Across the Tibetan Plateau

Across the Tibetan Plateau

China, Nepal

  • Asian Delights
  • Cross-Cultural
  • Walking
  • Culture
13 Days
1 Flights
Child friendly

You could either choose to join the scheduled departure listed below, or you could have us arrange for you your own private departure at dates that best fits you.

Recommended dates for the trip: Early May to late September. Please see below dates in which trip prices are not available (some surcharge may apply).

Itinerary

A unique journey through the Tibetan Plateau- the Roof of the World as it is commonly known. Come and indulge in the intriguing world of Tibetan Buddhism and its ancient splendid monasteries, travel through towering mountain passes, along crystal blue lakes, and through rustic villages to get an up-close understanding of the reality of Tibet. Meet the Tibetans people as they complete months’ long pilgrimage, as they work their vegetable plots in the rural areas, and in their simple yet cozy dwellings. You will find reality is probably far simpler, and far charming than how it depicts through western media.

Day 1. MON, 26Aug19. Arrival in Beijing

Arrive in Beijing, the fascinating capital of the world’s most populated country. This city mirrors the whole of China’s fast-growing economy and the people’s struggle to make it through another day. Skyscrapers rise up only a few steps away from the ancient hutongs; the latest cars glide past rickshaws; and traditions thousands of years old continue to be observed alongside new market rules and a new way of life. All these, and much more, make Beijing one of the world’s most impressive cities to visit. After immigration formalities, meet the local guide, and transfer to a hotel by the airport. If time permit, drive to the city center and spend some time exploring the city center.

Day 2. TUE, 27Aug19. Beijing ✈ Lhasa

  • Breakfast

Early in the morning leave the hotel, and drive back to Beijing airport for the morning flight to Lhasa, the provincial capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Commonly dubbed as the “Roof of the World”, with average altitude of 4900 meters above sea level, Tibet is the highest region in the world, with its provincial capital lying at 3490 meters above sea level. After landing at Gonggar Airport, and meeting the local guide, embark on the long drive to Lhasa. Take the day in a slow pace, to acclimatize to the high altitude. If time (and physical condition) permit, take a leisurely walk around the bustling Barkhor, a circular street around the Jokhang Temple, the holiest temple to the Tibetan people. In between the busy market booths along the Barkhor, get to see and join Tibetan pilgrims partaking in the Kora, the traditional circling of significant Buddhist worship sites. For some of these pilgrims this marks the end of a relentless journey, that at times stretches over a period of several months, in which they have walked for hundreds of kilometers to come and pay respect in front of the Jokhang. Then enter the Jokhang itself, first built in the 7th century by the forefather of the Tibetan nation, King Songtesen Gampo, and today, home to the Jowo Rinpoche, the most revered Buddha statue to Tibetan Buddhists. The Jokhang has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the year of 2000, and ongoing restoration works are being conducted to bring it back to its old-age glory. At the evening revert to the hotel, for a first night in Tibet.

Day 3. WED, 28Aug19. Touring Lhasa

  • Breakfast

The day would be dedicated to some of the most prominent sites of Lhasa, the center of Tibetan culture and religion. Begin with the Potala Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994. With fortified walls as protection from both invaders and earthquakes, and covering an area of over 140,000 square meters, the palace looks over the entire Lhasa Valley. Once the seat of the Dalai Lama, the Potala features more than 1000 shrines, the tombs of most of the Dalai Lamas, and an excellent display of Tibetan and Buddhist art and workmanship. After visiting the Potala, drive to Norbulingka. Built in 1775, this was the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas from the time of its construction until the present Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959. With its vast, well maintained gardens, and the light breeze blowing from the central lake, this is a perfect refuge from the heat of the city during scorching summers. The next stop would be Sera Monastery, where continuous religious debates take place in a shaded courtyard at the heart of the complex. Sera serves as one of the three main colleges of the Yellow Hat sect of Buddhism. At the evening return to the hotel for a second night in Lhasa

Day 4. THU, 29Aug19. Lhasa- Excursion to Dra Yerpa

  • Breakfast

Drive out of Lhasa to Dra Yerpa Monastery. Located at the city’s outskirts, Dra Yerpa consists of spiritual retreat caves naturally carved into a steep cliff, where monks used to and still are retiring for extended periods of time, meditate, and explore the path to enlightenment. The site offers not only an interesting visit to these meditation caves, full of Buddhist sculptures and paintings but also great views over the natural surroundings. End the visit to the monastery with a scenic walk along the kora circling the holy mountain just off the temple complex before making the way back to Lhasa. En route make a stop at a traditional Tibetan village and get a first-hand encounter with the lives of rural Tibetans. Back in Lhasa, take an evening walk to the central city square, offering a marvelous vista over the Potala which is beautifully lit during the evening. This is also a great chance to mingle with the locals as they come to enjoy some time in leisure at the end of another work day. Overnight in Lhasa.

