High Road to Lhasa
All content by World Expeditions
A stunning overland Tibetan journey from Lhasa to Kathmandu with a visit to Everest Base Camp
This is our classic Tibetan journey - a rugged crossing of the Tibetan Plateau linking the fabled city of Lhasa with Kathmandu. In the company of our Tibetan speaking guides we include the cultural highlights of Lhasa including the Potala Palace, the Jokhang temple, the Norbulingka plus the Drepung and Sera monasteries, with visits to Gyantse (the Kumbum chorten) and Shigatse (the Tashilhunpo). A distinct highlight of the journey is our diversion to the famous Rongphu Valley to see Mount Everest's north face from the famous historic 1922 Base Camp - an experience shared by only a handful of dedicated travellers each year on this remarkable journey through a once forbidden land.
- Sightseeing in Lhasa, including the Potala Palace, former home of the Dalai Lama.
- Sightseeing in - Pashupatinath (a major Hindu shrine) and the giant Buddhist stupa at Boudhanath
- Panoramic Himalayan views and unrivalled views of the north face of Everest
- Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse
- Visit Rongphu Monastery
Day 1 Arrive Kathmandu, Nepal
On arrival in Kathmandu, we will be met and transferred to the hotel for the trip briefing and the completion of your Tibet visa application. Evening drinks are held in the hotel for all World Expeditions clients arriving today. Drinks and snacks will generally be served from 6:30pm until 7:15pm, and this is a great opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow group members before heading out to dinner.
Day 2 In Kathmandu
This morning a sightseeing tour takes in the key attractions in and around Kathmandu. We will visit Pashupatinath and Boudhanath, returning to the hotel by 2pm. In the afternoon you may have time to explore Durbar Square, Patan, Swayambhunath or Bhaktapur, and the lesser-known towns that dot the valley on foot, by bicycle or trishaw. The area has an amazing range of fascinating highlights, whatever your interest. Excellent bookshops, extensive markets, and novelty and handicraft shops contrast with fantastic centres of cultural and spiritual significance - Kathmandu has more World Heritage sites than any other city in the world.
Day 3 Fly to Lhasa, Tibet
This morning we are transferred to the airport for the flight to Lhasa. On arrival at Lhasa Airport you will be transferred to the city – a drive that takes around two hours.
Days 4-5 In Lhasa
Two days are scheduled in Lhasa to appreciate its rich cultural history Lhasa. We include visits to the Jokhang, the Norbulingka (the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lama), and the famous Potala Palace. We also include visits to the nearby monasteries of Drepung and Sera.
Day 6 Drive to Gyangtse (7-8hrs.)
From Lhasa we drive down the Kyichu Valley to the Yarlong Tsampo (Brahmaputra) before ascending to the Khamba La (Khamba Pass) at 4900m. The views are outstanding – in the foreground is the vast freshwater Yamdrok Tso or Turquoise Lake, while to the south the snow-capped ranges merge with the main Himalayan range. We drive around the lake before crossing the Karo La (5200m) to reach Gyantse.
Day 7 In Gyangtse, drive to Shigatse (2hrs.)
Gyantse is a remarkable place that has escaped much of the Chinese influence evident in other major Tibetan towns. It is dominated by the ancient fort that was besieged by British forces in 1904 during the famous Younghusband Expedition. We also visit the remarkable octagonal chorten, the Kumbum (or Pango Chorten)- built in 1444 on a series of four levels, each of which contains separate chapels. In the afternoon we drive to Shigatse.
Day 8 In Shigatse
In Shigatse we visit the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery, founded in 1447 by the 1st Dalai Lama. Since the time of the 5th Dalai Lama in 1642, the abbot of Tashilhunpo has been known as the Panchen Lama (literally the 'Great Scholar'). Over the generations, the Panchen Lama became established as the chief spiritual and temporal adviser of the huge western portion of Tibet known as Tsang, and at times was even considered a rival to the Dalai Lama. During the Cultural Revolution much of the Tashilhunpo and the nearby fort were destroyed, and what we see today is a huge complex in various stages of rebuilding. Of particular interest are the huge temple to the Maitreya Buddha (the 'Buddha to Be'); the tomb of the 10th Panchen Lama (who died in 1989), which is said to be encased with over 300kg of gold; the Palace of the Panchen Lama; and the tomb of the 5th to 9th Panchen Lamas. The latter, recently reconstructed, contains the remains of the former Panchen Lamas that were retrieved after their separate tombs were demolished by Chinese troops in 1966. Also of interest is the main Assembly Hall, adjacent to many of the important chapels that are in everyday use.
Day 9 Drive to Shegar (5-6 hrs.)
The drive to Shegar can be completed in half a day, which allows time this afternoon to visit the Shegar Fort and Monastery.
Day 10 Drive to Rongphu Monastery (7-8 hrs.)
The drive over the Pang La (5150m) affords our first views of the north face of Everest (8848m). From the pass we descend to the village of Phadhruchi, before driving up the Rongphu Valley to Rongphu Monastery and unrivalled views of the mountain's north face.At Rongphu we stay in the small lodge attached to the monastery, which has recently been reconstructed following the excesses of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. Nowadays there are about twenty monks in attendance. Please note that there are no “5-star” hotels at Rongphu, and facilities at both the lodge and the nearby campsite are basic. While the meals cooked by our guides here may be lacking in gastronomic delights, they are nutritious. We provide down jackets to all group participants for added warmth. Any discomfort is fully compensated for by the views in this spectacular location!
Day 11 At Rongphu Monastery
We have the opportunity to trek towards the famous 1922 Base Camp, where interwar British expeditions camped before making their attempts to climb Everest.(Note: that if the weather is fine and the views clear we have the option of travelling the same day back to the main highway and spending the night at Tingri. From the Tingri plains we see the tip of Everest and many other snow capped peaks of the Himalaya. Overnight in a simply appointed lodge.
Day 12 Drive to Zangmu (9-10hrs.)
An early start is necessary to complete the drive back to the highway and the Chinese/Nepal border at Zhangmu. After rejoining the highway, we drive across the rolling plains of the Tibetan Plateau to reach the Lalong La (5042m). From here we head down the spectacular Sun Kosi Gorge to the border town at Zhangmu, where we spend the night. Please note that the facilities at the government-run hotel here are basic.
Day 13 Drive to Kathmandu (5-6hrs.)
After completing Chinese immigration and customs formalities we transfer our gear by truck down the eight-kilometre stretch that leads to the Friendship Bridge and Nepal. You will require a re-entry visa at this border, so please have your documentation ready. After clearing Nepal's customs and immigration, our chartered bus will complete the drive to Kathmandu. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 14 Trip concludes in Kathmandu
Trip concludes after breakfast with a transfer to the airport.
- 13 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 7 dinners
- flight Kathmandu/Lhasa US$460
- arrival & departure transfers
- expert bilingual guide and group medical kit
- Radisson Hotel in Kathmandu
- comfortable hotels and guesthouses in Tibet
- private transportation
- sightseeing and site entrance fees as listed in itinerary
- portable high altitude chamber (PAC)
- 14 day trip
- 11 nights hotels
- 2 nights Tibetan lodge
Group Size Min
Group Size Max
Specialist gear required include walking boots and day pack (a comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking).
What You Carry
In your daypack you will need to carry extra warm clothing (depending on the altitude, location and weather), a rainjacket, water bottle, film and camera gear, valuables and personal items such as sunscreen, lip-eze etc.