Tibet Overland Tour starting from the Mainland China is the opportunity of a lifetime, no wonder it scores high on the bucket list of most travelers. Tibet is often called the Roof of the World, because it is situated on a high plateau north of the Himalayan range in the western part of China. For centuries it was nearly impossible for foreigners to enter, which created a mysterious image of Tibet and its unique culture. Our trip takes you to a memorable adventure, offering you the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of Tibet, the serenity and wisdom of its Buddhist culture, and the chance to see how Tibetan people – nomads and farmers – manage to make a living in this harsh environment. Either you plan a spiritual journey, a pilgrimage, a cultural tour or dreaming about seeing Mt. Everest and the Himalayan range, this trip has it all.
From the temples and monasteries in and around Lhasa, you will travel through high mountain passes of Tibet, visit the famous turquoise lake, the soul-lake of Tibet, learn about traditional life in Gyantse, visit the Panchen Lamas residence in Shigatse, and cross the Trans-Himalayan range sighting the Everest, the highest peak of the world. The current itinerary is based on the recommendations from our experts and feedback from travelers who made Tibet Overland Tour with us in the last few years. We hope to welcome you soon on your adventure of a lifetime!
Inspired to go? Have a look at other Tibet trips offered by Royal Mountain Travel
|Arrival at Lhasa
|Visit Drepung, Nechung, Norbulinkha & Sera Monastery in Lhasa city
|Walking tour of Potala, Jokhang and Barkhor including guide only
|Lhasa Free Day-No guide services
|Drive to Gyantse via Yamdrok Tso and Karo La
|Visit Pelkor Chode and Drive to Shigatse. Visit Tashilumpo Monastery
|Drive to Shegar via Sakya Gompa
|Drive Excursion Trek to Rombuk
|Drive to Lower Kyirong via Paiko Tso.
|Cross Border at Rasuwa Gadi and drive to Trishuli
|Drive to Patan
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1. Beijing (by train Z2/T27 to Lhasa)
2. Chengdu (by flight CA4401 to Lhasa)
3. Kathmandu (by flight…….)
Entrance fees required to pay during the tour:
1. Beijing (by train Z2/T27 to Lhasa)
2. Chengdu (by flight CA4401 to Lhasa)
3. Kathmandu (by flight…….)
Entrance fees required to pay during the tour:
The additional entrance fees in Tibet amounts to approximate CNY 705 per person (These are the tentative rates and may vary at the time of visit)
Accommodation in Lhasa is on twin share and deluxe rooms. In Gyantse, Shigatse, Shegar and Kyirong are available on twin share in the best available hotels in the respective town. Depending upon the availability the bathrooms and restrooms may be either shared or private facilities. Generally in this tour, accommodation will be provided on twin sharing basis and if you do not have single room bookings you may have to share rooms with another fellow passenger.
Meals are not included. Please allow Euro 10-15 per person per day for normal meals (Breakfast, lunch & Dinner) In Lhasa there is also quite a variety, although not as extensive as in Kathmandu. Elsewhere in Tibet the variety is much more limited. We would like to recommend must try dishes in Tibet – Tsampa (barley flour mixed with yak butter) & Yak butter tea. An alternative to yak butter tea is Cha Ngamo, a sweet, milky tea. Chinese green tea is also widely available. Chang, a fermented barley beer is the local alcoholic brew. It is generally OK to drink, however may be made with contaminated water.
In the high altitude of Tibet it is important to drink a much higher quantity of water than you are used to. Always carry drinking water with you and have some nearby at nights, as it is amazing how quickly you can dehydrate, even at rest. Tap water is not safe to drink, however there may be a thermos provided in the rooms. Boiled water is OK for drinking. Bottled drinking water is available everywhere, however we recommend taking water purification tablets or a bottle with an inbuilt filter as these are more environmentally-friendly options than bottled water.
You will be met at Gongkar airport or Lhasa train station on arrival and accompanied in Tibet by an English speaking guide. It is a TTB regulation that you be accompanied by a guide when traveling outside Lhasa. Guides in Tibet are licensed and controlled by the Tibetan Tourist Bureau and vary enormously influence and knowledge. Whilst we maintain a core of trained guides, there may be times when the selection is outside our control. The Physical Reality The remote type of travel that we experience in parts of Tibet can be physically demanding and the effect that this will have on you, both physically and mentally should not be underestimated. Breakdown can occur. The terrain is very mountainous and you may be affected by altitude. It is rare that these occurrences results in more than minor delay or have serious impact on your trip, but the possibility remains.
