Embark on an adventure in Tibet, travelling between Lhasa and Kathmandu, walking among Tibetan pilgrims and standing before the Everest.

Join an adventure across the top of the world. From the serene former home of the Dalai Lama in Lhasa to the ancient narrow laneways of Kathmandu, traverse the world's highest mountain range and delve into the heart of Tibetan Buddhism. Mingle with locals, rub shoulders with pilgrims and take in spectacular scenery – this is most definitely Tibet and all its treasures uncovered.


Start
Kathmandu, Nepal
Finish
Kathmandu, Nepal
Destinations
China, Nepal
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
CBSN
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; its temples steeped in symbolism

  • 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 lakes of perfect blue

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

  • An overnight stay at the foot of the Everest in the local tourist yurt, in the midst of the world's tallest peaks, is truly an experience to remember

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 ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information.

  • This itinerary is operated at a leisurely pace. It's a combination of free time and time spent with the group –perfect for travellers who like a bit of flexibility.

  • 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.

  • Steeped in myth, spirituality and of course remote mountainous terrain, Tibet is a great place to visit if you're an independent, open-minded traveller.

  • 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

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2018 to 31 October 2018. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2019 - 31 December 2019

Namaste! Welcome to Nepal. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. Those who have pre-booked an arrival transfer can meet their driver outside the airport terminal, a few metres from the exit door – look out for the Intrepid signboard. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception for the location of this 2pm meeting. We'll be collecting your insurance details, next of kin information, visa application fee and passport photo fee, and you will need to fill in the application forms for the group visa at this meeting. Please ensure you have all these details handy to provide to your leader. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, we advise you to arrive a day early so you're able to attend and finish the paperwork in time for the visa application. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please call our local emergency number and inform our local team immediately.
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 inc. a 6-page form to fill. Then your tour 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. Afterwards, your evening is free, but your trip leader will usually organise an (optional) evening meal at one of Kathmandu's fine Nepali restaurants.

