After an insightful sightseeing tour in Kathmandu, you will take a flight to Tibet – the Forbidden Land. Tibet, with an average altitude in excess of 3500 meters, is the highest plateau in the world. Lying to the north of the great Himalayan range, Tibet is more or less an untamed land of nomads (drokpas), monasteries and high altitude desert that seem to stretch endlessly. Driving overland past the Tibetan plateau (‘Roof of the world’), you encounter a picturesque mosaic of Tibetan settlements, nomadic herdsmen, ancient monasteries, high Mountain passes, wide arid plains and awe-inspiring mountain views.
After reaching Rongbuk , you prepare yourself for the world’s highest trek, Advanced Base Camp Trek that takes you as close to the summit of Mount Everest as any non-climber can go without using any technical climbing gears and without mountaineering skill. This is an incredible adventure trek along surreally sculpted Rongbuk Glacier to the Advance Base Camp for the north Col route up Mount Everest (8848m). As there won’t be any expeditions during Autumn, the Base Camp and Advance Base Camp of Mount Everest (North side) will be virtually empty, devoid of the usual climbing crowd. It may be just you and your guides trekking alone on the mountain. So savor this special moment of having the entire mountain to yourself!
Note: This trek will be led by an experienced mountain Sherpa guide. If the group is large, a Western guide may lead the trek.
Two days at base camp to acclimatize and explore around..
It is a panoramic thrill flying into Kathmandu on a clear day. The views of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below you are almost ecstatic, beginning a whole chain of memorable experiences that stay with you for a long, long time. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The representative will help you check into your designated hotel. At the hotel you will be briefed about your daily activities..
Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence. There will be a guided tour to the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal Boudhanath and after that to the most popular Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva- Pashupatinath. We take a tour to Patan or Lalitpur (the City of Artisans), which is 5km away from Kathmandu. We walk through Patan Durbar Square, and delight in the architectural wonders of Malla era. Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Krishna Temple and Golden Temple are the major attractions at the square. .
You will be met at Gonggar Airport by your Tibetan guide. After immigration formalities, you will be driven to Lhasa (3650 meters). It takes around 45 minutes to reach the old city. After checking in at your hotel, you are advised to take rest and take it easy. Drink plenty of fluids and let your body get used to Lhasa’s high altitude. Note: There is no fixed program arranged for today. .
After breakfast, you will be briefed on the day’s program. An experienced guide will take you on a tour to Sera Monastery, Norbulingka and the Barkhor Square. At the famous Sera Monastery, you will get an insight into the important aspects of Tibetan Buddhism. You pay a visit to Norbulingka, the summer retreat of the Dalai Lama. Completed in 1956, the handsome building is ornately decorated with Tibetan carvings and paintings. Jokhang temple provides yet another glimpse of the rich Tibetan cultural heritage. You will also get the chance to stroll around the busy Barkhor Square, the nerve centre of Lhasa. After the day’s tour, you will be escorted back to your hotel..
After an early breakfast, you will be escorted by your guide to the majestic Potala Palace. The imposing structure of the palace dominates the landscape of Lhasa. As you are guided through the ancient chambers of the palace, you get to see Tibetan art at its best. The Potala Palace has a vast array of intricate Tibetan murals and beautiful statues.You will also get to view the tombs of the eight Dalai Lamas. Later in the day you will visit the beautifully landscaped Drepung Monastery where you can observe nuns and monks chanting and performing religious discourses. After the day’s tour is over, you are escorted back to your hotel for a well- earned rest. Note: Only a limited number of visitors are allowed inside the Potala Palace every day. So the order of sightseeing places will be decided upon by your guide. .
Moving along the Friendship Highway, you drive past Khamba La, at 4794 meter, with a brief halt to savor majestic views of Yamdrok-tso Lake and Nazin Kang Sa, standing at 7252m. On turning westwards, you come across another pass, Karo La at 5045m. If you look at the road, you can see huge glaciers tumbling down. After driving 261 km, beautifully landscaped Tibetan villages become visible as you enter the town of Gyantse. Gyantse Dzong, a 14th century historical fort, overlooks the entire Gyantse and the surrounding Nyang Chu Valley. Kumbum has a large gold-domed stupa and houses several chapels and Tibetan Buddhist murals..
