Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland Tour

Day Tours

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  • Transparent Price
  • No hidden fees
  • Experience of a More than 10 Years
  • Personal Touch & Professional Service

US$ 2,149 P/P

Trip Info

  • Duration

    12 Days

  • Max. Altitude

    4300 m

  • Difficulty

    moderate

  • Starts From

    Kathmandu

  • Trip Ends At

    Lhasa Tibet

  • Transport

    Private Car & Flight

  • Best Season:

    • Summer (May,Jun)
    • Autumn (Mid-Sep - Mid November)

Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland Tour is one of the best way and most adventurous ways to enter the terrain of Tibet- the “roof of the world” that was once forbidden for outsiders. This 12-day road trip gives enough time to get insight into the landscape, culture, tradition, art, and hospitality of the country that is well preserved to this day of modernization along with a peek into the culture and landscape of Nepal. 

This is Himalayan Trekkers’ one of the most thorough short tours in Tibet that includes stops at all the important attractions between Kathmandu and Lhasa. The Kathmandu Nepal Overland Tour begins in Nepal’s capital and travels across the famed Nepal Tibet border, Gyirong before continuing on to the base camp of the tallest peak in the globe and some of the most magnificent monasteries in the entire world. 

You will spend the first 4 days in Nepal and the remaining 8 days of the trip take you to some of the well-preserved heritage of Tibet including the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery at Shigatse, Pelkor Monastery, and Kumbum Stupa in Gyantse, the ancient Bon Po Sa’ Gya Monastery at Sakya, the wonderful lake of Yamdrok Tso, the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Lhasa such as Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Norbulingka Palace along with the giant Drepung Monastery, Barkhor market and many settlements which are the living museums to study Tibetan Buddhism and the way of life of Tibetans. 

So, let us turn your leisure into a memorable experience for a lifetime. Spending a few days in the culturally and naturally abundant Himalayan nations will be more than fascinating.

Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland Tour Highlights 

  • A chance to discover Kathmandu’s cultural, historic, and artistic side
  • Get a glimpse of the lifestyle of Nepalese people
  • A day hiking journey to one of the most popular and scenic hills around Kathmandu
  • A scenic drive from Kathmandu to Tibet along with changing landscapes and views
  • The Nepal-Tibet Friendship Border 
  • Experience the driving journey to the world’s tallest mountain’s north base camp at 5100 meters
  • The warm Tibetan hospitality and minimalistic foods 
  • The famous blue turquoise lake of Yamdrok Tso and the view of Nyenchen Khangsar, the highest mountain close to Lhasa
  • The monasteries and monuments with their own values and beauty
  • Lhasa, the Land of God, and its religious and cultural beauties such as the world-famous Potala Palace and Sera Monastery

Best Time to do Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland Tour

The best time to visit a place differs from the one you choose. While Nepal is best visited in the spring and autumn months overall, Tibet’s on-season is spring to autumn because Tibet’s monsoon is not as bad as Nepal’s. As for the combined journey of Nepal and Tibet, i.e. also an overland category, spring, and autumn are the best time. 

The spring in Nepal starts in March while Tibet’s spring begins in mid-march or late-march depending upon the altitude. The spring is a starter for tourists in both countries after a two to three months long off-season period. As spring is correlated to new blossoms, Nepal’s lush jungles are turned red due to blossoms of red rhododendrons and Tibet also sees new growth in vegetation. Not only the blossoms but the sky is clear, the weather is stable, the air is fresh and the temperature is pleasant, perfect for any journey. As you will be driving from Kathmandu all the way to Lhasa, you will notice the change in vegetation, freshness in the air, Himalayas covered with fresh winter snow, crystal clear river, and the flawless view of Everest and Yamdrok Tso. 

Autumn has the bluest sky with pleasant weather and day temperatures. The days are sunny and long enough for the day trips and the nights are starry and cool (a bit colder in Tibet compared to Nepal but tolerable). This is also the harvest season in Nepal where you can see the farmers in their fields harvesting the crop. You can see Tibet’s vegetation turning yellow & golden, the desserts are serene, and sheep and cattle are seen grazing relaxingly in autumn. Nepal’s biggest festivals Dashain and Tihar are also celebrated during autumn; Tibet also celebrates many festivals in autumn which could make your journey more joyful and fun. 

