True to its nickname, “the Roof of the world”, Tibet is the highest plateau in the world with an average altitude in excess of 3500 meters. Lying to the north of the great Himalayan range which separates it from its neighbors, India, Nepal and Bhutan, Tibet is more or less an untamed land of nomads (drokpas), monasteries, yaks, sand dunes, and high altitude desert that goes as far as the eyes can take it.
On this Tibet overland tour you have three days (i.e. 4 nights) in Lhasa to acclimatize and to absorb the exoticism of Tibetan heritage and to explore this history-laden city to its core. You will be expertly guided around the most significant and ancient Gompas (monasteries) of Lhasa, Gyantse & Shigatse by your Tibetan guide, who will instruct you on the intricacies and mysticism of Tibetan Buddhism. With its spectacular mountain scenery and rich Buddhist culture, Tibet would certainly be a unique mystical destination to visit.
You drive down Friendship highway by a luxury Toyota land cruiser 4 WD passing through small Tibetan settlements where you get upfront views right from your vehicle of nomadic herdsmen wandering across the wide arid plains amidst a backdrop of awe-inspiring mountain peaks.
A special highlight of this trip is the visit to the Everest Base Camp where you will be rewarded with panoramic and breath-taking views of Mount Everest from the north side. This overland tour will be a mystical delight that will be remembered by the fireside for many winters to come.
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: 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 guide..
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..
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 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,(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. At Shegar, you will be accommodated at ‘Everest Resort’..
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..
You will drive past Tingri crossing Lalung La pass at 5124m and Shug La pass at 5200m. Savoring the enchanting views of the surrounding peaks of Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, Menlungtse and Gauri Shankar, 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 vegetation of Zhangmu at 2300 meter..
A few kilometers drive away from Zhangmu to Friendship Bridge across Bhote Koshi river brings you 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 5 hours for 123 km, you finally arrive in Kathmandu..
You take an adventurous drive by best 4WD land cruiser across the ‘roof of the world’ with an English speaking local Tibetan guide. A highlight of this trip is the visit to the Everest Base Camp at 5200m, from where you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Mount Everest’s north face. This trip does not involve any trekking or physical activity, unless you opt to walk 9 km from Rongbuk to the Everest base Camp. It takes around two hours to reach EBC. 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.
Our tour guides and drivers in Lhasa and the rest of Tibet did an excellent job. They were friendly, knowledgeable, good humored and we had a feeling that they did their best to make it a very good trip!
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