Himalayan Explorer

From Lhasa to Kathmandu

  • Retrace the footsteps of legendary mountaineers near Everest's north base camp
  • Sakya Monastery, headquarters to one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism
  • Unforgettable insight into one of the most fascinating cultures of our time
Tibet China
Trip Type: Sample Itinerary
Trip Length: 12 Days
Activity type(s): Cultural Tour
Trip Extensions: Call 888-570-7108 for custom extension options

This is a journey close to our hearts; it was one of the first trips we operated back in the mid-1980s. We were then—and have ever since been—highly stoked to reach the base of Mount Everest and then return via the once-forbidden Nepal-Tibet border.

We start in Lhasa, visiting the Potala, joining pilgrims at the Jokhang Temple, and wandering in the old quarter. Then, embarking on one of the planet’s most dramatic drives, we slip over 15,700-foot Khampa La and whirl past turquoise lakes and Trans-Himalayan peaks to Gyantse’s magnificent giant chorten, the Kumbum. On to Shigatse’s gilded Tashilunpo Monastery and across the high and dry Tibetan Plateau to Shekar, stopping at Sakya, a monastery that was instrumental in transmitting Buddhism to the Mongol court of Kublai Khan. We continue via 17,000-foot Pang La to reach the legendary Rongbuk, the world’s highest monastery, set at the base of Everest’s iconic north face near the camp from which British expeditions of the 1920s and ’30s made their valiant, doomed attempts.

From here it’s another tremendous drive, down the plateau to the warmth and greenery of lower elevations, across the border into Nepal, and through classic Nepalese landscapes to the bright lights of Kathmandu, where we can look back at the mountain bulwark we just crossed.

Himalayan travel tour map

Itinerary at a Glance

  • Day 1: arrive in Chengdu
  • Day 2: fly to Lhasa
  • Days 3 & 4: explore Lhasa
  • Day 5: drive to Gyantse
  • Day 6: on to Shigatse
  • Day 7: by road to Shekar via Sakya
  • Day 8: excursion to base of Everest’s North Face
  • Day 9: descend toward Nepal
  • Day 10: drive to Kathmandu
  • Day 11: Kathmandu
  • Day 12: depart Kathmandu.