The overland tour from Kathmandu to Lhasa is not recommended during the summer monsoon season as you will be driving through some mudslides & landslide-prone areas. It is the hottest season in both countries with the highest humidity and precipitation. But if compared to each other, Nepal surely tops Tibet in both sectors. Because Tibet is at a higher altitude the summer heat is lesser than Nepal’s and also receives only bursts or slashes of rain that happen mostly at night or in the late afternoon, it is considered one of the best times to visit here. Though not recommended, you can do the Kathmandu Lhasa Road Trip if you seek a different experience. Also, once you make out from Nepal and arrive in Tibet, you are mostly challenge-free. 

The winter season is also considered off-season because of the cold weather and the snowfall in the Himalayas. But, for this nearly two weeks long Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland Tour, you can go in the winter month of December too as the night temperature in Tibet is the only challenge you can face because the days are sunny and warm perfect for the cultural trips. The other months, January and February are not bad months for cultural trips in Kathmandu but it is a real challenge in Tibet as the weather is way harsher. In addition, being a road trip, your vehicles may not get passage in some of the places in Tibet due to excessive snowfall. 

Required Permits to do the Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland Tour 

Travelers need to acquire the following permits to do the Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland Tour. 

1. Nepal Visa

You will easily get Nepal Visa on your arrival at the airport or the land borders. You will need the visa during your trip duration in Nepal including for the Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland Tour. 

2. Chinese Group Visa 

Anyone who is traveling to Tibet from Nepal needs to acquire a Chinese Group Visa. You need to be in Nepal 4 days prior to your departure to Tibet as the visa process takes 3-4 working days. Once you are in Kathmandu, your passports along with other required documents will be collected by your travel agency and submit them to the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. Then the visa will be handed to you before your departure to Tibet. 

3. Tibet Travel Permit

Tibet Travel Permit is mandatory for every visitor. To obtain this permit, you have to first confirm your journey and itinerary with an authorized travel agency. Then, your scanned documents along with passports will be collected and forwarded to the partner agency in Tibet where they will be submitted to the Tibet Travel Bureau (TTB). The visa will be granted after around 9-10 business days. After you reach Tibet, your Tibetan guide will provide it. 

4. Alien’s Travel Permit 

While traveling through the western parts of Tibet and Everest Base Camp, the Alien’s Travel Permit is mandatory. Hence, our Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland Tour covers a visit to the Everest Base Camp, you need to acquire this special permit. Your Tibetan guide will obtain this on your behalf.

Itinerary in Details

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu

🕑 30 Min Drive to Hotel

Max Altitude: 1350 M

On arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, a representative from Himalayan Trekkers will greet you and transfer you to the hotel. After checking in, you can rest and freshen up before we sit for a short discussion session regarding this Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland Tour. Your passports and required papers will also be collected for the Chinese Group Visa if your arrival is early. But if you arrive late, after the business hour, they will be collected tomorrow morning. Then, in the evening, we will take you for a stroll around the Thamel market where you can get a peek at the lifestyle of this commercial hub of Kathmandu. 

Accommodation: Standard Hotel in KTM

Day 2: Sightseeing in Kathmandu

🕑 Full Day

Max Altitude: 1350 M

After breakfast, we start the full-day Kathmandu guided tour from Boudhanath Stupa which is just 30 minutes from your hotel. Boudhanath is one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley. It is the biggest stupa and one of the most important Buddhist sites in Nepal. The giant white dome draped with colorful prayer flags sits in the center of the big mandala and overlooks every direction with its giant Buddha eyes. Being one of the most famous tourist sites and a favorite place for locals, it is always flocked by visitors and pilgrims. 

After enjoying the peaceful time in Boudhanath, we will drive to one of the most important Hindu Sites in the world called Pashupatinath Temple. The temple complex is situated at the holy Bagmati River and consists of more than a hundred temples and monuments dedicated to many gods and goddesses along with the main temple of Lord Shiva. The main temple is the most beautiful one but non-Hindus are not allowed to enter it. One can view it from the other side of the river while also witnessing the open-air cremation ceremony at the bank of the river. 

After lunch, we will drive to the neighboring city Lalitpur which is also a medieval city along with Kathmandu and Bhaktapur inside the Kathmandu Valley. Lalitpur is often referred to as Patan and is also known as the “city of beauty” or “city or artisans” as the cultural beauty of the city is unmatchable. Patan Durbar Square and the Patan Museum are the prime highlights of the city that represents the uniqueness and richness of Newari culture and craftsmanship. After exploring all these World Heritage Site, we return to Kathmandu. 

