Of Everest’s three faces, the east (Kangshung) is one of the most beautiful yet least visited regions in the world. Trekking on this route will get us close to the mighty Everest and Tibet's historic cities and towns like Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, Rongbuk and Zhangmu. We begin our journey by touring Lhasa’s landmarks like Potala and Norbulingka Palaces, Tibet Museum and Barkhor Bazaar. We also visit Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery and Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. We begin the actual trekking from Kharta and trek towards the Everest Kangshung Face. After admiring the amazing eastern face of the mighty Everest, we trek back to our trekking point, Kharta. From here, we drive to Rongbuk via the Everest Base Camp (north face). In Rongbuk, we visit the Rongbuk Monastery, which is the highest monastery in the world. We continue our drive to Zhangmu and end our journey with a drive to Kathmandu. During our journey, we also cross several high passes and are constantly surrounded by the high Himalayan peaks and glaciers which make this trek all the more rewarding.
We will be staying in Kyichu Hotel Lhasa, Gyantse Hotel in Gyantse, Kasar Hotel in Shigatse, Rongbuk Monastery Guest House in Rongbuk, Zhangmu Hotel in Zhangmu and camping (tents) during the trek. The hotels in Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse are 2-3 star hotels, but due to their remote location, the hotels in Rongbuk and Zhangmu are very basic. It is also possible to upgrade to a better hotel in Lhasa, but the accommodations in other cities and towns are the best available ones. All accommodations are on a twin-shared basis. Single supplement will be served on request and will cost 300 USD.
We arrive in Lhasa either from a direct flight from Nepal or via mainland China. If we decide to fly from Nepal, we get to enjoy around an hour long trans-Himalayan flight, considered to be one of the most beautiful air routes in the world. It takes us over Everest (8,848m), Kanchenjunga (8,536m) and other Himalayan peaks and glaciers. If we choose to go to Lhasa via mainland China, we may fly from any of the major Chinese cities or take the world's highest train route to Lhasa. Upon our arrival in 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. We are advised to take plenty of rest for the remainder of the day in order to minimize altitude sickness. 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.
Today, we take a scenic drive to Gyantse. On the way, we cross the Khamba La Pass (4,794m) with a brief halt to savor the beauty of the Yamdrok Tso (Turquoise Lake), one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet and the beautiful Nazin Kang Sang glacier (7,252m). Soon, we come across another pass, the Karo La Pass (5,045m). From our vehicle, we can enjoy views of huge glaciers tumbling down into the road before reaching Gyantse. In Gyantse, we visit the Khumbum Stupa, Phalkot Monastery and Gyantse Dzong (fortress), which is one of the best preserved dzongs in Tibet. Overnight in Gyantse.
After breakfast, we drive towards Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet. In Shigatse, 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. After sightseeing in Shigatse, we will have the remainder of the day free for resting. This will help us with acclimatization and the next day’s long drive. Overnight in Shigatse.
After breakfast, we drive to Kharta via Shegar. We cross Tso La (5,420m/17,782ft) and Gyatso La passes (5,252m/17,230ft). In Shegar, we meet our Nepalese staff and then we head for Kharta. On the way, we cross another high pass, Pang La (5,150m/17,000ft) and enjoy spectacular views of peaks which are over eight thousand meters such as Mt. Everest, Cho-Oyu and Makalu. We descend down from the pass heading west to the Rongbuk Valley. Overnight in Kharta.
We begin our trekking today by walking along the banks of the Kharta River. The trail provides us with amazing views of the local villages and barley fields. After a few kilometers, the trail splits. We follow the upper trail that leads to Shao La Pass. As we climb steadily up, we pass through rhododendron and highland conifer forests. We arrive at Landrubling and camp on a shelf above the Kharta River. Overnight in Landrubling.
On our journey from Landrubling to Jorpokhari, we will be walking along a ridge on moraines. This is a short trip that will help us to become properly acclimatized to the higher altitude. After walking on the moraines we reach twin lakes, also called Jorpokhari. The twin lakes are located below the Shao La Pass. Overnight in Jorpokhari.
We ascend steadily over rocky grounds to reach the Shao La Pass (4,800m/15,748ft). From the top of the pass, we get to enjoy mesmerizing views of Mt. Everest (8,848m/29,029ft), Cho Oyu (8,201m/26,906ft), Makalu (8,481m/27,825ft), and other high Himalayan peaks. We descend down again through the rocky slopes and notice the change in the scenery as it changes from barren, rocky slopes to lush rhododendron, birch, and willow trees. We walk further down the valley through thick fir and juniper forests and reach Joksum. Overnight in Joksum.
We hike on a steep trail through juniper and rhododendron forests to reach high pastures above the Kama River. From here, we have splendid views of Mt. Everest and Lhotse; and of high ridges south of the Kama River. We continue with our trail and pass through alpine meadows, yak herders’ camps and a serene green lake. We then reach Sumthang, a large meadow with great views of the Khangshung Valley. Overnight in Sumthang.
We climb on a ridge up the Khangshung Valley. Then, descend down through rhododendron and conifer trees. We enjoy the wonderful views of Everest, Lhotse, Lhotse Shar and other high mountains. As we climb higher, the vegetation starts getting increasingly thinner and we come closer to the Everest's Kangshung face. We enter the Khangshung Valley, drained by the Khangshung stream and cross it. We ascend further more until we arrive at our campsite in Parthang. Overnight in Parthang.
