Traverse through the mountainous beauty of Tibet.

Beginning in the compact capital of Kathmandu, embark on a fulfilling expedition to the mystical lands of Tibet. This 11-day journey will take you through the mountainous passes, past stunning lakes, and into spiritual communities enriched and enlightened by Buddhism. Take a day trip from Kathmandu to explore Nepal’s natural side, explore Tibet’s wondrous capital of Lhasa to be awed by the imposing Potala Palace, and venture high into the hills to Shigatse, notably for the Tashilhunpo Monastery. This peaceful small group trip has adventure written all over it.


Start
Kathmandu, Nepal
Finish
Kathmandu, Nepal
Destinations
China, Nepal
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Code
CBKT
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Flanked by the majestic Himalayan Mountains, Kathmandu is nothing short of a legendary destination. Its bustling alleyways are filled with monks, incense, goats and sacred cows, and its temples steeped in symbolism.

  • With knowledgeable local guides and others to look after the finer details, it has never been easier to make the journey into the far-fetched and mystical land of Tibet.

  • In Lhasa, discover the dazzling former home of the Dalai Lama and the enchanting atmosphere of the pilgrim-filled Jokhang Temple – the holiest in the Tibetan Buddhist world.

  • Each leg of a Tibetan road trip seems more incredible than the last. Climb stunning passes, drive along the sides of misty mountains, and take in jaw-dropping views of skies and shimmering lakes.

  • Accompany devoted pilgrims on their kora (prayer circuit), spinning prayer wheels on a clockwise walk around the perimeter of the vast Tashilhunpo Monastery.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Medical and Health information’ section of the Essential Trip Information for up to date recommendations.

  • Part of travelling with Intrepid means respecting local cultures and sensibilities. That way you get the most out of your interactions with local people and environments. Please note that Tibet has a strong Buddhist culture, so please keep an open mind and be respectful of pilgrims who may be worshipping during your visit.

  • Steeped in myth, spirituality and of course remote mountainous terrain, Tibet is a great place to visit if you're an open-minded traveller. This itinerary is operated at a leisurely pace, but please note that independent travel is not allowed in Tibet, therefore, to visit any tourist sites, you will need to have a licensed guide with you. In your limited free time, if there's another monastery that you wish to visit, please consult your tour leader. Only a few meals are included, so mostly you'll find your own (with plenty of suggestions from your leader of course) – a great way to mingle with locals and discover unexpected delights!

  • There are some quite long days of travel, which can be tiring. On the other hand, the scenery is absolutely amazing, so sit back, relax and soak it up.

  • Note that in recent years there have been some restrictions on certain nationalities being able to travel on specific departures. Tibet has also been known to be closed down to foreign tourism without warning.

Itinerary

Namaste! Welcome to Nepal. Your adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 2 pm. This group meeting will be longer than your normal Intrepid meeting as there are a fair bit of paperwork to go through for the visa application, including a six-page form to fill out. Then, your group leader will take you to take the photos needed for the visa application (5 USD per person) to make sure all the photos submitted are in line with the embassy requirement. After all the formalities are out of the way, head out in the evening with your leader for a welcome dinner to try some delicious Nepalese cuisine.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kathmandu - Spiritual Nepal Urban Adventure - USD80
  • Kathmandu - Kathmandu by Bike Urban Adventure - USD100
  • Kathmandu - Kathmandu Living Urban Adventure - USD66
  • Kathmandu - In Focus: Handmade Kathmandu - USD93
  • Kathmandu - Early Morning Everest Scenic Flight - USD220
  • Kathmandu - Kathmandu Valley's Other Kingdoms Urban Adventure - USD97
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
Those who have pre-booked an arrival transfer from Kathmandu International Airport can meet their driver outside the airport terminal, a few metres from the exit door – look out for the Intrepid signboard.