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Standard Hotel in KTM

Day 3: Day Hike to Champadevi

🕑 Full Day

Max Altitude: 2100 M

We have added a day hike to Champadevi for acclimatization purposes as you will be traveling to Tibet, where the average elevation is 4000 meters. This climb will be beneficial for acclimatization as well as allowing us to take in the breathtaking vista of the valley, surroundings, and Himalayan peaks such as Mountain peaks such as Mt. Ganesh, Mt. Langtang Lirung, Mt. Annapurna, Mt. Gaurishankar, and Mt. Everest on a clear day. 

Note: If you are not fond of hikes and want to skip the activity, we can organize the activities in the city. Or, we can hike to other famous hills such as Shivapuri and Nagarkot.  

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Accommodation: Standard Hotel in KTM

Day 4: Drive to Syabrubesi

🕑 7/8 Hours Drive

Max Altitude: 1600 M

As soon as the Chinese Embassy is opened, one of our representatives will collect your Chinese Group Visa and your passport and we start our overland journey from Kathmandu to Lhasa. We slowly move out from Kathmandu and drive towards Trishuli Bazaar along the Prithivi Highway for the halfway and Trishuli Khola (Rover). We take a short lunch break at Trishuli Bazaar before driving towards our final destination for today, Syabrubesi in the Rasuwa district. Today’s whole journey is a scenic and amazing off-road drive with amazing views of rivers, hills, mountains, and terraced farms. Once we are in Syabrubesi, we check in at the lodge and rest for the remainder of the day. 

Note: We can also drive further up to Kerung if your immigration & visa formalities are already completed on the previous day as it is a long (~10 hours) drive from Kathmandu and we have to start very early in the morning. Otherwise, we will spend the night in Syabrubesi and drive to Kerung the next day being relaxed. 

Meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Guest House

Day 5: Drive to Gyirong & explore

🕑 2 Hours Drive & Explore

Max Altitude: 2700 M

After breakfast, we start our short drive from Syabrubesi to Gyirong via the Nepal Tibet Friendship Bridge where you will bid farewell to your Nepali guide and driver and meet our Tibetan driver and guide on the Tibetan side. After the border formalities at the border port, the drive goes to Gyirong County, a little settlement nestled into the Himalayan mountainside which will be our overnight stay. After checking in, and resting for a bit, we will explore the highlights of Gyirong while also slowly acclimatizing to the higher altitude. 

Gyirong is also known as Kerung and is a wonderful place to take a rest during the road trip from Nepal to Tibet. In addition to being a resting place, Gyirong has lovely flora and faunas and some historical and cultural sites to make the visitors engaged. Bhrikuti Cave is one of the highlights of the town which can be closed without prior information depending upon the time and situation. You can also visit Pakba Monastery, a Gelugpa temple built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gambo in order to protect the border. There are also the ruins of the Gongtang kingdom where Dolma Lhakhang deserves a visit. 

Meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Standard Hotel in Gyirong

Day 6: Drive to Rongbuk Monastery/Everest Base Camp via Tingri

🕑 6/7 Hours Drive

Max Altitude: 5030 M

Our journey resumes as we move from Gyirong County to Tingri County today while enjoying the stunning view of Mount Shishapangma (8012 M) and Pelkutso Lake. On the route, we will stop at Milarepa Cave if the time permits. We will also pass through the Thong La Pass (5050m) and Lalung La Pass (5082m) which also provide us with stunning views of the Himalayan highlands such as Mt. Cho Oyu (8201 M) and Shishapangma. 

Once we reach Tingri, we get a magnificent view of Mount Everest. We leave Tingri after lunch and drive towards Rongbuk Monastery which is the world’s highest situated monastery at 5000 meters above sea level. It belongs to the Nyingmapa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and it stands out because nuns and monks coexist there. We can spend the night at Rongbuk Monastery or drive further to Everest Base Camp and set up for the night at the tented camp guest house. 

Meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Monastery Guest House

Day 7: Drive to Sakya via Shegar

🕑 6/7 Hours Drive

Max Altitude: 4200 M

The morning view from Rongbuk is mesmerizing as you witness the sunrise on the summit of Mt. Everest and enjoy a complete view of the beautiful Mt. Everest standing in front of you like a snow-capped pyramid. Then, we will drive for just 30 minutes to reach Everest Base Camp where we will enjoy the magnificent view of Everest and other notable mountains. After spending an ample amount of time and taking enough pictures, we return back to Rongbuk and leave for Sakya via Shegar/New Tingri. Once we reach Sakya, we will rest at our accommodation and explore the surroundings in the evening. 

Meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Standard Hotel in Sakya

Day 8: Drive to Shigatse & Explore

🕑 Full Day

Max Altitude: 3840 M

Following breakfast, you will explore the Sakya (Sa’ Gya) Monastery, which was established in 1073 by the famous Lama Khon Kunchok Gyalpo. Sa’ Gya Monastery is an ancient temple in the Sakyapa section of Tibetan Buddhism. The Sakya sect is distinctive in that its leader doesn't believe in the reincarnation of lamas, wears white robes, and is permitted to marry and have children. The northern monastery, which was divided into two portions, is now simply a ruin, whereas the southern monastery, which was constructed like a fortification with a moat, is still in continuous use.

In the afternoon, we drive to Shigatse which is the second major town in Tibet. In Shigatse, we will explore the renowned monastery called Tashilhunpo after hotel check-in and a brief rest. Tashi Lhunpo Monastery is the seat of the Panchen Lamas who are the second-highest spiritual figure in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lamas. The monastery was founded by the His Holiness the First Dalai Lama, Gyalwa Gedun Drupe in 1447. It houses an old figure of Jampa, the "future god." If time permits, we will also observe how the barley is turned into flour to make tsampa, the traditional dish of the Tibetan people, as well as the barley fields surrounding the monastery.

Meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Standard Hotel in Shigatse

Day 9: Drive to Lhasa via Gyantse & Yamdrok Tso

🕑 Full Day

Max Altitude: 3650 M

Following our breakfast, we leave for the capital, Lhasa via Gyantse. In Gyantse, we will visit the renowned Pelkor Monastery and Kumbum Stupa. The monastery, which includes hundreds of Buddhist sutras, scripts, and artifacts as well as numerous paintings that have had a significant influence on Tibetan art, is the major monastery for Buddhists in Gyantse.

As we continue our drive to Lhasa along Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway and Tibet's longest and broadest river, the Yarlung Tsangpo River we will also enjoy the varied landscape view. We will also pass by the Manak Dam Lake and come across the Simila Mountain Pass where interested can hang their prayer flags. Then, we will continue on where we come across another stunning pass with its immaculate white ice face called Karola Glacier. 

The famed blue waters of Yamdrok also fall en route today. This visually satisfying lake is one of the three holy lakes in Tibetan Buddhism and is surrounded by snow-clad peaks including the stunning Nyenchen Khangsar, the highest mountain close to Lhasa. After reaching Lhasa, we will explore the market and spend a comfortable night at the hotel. 

Meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Standard Hotel in Lhasa

Day 10: Full-day Sightseeing in Lhasa

🕑 Full Day

Max Altitude: 3650 M

Our first Lhasa sightseeing will be the most iconic structure in the city, Potala Palace which is situated on Red Hill. It was initially constructed by King Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century and rebuilt by the 5th Dalai Lama after the structure was destroyed by war and lightning. It was then expanded by the 13th Dalai Lama to its current dimensions, measuring 117 meters in height and 360 meters in width, with a floor area of more than 130,000 square meters. The Potala Palace, which is primarily made up of the White Palace world known as the winter residence of the Dalai Lamas, an administrative building, and the Red Palace, a religious edifice, is renowned for its opulent structures, intricate architecture, devout atmosphere, and magnificent artworks. 

After lunch, we will drive towards the Jokhang Temple, the most sacred temple for Tibetan Buddhists. The Jokhang temple is located in the center of Lhasa and is revered across the world as a spiritual center of Tibet. A life-size statue of Shakyamuni which is 5-foot-tall is one of this temple/main monastery's major attractions. Buddha, the golden roof, and other deities are honored with numerous statues and temples. You will also enjoy the breathtaking views from the Golden roof of Jokhang Temple.

After spending some time at the Jokhang temple we will walk through Barkhor Street, a typical, historic Lhasa Street that circles the Jokhang Temple. It is referred to as a holy path by the locals where they move clockwise direction making the kora of Jokhang Temple. It is also a well-known commercial and commodities distribution hub with more than 200 stalls and more than 120 shops selling handicrafts. You can take this opportunity to purchase anything related to Tibet, from bundles of incense to bits of yak butter to monk attire. We return to the hotel for the night. 

Meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Standard Hotel in Lhasa

Day 11: Another Full day in Lhasa

🕑 Full Day

Max Altitude: 3650 M

We leave the busy Lhasa and drive 5 kilometers outside of Lhasa to the base of Gambo Utse to explore the Drepung Monastery, one of the Great Three monasteries of the Gelugpa sect. It was established in the 14the century by Jamyang Choge, a student of Tsong Khapa. The monastery complex’s Coqen Hall's first floor contains statues of Manjushri Bodhisattva, Sitatapatra, and rare sutras. The second story contains rare sutras, while the third story contains Jamyang Qoigy's conch shell, which was presented to him by Tsong Khapa. It was once known as the mother of monasteries and is now regarded as one of the most sacred places in the country. 

Then, we return to Lhasa and drive to the northern suburbs in the afternoon to see Sera Monastery, one of the Great Three monasteries. The name Sera, which translates to "wild rose" in Tibetan, was given to the structure in 1419 because roses were in blossom on the hill behind it at the time. The monks' lively and unique debates, which take place every afternoon in the debating field under the trees, are the monastery's main draw. 

If time permits, we will cover another top attraction of Lhasa, Norbulingka Palace. It was the summer palace of the Dalai Lama, located two kilometers west of the Potala Palace. This Palace has a huge garden covering 360,000 square meters, making it the biggest man-made garden in Tibet and the highest situated horticulture garden in the world. 
After a full day of exploring the giant and rich history monasteries, we return to the town and explore the streets for the one last time. 

Meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Standard Hotel in Lhasa

Day 12: Depart from Lhasa

🕑 1 Hour Drive to Airport

As your Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland Trip comes to an end, you will be transferred to the Gonggar Airport today for your flight to mainland China or Kathmandu from where you can board the connecting flight to your home country or onward destination. 

Meals: Breakfast

Includes

  • All airport transfers
  • Permits and Visa Applications for Tibet
  • 3* standard category accommodations on a twin/double sharing basis in Kathmandu, Shigatse, & Lhasa
  • Best available lodge/guesthouse accommodations in Syabrubesi, Gyirong & Sakya
  • Monastery Guesthouse accommodation in Rongbuk Monastery or Tented Guest house in EBC 
  • Professional English-speaking guide in Kathmandu 
  • TTB certified guide throughout the Tibet tour 
  • All required entrance fees
  • Private vehicle for the overland trip and sightseeing tour in cities
  • Welcome/Farewell Dinner 
  • All applicable government taxes 

Excludes

  • International Airfares and Taxes
  • Nepal Visa Fee
  • Meals (Lunch and Dinner) and Beverages
  • Your Travel Insurance
  • Personal expenses (laundry, phone calls, tips to guide and driver, liquor, etc.)
  • Any costs occurred under unavoidable circumstances (flight delay or cancellation, road blockade, etc.)
  • Anything not mentioned in the INCLUSION section

Accommodations during the Nepal Tibet Overland Tour 

Our service provides 3* standard category accommodations in Kathmandu, Shigatse, and Lhasa during this Nepal Tibet Overland Tour. The rooms will be on a twin/double sharing basis as per your preference but if you want to change the hotel service to a higher level or want a single supplementary, we can manage them at an additional cost and prior information. 

We will be offering you the best available local guesthouse accommodations in Syabrubesi and Gyirong. And, you will be staying in a very basic monastery guesthouse in Rongbuk or a tented camp in Everest Base Camp. 

Meals during the Kathmandu Tibet Overland Tour 

Our Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland Tour package includes all the breakfasts throughout the trip and full course meals in Syabrubesi, Gyirong, and Rongbuk. We have not included the lunches and dinners in Kathmandu, Shigatse, and Lhasa because you will have a wide range of places to dine in along with a wide range of menus including Tibetan, Nepali, Western, Continental, Chinese, etc. cuisines. 

While you are in Syabrubesi, Gyirong, and Rongbuk, you can enjoy the local Tibetan dishes such as butter tea, tsampa, dumplings, noodle soup, Nepali staple Daal Bhat (Rice & lentil soup with veggies), simple Chinese, and some western dishes such as fries, Omelets, pizzas, and pasta.

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