After the scenic Himalayan flight to the roof of the world! You will be picked up by tour guide at the airport hall, and then be escorted to your hotel in Lhasa city in a private vehicle. After arrival at your hotel, the rest of the day is free for you to explore the local areas and acclimatize yourself to the air, temperature and high altitude of Lhasa. Overnight stay in the hotel in Lhasa.
After breakfast in the morning, start today’s Lhasa exploration with an exciting visit to the landmark – Potala Palace which is regarded as one of the most beautiful architectural building in the world. You will climb up the palace along the zigzag stone paths with white-and-red walls to the top of the palace where you can not only appreciate the exotic Tibetan-style architecture, but also get a great view of Lhasa’s urban areas, then walk into the inner space of Potala Palace to explore the stately chapels and learn about the history of the palace. Continuing your exploration, you will then get to Jokhang Temple which is considered as the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism. Each day, there are thousands of pilgrims coming from different places in Tibet to the temple to worship the Buddha. This temple is also known as the “house of Buddha” because it keeps the precious Jowo Rinpoche, the life-sized (5 foot/1.5m) image of the Shakyamuni at the age of 12. The last site for today’s exploration is the famous Barkhor Street. It is a circular and wide street encircling the Jokhang Temple. The local people like to walk on the street for several circles usually in the late afternoon as a daily tradition of pilgrimage. The street also has many shops selling a wide variety of traditional Tibetan goods, religious items and handcrafts. Overnight stay in the hotel.
After breakfast, you will firstly go to visit the beautiful Norbulingka which used to be the former summer palace of Dalai Lamas in the ancient time, and now is a public park. It is famous for its Potrang, the private palaces of former Dalai lamas with grandiose Tibetan architecture style. The beautiful gardens and the architecture of the palace will blow your mind. Next, drive several kilometers to the western outskirts of Lhasa to visit Drepung Monastery. Drepung, in Tibetan, means “prosperity”. Since its establishment, Drepung Monastery has always been one of the most important Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. In its heyday, there were more than 10,000 monks lived and studied in the monastery. Throughout its history, many important and famous Tibetan leaders used to study here, especially the Dalai Lamas. So Drepung Monastery is also respectfully known as the “Mother School of Dalai Lamas”. In the afternoon, you will be taken to another famous monastery in Lhasa – Sera Monastery. It is famous for the spectacular “Buddhism Debating”. As a daily routine, the monks gather in a courtyard, and debate on the Buddhist doctrines with supplemented gestures, which is thought to be helpful to, facilitates better comprehension of the Buddhist philosophy to attain higher levels of study. After enjoying the “Buddhism Debating”, you will be transferred back to the city. The rest time is your own free time to rest. Overnight stay in hotel.
Today after breakfast, you will leave Lhasa and drive about 8 hours to Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet. It may be a long journey, but there are many things to do along the road. The first site you will reach is the holy Yamdrok Lake. As the largest fresh lake in the northern of the Himalaya Mountains, it spreads about 675 square meters from south to north, like an eardrop lying in the arms of snow-capped giant mountains. Viewing from a distance, you can see fertile pastures full of yaks and sheep, and some small Tibetan villages along the lakeshore. Keeping driving not so far from Yamdrok Lake, you will see the imposing Karola Glacier towering aloft on the right side of the road. Apart from its own overwhelming charm, the surrounding view is also quite gorgeous. There is a little white pagoda standing at the foot of Karola Glacier, with flying prayer flags around. When spring and summer come, the grassland turns green. The flocks of goats and yaks appreciate their feast in this beautiful land. If the weather is good, you can enjoy of unhindered views of Mt. Nojin Kangsang and the opposite mountain range of Mt. Kalurong. There is also a wooden walkway virtually right to the foot of the mountain if you have more time to spend here, which is certainly worthwhile. Continuing your trip, you will get to the historical city of Gyantse. Have a good lunch in the town, then go to visit the mysterious Palcho Monastery. The monks and tradition of three important sects of Tibetan Buddhism – Sakyapa, Zhalupa and Gelukpa, peacefully coexist in this monastery. Its Kumbum, which is 35 meters high and has 76 small chapels with hundreds images of Kriyatantras, is believed to be the largest such structure in Tibet. As a fusion of Han, Tibetan and Nepali architecture, this monastery is a three-storey flattop building complex, consisting of Temples, Stupas, Zhacangs, Fort walls, Wheel-prayer cloister and more religious sites. Cuoqin Hall of over 500 years’ history is the main building and center of this monastery for the monk assembly and other Buddhism issues. By combined the three sects, the Buddha statues here has a different style from other temples here. After the Gyantse sightseeing, keep drive about 3 hours, you will arrive at your hotel in Shigatse. Have a good rest at hotel in Shigaste.