It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information as well as the visa application fee and passport photo fee, and you will need to fill in the application forms for the group visa at this meeting at this time. If you are going to be late, please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place. Please arrange a flight that will arrive in time today, so you’ll be able to prepare your paperwork for the visa application. If you’d like to arrive a day early, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
This morning, our local representative will take all the necessary documents to the Chinese embassy and submit them for the group visa application. In the meantime, you’ll need to be ready to be called into the embassy for any further enquiries about the group visa, so your tour leader will take you for short walks near the hotel in case an urgent embassy visit is required. It is, however, possible for you to take an optional visit to the nearby monkey temple. After 2pm when the embassy procedures are finished, your tour leader will take you on a walking tour (approximately 2.5 hours) to explore the excitement and allure hidden in the lanes and alleys of Kathmandu. Step out into the streets of Kathmandu, whose mixture of ancient architecture and modern development, and rich artistic and cultural heritage, means it remains the legendary destination it has been for decades. Crowded markets and bazaars are the centre of Nepali life and the narrow streets are home to holy men, monks, bicycles, incense, goats and sacred cows.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kathmandu - Walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Kathmandu - Swayambhunath Temple - NPR200
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, leave Kathmandu old town in the morning on a private bus to visit one of the Nepal’s most renowned ancient towns – Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur was one of the three royal cities in Kathmandu valley, and remains a living museum with stunning architecture and art, rich history and fascinating religion of Buddhism and Hinduism. Take a stroll with your leader through the zigzagging alleys and learn about the stories of the kings and the saints of the past, interact with locals and admire the intricate wood carvings and pottery making. Continue on to Changu Narayan – a hidden gem in Kathmandu’s religious scene, being one of the oldest Hindu temples in the region. Enjoy some time of tranquillity and nature here before heading back to the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kathmandu - Bhaktapur tour
  • Kathmandu - Changu Narayan tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Fly to Tibet's capital, Lhasa (approximately 2 hours). Colourful and historic, the holy city of Lhasa is situated in a small valley. Unknown to the outside world for years, even the most adventurous and hardy of explorers rarely reached the city without being turned away, either by the treacherous terrain or the fierce warrior monks that protected Tibetan territory from intruders. Nowadays it welcomes tourists, but remains an enchanting city, steeped in culture and mythology.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Your flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa will be unaccompanied. You will be farewelled in Nepal by your Nepalese leader and met on arrival in Lhasa by a Tibetan leader. Due to Chinese government regulations, all foreign tour groups in Tibet must be accompanied by an official licensed Tibetan guide.

Altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation may be felt while travelling in Tibet, particularly when arriving in Lhasa (sitting at around 3656metres above sea level). Therefore, take your time here to acclimitise to the altitude.
This morning, take it easy to adjust to the altitude. At noon, take a cooking class and learn the fine art of preparing momo – traditional Tibetan dumplings – for lunch. Though the dish appears in neighbouring countries Nepal and Bhutan, it’s believed to originate in Tibet. In the afternoon, you’ll visit Sera Monastery where the fascinating Buddhism debate takes place between the Tibetan monks. You won't understand a thing that they are debating about, but it's pure joy to see how they heatedly discuss the philosophies in quite an exaggerated way.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lhasa - Momo cooking class
  • Lhasa - Sera Monastery
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
In the morning, visit the Potala Palace – the former home of the Dalai Lama that’s perched 130 metres above the city. The palace is divided into two parts, the White Palace (secular and used as offices and the like) and the Red Palace (home to chapels, shrines, and tombs of Dalai Lamas). This incredible structure is a feat of architecture for this small kingdom. Afterwards, visit Jokhang Temple, considered the spiritual heart and most sacred temple of Tibet. It always attracts a steady wave of pilgrims. Spend some time exploring this six-acre World-Heritage listed site and learn a thing or two about its history. According to legend, the temple was built on top of a lake after many failed attempts to build monasteries in other nearby locations. Feast your eyes on golden Buddha which stands in the centre. If you still feel energetic enough, perhaps join the pilgrims walk around the Barkhor street or around the Potala Palace, both of which are considered sacred koras by the Tibetan Buddhists.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lhasa - Jokhang Temple
  • Lhasa - Potala Palace
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Potala Palace is the most popular attraction in Lhasa, especially among Chinese tour groups. It can become very crowded, and every visitor is only allowed a limited amount of time inside the Palace so your tour leader and guide will have to strictly manage the group visit according to the time frame they are given by the site management office.
Leave Lhasa in the morning and take a private transfer to Shigatse (approximately 6 hours). Though it's a long day of driving, the scenery along the way is spectacular, so sit back, relax and enjoy it. There will be stops for lunch and to take in the stunning mountainous scenery. Shigatse is home to the massive Tashilhunpo Monastery, traditionally the seat of the Panchen Lama. On arrival in the afternoon, your group leader will take you on a short walking tour and visit the local market which has all kinds of Tibetan souvenirs to offer. The Shigatse Tibetan market is also an ideal opportunity to purchase a chuba – a traditional Tibetan-style cloak.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shigatse - Market
Optional Activities
  • Shigatse - Shalu Monastery - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, visit the Tashilhunpo Monastery, where your leader will take you on a tour through the buildings, each with their own intricate decorations, legends and religious imagery. If you’d like, you can ask for directions to the tranquil Chapel of Jampa and meditate on the world's largest gilded statue. The courtyard outside of the Kelsang Chapel is one of the best places to observe the pilgrims and monks prepare for ceremonies. Be welcomed to our hospitable Tibetan family in town and learn all about their life and tradition in this special part of the world over some yak butter tea and Tibetan style snacks. In the evening, join the pilgrims on their kora by spinning prayer wheels as you walk around the perimeter of the monastery and take in the lovely views and atmosphere.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shigatse - Kora walk
  • Shigatse - Tashilhunpo Monastery
  • Shigatse - Tibetan family visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Journey back to Lhasa (approximately 6 hours). Grasp your last bit of time in this scared city for some more shopping, or just to do some people watching, which is fascinating due to the public displays of devotion and spirituality from the locals. You could also head to Barkhor street for local souvenirs. This evening, why not find a restaurant with a view of the illuminated Potala Palace for dinner with your fellow travellers – your group leader will know of some good spots.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, say goodbye to your Tibetan leader and take a flight back to Kathmandu (approximately 1.5 hours). Your Nepal leader will greet you at the airport and get ready to dive back in the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu again. Maybe enjoy a final dinner with your group together – boasting a delicious array of international and local cuisine, Kathmandu is lovely place to dine, especially with your small group.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Your flight from Lhasa to Kathmandu will be unaccompanied. You will be farewelled in Tibet by your Tibetan leader and met on arrival in Kathmandu by a Nepalese leader.
There are no activities planned today, and you are free to depart the hotel at any time before the 12 noon check out. If you are departing later, luggage storage can be arranged at the hotel.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

