This is a trip of highlights, from Lhasa and the eighth wonder Potala Palace to the drive along the Friendship highway to trekking up to the 6380m ABC (sometimes called Camp 3). Then we climb to 7000m on North Col using the fixed ropes of the Everest expeditions. Wow!
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..
Today you will explore the sights of Kathmandu and the valley (opens in a new window) with a good local guide. Many trekkers are already familiar with Kathmandu so we match the sightseeing itinerary to what you haven't seen before..
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..
We drive to Shigatse, arriving in time for a late lunch. Shigatse is the second largest city in Tibet and Tashilunpo Monastary is the seat of the Panchen Lama, often considered the second most important Rinpoche after the Dalai Lama. Tashilhunpo Monastery is one of the largest functioning monasteries in Tibet and there is much to explore within its high surrounding walls..
We continue along the Friendship Highway. Beyond the small town of Lhatse we cross the highest pass on our journey, the Gyamtso La, 5220m. From here we descend to some of the most spectacular panoramas of the drive. During the 1921 expedition a madman attacked their camp stoves here..
This is a rest and acclimatization day. The best day trip is to walk or drive to the new town of Shegar and climb to the monastery and past that to the top of the fort. See the expedition photo galleries for photos of this..
Shortly after leaving Shegar, we turn off the Friendship Highway and head south over the Pang La 5150m towards the main Himalayan range. The view from the top is incredible with uninterrupted views stretching from Makalu to Shishapangma, and including Everest. Below the pass, Everest initially is hidden from view, but as we turn the corner into the upper Rongbuk Valley it reappears, more impressive than ever..
We rest here several days to acclimatize; it is important to be well acclimatized prior to trekking to Interim Camp. How often do you get a chance to sit and read and dine with the sheer north face of the highest mountain in the world towering above us. There are several possible day trips..
We begin in a dusty ablation valley with views of Pumori, Lingtren and even Nuptse then branch off up the East Rongbuk valley. The trail climbs moraine rubble. Nearby, the first ice seracs [ice pinnacles] rise like white sails from the dark debris-laden surface of the glacier..
We spend a day here in the intermediate camp, resting to further acclimatize. This is another good chance to finish that book..
The Rongbuk Glacier is an impressive frozen ocean of ice waves; the views of the glacier and the Himalayan peaks are some of the most dramatic in Tibet. Along the middle moraine of the glacier is the trail that expeditions use to begin their climbs of Everest and this is the trail we are taking. About two hours above the Interim camp the central ridgeline leads in to a confused of ice at the confluence with the Changtse glacier, and this is Changtse Base Camp [5970m] which is sometimes called Camp 2; it was the 1920's and 1930's camp 2. The appropriately named Serac Highway continues to extend its unusual gravel arm trough the centre of the of the ice formations. Rounding the corner, first Lhakpa Ri Base Camp comes into view, then eventually Everest ABC (The old "Camp 3"), and this last section is always tough..
We have a well-deserved rest, taking a couple of days to acclimatize here at Advance Base Camp (ABC). We meet some of the expeditions here. The summit pyramid of Everest appears phenomenally close; it is little more than 2400 metres higher than ABC. This is the closest non-climbers can get to the top of Everest. With a pair of binoculars, you are almost there....
We climb to the top of North Col, just over 7000m, for fantastic views across Tibet and into Nepal. Mountains litter the horizon..
This is a LONG day's trekking down to Base Camp but to much lower, more comfortable altitudes..
This is a spare day that covers bad weather and other unforeseen events. If you are on schedule with the itinerary you might just want to trek to interim camp to break the long trek down....
We normally take the shortcut to Tingri where we have lunch. Beyond Tingri are more views of Everest, Cho Oyu and other giants. Then we cross two high passes, the Lalung La (5124m) and the Shung La (5200m). Once more we are rewarded with magnificent views, this time Menlungtse and Gauri Shankar, and to the right of the road is Shishapangma. Over the last pass we begin the long descent leaving the arid Tibetan Plateau into the gorge to Zhangmu. Where we stay depends on the driver and Tibetan guide..
We wait in line for Immigration. A few kilometers further is the Friendship Bridge which spans the Bhote Kosi River and marks the Chinese - Nepalese border. We say goodbye to our Tibetan guide and driver and walk to Nepalese Immigration Control in Kodari where we will be met by our Nepalese staff. After completing the re-entry formalities we continue the drive to Kathmandu which, depending on road and weather conditions, should take about 5 hours. It's time to get cleaned up at the hotel, which has abundant hot water..
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. You are welcome to arrive earlier / stay longer in Kathmandu and we can assist with hotels, tours, showing you around etc..
Hi All, I just wanted to follow up and say thank you to all who helped with our wonderful trip. It is a life event that Carol and I am glad we had the opportunity to partake in.
We work with the motto "Tourism for Development". Explore Himalaya Community Service Project was conceived to empower underprivileged segments of Nepal.