Tours in Tibet takes you into areas well away from the usual tourist trail and into a world very, very different to that you know. There are places in Tibet, where accommodation is very basic with limited access to running water, no shower for several days, pit toilets, simple food and little spoken or written English. Opportunities to ‘get away’ from the group are limited: patience,
Tolerance and humor will be required by all. All this can and does its toll on people and should not be underestimated– the rewards however are incredible.
Email: Private internet bars can be found in main cities. Alternatively, you can use business centers in China Telecom offices. Some websites have been blacklisted by the Chinese government and cannot be accessed from within China.
Be careful making international calls from hotels as they can be very expensive. Private telecom booths are cheaper and easy to use. To make international calls you will need a phone card bought from inside Tibet. All cities and even smaller towns have mobile phone reception if your phone is enabled with international roaming.
Receiving post is not recommended as we are usually doing something or traveling during the opening hours of most post offices. Allow up to 10 days for mail to arrive at international destinations. Write-in the address in Chinese can help speed delivery.
The most common items you will find are religious item such as prayer flags, prayer wheels, Thankas, shawls and daggers. Traditional clothing and Jewellery are also available. Sometimes you will be able to find beautiful carpets available. Expect to bargain. Being polite while doing so will get you a better deal.
It is best to bring a mixture of cash and travelers cheques in major currencies – USD, CAD, EUR, AUD – and ensure you have a mixture of large and small denominations. Everyone’s spending is different, but as a guide, we suggest USD 20-25 per person per day (if you drink or smoke this could be higher). Shopping is difficult to predict, but most people buy more than they
It is essential that you take out comprehensive travel insurance prior to your trek. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency evacuation and repatriation and personal liability. We also recommend that it covers cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
There are no specific health requirements for entry into Nepal or China. However, you should consult your doctor for up-to date information regarding vaccinations, high altitude medication and medications for any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst traveling in Nepal and China. Please be aware that medical facilities are not of the same standard you might expect at home. We strongly recommend that you carry a personal First Aid kit as well as sufficient quantities of any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses).
AMS (acute mountain sickness) is a serious issue. It is the result of the failure of the body to adapt to high altitude and can affect anyone, regardless of age or fitness. It usually occurs above 1,800 meters and the likelihood of being affected increases as you ascend. On arrival in Lhasa breathlessness, lethargy and mild headaches are not uncommon and generally decrease
As your body adjusts. Taking it easy at first and maintaining adequate fluid intake is essential. Please advise your guide if you feel more severe symptoms and do not medicate yourself without discussing it with them first.
Tibet is a land of climactic extremes and whilst it is not generally as harsh as expected, it is a good idea to be prepared for cold at any time of the year – it is wind chill rather than air temperature that makes the difference here. In central Tibet weather is usually mild from May through October. Evenings may be cool, particularly early or late in the season. Rain is frequent in July and August. In Western Tibet and at higher altitudes (Rhongphu, Namtso) it can be cold at any time of year if the wind is blowing off the mountains. From December into April travel in Tibet is possible, although you must be prepared for delays if passes become blocked by snow. Trekking is not possible at this time.
Packing for your Trip:
• Comfortable shoes & Socks
• Fleece jacket or equivalent. It can get cold, even in summer
• Comfortable, informal clothing (shorts & singlet tops are not appropriate)
• Hat – a good idea as the sun is very strong
• Gloves – wool or fleece & Scarf
• Thermal Underwear
• Sarong – a multitude of uses
• Sewing kit & Swiss Army Knife
• Money belt
• Toiletries (including lip slave and moisturizer)
• Torch / flashlight – headlamp style is ideal
• First Aid Kit
• Small Towel
• Small umbrella or rain jacket (June-August particularly)
• Sheet sleeping bag (you may feel more comfortable in some of the more basic guest houses where laundry is not a priority
Royal Mountain Travel is a Nepal-based sustainable tourism operator. We specialize in curating once-in-a-lifetime experiences to showcase indigenous and community based tourism projects. We work with travel agents and tourism companies to help plan travel experiences that highlight authentic, local lifestyles throughout some of the most unique landscapes on earth.
