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.