This tour presents a delightful blend of high altitude adventure and diverse culture.
Beijing -Lhasa -Kathmandu Train Tour begins from the Chinese capital, Beijing. Exploration of the ancient palaces, monasteries and temples, a ride on the world’s highest train, a journey to (almost) the top of the world, the Everest Base camp,this tour offers you an experience of a lifetime. This trip takes you on a whirlwind tour to three oriental cities: Beijing, Lhasa and Kathmandu. Exploring these three cities will give you an insight into three ancient cultures, Chinese, Tibetan and Nepalese. But the major highlight of this trip is the journey aboard the Qinghai-Tibet railway, the world’s highest railway. Another highlight of this trip is the trek to the Everest Base Camp.
Your tour commences in Beijing, a city in Northern China. Beijing, an ancient capital and a bustling modern metropolis is a city of amazing contrasts. In Beijing some incredible historical sites awaits you. On a guided tour, you explore the Forbidden City, the Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall of China and the Temple of Heaven.
Leaving Beijing you embark on a train journey to Lhasa, aboard the world’s highest railway, the Qinghai-Tibet railway. As the train trundles along the high Tibetan plateau, picturesque scenes of Tibetan countryside whiz by. Owing to Tibet’s high altitude the train has been equipped with oxygen-supplying equipments. Oxygen masks are available for those who are prone to altitude sickness.
In the old city of Lhasa, you will be taken on a guided tour to all the city’s major attractions: Potala Palace, Sera Monastery, Norbulingka etc. Excursions to important Tibetan cities of Shigatse, Gyantse and Shegar are also included in your itinerary. On reaching Rongbuk, you get to view the world’s highest mountain Mount Everest. As you leave Zangmu and cross the Friendship Bridge you enter Nepal. There is a refreshing change in scenery, as verdant greenery replaces the dry and arid Tibetan landscape. In Kathmandu you will get to explore the three medieval cities: Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur.
Day 1 Arrive in Beijing
Day 2 Sightseeing tour in Beijing: Tian’anmen Square, Forbidden city, Hutong by rickshaw
Day 3 Sightseeing in Beijing: Great Wall (Badaling or Juyongguan Section), Summer Palace , outside view of Olympic park
Day 4 Morning visit to Temple of Heven - Evening Board the train from Beijing to Lhasa (3650m) T27 – (2000 – 1442 + 2) (approximately 42 hrs and 42 minutes journey)
Day 5 On Train
Day 6 Arrive in Lhasa
Day 7 Sightseeing in Lhasa- (Sera Monastery, Norbulingka, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Square, Drepung Monastery and Potala Palace)
Day 8 Sightseeing in Lhasa- (Sera Monastery, Norbulingka, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Square, Drepung Monastery and Potala Palace)
Day 9 Free day in Lhasa- (for acclimatization)
Day 10 Drive from Lhasa to Gyantse (3950m) 261km
Day 11 Drive from Gyantse to Shigatse (3900m) 90km (Before leaving Gyantse visit Gyantse Dzong and Gyantse Kumbum)
Day 12 Drive from Shigatse to Shegar (4050m) 244km (Before leaving Shigatse visit Tashilhunpo Monastery)
Day 13 Drive to Rongbuk (5000m) 68km
Day 14 Drive to Zhangmu (2300m) 181km
Day 15 Drive to Kathmandu (1400m) 123km
Day 16 Sightseeing in Kathmandu - (Kathmandu Durbar Square, Pashupatinath, Boudhanath)
Day 17 Depart Kathmandu
3 nights twin sharing accommodation in 3 star hotel with buffet breakfast
Train ticket (soft sleeper): Beijing-Lhasa only
3 Lunch during sightseeing in Beijing
(first) Entrance fee of the monument
English speaking accompanying guide throughout program on all days with excursions
All Transfers specified in the itinerary by air-conditioned vehicle
The travel agency liability insurance in Beijing
Hotel Dhood Gu or similar in Lhasa (3 star) & best available en route with breakfast
Transportation by 4WD land cruiser
English speaking local TIBETAN guide escorting throughout the trip
Sightseeing tours in Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse with all entry fees
Rongbuk to Everest base camp transfer by local bus (operated by Quomolangma National park Bureau)
Quomolangma National park permit
Tibet travel permit
Airport transfers & supply of bottled oxygen in car
Kodari to Kathmandu transfer by Jeep and escort
2 nights’ accommodation at 3 star hotel in Kathmandu with breakfast
Sightseeing tour in Kathmandu with an English speaking guide
(first) Monument entry fees,
All sightseeing and airport transfer by private Car or Van
Applicable government tax
Any airfare, airport tax,
Lunch and dinner (10-15 USD per meal) except mentioned
Personal clothing & equipments,
Any expenses incurred in emergency evacuation/road block due any reason,
Arrive in Beijing
Soon after landing at Beijing airport, you will be escorted to your hotel. At the hotel, you shall be briefed about your travel arrangements and travel destinations. Thereon, you can enjoy the lively ambience and excellent facilities of the hotel..