After Gyantse, you take a 90 km drive and arrive at Shigatse, (3900m) the second largest Tibetan city. Tashilhunpo Monastery, being one of the largest functioning monasteries in Tibet is the major attraction of Shigatse..
Today you will traverse along the Friendship Highway amidst picturesque landscape driving past small town of Lhatse and Gyamtso La pass at 5220m. As the route opens into plains, many monasteries and camps of nomadic herders become visible en route to Shegar. In Shegar there is an old fort- Shegar Dzong , perched on a hill above the village. George Mallory's Everest reconnaissance expedition team is said to have stayed here in 1921, and again in 1924, when the oxygen apparatus Sandy Irvine had modified for their summit bid was tested on the rocky slopes leading up to the fort. .
Away from Shegar, you will drive to the south crossing Pang La pass at 5150m. Along the drive you can bask in the splendor of majestic views of snow-capped peaks from Makalu to Shishapangma. After driving for 68 km, you eventually reach Rongbuk at 5000m. You can then view spectacular sight of Mount Everest. You have the opportunity to explore Everest Base Camp (5150m.) The base camp itself is dry and barren, but the views of Everest more than compensates for it. It truly is an awe-inspiring place with the sheer north face of the highest mountain in the world towering above you. Overnight accommodation at a guest house..
Two days at base camp to acclimatize and explore around..
Trekking the surreally sculpted Rongbuk Glacier you walk away from Everest Base Camp to Camp I for two and half hours or more. Camp I lies amidst moraine hills under picturesque yellow-orange granite cliffs. In the beginning the trekking route skirts the east side of the Rongbuk Glacier and opens into a flat area at 5270m. On the Southwest, Pumori at 7145 m nestled next to Kala Pattar comes into picture. After arriving at Camp I, you may wish to explore snout of the East Rongbuk Glacier lying just 20 minutes away from the camp. .
The trail overlooks glacier-topped mountain as it roll from gravel mounds, mud plain to rocky moraine. Lying directly across from Far East Rongbuk glacier, Interim Camp can prove very beneficial for further acclimatization and supper vantage point prior to trekking up to Camp III. .
A rest day for preparation to climb higher up or you may wish to explore around..
As you march towards Camp III, you trek along moraine following the glacier to the right around the eastern flank of Changtse. Further ahead, you ascend a succession of hills as the glacier softens into smooth snowy ice fields carpeting the approaching ridges. En route you may spot several tent sites and discarded oxygen bottles. 1480 meter straight up from Camp III lies the Pinnacles challenging trekkers to explore its mystiques. Its complexity has kept the northeast Ridge unclimbed for a long time. North Col lies at 7066 meter in the West connecting Everest’s Northeast Ridge and Changste. .
You can see spectacular sight of striated rock summit of Everest extending above the Pinnacles to the southeast little more than 8000 feet (2400 m) higher than Camp III. Beyond Camp III there are gravel hills beside the glacier and you may trek along this trail for one hour. Finally, you conclude your trek by journeying back to Camp III. Day 17: Return to Base Camp You retrace your steps and descend to Base Camp, a long day trek down to comfortable lower altitude. .
You have to take a 215 km drive from Base Camp to Nyalam along Friendship Highway traversing past Pang La pass. On the way, you can halt at Tingri for lunch. Further away amidst the stunning view of Everest, Cho Oyu and other mountain peaks, you accelerate past Lalung La pass at 5124m and Shung La pass at 5200m. The trail further commands far-reaching views of enchanting Shishapangma, Menlungtse and Gauri Shankar, as you leave behind the arid Tibetan Plateau. The route then progresses towards the pristine and fortified town of Nyalam, where you can find a suitable accommodation at a hotel. .
