Day 01: Arrival in Lhasa (3,650 m/11,972ft)
We come to Lhasa either through a direct flight from Nepal or via mainland China. If we choose to fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa, we will be on an hour-long Trans-Himalayan flight, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful air routes in the world, that takes us over Mt. Everest (8848m), Kanchenjunga (8536m) and other Himalayan peaks. It also provides enchanting views of some of the highest glaciers in the Himalayan region.
If we are going to Lhasa via mainland China, we may fly from any major city or take the world's highest train route to Lhasa. A representative from Himalayan Glacier will pick us up either from the airport or the train station for about an hour’s drive to our designated hotel in Lhasa. Once in our hotel room, it is advised to take plenty of rest for the remainder of the day to minimize altitude sickness. Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 02: Sightseeing in Lhasa: Potala Palace, Norbulingka Palace and Tibet Museum: 5 - 6 hours
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 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. We further visit 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.
Day 03: Sightseeing in Lhasa: Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Bazaar: 5 - 6 hours
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.
Day 04: Drive from Lhasa to Shigatse (3,900m/12,795 ft) via Gyantse: 367km, 6 - 7 hours
After breakfast, we embark on a pleasant drive to Shigatse, the second biggest city in Tibet via Gyantse. We drive past Khamba La (4,794m) pass and savor the enthralling views of Yomdrok-Tso (Turquoise Lake), one of the Holy Lakes in Tibet and Mt. Nazin Kang Sa (7,252m). Further to the west, we come across another pass, Karo La (5,045m) and take in amazing views of the majestic glaciers. Upon reaching 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 Shigatse enjoying a captivating mountain landscape along the way. Overnight in Shigatse.
Day 05: Drive from Shigatse to Lotingri (4,050m/13,284 ft): 305km, 5-6 hours
In the morning we visit the popular Tashilhunpo Monastery which holds both historical and cultural importance for being founded by Gendun Drup, the First Dalai Lama in 1447. Next, we drive towards Lotingri also known as Dingri which used to be an important trading post where Sherpas from Nepal exchanged rice, grain and iron for Tibetan wool, livestock and salt. En route we get to enjoy fabulous views of the high mountains including, Mt. Everest (8848m) and Shishapangma (8,013m). We spend the night in Lotingri.
Day 06: Trek from Lotingri to Lungchang (4510m/14796ft): 4-5 hours
Our actual trekking begins from Lotingri from where we head south towards Everest in the distance. As we come closer to Chholung Village, a small Gumba is visible. As we walk furthermore, the trail opens up to barren plains. Amazingly, even in these barren fields local villagers yield good harvest of barley. We may also come across herders on our way to Lungchang. Overnight in Lungchang.
Day 07: Lungchang to Nam La pass (5100m/ 16732ft) 5-6 hours
We begin our trek towards Nam La pass today. The high flat plain of Tibet allows for gradual elevation. As we walk up the valley, the Everest disappears behind the mountains. The trail then turns to the southeast and begins to climb the pass. Overnight in Nam La pass.
Day 08: Nam La pass to Rongbuk (5,000m/16,400ft): 205km, 5 - 6 hours
After breakfast, we head for Rongbuk, a valley only around 8 km away from the Everest Base Camp. On the way there, we are rewarded with uninterrupted views of Mt. Everest (8,848m/29,029ft), and other peaks over 8000 meters including Makalu (8,481m/27,825ft), Lhotse (8,516 m/27,940 ft) and Cho Oyu (8,201m/26,906 ft). Upon reaching Rongbuk, we visit the magnificent Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery on earth. Overnight in Rongbuk.
Day 09: Rongbuk to Everest Base Camp (5,250m/17,220ft): 4- 5 hours
Today, we trek to the Everest Base Camp, which is also the ultimate highlight of the whole trip. Reaching the base of the world’s highest mountain is an achievement in its own right. We may capture this accomplishment with our camera while keeping ourselves busy with short treks which will help us in acclimatizing to the high altitude. At the base camp, we also enjoy the amazing Himalayan vista with the world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest, soaring above us. Overnight at Everest Base Camp.
