The classic route across the roof of the world.
The lure of Lhasa, capital on the roof of the world, cannot be under-estimated and it is truly a fascinating city, fully justifing its reputation. Dominated by the awe-inspiring grandeur of the Potala Palace and bustling with pilgrims circling the sacred Jokhang Temple it is a feast for the senses.
Cross the spectacular Khamba-La (pass) with the turquoise waters of the sacred lake, Yamdrok-tso, spread below. Prayer flags, glaciers, snow covered mountain ranges - the scenery is incredible!
Gyantse stands at the junction of trade routes from India and retains the feel of a Tibetan town. The forts and well-protected monasteries of Gyantse, Shigatse and Sakya reveal a not always peaceful history - the riches within, testament to past glory.
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: 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 4-5 : 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 6: 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 7: 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.
Day 8: 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 Xegar.
Day 9: 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 10: Completing border formalities the drive back to Kathmandu continues down the Bote Khosi valley.
Day 11 : Depart