Arrive in Chengdu
Transfer to hotel and welcome dinner and meeting, Sichuan opera (time permitting).
Visit Panda breeding center in the morning and stroll ancient street of Jinli or glimpse of Tibet in the Tibetan town.
Arrive in Lhasa
Short mountain flight (2h: 10m) to Lhasa and transfer to hotel.
Visit Norbu Lingka, Sera monastery, Potala Palace, and Jokhang temple in Bakor square.
Gyantse and Shigatse
Visit Kumbum Stupa (100,000 holy idol statues), Pelkhe Chode Monastery in Gyantse and arrive at Shigatse.
Shigatse to Shegar
Tour of Tashi Lhunpo monastery and drive to Shegar.
Rombuk and Everest Base Camp (5,200 m; 17,060 ft.)
Off road drive to Rombuk monastery, and optional short hike to Everest Base Camp.
Zhangmu (Nepal Border)
Cross high passes, spectacular view of Himalayan ranges, and enter Nepal.
Drive to Kathmandu
Drive on the narrow road to Kathmandu and free to explore the city in the evening.
End of tour. Free to leave anytime. We offer 24/7 local customer service.
Day 1: Arrive in Chengdu
Our Sonam Adventures (SA) representative will transfer you to the hotel in Chengdu. In the evening, SA representative will hold an evening meeting regarding the specifics of your trip itinerary and to discuss important health and safety information. You will be given a SIM card (also a phone, if needed) and your SA representative will be available 24/7 should you need any further assistance. Welcome dinner and Sichuan opera show (time permitting) will be arranged for the day. (D)
Days 2: Chengdu Sightseeing
Your first cultural visit is to the Chengdu Panda breeding center on the outskirt of the city. We will leave early in the morning to witness Panda (red Pandas as well) enjoy their breakfast-bamboo! We have the usual suspect (typical zoo animals), as you have seen in back home. In the afternoon, we return back to our hotel in time for lunch. After lunch, we will walk to Jinli, ancient street and a marketplace (dating back to 5th C.), now it is bit touristy but a welcome sight to China. You will also get a glimpse of Tibet as we pass Tibet town enroute to Jinli. Tibetan (mostly Khampas), cluster of Tibetan shops and restaurants will greet you on every corner of the street. For those who are bit jet leg, professional massage/spas are welcome treat! (optional). (B)
Days 3: Arrive in Lhasa (3,650 m; 11,972 ft.)
You will be received by an SA representative at the Lhasa (Gonkar International) airport and transferred to your hotel. Lhasa resides at an altitude of 3,600 meters, please be very cautious, as your body needs to adapt to the high altitude. Our experienced guide will be with you, should you need any assistance. Lhasa is an ancient capital city and the largest in Tibet. It is the epicenter of trade, culture and historical importance. Your SA representative will introduce you to your guide and will hold a meeting regarding your itinerary and to discuss important health/safety information. Altitude sickness is a major concern for most travelers. However, the following two days touring around Lhasa will give you enough time to acclimatize. (B)
Day 4-5: Lhasa Sightseeing
These two days of sightseeing in Lhasa will give travelers time to acclimatize and also to visit many UNESCO world heritage sites. In the morning, we will visit Norbu Lingka, summer palace of Dalai Lama. Norbu Lingka (‘Treasure garden’) built in 18th century is the largest man made garden in Tibet and said to be highest in the world. The park features five small palaces (private quarters with shrine, chapels and meditation room and Buddhist artifacts), vast garden, small lake and zoo. We will roam around the park admiring the beautiful palace and lush green garden. The park is local popular picnic spot and dance show venue during summer season. After lunch, we will drive up to Sera monastery, the 14th century Buddhist universities of the Gelugpa sect, located just on the outskirts of Lhasa. We will watch the monk’s heated debates over Buddhist philosophy. As you walk around the monastery, you will encounter various assembly halls, shrines and chapels. (B)
The next day we will be visiting the Potala Place, founded in the 7th Century by King Songtsen Gampo and later completed by the fifth Dalai Lama during the 16th century. This breathtaking structure serves as the main residence of the Dalai Lamas. A giant fortress-like palace, the Potala sits atop the red hill, about 1,000 feet above the valley floor, overlooking the capitol city. The Potala Palace is a living museum, housing hundreds of Buddhist artifacts. A short scenic walk from the Potala Palace will take us to the Jokhang Temple. It is located in Barkhor square in the old part of the city. The Jokhang is the heart of Tibet and its’ devoutly Buddhist people. It is the most sacred temple in Tibet, housing a statue of Jowo Shakyamuni Buddha, which was originally brought to the temple as a dowry by princess Wangchen of China. Barkhor square is also a Mecca for shoppers. There are endless small shops and stalls featuring everything from handicrafts, clothing and kitchen wares to fake antiques. It is the busiest and the most crowded square in Tibet, given the importance of the Jokhang Temple and its large open-air market area. (B)
Day 6: Gyantse and Shigatse (3,900 m; 12,792 ft.)
