After breakfast, we start our journey along the Friendship Highway for the Tibetan border. Along the way, we pass through some really splendid sights- cascading waterfalls, rivers and hill-side villages. At the border, we have our lunch and pass through the Nepalese side of the customs and immigration. Upon crossing the Friendship Bridge, we will be at Tibet! Then, we take a 30-minute drive from Kodari to Zhangmu where we must pass another immigration checkpoint h. From Zhangmu to Nyalam, we drive on a steep winding road. Overnight in Nyalam.
In the morning, we stroll around Nyalam which would help us to acclimatize with the high altitude. We depart for Lotingri after lunch. On the way, we will visit Milarapha Cave and Chamda Hot spring for a little fun-filled afternoon. On our journey we encounter two spectacular passes: Thong La pass (5050m/16,568ft) and Lalung La pass (5082m/16,668 ft). Along with the two passes, we also get to enjoy fabulous views of the high mountains including, Mt. Everest (8848m/29,028 ft) and Shishapangma (8,013m/26,289 ft). We spend the night in Lotingri.
After breakfast, we drive towards Sakya. The drive from Lotingri to Rongbuk will be adventurous as the roads are coarse and bumpy. In Rongbuk, we visit the Rongbuk monastery which is the highest monastery in Tibet. Then we drive towards Everest Base Camp (5,250m/17,220ft) while enjoying views of high mountains like Cho Oyu (8,201m/26,906 ft), Shishapangma (8,013m (26,289 ft) and, of course, the mighty Everest also known as Mt. Chomolongma in the Tibetan side. We have therefore accomplished one of the major highlights of this tour.
It will certainly be a great experience to come face-to-face with the greatest mountain on earth. We make approximately a 16km round trip around the Everest Base Camp. The base camp itself is dry and barren, but the view of Everest is more than compensating. The base camp is indeed a truly awe-inspiring place with the sheer north face of the highest mountain in the world towering above us. Overnight in Sakya..
In the morning after breakfast, we visit the Sakya Monastery which is the ancestral temple of the Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. We then continue our drive to Shigatse, the second biggest city in Tibet. Here, we visit another popular monastery called the Tashilhunpo Monastery, which holds both historical and cultural importance for being founded by Gendun Drup, the First Dalai Lama in 1447. Overnight in Shigatse.
After breakfast, we embark on a pleasant drive to Gyantse. In Gyantse, we visit the Khumbum Stupa, Phalkot Monastery and Gyantse Dzong (Fortress), which is one of the best preserved dzongs in Tibet.
From Gyantse, we continue to Lhasa crossing the Karo La (5010m/16,432 ft) and Kamba La (4794m/15,725 ft) passes and Lake Yamdrok Tso (Turquoise Lake), one of the three largest sacred lakes of Tibet, also believed to be the transformation of a Tibetan goddess. Furthermore, we cross the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahamaputra) River and see Potala Palace for the first time from a distance. Overnight in Lhasa.
We begin sightseeing in Lhasa after breakfast. Today is the day we visit the beautiful Potala and Norbulingka Palaces. Built in the 17th century, Potala Palace provides amazing views of the entire city and houses the private quarters of the Dalai Lama, numerous grand state rooms and chapels. Norbulingka Palace is the summer palace of the Dalai Lama and houses what is considered to be the largest man-made garden in Tibet.
Next, we visit the Tibet Museum, the official museum of Tibet, which has a permanent collection of around 1000 artifacts related to the cultural history of Tibet. Overnight in Lhasa.
After breakfast we visit Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Bazaar. Drepung Monastery, which was built in the 14th century, is believed to have sheltered around 10,000 monks in the past but as of now there has been quite a declination resulting in only a few hundred. The history, culture, and religious beliefs of the Tibetan people are strongly concentrated and centered in this marvelous monastery. Sera Monastery is a preserved monastery of white-washed walls and golden roofs. Jokhang Temple is another important sacred site which unravels more deep-seated mysteries of Tibetan Buddhism. We further stroll through Barkhor Bazaar (market). With its open air stalls, shops and crowd of pilgrims, it is the nerve centre of Lhasa. Overnight in Lhasa.
Our adventure in the Himalayas comes to an end today! There is nothing to do but trade emails with travel companions and organize photos. If time permits, we can engage in shopping or sightseeing. A representative from Himalayan Glacier will take us to the airport for our next journey. We can either go back to Kathmandu or continue to mainland China on our way home.