We climb the Kangshung Valley glacier rim along the moraines. This is one of the steepest sections of the climb. The huge faces of Mt. Everest and Lhotse now appear to dominate the sky. Mt. Chomo Lonzo (7,790m) also appears very close. At the end of the lake, there is a cave believed to be the meditation retreat of Padmasambhava. Ascending further higher, passing the bend of Orga, we arrive at our next campsite. Overnight in Pethang Ringmo.
Today is set aside for acclimatization. We hike along the glacier and discover the Khangshung base camp (5,185m/17,000ft) from where Everest is climbed from the eastern side. The place is surrounded by Himalayas and the view of Kangshung face and Lhotse appear spectacular. Towards the north of camp, there are two lakes on a ridge overlooking the Khangshung Valley. We may even take an excursion to this place which is on the Nepalese side of the border overlooking the Makalu base camp area. Overnight in Pethang Ringmo.
We keep a day in reserve for any contingency. There is no such guarantee of favorable weather; therefore, this day is set aside in case we are unable to complete our schedule.However, if the trip does go smoothly, this day will most likely be skipped. Overnight in Pethang Ringmo.
Retracing our steps down the valley along the Khangshung Glaciers, we cross a rock slide opposite the Chomolonzo glacier, and pass Pethang to a stream crossing at the Rabka Chu. The camp (4,120m/13,500ft) on the grassy meadow across the river is a pleasant place to spend the afternoon. With 4 hours of hiking, we can also reach this campsite from Pethang Ringmo by taking a side trip to Guru Rimpoche`s cave at Tse Chu Lake. The trail climbs high above Okpa meadows, crosses Lamtsho (4,940m/16,200ft), then descends steeply to the lake. Overnight in Rabka.
We return via Opka Rabka Chu. We can climb uphill to a Pangboche, which is a small meadow. Crossing the great moors of Mt. Karma Changri and glacier in the background, we camp at Lake Tso Tshuringma. The horizon in the south is still blocked by the mass of Makalu. There is a possibility that we also may get to see nomad camps in the area. We continue to hike steeply over alpine slopes for another couple of hours to a small but beautiful lake at the base of the Langma La (5,320m/17,454ft). Overnight in Tsho Tshurigma.
We climb over steep rocky grounds to reach the Langma La Pass (5,320m/ 17,454ft), the trail leading a climb between slabs of rock. Huge prayer flags hang on the cliffs overlooking the pass. They are hung in memory of the spirits and deities of the Bon people living in the area. From Langma La, we bid farewell to the Khangshung Valley and the impressive panorama of some of the world's highest mountains. We plunge ahead through a moraine and glaciated valley. We descend steeply for a few hours on the trail and encounter repeated passages of nomadic yak caravans. Our camp is on a grassy meadow beside a clear stream in Troshay. Overnight in Troshay.
From Troshay we trek back to Kharta then drive to Rongbuk. . The trail is a steep descend to the village of Lhundupling. We cross the river below Yulba village and are back to the place we started our trek. We then drive towards Rongbuk. We enjoy the mountain landscape on our drive as the valley gets wider and the settlement thicker. At one bend, the huge north face of Everest suddenly appears in the horizon. After checking in at our hotel in Rongbuk in the afternoon, we visit Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery is the world. Overnight in Rongbuk.
We leave Rongbuk in the morning to visit the Everest Base Camp (5,250m/17,220ft). On the way, we enjoy spectacular views of high mountains like Cho Oyu (8,201m/26,906ft), Shishapangma (8,013m/26,289ft) and, of course, the mighty Everest (8,848m/29,028ft) also known as Mt. Chomolongma in the Tibetan side. Today, we accomplish one of the major highlights of our trip, reaching the base camp of Mt. Everest. 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. After spending some quality time at the base of the world’s highest mountain, we make Zhangmu our next destination. Overnight in Zhangmu.
A few kilometers drive from Zhangmu to 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 and walk across the river where a Nepalese staff will be waiting for us. After around 4 hours of driving through deep valleys, we reach Kathmandu.
Trekking to the Everest Kangshung Face requires high physical fitness along with prior experience at trekking in high altitudes. If you can both ascend and descend for 4 - 9 hours with breaks lasting only a few minutes mixed in and have previously trekked in high altitudes, then you are highly likely to enjoy your trek to the Everest Kangshung Face. Besides your physical fitness and prior experience in high altitudes, it is also important that you have a positive attitude and a strong determination. We also advise our guest(s) to consult their doctor for vaccination and other medical requirements before the trip. Himalayan Glacier reserves the right to require a medical certificate prior to the booking of your trip.
Tibet is the highest plateau in the world and is widely known as ‘The Roof of the World’. Therefore, throughout the journey we will either be driving or trekking in high altitude areas. It should also be understood that there is 50% less oxygen compared to sea level in high altitudes like Tibet and our body needs a few days to acclimatize to this less-oxygen environment. The three days we spend in Lhasa will help us get properly acclimatized to the high altitude. However, Himalayan Glacier still advises guest(s) to do some trekking or altitude activities in Nepal or elsewhere before taking this trip. It is also important that our guest(s), especially one(s) with known heart or lung or blood diseases to consult their doctor before traveling. Mild headaches, fever, loss of appetite or stomach disorders are all symptoms of AMS.