Tibet to Nepal 4WD Expedition via the Base Camp of Mt. Everest
- Stay at the Mt. Everest base camp, where you will get up close and personal with Mt. Everest, the world’s tallest mountain
- Visit the holy shrines and temples of Tibetan Buddhism in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, as well as others across Tibet
- You will have the opportunity to do some in-depth exploring around the Tibetan Plateau, known as the “rooftop of the world” and a region that has captured the hearts and minds of people around the world
- Take some time to tour Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal and one of the world’s most fascinating and mysterious cities. It also is an important center in the practice of Tibetan Buddhism
AVAILABLE MAY 10 THROUGH OCTOBER 10.
(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
Day 1 arrive in Lhasa
You will fly to Gongga airport and arrive in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region (the altitude is 3680m). Upon arrival you’ll be met by your English-speaking guide, and you’ll be driven into the city, which takes about 1.5 hours. After lunch, we recommend that you rest and take it easy the rest of the day in order to get our body acclimated to the sharp change in altitude and environment. You will spend the night in the Lhasa Hotel, or in accommodation of similar repute.
Day 2 Lhasa (B, L, D)
Today will be a full day of touring the best sights in Lhasa. After breakfast, we will go to the Potala Palace, which is the most renowned highlight of Lhasa. The world famous Potala Palace is located on Moburi (Red) Mountain, to the west of old Lhasa. It is a huge treasure house of materials and articles from Tibetan history, religion, culture and art. The palace is widely known for the precious sculptures, murals, scriptures, Buddha statues, murals, antiques, and religious jewelry housed within. They are of great cultural and artistic value. In 1994, the Potala Palace was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. It was originally built in the 640s, during the reign of King Songtsan Gampo of Tibet. The Potala has been a sacred place for hundreds of years. Thousands of pilgrims from Tibet, other parts of China and abroad come every year to pay homage. Their devotion is shown by the difficult journeys they have to make to reach “the City of the Gods".
Our next stop will be at the Jokhnag Temple. Located in the center of old Lhasa city, Jokhang Monastery is the prime seat of the Gelugpa (Yellow) Branch of Tibetan Buddhism. It was originally built in 647 AD. It is said the site was chosen personally by the wife of King Songtsan Gampo, the Tang Princess Wen Cheng. The princess perceived Wutang, a lake in Lhasa, to be a “devil’s heart”, a source of evil, and had it filled in and the temple built on the site to counteract evil forces. It was built by craftsmen from Tibet, China and Nepal and thus features different architectural styles. Jokhang means "House of Buddha". Jokhang Temple is the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest destination for all Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims.
A short walk from the Jokhang Temple is Barkhor Street. The Barkhor (pilgrims’ circuit) is found in the heart of Lhasa encircling the Jokhang Temple. It is the earliest remaining street in Lhasa. It bustles with activity and is always jam-packed with traders and hawkers. It is a "must" for souvenir-hunting tourists. Many people call the Barkhor "the window of Tibet" as it exhibits a typical Tibetan life. The old circumambulation circuit is always crowded with pilgrims from everywhere. Some are monks, and some are businessmen from Kham, a region encompassing East Tibet and part of Sichuan Province. Here you will find people from all over Tibet. You can experience different styles of dress and languages. Even the similar-looking clothes of the monks vary depending on the different branches of Buddhism they practice.
The rest of your evening can be spent further exploring the old city center of Lhasa, and your night will be spent at the same hotel as before.
Day 3 Lhasa (B, L, D)
Today will be our second day further exploring Lhasa, a city that has captured the hearts and imaginations of adventurers and dreamers all over the world. Our first stop will be at the Sera Monastery, the last of the three principal Gelupka, or Yellow Hat, Buddhist monasteries to be built in Lhasa. Sera has been listed as one of the China's National Cultural Relics since 1982. Sera comprises a great sutra chanting hall, a college and 32 sections. It once housed nearly 10,000 monks, and is proud of its glorious history during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Sera means hailstone in Tibetan, and legend tells that it hailed during the foundation of this famous monastery.