Heading away from Nyalam, drive for one hour to the lush and verdant vegetation of Zhangmu at 2300 meter. Few kilometers drive follows Friendship Bridge along Bhote Koshi River to Immigration Control in Kodari where you part with your Tibetan guide and handle the re-entry formalities to return to Kathmandu. After a 5 hours drive of 123 km, you finally arrive in Kathmandu..
You can spend this day at leisure- relaxing, shopping for souvenirs or exploring the city. .
Our Nepalese support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. On the other hand, if you prefer to stay longer, you can go for short tours such as jungle safari at National parks, multi-activity & cultural tours, etc. - ask us..
A highlight of this trip is the visit to Everest Base Camp, and the trek to camp 3 at 6340m., where you get to view the sheer grandeur of Everest's north face. This trek takes you as close to the summit of Everest as any non-climber can go. The trek to the Everest Advance Base Camp is a strenuous trek. It is physically challenging, likely to include unfavorable weather conditions and strenuous activities. From Lhasa you take an adventurous drive on a sturdy and comfortable 4WD land cruiser across Gyantse, Shigatse and Shegar, with an English speaking local Tibetan guide. This adventure, the highest trek in the world, is an incredible journey to camp 3 and the base of the North Col via the East Rongbuk Glacier. No tour vehicles, apart from expeditions, are allowed beyond Rongbuk so you walk for 9kms or take a horse cart that will cost $3-5 per person.
Tibet is connected by railway line from Chengdu, Beijing, Xian, Xining and Shanghai.
Air China operates flights between Kathmandu and Lhasa (Tue, Thu & Sat - 2008). This flight offers spectacular views of Mt. Everest, Makalu and many other Himalayan giants. We will organize your pick up once you reach Lhasa and drive you to your hotel. Please visit our website (www.explorehimalaya.com) for information on flight connections from Kathmandu and other cities of China.
For Tibet, we organize a group visa, and in order to do this we will need a copy of your passport at least 30 days prior to the commencement of your trip. Tourism regulations in Tibet are subject to change without prior notice. As per current regulation Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal, issues visa on Monday, Wed and Fri (9am – 11am). Hence, we will need your original passport 1 day before the visa processing day. Those entering Tibet from mainland China (Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xian, Guilin etc) have to get Chinese visa from their country (please ask us for the best way of doing it).
We bring together a small group of like minded people. During the trip, not only do they gain a memorable and insightful travel experience but also get an invaluable opportunity to interact with each other. On our fixed scheduled departures, group comprises of maximum12 & minimum 2 persons. You are likely to join a group from different countries. Average age ranges from early 20s to mid 50s.For private trips, no minimum and maximum apply. If you would like to travel independently or with your friends, families and colleagues you are invited to choose any of the trips at your convenient time frame for any number of people (min 1 max 100 at a time).
Besides Chinese Yuan, only US dollars can be accepted in Tibet. Also shops that accept American currency are very limited and you might not be able to get a good deal for an exchange rate. Credit cards can only be used at some hotels. The Bank of China also accepts credit cards. ATM is not widely available. Exchanging your money to Chinese currency will be the best option for you, which can be done at the Bank of China (exchange rate between USD & RMB is 1:7.5 at the time of writing this text). While changing money at the local money exchange centers, please make sure that you are accompanied by your guide and do consult him as you may easily be duped with counterfeit notes.
Tibet is becoming more expensive every year. There are many shops in Lhasa, Shigatse and Gyantse that sell traditional Tibetan handicrafts. We recommend you to bring extra money to spend on souvenirs.
Tips are appreciated by your support team, after completion of the trip. The amount you give depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. For this you can allocate around 5% of your total tour cost.
Vaccination requirements change frequently, so we suggest you consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to your trip. The main health consideration in high altitude is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and difficulty sleeping, but these should lessen within a few days. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), people take pills called ‘Diamox’. You can also use these pills after consulting with your doctor. A supply of bottled oxygen is carried in the vehicle at all times. Chinese doctors will also be available at places like Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, Shegar and Nyalam. Our itinerary will allow your body to acclimatize properly and to handle the low oxygen rate.
