Kathmandu Lhasa Cultural Tour - 15 days

Kathmandu Lhasa Cultural Tour takes you to the heart of Tibetan culture and history. The tour starts and ends in Kathmandu. So, this tour also offers some cultural insights of Kathmandu Valley. Once you enter Tibet, you will be welcomed by the dramatic highland plateau, passes, turquoise lakes and Himalayan panorama. Along with the natural wonders, you will also get the cultural insights of the Tibetan people while passing through the villages, towns and cities like Tingri, Gyantse and Shigatse. Moreover, you will also experience many en route highlights like old forts, citadels, great monasteries full of beautiful murals, nomads and herders giving you a glimpse of age old civilization that has remained unchanged since long. So, either you are walking through Jokhang Temple, Barkhor market and Potala Palace in Lhasa, or wondering at the imposing beauty of Everest, this tour will forever amaze you.

Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu

Day 02-03: Visa preparation and Sightseeing in Kathmandu

Day 04: Kathmandu to Kodari Border cross. Over night at Nyalam

Day 05: Rest day at Nyalam

Day 06: Drive to Tingri

Day 07: Drive to Shegar, Explore Everest Base Camp

Day 08: Drive to Shigatse

Day 09: Drive to Gyantse

Day 10: Drive to Lhasa

Day 11: Explore around Lhasa

Day 12: Explore around Lhasa

Day 13: Drive to Shegar

Day 14: Drive to Kathmandu

Day 15: Departure back home

Day 01: Arrival to Kathmandu (1400m)

On a bright sunny day as the wide range of shiny Himalayas is visible from the window pane of your plane, you will know that you are flying above Nepal. Nepal opens up in air before your real arrival in Nepal. After few minutes of hide and seek with Himalayas you will land at Kathmandu. You will be cordially welcomed as per Nepali culture with garlands at the airport terminal by a company representative and a driver. A private vehicle will escort you through the boisterous streets of Kathmandu to your designated hotel. Our representative will help you in your check-in procedure and will thoroughly brief you about the tour beginning the next day.

Day 02-03: Visa preparation day in Kathmandu

While the visa process is going on, you will have the sightseeing tour of the cultural and historical wonders of Kathmandu valley. After your breakfast, there will be a full day guided sightseeing tour to the World Heritage Sites of Kathmandu Valley, namely Bouddhanath Stupa, the largest and the oldest Buddhist stupa in Nepal; and Pashupatinath, a mega Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva which is particularly famous for Hindu funeral rite; and Swoyambhunath, an ancient Buddhist temple at a hilltop overlooking the valley. You can also visit Kathmandu Durbar Square which is a magnificent repertoire of ancient craftsmanship. Because of its artistic grandeur, it’s rightly called as the most impressive landmark of Kathmandu.

Patan or Lalitpur (City of Artisans) is 5 km away from Kathmandu. You will walk through Patan Durbar Square and delight in the architectural wonders of Malla era. Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Krishna Temple and Golden Temple are the major attractions of the square. Bhaktapur, “City of Devotees”, 12 km south-east of Kathmandu is the smallest of the three valley cities. However, it is incomparable for its impressive art and architecture. Bhaktapur Durbar Square, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site is an open museum of the Golden Age of Nepali art and architecture. The Nyatapol & Dattaraya Temples, Golden Gate, Palace of 55 windows etc are the finest examples of sculpture, woodcarving and pagodas.

Day 04: Kathmandu to Kodari Border cross. Over night at Nyalam (3300m)

Today you will drive from Kathmandu to (Kodari) Nepal Tibet border along Araniko Highway. Kathmandu to Kodari trip is about 4/5 hours. Travelling through the meandering hill road with Bhote Koshi flowing down is a thrilling experience. Once you reach Kodari, you will see Friendship Bridge linking Nepal and China. After your immigration formalities, you will be received by your Tibetan Guide. You will be briefed about the whole trip before driving to Nyalam.

Day 05: Rest day at Nyalam. Overnight at Guest House

Today is a rest day at Nyalam for acclimatization since you have gained considerable altitude from Kathmandu (1400m) to Nyalam (3300m). You can look around the town in the afternoon.

Day 06: Drive to Tingri (4349m). Overnight at Guest House

You can reach Tingri in about 4 hours. You will have spectacular travel experience throughout the trip. While going through the wide desert plains, you can savor the great views of Shishapangma, Everest, Gyachung Kang and Cho Oyu. When you reach Tingri, you will find houses, guest houses and restaurants providing basic accommodation and Tibetan food. As this town is just 60km north-west of Mount Everest, you can have a very close up view of Everest and the neighboring peaks.