Sightseeing in Beijing
Today you will first visit the historic Tiananmen Square, and then the magnificent Forbidden City. In the afternoon, you will visit the fine Summer Palace. You will also visit the Tiananmen Square, the largest city square in the world and the spiritual heart of China, where the national flag is raised exactly at sunrise everyday, the Forbidden City, located in the center of Beijing, which used to be the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties with a history of around 600 years ( it is the grandest integral palace complex still remaining in China). You will also be taken to visit the Summer Palace, located on the northwestern outskirts of the city. It was an imperial summer resort of the Qing Dynasty. With its perfect layout, magnificent buildings and enchanting landscape, it is the most splendid classical garden in China..
Sightseeing in Beijing
Today you will visit the majestic Great Wall (Badaling section) and the Chang Tomb of Ming Tombs. You will be taken on a tour to the Great Wall, the most famous symbol of China and one of the world’s most remarkable architectural wonders. It was built over 2,000 years ago and stretches a long distance for about 6,700km.You will visit the Great wall at Badaling, the most outstanding representation of China’s Great Wall, located 70km north-west of Beijing, at an elevation of 1000m. This section was first built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD). It stands at a strategic highest point from north-west of Beijing and gives access to every direction. Badaling section is composed of Guan City, with city platforms, wall platforms and watch towers along the Wall. The surrounding scenery is magnificent and impressive. You will be taken on a visit to the Ming Tomb the burial site of the emperor Wanli, the 13th emperor of the Ming Dynasty who ruled for 48 years until his death in 1620..
Visit to Temple of Heaven & Evening- Board the Train from Beijing to Lhasa [3650m]
Early in the morning you will be taken for a visit to the Temple of Heaven which spreads across a 267 hectare park. This temple serves as the best example of the fine Ming architecture. To the Chinese this is a sacred site where prayers for good harvests, prosperity and harmonious life are offered. In the evening you board the ‘Sky train’ to Lhasa and experience the world’s highest railway journey..
Onboard the Sky Train
The 4,064 km journey lasts for 48 hrs. Looking through UV blocked train window, you remain captivated by the flashing glimpse of Chinese countryside, flat cultivated lands, brown hills, and riverside valleys. The train passes across 5200m high Tanggula Mountain pass, amidst surreal mountain vistas, as you near the Tibetan plateau. The train continues to pass through mesmerizing views of the turquoise Qinghai Lake and uniquely shaped vast Tibetan Plateau right below huge mountain range with 7000+ meter peaks, dominating the entire landscape.
Equipments for oxygen supply and an oxygen mask are also available in the train for those who are prone to altitude sickness. The train is fitted with soft sleepers, vacuum flush toilets, flat-screen TVs and the finest dining service..
Arrive in Lhasa (3650 meter)
After traveling for approximately 48 hrs, across the ‘roof of the world’, you finally arrive in Lhasa. At the Lhasa train station you will be met by your Tibetan tour guide who will escort you to your hotel..
Sightseeing in Lhasa
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..
Sightseeing in Lhasa
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: Since only a limited number of visitors are allowed inside the Potala Palace every day, the order of sightseeing places will be decided upon by your Tibetan guide..