Rescue and Evacuation
In case of a serious sickness or a casualty, which we hope will not happen, you shall be transferred to the nearest hospital. Since you are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own after getting back to Kathmandu.
Before joining a tour, we recommend you to take a travel insurance which should cover cancellation, medical expenses and emergency repatriation.
One should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip that takes you into one of the remotest corner of the Tibetan plateau, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in the itinerary. Depending on the prevailing situation, the itinerary can be modified to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of tour completion should always coincide with the original itinerary.
In Lhasa, accommodation will be at a 3 star hotel. This hotel is renowned for its hospitability and ethnic Tibetan ambience.It is centrally located, just a few minutes walk from the Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Square. Elsewhere along the route, accommodation will be at the available hotels. If you would like to book a single room, please do inform us. A supplement charge will incur in that case.
Rooms in Tingri and Rongbuk cannot be booked in advance. Your guide books them on arrival. If rooms are not available at specified guest house, he will book a room at another similar category guest house. No private rooms are available at Rongbuk guesthouses. Only dormitory style of accommodation is available with 6 to 7 beds in a big hall.
We shall try our best to provide the best accommodation available but please do keep in mind that you are taking an adventure tour, and sometimes the arrangement may be basic. Traveling in Tibet is a fantastic experience but sometimes you have to put up with a bit of discomfort. To enjoy this trip you need to have an adventurous spirit and the ability to adapt to minor discomforts.
Tented camps supported and catered by Nepali Sherpa crews shall be provided during the trek (from Day 9 to Day 16).
Throughout your time in Tibet you will be accompanied by an experienced English speaking Tibetan guide who will not only act as an interpreter but will also provide valuable insights into the Tibetan way of life. While trekking, you will be supported by the experienced Nepali Sherpa trekking crew.
All breakfasts are included in our package. Your guide will help you find good restaurants with reasonable price. A must are the small Tibetan restaurants which serve authentic Tibetan food. You can try ethnic Tibetan cuisine. Have some momos or gyantok, and wash it down with a cup of salted Tibetan butter tea. Meals will either be in the hotel or at a restaurant of your choice (where available). While on the road, lunch will be at one of the many Chinese tea shops along the way which generally serve a variety of noodle and vegetable dishes and meat where available. Expect to spend around 15-20 US$ per day for meals.
Apart from when you are staying in hotels, during the trek ,your cook will provide 3 tasty, plentiful and nutritious meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes. To start the day, breakfast consists of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereal followed by omelette, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread.
Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads.
After a long day on the trail, dinner is a hearty 3 course meal - soup, followed by a variety of vegetable, meat, rice and pasta dishes and completed with a simple dessert.
Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided at all meals.
We use as much fresh produce as possible and our cooks and kitchen crew maintain exceptional standards of cleanliness and food preparation hygiene. Special dietary requirements can always be catered for.
After breakfast, we begin our day's drive at about 9am. We'll drive for several hours, stopping along the way for photographs or places of special interest, before stopping for lunch at around midday. After lunch we continue our journey, generally arriving at our destination by 3 or 4pm.
This trek is fully catered by our qualified and experienced crew from Nepal and a professional English speaking Tibetan guide. Loads are usually carried by Yaks.
A typical day begins with a hot cup of tea brought to the tent at about 6 am, followed by a bowl of hot water for washing. After packing our bags and having a good breakfast, we set off on the morning's walk. All you need to carry is a small daypack containing a water bottle, camera, sun cream, hat, rain-jacket and a warm jumper, just in case.
The porters or yaks will carry everything else for you. After walking for 3-4 hours we stop for lunch at around midday. The afternoon's walk is generally shorter and we arrive at camp in time for a nice cup of tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the nearby villages, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book. Dinner is usually served between 6 and 7pm and after dinner, the evening is often spent playing cards or talking with the crew – and sometimes there will even be some singing and dancing before heading off to the tent for a well-earned sleep.
We use the best 4WD Land cruisers (Toyota 4500) for the overland drive across the Tibetan highland. These vehicles are extremely sturdy, spacious and reliable and they make the journey as comfortable as possible.