Notes: Remember not to obtain a Chinese visa in advance, as you will use a group visa when entering Tibet from Nepal. Any other valid Chinese visa in your passport will be cancelled if you do obtain one. Please see the 'Visa' section of these trip notes for more information.
When you fill in the application form, please do not use any abbreviations. You will be asked to fill in your place of work with detailed address and contact info too. If you are unemployed or still studying, you can fill you your workplace from the past or your school details. Please make sure all the information you have filled in the form is accurate, particularly all matching your passport. Any inaccurate info including spelling mistakes etc may result in denial of China visa from the authorities.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning, our local partner will take all the necessary documents to go to China embassy and submit them for the group visa application. In the meantime, you’ll have to be ready to be called into the embassy for any further enquiry about the group visa, so your tour leader will take you for short walks near the hotel and sites but please note that we don’t advise you to be separate from your group and your tour leader in case that an urgent embassy visit is required. It’s possible for you to visit the monkey temple nearby (at your own expense). After 2 pm when the embassy procedures are finished, your tour leader will take you on a walking tour (2-3 hrs) 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. Experience these all on the walking tour with your tour leader.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kathmandu - Walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Kathmandu - Swayambhunath Temple - NPR200
  • Kathmandu - Rickshaw Night Explorer Urban Adventure - USD68
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today, we leave in the morning on a private bus to visit one of the most highly rated ancient town near Kathmandu – Bhaktapur. 14 KM away from Kathmandu, Bhakatapur was one of the 3 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, say hi to the 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 temple 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
There are no meals included on this day.
Fly to Tibet's capital, Lhasa (approximately 2 hours) (3,650 m). 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. In Lhasa you will stay at a basic but centrally located hotel with twin-share accommodation decorated in traditional Tibetan style.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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. So we've allowed more time here to allow for acclimatisation.
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, we'll visit Sera Monastery where the fascinating Buddhism debate takes place between the Tibetan monks. We won't understand a thing that they are debating about, but it's purely joy to see how they heatedly discuss the philosophies in a very exaggerated and eye catching manner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lhasa - Sera Monastery
  • Lhasa - Momo cooking class
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
In the morning, visit the Potala Palace, the incredible 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). Although you must stick with your guide while exploring Potala Palace, this in no way lessens the impact of seeing what is truly a wonder of the architectural world.
Then visit Jokhang Temple, considered the spiritual heart and most sacred temple of Tibet. It always attracts a steady waves of pilgrims. Spend some time exploring this 6-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 (clockwise direction), both of which are considered sacred Koras by the Tibetan Buddhists.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lhasa - Potala Palace
  • Lhasa - Jokhang Temple
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.
Take a private bus to the Drak Yerpa Monastery. Known variously as Brag Yer-pa, Yerpa, Dagyeba, Dayerpa or Trayerpa, this is one of the holiest cave retreats in Tibet, the 'life tree' of Lhasa. It’s located in the spectacular limestone cliffs of the Yerpa Valley, with views of prayer flag-covered mountains. Here you can explore some of the caves, including ones where pilgrims sip holy water or slip through a small gap in the rock, and perhaps talk with the few remaining monks that live there. Monks have begun to return to Yerpa, but numbers are strictly controlled by the government, which carries out regular patriotic study sessions.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Continue to Gyantse (approximately 8 hours) (3,977m). The drive is long but rewarding, with spectacular views and plenty of photo opportunities, including at Karo La (5,039m). We will stop out at Yamdrok Lake (4,441m), it is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. Gyantse is a small agricultural town that's famous for its wool carpets. It has a very traditional feel to it, and indeed everyday Tibetan rural life continues here much as it has done for centuries. There are a number of interesting buildings around town, including the Pelkhor Chode Temple complex, a unique structure built in 1414 comprising five stories, each one representing a different stage on the path to enlightenment. The backstreets of Gyantse are a great place to see contemporary Tibetan life, with pilgrims, pop music, cows, 'cowboys' on motorbikes, kids and monks mingling in a lively mixture of cultures.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gyantse - Yamdrok Lake
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
From days 8 to 13 you will be accompanied by an additional local guide. This ensures the trip will continue running in the event that a passenger will need to be separate from the group for medical treatment due to altitude or other sickness when travelling in remote regions.
Today start your day with a visit to the Pelkor Chode Monastery and its Kumbum Tower, aka 'Ten Thousand Buddha Pagodas' with an architecture style featuring Han, Tibetan and Nepali.
Then enjoy lunch with a local Tibetan family at their home before leaving for Shigatse (approx. 2 hours).
Shigatse is home to the massive Tashilhunpo Monastery, traditionally the seat the Panchen Lama. Your leader will take you on a tour through the myriads of the monastery – each building with their own intricate decorations, legends and religious imagery – 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. In the evening, perhaps join the pilgrims on their kora, spinning prayer wheels as you walk around the perimeter of the monastery and take in the lovely views and atmosphere (approximately 1 hour).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gyantse - Tibetan family visit & lunch
  • Gyantse - Pelkor Chode Monastery
  • Shigatse - Tashilunpo Monastery
Meals Included
  • Lunch
Continue to Sakya (approximately 3 hours) (4,300m). Sakya's monastery and town buildings are quite unique. The monastery is built in medieval 'Mongolian' style. Rather than being whitewashed, the secular buildings are painted in red and white stripes. At first the halls may seem similar to other monasteries you have visited, but after spending some time here you'll see that Sakya has a subtle, ancient beauty unlike any other. You might also like to climb the hill through the Tibetan Village to see what's left of the original monastery complex. Make sure you pick your way through the ruins and remaining buildings in a clockwise direction, as this is a kora route (prayer circuit). You can also hike a little further afield to the nunnery, which sits high on the hill and overlooks the town. For dinner tonight, perhaps try some spicy food at one of the little restaurants run by Sichuanese immigrants. You will stay the night in a basic guesthouse (note that hot water is usually unavailable here).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sakya - Monastery
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
An exhilarating drive (approximately 5–6 hours) brings you to Everest National Park.The road is winding but the you'll be compensated with great view of world's greatest snow capped mountains standing together afar like giants.
Visit the world 2nd highest monastery Rongbuk Monastery. On a clear day you might even get a photo of the monastery's chorten against the backdrop of mighty Everest, or Qomolangma, as it is called in Tibetan. Today, around 50 monks and nuns remain in this relatively modern Tibetan monastery (in the early 1900s, some 500 lived here)
Then a short drive to where you'll stay tonight - the camp ground of the yark hair tents set up by Tibetans to accommodate the travellers who come here for a night close to the Everest.
Enjoy some lunch before taking the gentle walk up to Everest Base Camp monument (approximately 2 hours rtn). The monument is the closest you can get to the Base Camp on the Chinese/Tibetan side but standing in front of the Everest will simply leave everyone speechless as it becomes clear why it's a sacred mountain to the Tibetans. For the more energetic, your leader can take you for a hike to the upper Rongbuk Monastery (the highest!) and visit some caves where the monks meditated in the ancient times.