You will leave Lhasa in the morning. Three hours drive from Lhasa; you will reach Gampa-La (4,794 m; 15,728 ft.), the first of three mountain passes. You will make a rest stop at the top of the pass, which overlooks the Yamdro tso (Yamdro Lake). Yamdro Lake is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. You will cross another 2 passes, Karo-La (5,010 m; 16,437 ft.) and Simi-La (4,330 m; 14,206 ft.), before reaching Gyantse dzhong, a small town on the outskirt of Shigatse. Gyantse dzhong is a 13th century built fortress that stretches three kilometers in length and was once briefly invaded by the British in the early 20th century. In Gyantse, you will take a tour of the famous Kumbum Stupa (containing one hundred thousand holy idol statues) in the Pelkhe Chode Monastery. This 14th century stupa is 115 feet high with nine levels, containing thousands of images of Buddhas and other deities. You will spend the night at Shigaste, a short 2 hours drive from Gyantse. Sighatse is the Tibet’s 2nd largest city and the main shopping hub for western Tibetans. (B)
Estimated Travel time: 8 hours Approximate Distance: 340km (212 mile)
Day 7: Shigatse to Shegar (4,500 m; 14,760 ft.)
Today you will visit the 15th Century Tashi Lhunpo monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama (the 2nd highest lama in the Gelugpa sect after the Dalai Lama). Much of the monastery was untouched during the Cultural Revolution due to the strong influence and importance of the Great Panchen Lama. The monastery features a gigantic 26 meter high statue of Maitreya (the future Buddha), which is gilded with 279 kg of gold. You will tour the numerous chapels and prayer halls of the monastery. You will also take a walking tour of the bustling city with it’s vibrant small markets. Shigatse is an important trade route for western Tibetans and the Zhamgu people of the Tibetan/Nepali border area. Our guide will facilitate the Everest Entrance Permit while you enjoy lunch. We will continue our journey on the Friendship Highway towards Shegar (also known as New Thingri), a small town 60 km northwest of Everest Base Camp (EBC). We will make a rest stop at the 2nd highest pass of our entire journey, Gyatso-La (5,200 m; 17,060 ft.) and enjoy spectacular views of the Himalayas. We will spend the night at Shegar before continuing on to Everest Base Camp. (B)
Estimated Travel Time: 6 hours Approximate Distance: 240 km (150 mile)
Day 8: Rombuk (4,980 m; 16,334 ft.) and Everest Base Camp (5,200 m; 17,060 ft.)
The drive to EBC is both majestic and thrilling. Part of the drive is on rough roads and it will take about 4 hours to reach Rombuk monastery (4,980 m; 16,338 ft.). We will come across small villages and make a stop at Gyalpo-La (5,100 m; 16,732 ft.). Enjoy immersing yourself in this unmatchable panoramic view of the north face of Mt. Everest and its sister mountains. Rombuk monastery was built during the early 20th century and is the highest monastery in the world. At Rombuk we can either hike for 90 minutes or take the 15 minutes government bus ride to Everest Base Camp (EBC). Here you will have a fantastic close-up view of the north face of Mt. Everest. We will return back to the guesthouse in the evening. Please note, Rombuk guesthouse is an ultra basic accommodation. It has dormitory style rooms, an unattached toilet and no bathing facilities. We will do our best to make it comfortable.
Estimated Travel Time: 4.5 hours Approximate Distance: 110 km (68.75 mile)
Day 9: Zhangmu /Nepal Border (2,500 m; 8,200 ft.)
Sunrise at EBC is possibly the best moment of the whole trip. There are no words to describe the beauty of this experience. After breakfast, we will take a long drive (6 hours) to Zhangmu on the Nepal border. This long drive will however be compensated for with spectacular mountain views. Along the route, you will be greeted by the 2nd highest pass, Nylam Tong-La (5,100 m; 16,732 ft.), boasting an amazing 180 degree view of Severals Mountains including Mt. Shishapangma (8,013 m; 26,282 ft.),and the 14th highest mountain in the world. There will be a few local Tibetans willing to brave this altitude for tourist sales and they will try to sell you prayer flags and mineral water. We will drive through many small villages via one of the most incredible gorges in the world thus descending up to 2,500 meters (8,202 ft.) in few hours. Upon arrival at Zhangmu (2,500 m; 8,202 ft.), you will be channeled through the Chinese immigration process and will be greeted by your Nepali guide on the other side. Our guide will help you with Nepali Immigration formalities and take you to hotel at Kodari. (D) (Occasionally, we may have to stay at hotel on the Chinese border side due to unforeseeable reasons).
Estimated Travel Time: 6 hours Approximate Distance: 220 km (137.5 mile)
Day 10: Arrive in Kathmandu (1,300 m; 4,264 ft.)
In the morning, you will drive on a narrow and bumpy road to Kathmandu, passing through small Nepali towns along the Bhote Koshi (Tibetan river in Nepal). Please note, occasionally this trip will be delayed due to landslides during monsoon season. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you will be transferred to your hotel. Sonam Adventures will host farewell dinner. (B, D)
Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours Approximate Distance: 85 km (53 mile)
Day 11: Farewell
After breakfast, we will transfer you to Tribhuvan International Airport and bid farewell. You might also decide to stay on and explore Kathmandu for a few days. In this case, you will be provided a SIM card and mobile phone should you need any further assistance during your extended stay in Nepal. We offer 24/7 local and international customer service. (B)