Day 5. FRI, 30Aug19. Lhasa- the Shoton Festival

  • Breakfast

Today join the thousands of Tibetans who celebrate the climax of the Shoton Festival. The festival spans over a period of few days, but the undoubtable peak of the holiday is the unveiling of the great tangka (traditional religious painting with mystical motifs) over the walls of Drepung Monastery. After attending this event which occurs only once every year, take to the open-air theater to watch the Lhamo, or traditional Tibetan opera- a colorful and lively show. Then take to the grounds surrounding the Norbuligka to mingle with the local crowd as they enjoy picnic some time in leisure. In the evening revert to the hotel for a fourth and last night in Lhasa.

Day 6. SAT, 31Aug19. Lhasa – Gyantse

  • Breakfast

Leave Lhasa and head for an amazing six days of exploration deep in the Tibetan highlands. Today’s destination is Gyantse, Tibet’s fourth largest city, located at the junction of the major trade routes between China, India, and Sikkim. Make a stop at Kampala (Gambala) Pass at nearly 4,800 meters (15,728 feet) above sea level for magnificent panoramic view over the holy Yamdrok Lake, with the ever-snowed peaks of Lhagoi Kangri range serving as a majestic backdrop to this mesmerizing view. Continue driving along the lake’s shores and pause by the small town of Nagarze for noon break. Early at the afternoon arrive at Karo Pass which rises to 5,036 meters (16,622 feet) above sea level. Here, embark on a short hike to the foot of Noijin Kangsang glacier. Late in the evening arrive at the city of Gyangtse, and from the backyard of the hotel enjoy the view of Gyangze Fortress beautifully lit at night.

Day 7. SUN, 01Sep19. Gyangtse – Shigatse

  • Breakfast

Begin the day with a visit to Palkhur Choide Monastery. Dating back to the 15th century, this is the only monastery in Tibet worshiped by followers of all different sects of Tibetan Buddhism. Within the Monastery lies a Kumbum, a beautiful three-dimensional mandala portraying the Tibetan cosmos. After walking through the Kumbum, and stopping by its different chambers, drive to Rabtse Nunnery. Though Buddhist religion invites worshippers from all genders, the Tibetan Buddhism is mainly governed by male-dominated hierarchy. The nunnery is an excellent opportunity to see those women which have chosen to dedicate their lives to the benefit and the spiritual wellbeing of the community. Leave Gyangze for the 90 km drive to Shigatse, with a stop at Shalu Monastery en route. Originally built in 1050, the temple was totally destroyed by an earthquake in 1329 and then reconstructed in 1333. It is known as a center of scholarly learning and psychic training, and its mural paintings are considered to be the most ancient and beautiful in Tibet. Late in the evening arrive in Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest city, and spend the night here.

Day 8. MON, 02Sep19. Shigatse – Shagare

  • Breakfast

Being the seat for the Panchen Lama, one of Tibet’s spiritual leaders, the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery was initially constructed by the first Dalai Lama in 1447 in honor of his teacher. Visit the vast monastery complex, which seems to be a city within the city, featuring a 26 meters (85 feet) high Maitreya Buddha statue at its center. Continue for a walk through the small local market and then leave Shigatse for Shagare. This is when the mighty Himalaya range would be fully exposed, adding to the overall marvelous views seen through the vehicle’s windows. After pausing by the 5,232 meters (17,165 feet) high Gyatso La, arrive in the small town of Shagare, and check-in the very basic hotel for the night.

Day 9. TUE, 03Sep19. Shagare – View over the Everest – Shagare

  • Breakfast

The day offers one of the highlights of the entire trip. Wake up very early in the morning, and head through the winding road to view Mt. Everest, locally known as Qomolangma- The Mother Mount. Hopefully, weather would permit good view over the world’s highest peak, and prayers for clear sky are answered. First drive to Gyawula Mountain Pass, rising 5,210 meters (17,093 feet) above sea level for the first chance to get a glimpse over the Everest. If lucky, get there in time for a beautiful sunrise. Continue driving to the world’s highest monastery, Rongbuk Monastery, of the most ancient sect of Tibetan Buddhism. At an altitude of 5,100 meters (16, 732 feet), the monastery, lies at the foot of Rongbuk Glacier, serves as home for some 30 monks. Climb to the monastery and enjoy the closest view of Mt. Everest any non-climber could have. In the afternoon drive back to Shagare, for a second night there.