10 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Transport

Plane, Private Bus, Public bus

Accommodation

Hotel (10 nights)

Included activities

  • Kathmandu - Walking tour
  • Kathmandu - Bhaktapur tour
  • Kathmandu - Changu Narayan tour
  • Lhasa - Momo cooking class
  • Lhasa - Sera Monastery
  • Lhasa - Jokhang Temple
  • Lhasa - Potala Palace
  • Shigatse - Market
  • Shigatse - Kora walk
  • Shigatse - Tashilhunpo Monastery
  • Shigatse - Tibetan family visit

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Please do not obtain a Chinese visa in advance. As we must enter on a Group Visa when crossing into Tibet from Nepal, any other valid Chinese visa in your passport will be cancelled.
2. In order for us to apply for your Tibet entry permit you must provide a scanned, colour copy of the personal details page of your passport to your booking agent no later than 40 days prior to the start date of your trip. You will also need to advise us of your current profession at this time.
3. Your tour leader will lead your through the visa application formalities on Day 1 including arranging for passport photos to be taken for your visa. Please see itinerary Day 1 for details.
4. Please be aware that in recent years there have been times when restrictions on nationalities being able to travel on specific departures have been implemented or Tibet has been closed to foreign tourists without warning.
5. Due to the demands of travelling at high altitudes a Passenger Self Assessment Form is required for this trip.
6. All clients will be entering Tibet on a Group Permit arranged by Intrepid Travel and as such it's not possible for anyone to leave the group and remain in Tibet or continue to travel in China individually. All travellers must enter and leave Tibet with the group. 
7. It's a criminal offence for anyone to carry images of the Dalai Lama or the Tibetan flag - doing so may lead to confiscation of the items, detention, arrest or imprisonment by Chinese authorities. We strongly advise travellers against carrying these items at any time in or into China.
8. A Single Supplement is bookable to purchase on this trip for all nights, subject to availability.
9. Please note while traveling in China you will not be able to access some popular websites, particularly social media or news sites.
10. You will have different tour leaders in Nepal and in Tibet. The flight and immigration procedures between Kathmandu and Lhasa will be unaccompanied.
11. The two internal international flights on this itinerary between Lhasa and Kathmandu are included in the trip price.
12. The luggage limit for the included flights is 23kg for check in luggage, 7kg for carry on.
13. This trip starts with a Welcome Meeting on Day 1 at 2pm.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View Essential Trip Information

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