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Tibet Tour Potala Palace Lhasa Everest Base Camp Scorpion Lake Pilgrim

A journey from Lhasa across the Himalayas to Kathmandu
visiting Tsetang, Gyantse, Shigaste,
the monastery of Sakya and Everest Base Camp

detailed dossier -  detailed dossier by post  -  outline itinerary  -  dates and prices   -  maps

For many centuries Tibet remained for westerners a mysterious and forbidden land cut off from the rest of the world by the mighty Himalayas in the south and the Kunlun Mountains to the north. Only a handful of brave and resourceful travellers ever managed to breach the countryís snowy mountain fastness and reach its fabled capital Lhasa. Those that did returned with  stories of an exotic and intriguing land of monastic cities and mountain passes, where nomads grazed huge herds of yaks, hermit monks spent years in meditation and pilgrims prostrated themselves over vast distances to achieve their religious goals.  In recent years there have been many changes to the Tibetan world but its staggeringly rich, and easily misunderstood, culture remains resilient and continues to fire the imagination of the Western mind. Moreover Tibet is no longer the inaccessible land that it once was, and although by no means always comfortable, travel to the Roof of the World, with all its rewards, is well within the grasp of todayís adventurous traveller.


Potala Palace as seen from the Jokhang Temple, Lhasa

Man at Samye Monastery, June 1986

Tibetan Stupa at Ganjia Gompa




The Himalayan Caravan begins its journey by exploring Nepalís bustling capital, Kathmandu. From here one of the most beautiful mountain flights in the world takes us past Everest, across the width of the Himalayas and into Tibet. We spend our first night at a relatively low altitude in Tsetang, one of Tibetís former capitals and visit the Tolkienesque temple of Yumbu Lhakhang.  For much of the way following the mighty Yarlung Tsangpo River we carry on to Lhasa and at one point cross the river to visit Samye Monastery, considered in the Tibetan world to be the centre of the universe.  The holy city of Lhasa is Tibetís intriguing, historic capital and we have three full days in which to explore all the cityís major sights including the Potala Palace, Drepung and Sera Monasteries and also the Jokhang Temple, Vatican of Tibetan Buddhism.

Pilgrims prostrating to Lhasa (after 4 years on the road!)

6. En route to Everest Base Camp.jpg (24703 bytes)

Red Headed Yaks waiting for the future in Sakya




Using high quality Landcruisers, capable of dealing with the rugged terrain ahead, we travel south via the Khamba La pass, with its stunning views of Scorpion Lake, to Gyangtse. Here, in this largely unspoilt Tibetan town, we visit the medieval Pelkhor Chode Temple complex with its huge Kumbum stupa, and also see Gyangtse fort, scene of an assault by the British Younghusband expedition in 1904. We carry on via Shalu to Tibetís second city, Shigatse and visit Tashilhunpo Monastery, formerly home of the Panchen Lama. As we continue to Everest Base Camp we will, depending on road conditions, visit the important and unusual monastery at Sakya, before crossing over the Pang La pass to spend a spartan night near Rongbuk Monastery. Here in the footsteps of Mallory and Irving (and Tintin!) we are likely to be rewarded with unforgettable views of Everestís northern face. Carrying on over highland passes and through some of the most stunning mountain vistas in the world we eventually cross the Himalayas and begin our descent down through cultivated foothills and back to the Kathmandu valley.

Gyangtse Kumbum copy.JPG (42845 bytes)


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Jewellery.JPG (64802 bytes)

Day 1. Tour begins in Kathmandu. (Kathmandu)
Day 2. Sightseeing in the Kathmandu Valley. (Kathmandu)
Day 3. Free day in Kathmandu for sightseeing. (Kathmandu)
Day 4. Fly to Gongkar (Lhasa) Airport. Drive to Tsetang via Yumbhu Lhakang, the oldest building in Tibet. (Tsetang)
Day 5. Drive to Lhasa. En route visit Tibetís first ever monastery, Samye, reached by a ferry crossing over the Yarlung Tsangpo River. (Lhasa)
Day 6. Full tour of Lhasa including the Jokhang temple, Potala Palace and Sera Monastery. (Lhasa)
Day 7. Morning visit to Drepung Monastery. Free afternoon. (Lhasa)
Day 8.  Free day. Optional daytrip to Ganden Monastery, also possible to visit Tsurphu.  (Lhasa)
Day 9.  Leave Lhasa for Gyantse via the Khamba La pass and the turquoise waters of Scorpion Lake. (Gyantse)
Day 10. Sightseeing in and around Gyantse. (Gyantse)
Day 11. Drive to Shigatse via Shalu. Visit Tashilhunpo Monastery. (Shigatse)
Day 12. To Shelkar. En route, depending on road conditions, we will make an excursion to Sakya Monastery. (Shelkar)
Day 13. Drive over the Pang La to Rongbuk and Everest Base Camp. (Rongbuk)
Day 14. Continue on past Tingri and over the Lalung Pass with dramatic views of Shishapangma and the rest of the Himalayan massif. Drop down via Milarepaís cave to Nyalam. (Nyalam)
Day 15. Drive down via Dram (Zhangmu), across the border and on to Kathmandu. (Kathmandu)
Day 16. Free Day (Kathmandu)
Day 17. Tour ends.

Tibet map


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Lhasa Area Map.JPG (69777 bytes)


Starts Kathmandu 5th Sept. - ends Kathmandu 21st Sept. 2009 land only (ex UK 4th Sept.)

Accommodation & Meals

In Kathmandu we stay in a well appointed four star hotel. In Lhasa we stay in a very central three star hotel. Elsewhere we stay in the best available accommodation. In Rongbuk accommodation is basic and a sleeping bag is recommended. All breakfasts in Nepal and all meals in Tibet (except in Lhasa) are included. No single surcharge. Single supplement available at GBP215. 

Mode of travel

Please note that while in Tibet this tour will be using good quality 4WD Toyota 4500 Landcruisers, important for dealing with the rough road conditions between Lhasa and Kathmandu. For sightseeing days while in Lhasa we may occasionally use a minibus.


Escorted by Tibet veteran and Chief Caravaneer Phil Colley assisted by  Tibetan guide in Tibet, local guide in Kathmandu and drivers throughout.

Group size

Minimum 6 Ė Maximum 12.

Flights & Insurance

For information on flights, visas and insurance please contact The Oriental Caravan. Chinese visas are arranged by us on on arrival in Nepal; Nepalese visas are avaialble on arrival.

Price Includes...

All transportation as per itinerary; all accommodation (on a twin share basis); full services of Tour Leader, local guides and drivers; sightseeing and entrance fees as per itinerary; all meals in Tibet apart from meals in Lhasa; breakfasts in Kathmandu; airport and border transfers.



* Please note that, unless instructed otherwise, we will be donating an optional 1% of the proceeds of this tour to
the Mitrata-Nepal Foundation for Children (

Monastic wall relief, wrathful deity

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             Revised and last updated: November 20th 2013. Links