Trekking to North & East Faces of Everest leads you to the rarely visited eastern face of Mount Everest (also known as Khangsung face).A visit to the famous North base camp of Everest is another highlight of this trip. The trail passes through alpine meadows, forests filled with wildflowers, glaciated valleys, high mountain passes, traditional Tibetan villages, ancient monasteries, rich barley fields, picturesque yak pastures, Tibetan nomadic land, emerald green lakes and so many other captivating sights.
Your adventure begins in Lhasa where you get ample time to acclimatize and to absorb the exoticism of Tibetan cultural heritage. As you are guided around the most significant and ancient monasteries of Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse, an expert Tibetan guide will instruct you on the intricacies and mysticism of Tibetan Buddhism.
Driving along the Friendship Highway you pass through small Tibetan settlements, where you will see nomadic herdsmen wandering across the wide arid plains. You will meet the trekking support crew at the trail head point at Kharta. Yaks will carry the food supplies and trekking equipment. You camp amidst spectacular mountain scenery. Crossing the 5330 meter high Langma La (pass), the highest point of the trek, on your way to Everest’s east base camp gives you an ultimate high altitude experience. Some of the peaks which you get to view on this trek are Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, Menlungtse, Gauri Shankar and the Kanchenjunga massif.
We can arrange your arrival in Lhasa from anywhere. You can either join the trip from Kathmandu and fly to Lhasa or arrive Lhasa from Chengdu, Beijing , Shanghai, Xian or any nearby hub. 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 an hour 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 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 limited visitors are allowed inside Potala Palace every day. So the order of sightseeing places will be decided upon by your guide..
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 Temple. 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..
Driving 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. From the road you can see huge glaciers tumbling down. After driving 261 km, beautifully landscaped Tibetan villages comes into view, 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 you enjoy exploring Gyantse, taking a 90 km drive, you will arrive at Shigatse, the second largest city of Tibet that lies at an altitude of 3900 meter. 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 the small towns 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..
Ten kilometres past the town of Shegar, diverting from the main highway we move south towards the Everest region. From the top of Pang La (5150m) we get excellent views of the Everest and the surrounding countryside. From the pass we descend to the village of Phadhruchi, where the jeep track divides - the track to the west heading to the Rongbuk Valley , the one to the east leading to the (Phung Chu) Arun Valley and the village of Kharta, which is the administrative headquarters of the region. Here you will meet your trekking crew (cook and trek guide from Nepal) .
You can utilize this day for thorough acclimatization. This will prepare you mentally and physically for the real trekking adventure that lies ahead. .
As you head away from Kharta Valley, you will find a bridge over Lang Chu. On crossing this bridge the trail progresses towards north bank of crystal-clear Kharta Chu westward. Traversing past barley fields, you follow the upper trail that ascends to Shao La. Few kilometers ahead, the trail opens to Lundrubling..
Starting early, you head along the trail past Shao La Pass at 4,970m, amid stunning views of Mount Everest [8,848m], Makalu [8,475m] and Lhotse [8,501m]. The trail steeply descends along picturesque yak pastures, through forests of rhododendron and dwarf birch, leading to the Kaamo Tsangpo Valley (4000m)..
The trail then skirts away from Kaamo Tsangpo Valley, passing through conifer forest and ascends steeply to 300-400 meter altitude. Herein, you can savor majestic views of Arun valley and Nepal. Along the trail, you can view the alpine ridges. Yak herders from Kharta village choose these ridges as their summer camps. The trail then ascends, crossing pristine emerald green lakes. En route you can view the Kangshung Face of Everest. .
If you think you can deal with moraines and landslides, then you can begin trekking right away along the trail to this lake for 40 minutes. A sacred cave most popularly renowned as a meditation place of Padmasambhava, the lotus-born Buddha, lies at the end of the lake. This cave has prayer rooms and shelters pilgrims. A few kilometers ahead you will approach a bend, known as Orga. Beyond the Kangshung Glacier and at this spot, Mt Everest [8848 m] is clearly visible. You then traverse to the right, from where you ascend to a 150m ridge that overlooks the Karma river and glacier. 3 hours of trekking will take you to Kangshung Face base camp at 5000 m. After few rock-strewn descents, you will enter the picturesque alpine camp of Pethang Ringmo at 4,550m beneath the impressive peak of Chomo Lonzo [7,790m] and Makalu. Several stone huts can be seen lying scattered which are commonly used by yak herders as summer camps. You may even trek westwards along the glacier to a 5950m ridge. You need to trek along another 5 km to reach the Mt Everest. .
While heading away from Pethang Ringmo towards Hoppo, the trail crosses lush verdant meadows and then follows several ascents. Thereafter, Kangshung Face of Everest comes into view, along with the towering Chomo Lonzo with its glistening glaciers. Few hours of more trekking brings you to Hoppo at 4800m..
Kangshung Base Camp lies few kilometers away from Hoppo at an elevation of 5050m. En route you ascend grassy ridges along the magnificent Kangshung Glacier. Along the way you get to view the north-east ridge of Everest. .
On this day you trek along the trail that leads to a valley from Pathang Ringmo, and then skirts northwards to Langma La pass. Savoring the majestic sights of the Himalayan range, you walk past yak pastures. After traversing for hours, you arrive at Shurimo [4,800m] located at the base of Langma La. .
