The classic route across the roof of the world.
From the tiny monastery at Rhongphu the view of Qomolangma (Mt Everest) is absolutely magnificent as it stands alone at the head of the valley - a walk or drive to Base Camp brings you even closer.
Days 1-2 : Flying into Kathmandu is an unforgettable experience with the Himalaya spread out before you. You will be met at the airport on arrival and transferred to your hotel. In the morning of day 2 a half-day city tour will introduce you to some of the highlights of Kathmandu.
Day 3: The flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa is spectacular. From Gongkar airport it is about 1½ hours' drive to Lhasa, first along the Yarlung Tsangpo then into the Kyi Chu Valley.
Days 4-6 : With a relaxed pace to allow for the effects of altitude, explore this fantastic city on the roof of the world. The spiritual heart of Tibet is the Jokhang Temple and every morning is full of life as pilgrims bring offerings of butter and barley flour. The Potala Palace rises above the city and, more than any other sight, symbolizes the history and culture of Tibet. Nearby are the huge monastic universities of Drepung and Sera still active institutions.
Day 7: A long, yet scenic day's drive across the Khamba La and Kora La (passes), along the shores of Lake Yamdrok Tso to Gyantse. Once an important trading town, Gyantse retains a feel of old' Tibet.
Day 8: In the morning visit Gyantse's monastery Pelkor Choede and the justifiably famous Kumbum, within the same complex. There may also be time to visit the dzong (fort) that towers above the town. In the afternoon we make the short (2-3 hour) drive along the valley to Shigatse.
After lunch, visit Tashilhunpo monastery. Tashilhunpo is the seat of the Panchen Lama, second only in importance to the Dalai Lama. Its numerous halls contain a 21.6-meter wooden statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha and elaborate, jewel encrusted reliquary chorten. The afternoon is free to explore the old market, or perhaps visit the carpet factory where hand-woven carpets are made to traditional designs.
Day 9: Drive via Sakya to Xegar. Sakya was the seat of political power in central Tibet from the 10 th to mid 14 th century. The fortified monastery is still head of one of the most important schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
Day 10 : Turn off the Friendship Highway for a stunning drive through Qomolangma National Park to reach the tiny Rhongphu Gompa at 5000m. The view from here is utterly spectacular!
Day 11: Trek or drive the 7kms to Everest Base Camp (5200m) before heading to Lao Tingri via a rough, yet scenic track crossing small rivers and passes.
Day 12: Another high pass gives a last, spectacular view of the Himalaya before we leave the Tibetan Plateau, descending to Zhangmu on the China-Nepal border.
Day 13: Completing border formalities the drive back to Kathmandu continues down the Bote Khosi valley.
Day 14: Depart