Day 10. WED, 04Sep19. Shagare – Gyirong

  • Breakfast

Leave Shagare and head towards Gyirong Valley. En route stop by the picturesque Paiku Lake, offering a view over Mt. Shishapangma, the world’s 14th highest peak at 8,027 meters (26,335 feet) above sea level. This is the only peak over 8,000 meters which is entirely within the territory of Tibet, and thus, a great source of pride to the Tibetan people. Gyirong valley was, until quite recently, off the charts for most foreign visitors to Tibet. Being the deepest of the five mid-Himalayan valleys, Gyirong is one of the most beautiful valleys of Tibet, and probably one of the most fertile of them all, in contrast to the arid highlands typical to most of Tibet. After pausing by Kongtang Lamu Pass at 5,236 meters (17,178 feet), and as the vehicle start to descend into the valley, the dry landscape would abruptly change into thick pine forests covering the walls of the dramatic canyon the road drives through. Late in the evening arrive at the city of Gyirong- a very typical border town which has a feel to it as if much more is happening underground than what meets the eye. Set in for the night in a very basic hotel (third in a row, and last one for this trip).

Day 11. THU, 05Sep19. Gyirong – Kathmandu

  • Breakfast

The last drive in Tibet would probably be one of the most scenic of them all- drive through the lower part of Gyirong Valley, enjoying the green scenery and fertile lands of this lower region as the elevation drops dramatically. At the bottom of the valley drive along the Gyirong Zangboo river, which changes its name to Trisuli once it crosses the border into Nepal. Late in the morning reach the border post between China and Nepal. Though only a tiny bridge over the river separates the two nations, a quick look at the newly constructed terminal on the Chinese side, and the chaotic market-like border post on the Nepalese side tells a lot about the balance of power in the region. After the unavoidable immigration processes on both sides of the border, embark on a 6 hours’ ride through a rather rough road along Nepalese rural area. Late in the evening arrive in Kathmandu, and if time permit, take a walk through the Thamel- the backpacker’s district at the heart of the Nepalese capital city, and then drive to the hotel for the night.

Day 12. FRI, 06Sep19. Tour Kathmandu

  • Breakfast

Leave the hotel for a full day of exploring the Nepalese capital city and its surroundings. Begin with a visit to Boudhanath Stupa. Boudhanath is one of the oldest monuments in Kathmandu valley and one of the first monuments that has a written history to it. Being the most significant pilgrimage site for Tibetans to Nepal, it is commonly known as ‘Little Tibet’, listed as UNESCO’s World Heritage Site since 1979. From here proceed to Pashupatinath, the most important shrine for Hindus in Kathmandu. Although non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple premises, it is well known for the cremation ceremonies which take place outside the temple, as well as a center for Sadhus. Just like Boudhanath, Pashupatinath has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1979. End the day at Bhaktapur, locally known as Bhadgaun, the city of devotees. The city is one of three ancient kingdoms that ruled Kathmandu valley in ancient times. It is often referred to as the best-preserved heritage site of Nepal, dotted with sites such as the Fifty-five windows palace, the Nyatapol, the five storied temple- the tallest pagoda style temple, the Royal Bath, Pottery square and Dattatreya temple, all major attractions scattered around Bhaktapur. At the evening return to the hotel in Kathmandu for the last night of the trip.

Day 13. SAT, 07Sep19. Departure from Kathmandu

  • Breakfast

After breakfast at the hotel drive to Kathmandu airport for the departing flight out of Nepal.

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Dates & Pricing

Trip rates valid for two confirmed travelers and above. If you are booking this trip for a party of four travelers or more, please contact us for our special rates.

Note: Trip rates are valid all year round, but are not valid for trips that occur (in whole, or in part) during Chinese national holidays: May 1st to 3rd, September 15th to 17th, or October 1st to 7th.

[email protected] reserves the right to change tour prices and programs due to changes in flight schedule, changes in airfares, and other local circumstances.

Prices are based on twin share occupancy.

Discounted rates for groups of 4 travelers and above:
4 travelers- US$3431/ person
6 travelers- US$2924/ person
8 travelers- US$2808/ person

  • Applicable only for travel groups of 4 people or more booking their trip together.

26th August, 2019–7th September, 2019

  • $4,264 Per Person (From 2 people)
  • $853 Single Room Supplement

Additional Information


Inclusions
  • Accommodation as per program including breakfasts
  • Flight Beijing - Lhasa
  • English speaking guide for each region
  • Transfers by A/C vehicle
  • All entrance fees as per program
  • Tibet tour permit

Tibet tour permit requires all travelers to send a copy of their passport's first page & Chinese tourist visa at least 45 days prior to first day of the trip


Exclusions
  • International airfare to Beijing and from Kathmandu
  • Chinese tourist visa
  • Nepalese tourist visa (can be issued on arrival at the Nepalese border for most nationals)
  • Travel insurance, or insurance of any kind
  • Meals other than those specifically mentioned in the program
  • Excess luggage
  • Gratuities
  • Anything not mentioned in the program

Accomodation
  • Beijing: Howard Johnson Paragon
  • Lhasa: Minshan Hotel
  • Gyangtse: Gyangtse Hotel
  • Shigatse: Qomo Langzong
  • Shagare: Qomolangman Hotel
  • Gyirong: Kyirong Hotel
  • Kathmandu: Shambala Hotel

Note: the above listed hotels are tentative, and shall be confirmed only upon confirmation of the trip.


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