Day 07: Drive to Shegar (4330m), Explore Everest Base Camp. Overnight at Guest House

Following the mountainous road through the Tibetan plateau, you will drive to Shegar through some of the most breathtaking sceneries in the world. You will drive past Gyamtso La pass (5220m) and a small town of Lhatse. The journey will never cease to amaze you as you will also see many monasteries and camps of nomadic herders. Shegar is also called the gateway to Everest. On reaching Shegar, you will drive towards South to reach Everest Base Camp (5150m). At the Base Camp, you can see the north face of mighty Everest dominating the sky. Throughout the journey, you can feast your eyes with the majestic views of Mt. Everest (8848m), and other peaks over 8000 meters including Makalu (8481m), Lhotse (8516m) and Cho Oyu (8201m).

Day 08: Drive to Shigatse (3800m). Overnight at Hotel

After bidding farewell to Everest, you will head towards Shigatse (3900m), the second biggest city of Tibet. Once you are in Shigatse, you can stroll round the city and visit the famous Tashilompo monastery, a historically and culturally important monastery in Tibet. Tashilompo is a major pilgrimage site throughout Tibet. Walking through the pilgrimage circuit  (about 1.6 km) around the monastery is a wonderful thing to do as you can get the great views of the monastery and Shigatse city. Nearby the monastery, there is newly reconstructed Shigatse Dzong.

Day 09: Drive to Gyantse (3900m). Overnight at Guest House

Gyantse is just about 90 minutes’ drive from Shigatse. This wonderful town was once the third biggest town in Tibet. However, the significance of the town has not diminished.  Gyantse is the home of historically significant Gyantse Dzong, Kumbum and Palkhor monastery. Gyantse Dzong, a fort built in the 14th century sits on a hilltop and overlooks the entire town and Nyang Chu Valley. Palkhor monastery is an important monastery of Shakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery complex has Kumbum, the largest chorten in Tibet. It’s an iconic architectural wonder in itself.

Day 10: Drive to Lhasa Via Yamdrok Lake (3656m). Overnight at Hotel.

After breakfast, you will drive to Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. While travelling ahead, you will see Karola Glacier, which is situated at an altitude of 5560m. Today’s major en route attraction is Yamdrok Lake, one of most famous holy lakes in Tibet. For Tibetans, it is the home of the “wrathful deities”. The view of the turquoise fresh water lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains is simply enlightening.  Leaving Yamdrok Lake, you will drive ahead to Lhasa.

Day 11: Explore around Lhasa-Visit Potala Palace, Norbulinka and Barkhor Street. Overnight at Hotel

Lhasa will give you the feel of a spiritual journey. The streets full of devotees, the aroma of juniper incense and lulling hymns will fill all your senses. Today you will visit the two eminent landmarks of Lhasa; The Potala Palace and Norbulinka Barkhor. The Potala Palace, a World Heritage Site, was the main residence of Dalai Lama till the 14th Dalai Lama took refuge in India during Tibet uprising in 1959. The imposing thirteen stories imposing building is raised on the top of “Red Hill”. Norbulinka, which means “Treasure Park” in the local language, is a palace. It was the summer palace of Dalai Lama till 14th Dalai Lama’s exile. The palace consists of several complexes, and gardens; and is considered the biggest one of its kind in Tibet. Barkhor Street, is a street around Jokhang Temple. It is about a kilometer and the devotees make circumambulation of the temple through this street. As a busy public square, the street gives you a closer look at the day to day life of Tibetans.

Day 12: Explore around Lhasa-Visit Drepung monastery, Sera monastery and Jokhang temple. Overnight at Hotel.

Today you will spend the day visiting the famous monasteries of Lhasa. Drepung monastery, situated in the outskirts of Lhasa, is the biggest of all monasteries in Tibet. Founded in 1416, the monastery is especially known as the site of the annual Shoton Festival, during which a giant thangka painting will be unfurled on the hillside. Another highlight of the day is Sera Monastery, one of the biggest monasteries, located in the northern foothills of Lhasa. This magnificent monastery comprises of big halls, colleges and dormitories. One of the highlights of the monastery is the daily scholarly debate of the resident monk scholars (From 3 p.m., Monday to Friday). Jokhang Temple is also a World Heritage Site as an extension of Potala Palace. This four storey temple is the fusion of Nepali and Tibetan architectural style. The two days sightseeing in Lhasa is sure to give you premium historical and cultural insights of Tibet.

Day 13: Drive to Shegar (4330m). Overnight at Guest House

You will retrace your journey to Shegar. Once again, passing through all the Himalayan beauty you will arrive at Shegar.

Day 14: Drive to Kathmandu (1400m)

After driving from Shegar to Friendship Bridge across Bhote Koshi river, you will come to the Immigration Control in Kodari. After crossing the bridge you will meet your Nepali guide who will escort you to your Kathmandu hotel.

Day 15: Departure back home

Your tour officer and a driver will be at your hotel reception to pick you up three and half hours prior to your departure. You will be transferred to the airport for final departure back home.