Day 10: Acclimatization and Exploration at Everest Base Camp
Spending one full day at Everest Base Camp would not only be a memorable experience in itself, but will also help greatly in acclimatization. We can climb and explore beautiful hills nearby and enjoy the company of high Himalayan peaks. Overnight at Everest Base Camp.
Day 11: Everest Base Camp to Japanese Camp (5,460m/17,913ft): 3 - 4 hours
From Everest Base Camp, we initially trek alongside the Rongbuk Glacier, an impressive frozen ocean of ice waves. Then, after a short run over gravel terrain, we walk along the lateral moraine of the Rongbuk glacier and skirt the Glacier from its east side. After an hour or so, we take the left path that leads steeply to the Japanese Camp. This camp is situated under a huge yellow rock. At this site, we enjoy the view of the Pumori Himalaya. Overnight at Japanese Camp.
Day 12: Japanese Camp to Interim Camp (5,800m/19,028): 4 - 5 hours
The Interim Camp lies on the end of a nearby glacier. Along this trek, we enjoy the company of huge ice pinnacles. As we move ahead towards a dusty valley, we are welcomed with magnificent views of the East Rongbuk Glacier and high mountains like Pumori (7,161m/ 23,494ft) and Nuptse (7,861m/25,791ft). Although we might feel the high altitude, technically the route is quite easy. Overnight at Interim Camp.
Day 13: Trek to Changtse Base Camp (5,950m/19,520ft): 3 - 4 hours
Changtse is located adjacent to the north of Everest, hence the name Changtse which in Tibetan means north peak. Today, we leave the Japanese Base Camp and trek towards Changtse Base Camp which provides perhaps the best panoramic view of Mount Everest. The short trek will also help us with acclimatization.
Day 14: Trek to Everest Advance Base camp (6,340m/20,800ft): 3 – 4 hours
As we continue to follow the east side of the Rongbuk Glacier, we get closer to the Everest and the Lhakpa Ri (7045m/23114 ft). Walking along the moraine rubble, we arrive at our destination, the Advanced Base Camp of Everest (ABC) which is situated near the Changtse Glacier. From here, the Everest Top appears so close that one might feel tempted to summit the mountain. In fact, the top of Everest is a little more than 2400 meters away from this camp. The Everest Advance Base Camp is also the closest non-climbers can get to the top of Mt. Everest. Overnight at Everest Advanced Base Camp.
Day 15: Return to the Everest Base Camp: 8 - 9 hours
The return to Base Camp is a downhill trek. Today, we aim to get back to the base camp as slowly as possible in order to avoid any kind of high altitude problems. On our way back, we enjoy the beautiful mountain landscape that Tibet so proudly boasts. Overnight at Everest Base Camp.
Day 16: Drive from Everest Base Camp to Zhangmu (2300/7,544ft): 245 km, 5 - 6 hours
After breakfast we begin our drive to Zhangmu. On the way, we pass through Lotingri/Dingri and cross the Lalung La (5124m/ 16068 ft) and Shung La (5200m/ 17056 ft) passes which offer enchanting views of the Himalayas-Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, Menlungtse and Gauri Shanker. We then descend gradually from the dry Tibetan Plateau to the verdant and fertile vegetation of Zhangmu on the Nepalese border. Today, we also visit Milarapha Cave and Chamda Hot Spring for a little fun-filled afternoon. Overnight in Zhangmu.
Day 17: Zhangmu to Kathmandu (1350m/4428ft): 153 km, 4 - 5 hours
A few kilometers drive from Zhangmu to the Friendship Bridge over the Bhote Koshi River brings us to immigration control in Kodari where we are expected to complete some custom formalities. We then depart with our Tibetan guide who will walk with us across the river and introduce us to a Nepalese guide who will take us to Kathmandu. After around 4 hours of driving through deep valleys, we reach Kathmandu. In the evening, we enjoy authentic Nepalese food on our farewell dinner hosted by Himalayan Glacier to celebrate the successful completion of our journey. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 18: Final Departure
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 some shopping and sightseeing within the Kathmandu valley. A representative from Himalayan Glacier will take us to the airport approximately 3 hours before the scheduled flight.