Free day in Lhasa
A final day in Lhasa for acclimatization. This day is for you to spend it as you wish. Explore and soak in the sights and sounds of the old city, revisit a favorite monastery, go for souvenir hunting in the busy local market at Barkhor Square, or simply sit in a café and watch pilgrims as they circumambulate the Jokhang. There is also the option of an additional tour to places such as the Tibetan Medical Centre, Ganden Monastery and Tsurphu Monastery. But this additional tour will incur an extra cost..
Drive to Gyantse (3950m) 261 km
Driving along the Friendship Highway, you drive past Khamba La, at 4794m 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 Karo La pass at 5045m. From the roadside, you can see huge glaciers tumbling down. After driving for 261 km, beautifully landscaped Tibetan villages come into view as you enter the town of Gyantse..
Sightseeing & drive to Shigatse (3900m) 90km
Gyantse prides on Gyantse Dzong and Kumbum. 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 exploring Gyantse, you take a 90 km drive and arrive at Shigatse, the second largest city of Tibet that lies at an altitude of 3900m. Tashilhunpo Monastery, being one of the largest functioning monasteries in Tibet, is the major attraction of Shigatse..
Sightseeing & drive to Shegar (4050m) 244km.
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, you pass many monasteries and camps of nomadic herders en route to Shegar..
Drive to Rongbuk (5000m) 68km
Leaving Shegar, you will drive towards the south crossing Pang La pass at 5150m. Along the way, you delight in the amazing views of snow-capped peaks from Makalu to Shishapangma. After driving for 68 km, you eventually reach Rongbuk at 5000m. You can view the spectacular Mount Everest from here. You will have overnight accommodation in a guest house..
Drive to Zhangmu (2300m) 181km
You will drive past Tingri crossing Lalung La pass at 5124m and Shung La pass at 5200m. You can delight in the enchanting views of the surrounding peaks of Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, Menlungtse and Gauri Shankar. As you drive along, you descend from the arid Tibetan Plateau to verdant Zhangmu on the Nepalese border. After driving for 181 km, you find yourself amidst the lush and verdant Zhangmu at 2300m..
Drive to Kathmandu (1400m) 123km
Drive few kilometers away from Zhangmu to Friendship Bridge across Bhote Koshi River which brings you closer to the Immigration Control in Kodari. Here you will part with your Tibetan guide and driver, and walk across the river to meet your Nepalese escort who will drive you to Kathmandu. After driving for around 5 hours, and covering 123 km, you finally arrive at Kathmandu..
Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley
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 in the Valley. There will be a half day guided tour to UNESCO World Heritage Site kathmandu Durbar Square, the famous and biggest Hindu shrine of Pashupatinath & the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal Boudhanath..
Our driver and airport representative will drive you to the airport in time for your flight back home. We ensure you that you will leave Kathmandu with cherishing memories and an experience of a lifetime..
The highlight of this tour is the visit to three ancient capitals: Beijing, Lhasa & Kathmandu. From Lhasa, you take an adventurous overland drive on a sturdy, comfortable and spacious 4WD land cruiser. You will explore the major tourist attractions in Beijing, Lhasa and Kathmandu. Another highlight, is the trip to the Everest Base Camp from where you get to view the world's highest peak Everest.
ARRIVAL IN BEIJING
You can arrive in Beijing from any Chinese city via flight, vehicle, bus or train from any hub. Once you arrive in Beijing, your guide will meet you and drive you to your hotel. Air China operates flights between Kathmandu and Beijing (Tue, Thu & Sat - 2008). This flight offers spectacular views of Mt. Everest, Makalu and many other Himalayan giants. Please visit our website (www.explorehimalaya.com) for information on flight connections from Kathmandu and other cities of China.
From Beijing to Lhasa you will be traveling in a train. We try to reserve you "Soft sleeper" class. Usually we can but if we can only get hard sleeper, we refund the difference in price. In such a scenario you may have to make do with a hard sleeper berth. There is no big difference between hard and soft sleeper cabins. Our research staff traveled on both soft and hard sleeper cabins on this train, a few differences we found were... there are 6 beds in hard sleeper and 4 in soft sleeper cabin, soft sleeper has a door and hard sleeper is without, there is LCD television on soft sleeper that plays only Chinese movie (mostly military & martial art movies); the hard sleeper compartment is a little far from dining car. Cushion used in soft sleeper is softer than the "hard" sleeper but the "hard" is comfortable enough for a good sleep.