Note:
In summer months, the group will stay at Rongphu in the tent city that is set up along the road to Everest Base Camp. Accommodation here is in nomad-style tents. Tents sleep up to seven people with basic mattresses and bedding provided, but we recommend using a sleep sheet and preparing some warm clothes, as it can get quite cool in the evenings. There are basic pit toilets nearby. For heating there is a yak dung stove in the central open area of each tent. At such close proximity to the tallest mountains in the world, the surroundings more than make up for the basic sleeping conditions. In colder months, when the tent city is not operational, the accommodation will be a monastery guesthouse, or lodgings in a nearby town. Rooms here are quad-share with very simple, shared facilities. Also note that Everest Base Camp can close without any prior notice because of political issues and/or bad weather. Prior notice will be given where possible. When it's closed, passengers will stay in Old Tingri (4,300m) where a beautiful view of Everest is still possible on a clear day.
Accommodation
  • Permanent Tent Camp/Guesthouse (Multi - share) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Everest National Park - Rongphu Monastery
  • Everest National Park - Base Camp Monument (Chinese side)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
A full day travelling ahead after breakfast. If you would like to, wake up early and get some last shots of Everest during sunrise time. Afterwards, say goodbye to our hosts and return to Shigatse (approximately 8 hours).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Journey back to Lhasa (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 photographs of the mountains.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Head back to the airport to board your flight to Kathmandu (approximately 1.5 hours). Your journey comes to an end where it all began, back in Kathmandu. You'll check back into your hotel, then head out for a final (optional) group dinner. Boasting a delicious array of international and local cuisine, Kathmandu is lovely place to dine, especially after your adventure across the 'Roof of the World'.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kathmandu - Spiritual Nepal Urban Adventure - USD80
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.
Your trip comes to an end. There are no activities planned, and you are free to depart the hotel at any time before 12 noon. If you are departing later, luggage storage can be arranged at the hotel.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

5 breakfasts, 2 lunches

Transport

Plane, Private Bus, Public Bus

Accommodation

Hotel/Guesthouse (13 nights), Permanent Tented Camp (1 night)

Included activities

  • Kathmandu - Walking tour
  • Kathmandu - Bhaktapur tour
  • Kathmandu - Changu Narayan tour
  • Lhasa - Sera Monastery
  • Lhasa - Momo cooking class
  • Lhasa - Potala Palace
  • Lhasa - Jokhang Temple
  • Gyantse - Yamdrok Lake
  • Gyantse - Tibetan family visit & lunch
  • Gyantse - Pelkor Chode Monastery
  • Shigatse - Tashilunpo Monastery
  • Sakya - Monastery
  • Everest National Park - Rongphu Monastery
  • Everest National Park - Base Camp Monument (Chinese side)

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Important notes

1. Do not obtain a Chinese visa in advance. As we must enter on a group visa when entering 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.
3. Your tour leader will lead your through the visa application formalities on Day 1 including taking you to take passport photos for the 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. Everybody must enter and leave Tibet with the group. Make sure you read the 'Visas' section for important details on the information you must provide for your group's Tibet permit.
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 while within China.
8. A Single Supplement is available to purchase on this trip except for the stay in Everest National Park tent.
9. Please note while traveling in China you will not be able to access some popular internet websites.
10. You will have different tour leaders in Kathmandu and in Tibet and the flight and immigration procedures between Kathmandu and Lhasa is unaccompanied by a leader.
11. The two internal international flight on this itinerary between Lhasa and Kathmandu are included in the trip price.
12. The luggage limit for the included flights is 23kg.

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.

Reviews

Our Tibet Uncovered trips score an average of 4.87 out of 5 based on 15 reviews in the last year.

Tibet Uncovered , September 2018

SAMUEL STRAIN

Tibet Uncovered , September 2018

Bel Nitschke