Next will head on over the Drepung Monastery. Built in 1416, Drepung Monastery is the first of the three principle monasteries of the Gelugpa School of Buddhism. Gelugpa, or Yellow Hat, Buddhism is the branch followed by most Tibetans, and the most influential figure in this faith is the Dalai Lama. Drepung Monastery used to be the living quarters of Dalai Lamas before the reconstruction of the Potala Palace by the Fifth Dalai Lama between 1645 and 1694. Drepung was listed as a national cultural relic in 1982.
In the afternoon we will get to visit Norbulingka, Tibet’s Summer Palace. Norbulingka was built in 1755 and became the place where the successors of the seventh Dalai Lama dealt with affairs, held celebrations, spent the hot season, rested and conducted religious activities. In mid-March every year, the Dalai Lama would move here from the Potala Palace, and stay until the end of October, when he would return to the Potala Palace. So, Norbulingka is called the Summer Palace and the Potala Palace the Winter Palace. The garden covers an area of 46 acres (19 hectares) and the palace has 370 rooms of different sizes. In the garden visitors can worship Buddha, relax and study the Tibetan-style palaces.
You will spend your final night in the same hotel as the previous two nights.
Day 4 Lhasa-Shigatse (by Jeep, 380km/236miles of driving) (B, L, D)
After breakfast in the morning we will travel by vehicle to Shigatse. The journey to Shigatse enters through high mountain passes and along the beautiful shorelines of Yamdrok Tso Lake. Along the way, we will visit some traditional Tibetan villages.
We will stop at Gyangze to visit the Gyangze Dzong, a fortress where 300 Tibetan put up a fight against invading British-Indian troops in 1904. If we have enough time, we will also visit the Gyangze Kumbum for its stunning architecture and murals from the 15th century. We will then resume our journey to Shigatse, and we should arrive by early evening.
We will stay at the Shigatse Hotel, having dinner there, and you are free to spend the night at your own leisure.
Day 5 Shigatse-Tingri (Shegar) (by jeep, 310km/192.6miles, 6 hours of driving) (B, L, D)
After breakfast in the hotel we will drive from to Lhaze in order to visit the Sakya Monastery. Tshilunpo Monastery is located on the southern slope of the Nyima Mountain to the west of the Shigatse city. It represents the Tibetan super architecture art in the Last Tibetan spirit. The monastery attracts thousands of Buddhists and tourists from domestic and abroad to travel and worship every year. Driving on the road far away from Shigatse, from the west city you can see the gold roof of Tashilunpo Monastery shinning under the sunshine. Experiencing five centuries, it still maintains the magnificent vigor. Tashilhunpo Monastery (meaning auspicious) is one of the Six Big Monasteries of Gelugpa (or Yellow Hat Sect) in China and the biggest Tibetan Gelugpa Buddhism monastery in back Tibet area. Also called the Heap of Glory, the monastery is located at the foot of Drolmari (Tara's Mountain), Shigatse.
We will then make the drive to Tingri, which is known for its spectacular views of Mount Everest, Mount Lhotse and Mount Makalu which lie around in what is the highest mountain group in the world. Tingri used to be an important trading post where Sherpas from Nepal exchanged rice, grain and iron for Tibetan wool. livestock and salt. It gives its name to the broad upland basin more than 4,500 meters high that is known as the Tingri Plain.
For the night we will stay at the Zhufeng Hotel, and dinner will be of the local cuisine.
Day 6 Tingri-Qomolangma Base Camp (3 hours by jeep, 90km/56miles) (B, L, D)
We will drive to the Qomolangma (known around the world as Mt. Everest) base camp, and on the way we will stop at the Rongbuk Monastery. The monastery was built in 1899, as a Nyingmapa monastery since it was said that once Padmasambhava, founder of Nyingmapa, preceded his religious cultivation here. The monastery destroyed in the Cultural Revolution, having 8 sub-monasteries including a nunnery, is gradually restored. It houses Lamas and nuns in the same monastery. Sakyamuni and Padmasambhava are enshrined in the small temple. Pilgrims trek a long way to pay votive offerings or see lamas playing operas during big Buddhist days.