Today, before driving to Shekar, you will make a visit to the official seat of Panchen Lama – Tashilhunpo Monastery which is also the largest and most influential Gelug Monastery in Shigatse prefecture. Here you will see a giant statue of Future Buddha, the largest one of its kind on earth ( 26.2 meters high and 11.5 meters wide ), decorated with precious pearls, turquoises, corals and ambers. After the sightseeing of the monastery, we start our driving to Shekar. Leaving Shigatse town, drive continue west on the friendship highway to Sakya, visit Sakya monastery ( The main seat of Sakya pa sect of Tibetan Buddhism ) a monastery which was once became the political center of majority parts of Tibetan territory and its history dates back to the 11th century contemporary to the second diffusion of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet ). It has now been the largest library for ancient Buddhist scriptures although thousands of precious scriptures were destroyed during Cultural Revolution, after the visit we take our lunch there and later in afternoon drive to Shekar. Upon arrival to Shekar, check in to hotel for overnight stay.
Today after breakfast in the morning, take a scenic drive to Kharta valley. Drive five hours to Kharta, enjoying beautiful views from the Pang La (17000) towards Makalu, Lhotse, Everest and Shisapangma (if weather is clear). Drive down the Dzakaa Chu and then the Phung Chu valley toward Kharta. We’ll make camp past the boarding school on the banks of the Kharta Tsangpo River, the headwaters of Nepal’s Arun River.
Today we begin our first day of trekking after a hearty breakfast and start walking on a jeep trail along the banks of Kharta River. At the end of the jeep road we cross a bridge and follow a winding trail above small, scattered villages set amid barley fields. Coming to a fork in the trail we take the smaller left trail towards Shao La, which gives us a more gradual climb in elevation than the fast ascent to Langma La. Both trails lead eventually to the Kangshung Face Base Camp. Tonight we camp in a meadow (4160m) above Dambuk Chu (river valley) which drains from the Shao La.
We make an early start to ascend the Shao La (4790m) past a pair of lakes called the Tsho-Shao and up to the pass to gain incredible views of Everest (8848m), Makalu (8475m) and Lhotse (8501m). From the pass there is a steady descent to some yak pastures and a set of four stunning lakes, before some steep, rocky switchbacks. Reaching better terrain we then wind downwards through rather idyllic birch groves and dwarf rhododendrons to our meadow camp (4000m). It takes us about 3 hours to reach our lovely campsite, set in pine and fir forest just above the Kaamo Tsangpo Valley. This comparatively lush vegetation reflects the monsoon influence and summer rains that surge up the nearby Arun Valley throughout the summer months. Overnight camping in the meadow.
After breakfast this morning we have a bit of a heart starter as we climb from the Karma Tsangpo Valley floor through surprisingly lush juniper, birch and rhododendron forest. This is stunning walking as we pass through meadows and then dwarf rhododendron, keeping a look out for views of Mt Everest and Lhotse at the head of the valley. Our trail crosses alpine ridges where yak herders’ from Kharta village make their summer camps. We pass through a series of these meadows and past two beautiful lakes before setting camp in a meadow (4420m) and ascending a ridge and seeing our first uninterrupted views of the Kangshung Face of Everest, flanked by Lhotse. Overnight camping in the meadow.
About half an hour from our campsite we gain our first views of Lhotse Shar (8383m) and views of this immense glaciated landscape that is the headwaters of the Karma Tsangpo. After about an hour we meet the trail from Langma La and our trail plunges down onto the valley floor at Rabka Chu.
We continue up the Kangshung Valley, entering thick forest where the rhododendrons grow up to 6m high, enormous for this altitude. We then cross a series of morainal hills to the meadows of Bathang, above which is a sacred lake and cave temple where Guru Rimpoche was said to have meditated.