Sometimes during peak season it gets difficult even to get a train ticket. In such cases we arrange a flight ticket for you, from Beijing to Lhasa. There may be a difference in the price of train and flight tickets. If it costs more, you may have to pay extra.
Your overland journey starts from Lhasa. We use the best 4WD Land cruisers 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.
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).
In Beijing, Lhasa and Kathmandu accommodation will be at 3 star hotel. 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.
In interior Tibet rooms cannot be booked in advance. Your guide books them on arrival. If rooms are not available at the 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. This tour will leave you 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.
Throughout your time in Beijing, Lhasa and Kathmandu you will be accompanied by our professionally trained and experienced local guide who will not only act as an interpreter but will also provide valuable insights into the Chinese, Tibetan and Nepali way of life.
All breakfasts are included in our package, except during the train journey, where you may have to pay on your own. Your guide will help you find good restaurants with reasonable price. Expect to spend around 15-20 US$ per day for meals.
A TYPICAL DAY – OVERLAND DRIVE
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.
All the hotels we use in Beijing, Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse and Kathmandu 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, in Tibet, 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.
Clothing & accessories
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. Keep a scarf handy as some of the roads can be dusty. While visiting sites and exploring during the day, keep yourself covered from the UV rays with a sun hat or cap and sunscreen lotion or cream.
Best Time to take this trip
The best time of year to take the Beijing-Lhasa- Kathmandu tour is from March to November. 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.
Besides Chinese Yuan, only US dollars can be accepted in Tibet and Beijing. 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 and Nepal also accepts credit cards. ATM facilities are available in Beijing and Kathmandu. But in Tibet it's not widely available. Exchanging your money to Chinese currency and Nepali currency will be the best option for you, which can be done at the Bank of China and Bank of Nepal. 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. 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 Tibet 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. 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.Insurance
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 addition to this tour, we can organize trip extensions in China [Chengdu (Panda Farm and Teshan Buddha Statue), Xian (City wall, Terracota Warriors) and Xining], Nepal and other neighboring countries. In Nepal 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 contact us for details or check our website www.explorehimalaya.com.
1) It is fundamental you acknowledge that this is an adventure tour. This requires some flexibility. The day to day itinerary can be taken only as a guideline. We cannot take the responsibility for any delays caused by international or domestic flights, strikes, Government regulations, weather or natural calamities etc. In such cases, Explore Himalaya shall provide suitable alternatives which could be decided upon mutual agreement. If an agreement cannot be made, Explore Himalaya shall only be responsible for refunds after deducting the expenses already incurred.
2) Your booking will be confirmed by email once we receive your deposit of US$300 and the signed copy of booking form and contract.
The balance is due no later than two months prior to departure. If you book a tour less than 2 months prior to departure, you must send the full payment within 7 days of confirmation to us.
Those joining the tour in Kathmandu can pay the balance on arrival.
3) If you cancel, the following scale of charges will apply:
DATE OF CANCELLATION (Charge incurred)
> 2 months before departure - loss of deposit (US$ 300)
> 29 days to 2 months before departure - 30% of total trip cost
> 10 to 28 days before departure - 60% of total trip cost
> Less than 10 days before departure - 100% of total trip cost
If you still have any questions regarding this trip, please feel free to contact us. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours (Sunday to Friday). If you want to book a trip, you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us directly by phone: 977-1-4418-100 or skype explore.himalaya.
I am not the type of person that would usually take a trip from Beijing to Kathmandu by land. I had no idea what international travel was like or how difficult it can be gaining entry into Tibet. In fact I still don’t because Explore Himalaya made it easy for me. My Chinese tour guide Andy Chen successfully got me a soft sleeper unit on the train. I was the only non-Chinese person to get one and it made a huge difference from what I saw. The train ride was absolutely beautiful and it is definitely worth doing once it’s also very long and I am not sure I would want to do it again but I am very glad I did it this time.