Arrival at Lhasa
Today is the arrival day and no other activities are planned for the day except for group meeting. Appointed Guide will be receiving all group members from the airport or train station and assisting them in checking in hotel in Lhasa. Once all group members are received, guide will do the needful preparation for the first group meeting where he will be briefing all about the trips, do’s and don’ts etc.
Visit Drepung, Nechung, Norbulinkha & Sera Monastery in Lhasa city
Sightseeing Drepung Monastery
Drepung means rice-heap which comes from the Sanskrit Dhanyakataka, the name of stupa in south India where the Buddha first taught the Kalachakra Tantra. The monastery is located 8 km west of Lhasa. With an area of over 20,000 sqm, its principal buildings are the Tshomchen, the four main tratsangs, and the Ganden Potrang. Each of these has its own residential units, Khangstens and other functional buildings. The major structures follow a simple architectural plan. Each consists of a courtyard, a large hall and inner chapels. Dominated by a high ridge known as Gephel Utse, Drepung was founded by Jamyang Choje in 1416. This celebrated yellow hat lama was born near Samye to a wealthy family (a childhood friend donated large sums for the building of Drepung). With the contribution of rich families and feudal lords, he announced plans to create a great monastery One year after commencement, the monastery had become home to 2000 monks. By the time of the Fifth Dalai lama (1617-82), its population had grown to a staggering 10,000 monks. Pilgrims move through the complex in a clockwise sequence from the parking lot fronting the main entrance: Ganden Potrang, Tshomchen, Ngagpa Tratsang, Jamyang Lhakhang, Loseling Tratsang, Gomang Tratsang, and the Deyang Tratsang.
Sightseeing Norbuinkha – The Summer Palace
The summer palace of the Dalai Lamas, Norbulinka (or Treasure Garden) is a quiet and beautiful manor house. It proudly boasts a great display of high-altitude flora and is a popular summer picnic ground.
Sightseeing Sera Monastery
Sera Monastery is one of the Gelugpa’s six great monasteries (the other five are Drepung, Ganden, Tashilumpo, Labrang, and Kumbum). Sera lie at the base of Phurpa Chok Ri, a mountain of the Tatipu Range that defines the northern limit of Lhasa city. It was founded in 1419 by Sakya Yeshe (1355-1435), a principle disciple of Tsong Khapa. The complex today, a veritable monastic city, occupies a site of nearly 12 hectares. It is made up of the Tsokchen Great hall), three tratsangs, and 30 Khangstens. A Khangsten is a residential compound with chapels reserved for monks coming from different areas of Tibet, whereas a Tratsang is a college that offers specialized studies, headed by its own abbot (Khenpo). It was a vital center for religious activity and Sera boasted over 5,000 monks and novices. It is one the best-preserved monasteries in Tibet, its principal buildings were in explicably spared during the Cultural Revolution. Pilgrims follow a well-trodden route when they visit the main chapels. The basic clockwise sequence is Sera Me, Ngagpa Tratsang, Sera Je, Hamdong Khangsten, Tsokchen, Tsong Khapa’s hermitage.
Walking tour of Potala, Jokhang and Barkhor including guide only
Walking Tour of Lhasa and exploration including guide only.
The Potala Palace towers over Lhasa and is an enduring landmark of Tibet. Little remains of the original structure built by Songtsen Gampo other than its foundations. After climbing its impressive stairway, you will see audience halls and the living quarters of the Dalai Lamas, some exceptional relics, stupas, three dimensional mandalas, numerous statues. After Lhasa was reinstated as the capital of Tibet in the 17th century, the Great 5th Dalai Lama began construction of the White Palace (built 1645 – 53) employing 7000 workers and 1500 artisans.
The Jokhang Temple is 1300-year-old, a golden-roofed building at the center of the Barkhor Market. The most sacred and active Tibetan temples, it was founded by Bhrikuti, King Songtsen Gampo’s Nepalese bride, on a site chosen by his other wife (a Tang dynasty Chinese princess, Wenchang) as the principal geomantic power – place in Tibet.