The base camp is a series of campsites used by mountain climbers and adventurers when climbing Mt. Everest via the northeast ridge. The clear vistas to the star North Peak of Mt. Everest offered at the Everest Base Camp are far superior to those in neighboring Nepal. Like the would-be conquerors of Everest, we will stay in a tent at the campsite. The tent you will stay in offers the most comfortable and warmest bedding at the site, thanks to the heat from the yak dung stoves! Simple meals, and even canned beer, are offered inside the tent.
Day 7 Qomolangma Base Camp-Zhangmu (B, L, D)
After watching the sunrise over Mt. Everest, and taking in breakfast we will begin our drive to Zhangmu. While most of this day will be spent in the jeep, the scenery outside will keep you more than occupied. Mountains, peaks, ice lakes, and local villages will dot the landscape as we roll on to Zhangmu.
Zhangmu is a customs town and a point of entry on the Nepal-Tibet border, just uphill and across the Bhote Kosi River from the Nepalese town of Kodari. At 2300 meters above sea level, Zhangmu has a mild and humind subtropical climate, highly unusual for Tibet. The Friendship Highway, the celebrated highway route in the Tibetan Plateau, runs through Zhangmu. For the night we will stay in the Zhangmu hotel, with dinner being a sampling of the local cuisine.
Day 8 Zhangmu-Friendship Highway-Kathmandu (B, L, D)
After having breakfast in the hotel, we will hit the road on the legendary Friendship Highway in order to reach Kathamndu, the capital of Nepal. The Friendship Highway is a celebrated route in the Tibetan Plateau, renowned for its scenic wonders.
The highway itself starts (as part of China National Highway 318) from Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, passing the turquoise Yamdrok Lake, before connecting to Shigatse, the home of the Panchen Lama, via Gyantse. Farther west, at Lhazê, the road forks, with one branch continuing west as China National Highway 219 to the city of Ali (Gar) in western Tibet. The other branch (maintaining the Hwy 318 number) continues southwest and then south, past Shegar, New Shegar, and to Rongphu Monastery near Everest Base Camp. From here the road continues on to Zhangmu, the Friendship Bridge at the Nepali border. The road on the Nepalese side of the border, to Kathmandu, is known in Nepal as Arniko Rajmarg.
The scenery on the highway features inspired vistas of the snow-capped Himalayas, vast grasslands and meadows, and other unforgettable sights. The road is also important to pilgrims who make their way from all around Tibet to the spiritual center in Lhasa.
At the border to Nepal, you will meet your new guide, and you will drive on to Kathmandu. You will stay in a 5 star hotel in the city, and the rest of the evening can be spent at your own leisure. You may wander among the local markets and bazaars, while taking in the local street performances if you desire.
Day 9 Kathamndu (B, L, D)
Today we will spend our time touring the best sites in Kathmandu and the surrounding areas. Following breakfast we will first head to Pashupatinath Temple. Pasupatinath ,with an area of 281 hectares is considered one of the holiest shrines of all the Hindu temples. The temple has remained the presiding deity of ruling Nepalese Royalty. Located on the banks of the Bagmati River, this two tiered magnificent golden temple with four triple silver doorways is unique example of the Nepalese temple architecture. It is one of the largest Hindu temple complexes in South Asia with hundreds of Shiva lingams, shrines icons of various Hindu god and goddess insides.
Then we will go to the Boudha Nath Stupa. Located in the routes to trade between Tibet and Nepal, one of the oldest and the biggest Buddhist monuments ever built in Nepal, Boudhanath is an imposing structure standing some 36 meters. The Stupa stands on the massive three level mandala style Platforms surrounded by colorful private family houses. The basic feature of this great stupa is very much like that of Swoyambhunath stupa except its finial displaying. It is much bigger than Swoyambhu stupa and lies on the valley floor whereas the former one stands on the hilltop. This stupa is said to have been built in 5th century A. D.
In the afternoon we will take a short drive to the neighboring city of Paten. Patan is a one of the largest cities in Nepal and is located just across the Bagmati River from Kathmandu. Confusingly, it is also known as Lalitpur, both names deriving from the Sanskrit "Lalitapattan". Like its larger neighbor, Patan also boasts a Durbar Square full of temples, statues, and palaces and, in addition, has the must-see attraction of Patan Museum. As a traditional center of handicrafts, Patan is a great place to purchase jewelry, Buddha statues and masks.