We continue up this stunning valley into the afternoon to reach Pethang Ringmo. This is a truly stunning camp, set in a meadow which is full of wildflowers in the monsoon and ringed by huge ice flows pouring from the peaks into the Kangshung Glacier. Mt Everest, Lhotse and Lhotse Shar are with us at the west end of the valley; while Jomolonzo’s frequent avalanches give us plenty of exposure to the power of the ice! Overnight stay in the Pethang Ringmo.
From our lovely camp at Pethang Ringmo we head out across the meadow to Kangshung Everest Base Camp, where we will camp for the night. It is a walk of only 2 ½ to 3 hours up to camp, so in the afternoon we can either relax or explore to the west of the camp, following the crest of a long moraine for about 45 minutes to its end at 5200m. Below us is a large glacial lake and across the valley we have one of the finest views in the Himalaya, with three of the world’s highest peaks in clear view. If we have enough energy we can climb another 2 hours to the crest of the main ridge for even more incredible views. Overnight camping at basecamp.
After another hearty breakfast we follow the trail from Pethang Ringmo back down the valley to Rabka Chu, 2 hours or so below camp. From here we begin a big climb back up to where we came down from Shao La and our turn off north towards the Langma La. We continue on through the afternoon with great views of Makalu summit to our camp at the base of the Langma La, to get ready for our last big pass of the trip! Overnight camping at base of Langma La pass.
After breakfast in the early morning we head up to cross the Langma La pass. While crossing the Langma La should only take us about 2 hours, we will leave early this morning as a precaution. From our camp we climb past a stunning glacial lake, with more great views of the world’s highest mountains to the top of the pass at 5320m. From here we have a truly spectacular view, seeing Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu – the highest, 4th highest, and 5th highest mountains in the world respectively! From here we have a steep descent to the valley floor, which opens up as we pass yak herders’ camps from Kharta and the nearby villages. Heading down to where we join the Kharta Valley we have views of the stunning Kangchenjunga massif rearing above the ridges beyond Kharta on the Nepal- Sikkim Border. This is a special sight, with Kanchenjunga being the 4th highest mountain in the world and one of the most beautiful. We plunge down into the Kharta Tsangpo Valley, through the wild rocky terrain below the pass, past stunning Tsho Dramnyen, shaped like a Tibetan guitar, where we may see Blue Poppies. We continue coming into the first rhododendrons, meadows and juniper, into our delightful camp at Shomale (4160m). Overnight stay in camp.
After breakfast in the morning, we continue along our trail down into Lungdrubling, above the Kharta Tsangpo. We head downwards through terraced barley fields, stands of wild rose and stone fences, following the river valley back down into Kharta. We make camp here for the night.
From Kharta we load into jeeps and drive to the village of Phadhruchi before continuing onto Rongbuk Valley. We will pay visit to Rongphu monastery. Rongphu(elev 4900m) is the main Buddhist centre in Everest region and once coordinated the activities of around a dozen smaller religious institutions, all of which are now ruined. It was established in 1902 by a Nyingmapa lama. While not of great antiquity, Rongbuk can at least lay claim to being the highest monastery in Tibet and thus the world. Some of the interior murals of Rongphu are superb. Rongphu and its large chörten make a great photograph with Everest thrusting its head skyward in the background. We will then further drive to Everest base camp and upon arrival observe the sunset view and the surrounding around the base camp. Overnight stay in the basecamp.
After breakfast, we enjoy the sun-rising over Mt. Everest, further excursión and enjoy the scenery, late morning we leave Everest, drive to Old Tingri and then continue our scenic drive with view of Mt. Cho O Yu and Mt. Shishapangma and by the Paiku Tso lake to Kyirong. Upon arrival to Kyirong check in to hotel for overnight stay.
The border crossing from Tibet to Nepal is not actually located in the town of Kyirong, but about 20 kilometers further south. The border opens at 9:30am Tibet time. Your driver and guide will lead you to the border crossing. After the custom formality it’s time to say good bye to the Tibetan guide and driver. On the other side of the border you have arrived in Rasuwagadhi, the first village in Nepal. Most foreigners can obtain a visa-on-arrival in Rasuwagadhi. After the visa formality proceed towards the Kathmandu. You can hire a jeep or other private vehicle to reach Kathmandu which is about 140 kilometers/88 miles from here. Upon arrival to Kathmandu, check in to hotel for overnight stay.