With a special circled street and a public square, Barkhor Street is located around Jokhang Temple in the old district of Lhasa City, featuring with pure city life pattern and unique architectural style. It is not just a holy ritual walk path for pilgrims to worship and do the kora, rather, it also gains its reputation for the paradise in which delicate Tibetan foods and products are served. Every day, crows of traders and peddlers come to the Street and set up their booths to sell exquisite hand-made commodities and a great number of shops with Tibetan characteristics open for business. Gradually, Barkhor Street has been widely accepted as the most vibrant Barkhor Bazaar in Lhasa or even in Tibet.
Lhasa Free Day-No guide services
Today, is a free day in Lhasa. However due to uncertainty in policy of Tibet Government, please do check with your guide about the possibilities of going around freely. Should you be interested in visiting other places of interest, you may consult with your guide.
Drive to Gyantse via Yamdrok Tso and Karo La
Today’s drive is 254 km from Lhasa, yet scenic as you cross the Khamba La, Karo La (passes) along the shores of a stunning view of Lake Yamdrok Tso.
Gyantse (3950m) was a once important trading town between Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet and still retains the charm of old Tibet. Walking around in its backstreets you will soon feel teleported into medieval times; or climb up to the impressive hilltop fortress (dzong) where, in 1904, locals held out against the vastly superior forces of the invading British army for almost six months.
Visit Pelkor Chode and Drive to Shigatse. Visit Tashilumpo Monastery
Pelkhor Choede Monastery
In the morning, visit Pelkhor Choede Monastery. The main temple of Pelkhor Chode, the Tsuklakhang was built 1418– 1425 by the prince of Gyantse. It was an eclectic academy with 16 dralsang (colleges) belonging variously to Sakya, Butonpa, Geluk and Kagyu schools. All the dralsang buildings have been destroyed, however the main assembly hall was preserved along with its remarkable (15th images and Murals). The top chamber is decorated with fantastic mandalas in Sakya tradition.
After visit, you drive to Shigatse which stands at the confluence of Nyangchu and Brahmaputra Rivers. Shigatse is Tibet’s 2nd largest city.
In Shigatse, you will visit Tashilumpo Monastery which was founded in 1447 by a nephew and disciple of Tsongkhapa who was retroactively named the first Dalai Lama.
Drive to Shegar via Sakya Gompa
You continue your journey towards Shegar via Sakya town. Sakya is the principal seat of Sakya School and as such played dominant role in the political and religious history of Tibet in the 13th and 14th century. The architecture and colouring of both Sakya town and gompa are distinctive. The name ‘Sakya’ means “light coloured earth” and it comes from the white patch on the hillside opposite the main temple complex.
Drive Excursion Trek to Rombuk
You will turn off the friendship highway for a stunning drive through Qomolangma National Park, and reach the Rombuk valley by the afternoon for your first glimpse of Mt. Everest. Qomolangma in the local tongue meaning the “Queen of the mountain range”. The best views you get from the tiny Tibetan monastery, Rombuk Gompa (5100 m). After exploration of Rombuk, you will drive back to Shegar for your overnight stay.
Drive to Lower Kyirong via Paiko Tso.
Today you wake up in the morning with the sighting of Mt. Everest – where else can you do this – Unbeatable – Amazing – The North Face of Mount Everest (8848.86m) or Mount Qomolangma in Tibetan is face to face with you. Later on, you continue your drive towards Lower Kyirong which is 257 kms and takes 6 -7 hours on road, driving past the beautiful lake in Tibetan plateau Paiko Tso Lake along some high-altitude mountain passes with a magnificent view of Mt. Sishapangma and Chyo Yu.
Cross Border at Rasuwa Gadi and drive to Trishuli
Today you will continue your drive towards Nepal-Tibet border. Kyirong or Gyirong Port (Rasuwa Port on Nepal side) is located about 160 km from Kathmandu, capital of Nepal and about 820 Km from Lhasa. At the border, you walk across the bridge joining Nepal and Tibet. Your local guide will receive you at the Kyirong border and assist you for necessary immigration formalities in Nepal part. Later you continue our journey towards Trishuli where you can rest for the night. The road connecting the border and Trishuli town is adventurous and you can expect to have a bumpy ride.
Drive to Patan
Today, you head onto Patan driving along Prithivi Highway. You’ll drive through lush green forest alongside Trishuli river on the curvy roads towards Patan, an incredibly diverse, historic city with amazing architecture, exquisite wood carvings and metal craft which showcase the skills of the Newar artisans of centuries ago.
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