On our way back to Kathmandu we will visit the Swyambhunath Stupa, otherwise known as the Monkey Temple. Located about 3km west of down town Kathmandu, Swoyambhu Nath Stupa is one of the most fascinating architectural jewels of the world. This great Stoup is said to have been built around 250 B.C. The Stupa of Swoyambhunath stands on a typically stylized lotus mandala base-a long time ago believed to have originated from a legendary lake of Kathmandu Valley.This holy site in fact is the massive stupa complex ever built in Nepal. When you reach the famous site of venerated Swayambhu Stupa, you will get magnificent view of Kathmandu Valley and the breathtaking panorama of the northeastern Himalayan range.
The rest of the evening can be spent at your own discretion, and we will spend the evening at the same hotel.
Day 10 Kathmandu (B, L, D)
Today will be another day further exploring the area around Kathmandu. Our first stop will be in the ancient city of Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur is known variously as “City of Culture", "Living Heritage", "Nepal's Cultural Gem", "An open museum" and a City of Devotees”. Bhaktapur is an ancient city and is renowned for its elegant art, fabulous culture, colorful festivals, traditional dances and indigenous lifestyle of Newari community. It is just 12 kilometers east of Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, but gives the feeling of prehistoric times given the ambiance of traditional homes, lifestyles and environment. The conch shaped historic city is spreading over just an area of 6.88 square kilometer at an altitude of 1,401 meters. The city was founded in 12th century by King Anand Dev Malla. Bhaktapur was the capital city of the Greater Malla Kingdom in the Kathmandu Valley till the 15th century AD.
Our prime area if interest in Bhaktapur is the Durbar Sqaure, which has the fascinating structure of palace having 55 windows was the seat of royalty before 1769 AD. The building now houses the National Art Gallery. It has a famous Golden Gate dating back to 1756 AD and is the entrance to the marvelous Taleju Temple Complex and number of artistic courtyards including the Royal Bath pond. The Big Bell in the square was erected by Ranajit Malla (1722-1769), last Malla king of Bhaktapur and was used for paying homage to Goddess Taleju and for assemblies of general public.
We will then make the short drive back to Kathamndu to see Kathmandu Durbar Square. The Durbar Square lies in the heart of Kathmandu. Locally also called as Hanuman Dhoka Palace Square-an ancient seat of the Nepalese Royalty. The Duibar Square Complex consists of a huge Royal Square imposing a tremendous variety of temples dedicated to different Hindu gods and goddess. Most of the buildings we see here date from 15th to 18th century. Some of the important monuments to be seen here are: Taleju temple-, Jagannath temple, Kal Bhairav, Kumari Ghar, Kasthamandap - built from the timber of a single tree.
We’ll then head back to the hotel, where dinner will be a serving of Nepalese fare.
Day 11 Depart Kathmandu
You will have some free time to walk about the city, and then you will be driven to the airport, where you will fly on to your next destination, ending your tour.
Low Boon Chin, Singapore :
On behalf of me and my wife, I would like to thank China Adventure Club for our tour to Tibet.
This trip to Tibet is one which we have wanted to do for a long time. At our age, it is not too much to say, it is likely to be the only trip to Tibet for us. It is therefore important that the trip went well for us. We are extremely please to say that the trip went very well under the guidance and care of your staff.
The memory of Tibet and especially the view of the Everest remains vividly clear in all our minds. It is as if we are still in Tibet and enjoying our guide’s many explanations about Tibet’s history and geography. We believe that the very enjoyable and memorable experience in the 11-day tour was possible because of our guide’s excellent coverage of the many sights we visited. His knowledge was comprehensive and he answered our many questions with depth and details.
I must also pay very strong compliments to your sales coordinator, who handled all the pre-tour correspondence and arrangements. She was outstanding in many ways - her prompt and thorough replies in our correspondence, attention to detail, excellent English and very professional approach overall.
All in all, we are pleased to have taken our Tibet tour with China Adventure Club. We enjoyed the people, the country and the sights tremendously, and we are happy to recommend our friends to your company.