Road to Lhasa Tour (ZZ-TIB-17)
Traverse the world's highest mountain range
One of the finest ways to approach Tibet is the traditional way, by road. The road twists and turns as it climbs the narrow gorge cut by the Bhoti Kosi River; waterfalls and steaming jungle give way to the harsh, barren beauty of the Tibetan Plateau.
Traveling slowly, as we acclimatize to the thinner air, towards the holy city of Lhasa - a city of marvels - history and art, commerce and religion meld into an unforgettable experience.
The exquisite turquoise lake, snow-capped peaks, glaciers, fields of rape and barley, colorful temples and imposing forts... The return journey via Qomolangma (Everest) base camp is far from a repeat of the inward one.
Where are you going?
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: A long day as we dive, complete border formalities at Kodari and Zhangmu. It is then a steep and spectacular drive up the gorge and on to the Tibetan Plateau. Expect to feel the effects of altitude as we ascend.
Day 4: Allowing for a relaxed morning and adjustment to the altitude we make the short drive across the Tong La (5120m) and the La Lung La (5124m) to Lao Tingri.
Days 5-6 : Continue the scenic drive to Lhasa via Shigatse. For much of the way the road follows the Yarlung Tsangpo (known as the Brahmaputra once it reaches India).
Days 7-9 : Three full days to 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 10: 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 11: 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 bove the town. In the afternoon we make the short (2-3 hour) drive along the valley to Shigatse.
Day 12: 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. In the afternoon we drive to Lhatse.
Day 13 : 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 14: 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 15: 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 16: Completing border formalities the drive back to Kathmandu continues down the Bote Khosi valley.
Day 17: Depart