Communication facilities in Tibet have been improved over the past few years. All the hotels we use in Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse have international IDD phone and fax services. Phone calls can also be made from public booth in bigger towns. Internet cafes are also available at bigger towns, check with your guide for the best cyber cafes in each town. These days, mobile phones work fine up to the Everest Base Camp. You can also have a roaming facility added to your mobile phone. If you buy a Chinese SIM card at the border, you could stay in touch with your family and friends most of the time. Please ask us for the latest facilities and schemes on Chinese mobile phones. For latest updates, you can also consult our website- www.explorehimalaya.com.
The best time of the year to take the Everest Advance Base Camp Trek is from April to October. During these months the average temperature ranges from 15C to 25C, with blue skies and clear weather. Though from July to August there can be odd shower during the day. The nights, however, can be very cold and temperatures can drop below 0 degree Celsius.
During the day a light shirt or jumper and lightweight pants will be suitable, but a warm fleece or down jacket is recommended for the evenings. Comprehensive list of equipments will be provided once you book your trip.
The Tibetans are classified as belonging to the Mongoloid family of people. They are probably descendents of a variety of nomadic tribes who migrated from the north and settled along sedentary cultivation of Tibet’s river valleys.
The Tibetans living within the borders of present day Tibet are easily identified by their distinctive dialects, social customs and dress. The Topas live in the highland regions (Lato and Ngari), the Tsangpas in the West Tibet (Tsang), the Upas live in central Tibet, the Horpas comes from the north (Nagchu/Jangtang), the Kongpowas from the south, the Khampas live in the east, the Amdowa in the northeast, and the Gyarongwa in the extreme east.
Travelers to Tibet inevitably find Tibetans to be friendly and possessing a great sense of humor. It is appreciated when you try and use Tibetan language when communicating with Tibetans. The further from Lhasa you travel, the more often Tibetan is used.
Religion is extremely important to the majority of Tibetans, and travelers should endeavor to respect their customs and beliefs. Always circumambulate Buddhist religious sites or monastery in a clockwise direction, and when in a monastery do not wear a hat, smoke or touch frescoes.
In addition, refrain from climbing onto statues, mani stones or other sacred objects They are warm and friendly people. Some speak a bit of English and are happy to have a chat with you. Don't photograph people without permission, and be aware that some locations prohibit photography without a fee
Losar or “New Year” is celebrated in the month of February by the Tibetans. During Losar, Buddhist monks offer prayers for good health and prosperity at monasteries. People exchange various goods and gifts among them. Families organize feasts and perform dances.
Saga Dawa (Buddha’s Birthday), celebrated on the 15th day of the fourth lunar month, is an occasion for outdoor operas and to see many pilgrims at the Jokhang Temple and Mount Kailash.
Gyanste Damang (Gyantse Horse Racing and Archery), celebrated in May/June, honours the Tibetan marksmanship while riding at full tilt. Horse riding and archery competitions are held during this festival.
Samye Dholdhe Festival is celebrated in the month of June, as pilgrims and monks from distant monasteries journey to Samye to watch masked dances and obtain blessings of Buddha.
Zabling Chi Sang (World Incense Day) is a special day dedicated to pray for peace in the world.
Ganden Khi-khu (Ganden Thangka Festival) is celebrated in July to honor the founder of the Gelugpa sect.
Karma Durba (Bathing Week) is celebrated in August/ September. During the festival, the Lhasans flock to the waters of the Kyi Chu River which literally means “Changing the stars” in the belief that if they bathe all week, they will drive evil spirits from their bodies and enjoy good health in the following year.
In addition to Everest Base Camp tour, we can organize trip extensions both within Nepal and other neighboring countries. You may want to try white water rafting or go on a jungle safari in the deep jungles of Chitwan or take a cultural tour. You may as well take a trip to India or Bhutan, whichever appeals more to you. Please ask us for details or check our website www.explorehimalaya .com.
We work with the motto "Tourism for Development". Explore Himalaya Community Service Project was conceived to empower underprivileged segments of Nepal.