It is advisable to make an early start while ascending to Langma La. After trekking amidst mesmerizing views of Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu for a couple of hours, you will descend steeply from Langma La pass to the valley. On entering the valley, you may encounter yak herders from Kharta at their camps. You will find several Tibetan traditional villages in the vicinity. Along the trail, you will pass the confluence of the Kharta Valley. You also get the view of Kanchenjunga massif nestled above the ridges beyond Kharta on the Nepal- Sikkim border. Further ahead, the trail advances towards village of Lundrubling..
You trek along the trail turning away from Lundrubling towards Kharta for about 3 hrs and board the waiting 4WD Land cruiser to drive back to Tashidzong. .
Less than an hour after leaving Tashidzong, you re-enter the Chomolungma Nature Preserve and change landcruisers. A local landcruiser/bus takes you to Rongbuk Monastery and from here you trek 9 km to the Everest Base Camp.If you want to skip the trek you can rent a horse-cart. The base camp itself is dry and barren, but this is compensated by the magnificent views of the Everest. It is truly an awe-inspiring place, with the sheer north face of the highest mountain in the world towering above. A truck carrying tent and food supplies will follow you to the base camp. .
After watching the sunrise in the morning, you will trek back to Rongbuk and board land cruisers to drive past Tingri across Lalung La pass at 5124m and Shung La pass at 5200m. Savoring the enchanting views of the surrounding peaks of Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, Menlungtse and Gauri Shankar you will finally arrive at Nyalam. .
From Nyalam, you drive to the border town of Zhangmu. From Zhangmu, it’s a short drive to the Friendship Bridge which spans the Bhote Kosi River and marks the Chinese - Nepalese border. Here you will part with your Tibetan guide and driver and walk to the Nepalese Immigration Control in Kodari, where you will be met by our Nepalese staff. After completing the re-entry formalities, you will be driven to Kathmandu which, depending on road and weather conditions, shall take about 5-6 hours..
You drive from Lhasa to Kharta will be on a sturdy, spacious and comfortable 4WD land cruiser. Along the way you visit the historic and religious Tibetan sites. You commence your trek from Kharta. This trek is a strenuous trek. It involves trekking into the high mountain country, over the 5390m Langma La pass. No previous experience is required, but you should be moderately fit, used to some regular exercise and enjoy walking in the high altitude conditions.
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 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).
In Lhasa, accommodation will be in a3 star hotel which is renowned for its hospitability and ethnic Tibetan ambience. It is conveniently situated in the centre of the town, just a few minutes walk from the Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Square. Elsewhere along the route, accommodation will be in the available hotels. If you would like to book a single room, please do inform us. A supplement charge will incur in that case.
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 8 to Day 20).
All breakfasts are included during your hotel stay. Your guide will help you find good restaurants with reasonable price. A must are the small Tibetan restaurants who 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.
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.
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.
A typical day begins with a hot cup of tea brought to the tent at about 6am, 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 day pack containing water bottle, camera, sun cream, hat, rain jacket and a warm jumper, just in case. The porters or yaks will carry the rest of your gear 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 afternoon tea. The remainder of the afternoon time you 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 will often be spent playing cards and talking with the crew, or perhaps even joining in some singing and dancing, before heading off to the tent for a well-earned sleep.
For your sightseeing tour in the cities, a knowledgeable English speaking guide will accompany you.
On your trek, you will be accompanied by either Nepalese or Tibetan trekking crew. Their aim is to make the trek as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible. They all speak some English and, although it may not be perfect, communication won't be a problem. Under the leadership of the sirdar, the crew consists of several assistants depending on group size who will ensure you don't take the wrong path, a cook and kitchen crew to keep you well fed with delicious and nutritious meals and, to transport all the gear from camp to camp, we use yaks in Tibet.
A typical trekking crew consists of one guide and one cook and the kitchen crew, porters and yaks. The ratio of trekking crew to group members is generally 1:4.
At the end of the trek, it is customary to tip the crew as a sign of your appreciation for the work they've done.
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 all over Tibet. 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 year to take this 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. For trekking you will need walking boots, sleeping bags (3 seasons), waterproof jackets and trousers, fleece jackets, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, suns cream and day pack. Comprehensive list of equipments will be provided once you book your trip.
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. 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 5-10% 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. For your safety, we also carry the ‘Portable Altitude Chamber’ or ‘Gamow Bag’. A supply of bottled oxygen is carried in the vehicle at all times. Our itinerary will allow your body to acclimatize properly and to handle the low oxygen rate. If you have ever suffered from altitude sickness, or have a heart or breathing complaint, we highly recommend you consult your doctor about your suitability for traveling to Tibet before booking. We suggest that you take some pain-killing pills with you and enough medicine for cold, diarrhea, nausea and fever. Some nasal ointment and throat-moistening pills will greatly be of help for those who are sensitive to chilly or freezing weather conditions.
For your service, we carry a first aid kit with standard prescribed medicines along with a users’ manual which you can use upon your own risk. We do not take any medical liability since our staffs are not qualified to prescribe medicines.
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. In such cases, we or your guide will suggest the best alternative depending on circumstances. However, the date of tour completion should always coincide with the original itinerary.
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 your trek, we can organize 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.
We thoroughly enjoyed our tour, good mix of seeing, appreciating and understanding the cultural and natural heritage of Tibet and a little of Nepal and the wonderful Landscapes and mountains. On the whole a magnificent trip! See pictures of Khangsung Trek in our blog
We work with the motto "Tourism for Development". Explore Himalaya Community Service Project was conceived to empower underprivileged segments of Nepal.