you can extend your trip to other highlighted parts of Tibet, including Namtso Lake, Mount Kailash and Ancient Guge Kingdom. Tell us your likes.
Thank you for choosing Asia Odyssey Travel for your China tour, and we are always here working for you and hope to see you again for your next trip to China/Asia. Safe journey!
(Based on a private tour for two people. Price varies depending on program, travel date, number of people.)
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