Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour

Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour

The route from Lhasa to Kathmandu is regarded as one of the best overland journeys on the planet! Email us for more details on this adventure: info@himalayajourney.com

Overland from Tibet to Nepal

Join me as I lead a cultural and photography journey from Lhasa to Kathmandu for 15 days in April 2018. Go the the following link for details: April 2018 Overland from Tibet to Nepal

There are many travel routes to take in Tibet. Perhaps the best one is the Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour, which allows you to see many of the best cultural and natural sites Tibet has to offer. With this journey, you start by spending a few days exploring the Buddhist holy city of Lhasa, including places like Potala Palace, Drepung Monastery, Jokhang Temple and Sera Monastery.  In Lhasa, you will rub shoulders with Buddhist pilgrims, many of whom have traveled 2000 kilometers by foot to reach the Tibetan capital. The Old Town of Lhasa is an amazing place that you will get to throughly explore on this journey.

The Potala Palace in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet

Jokhang Temple in the Lhasa Old Town

From Lhasa, the real adventure begins as you start the epic road trip overland from Tibet to Nepal. You will start by photographing Yamdrok Tso, one of Tibet’s most beautiful lakes. From there, you will get up close to the Karo La Glacier before visiting the quaint, historic town of Gyantse and the Pelkhor Chöde Monastery. Passing through quiet farming villages, you will then go to Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest city. In Shigatse, you will explore the massive monastery complex of Tashi Lhunpo and walk the ancient pilgrimage circuit while also strolling through the Old Town Market afterwards.

Yamdrok Lake in Central Tibet

The Kumbum Stupa at the Gyantse Pelkhor Chode Monastery

Wait….this journey is just starting to get exciting! From Shigatse, you will go to the North Face Everest Base Camp, which offers the best view of the world’s highest peak. Along the way, you will visit the iconic monastery of Rongphu, the highest on the planet. From there, you will go through the Central Himalaya where you can see Shishapangma, the 14th highest peak on the planet and one of the most massive mountains in the Himalaya. You will also visit the spectacular alpine lake of Peiku Tso. From there, you will descend to the town of Kyirong near the Tibet Nepal Border.

NOTE: After being closed for nearly 2½ years, the main border crossing at the Tibet Nepal Border is now open again! Read the following link for more info: Overland from Tibet to Nepal

North Face of Everest viewed near the Tibet side base camp

Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour

Shishapangma, the 14th highest peak on the planet

Peiku Lake in Central Tibet

At the Tibet Nepal Border, you will say goodbye to your Tibetan guide and driver and meet your Nepali guide and driver. You will then drive to the Nepal capital city of Kathmandu where you will spend the next few days exploring the main cultural and religious sites in the Kathmandu Valley. You will go Pashupatinath, one of the most sacred Hindu temples on earth. You will also go to Boudhanath and wander the Tibetan quarter and walk around the most famous stupa in the Himalaya. You will also spend a full day exploring the UNESCO heritage site of Bhaktapur, the best preserved ancient city in Nepal. In total, you will spend about 2 weeks covering the amazing journey going overland from Tibet to Nepal.

Boudha Stupa near Kathmandu

The ancient city of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley

Pashupatinath Temple

Best time to go overland from Tibet to Nepal

The best months to do the Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour are April, May, October and November. These months generally have clear skies that allow for good views of the mountains and relatively pleasant temperatures. You can also do this journey during the winter months of December and January as along as you are prepared for colder temperatures. The months of June through September are not ideal (though still possible) as these months tend to have clouds and even rain, which means you might not have good views of Everest or other Himalayan peaks. In addition, it is monsoon season in the Kathmandu Valley. During those months, expect heavy rain in Nepal.

You will not be able to do this route from mid February through very early April as Tibet is CLOSED to all foreign travelers during that time. For more details on this annual closure, please go to the following link: Tibet closed each year in February and March

A Tibetan by from the Everest region

Prayer wheels at Rongphu Monastery with Mt Everest in the distance

Altitude acclimatization from Tibet to Nepal

As Tibet is a high altitude region, taking proper time to adjust to the altitude is important. By taking time to acclimatize, you will greatly reduce the risk of serious altitude-related illness. Some people inquire about going from Kathmandu to Lhasa overland, rather than the reverse order of Lhasa to Kathmandu. Here are my personal thoughts on that based on my extensive experience with this route.

When going overland from Nepal to Tibet, you quickly go to very high altitude without being able to acclimatize properly. Contrary to popular belief, Kathmandu is located in a relatively low-lying valley at just 1400 meters/4600 feet above sea level. This low altitude does not help with acclimatizing to Tibet, which has an average elevation of well over 4000 meters/13,000 feet. Even at the Tibet-Nepal border crossing, the elevation is less than 2000 meters/6500 feet, which is still not high enough to acclimatize. From the Tibet—Nepal border crossing near Kyirong, you quickly within just a day or so, go to the Tingri region, elevation 4300 meters/14,100 feet. Making this big of a jump in elevation in such a short time can lead to serious altitude-related illness. This is the reason why I do not recommend going overland from Kathmandu to Lhasa. In fact, our company will not arrange this journey due to the elevated risk of altitude illness.

If you wish to start your journey in Nepal, that is not a problem. I suggest flying from Kathmandu to Lhasa (daily flights between the 2 cities), spending at least 3 nights in Lhasa and then going overland back to Kathmandu. By going overland from Lhasa to Kathmandu, you will gradually ascend to higher elevation over 7 days before reaching Everest Base Camp. Doing the route in this direction is MUCH safer and greatly reduces your chances of serious altitude-related illness.

Tour Information: Lhasa to Kathmandu

All foreign travelers must be on an organized tour to visit Tibet. There are no exceptions. You will need to contact a travel agency well in advance before planning to to go overland from Tibet to Nepal. Foreign travelers require multiple travel permits, a private vehicle, a driver, an official travel itinerary and a tour guide. Independent travel in Tibet is not permitted and you cannot use public transportation. Traveling to Tibet is not difficult as the travel agency that you use will take care of nearly everything for you

Our company, Himalaya Journey, specializes in the journey from Lhasa to Kathmandu. We offer a few different options, all of which take time to acclimatize to the high elevation in Tibet as explained above. Here are some options:

1. Join our high quality, professionally-guided journey for 15 days in April 2018. This journey, which includes far more than most overland tours, is for those wanting to get the most out of their time in Tibet and Nepal. Go to the following link for more details: April 2018: 15 day journey from Lhasa to Kathmandu

2. If you prefer the freedom of choosing your own travel dates, we offer private journeys that operate anytime from early April through the winter months. For more details on this journey, which can me customized to your preference, go to the following link: Overland from Tibet to Nepal

3. Are you looking to get off-the-beaten-path on the way from Tibet to Nepal? We know some excellent places to go to that almost no one else knows about! We can work with you to create a customized travel route that allows you to see some places that few others have been to along the way from Tibet to Nepal. Contact us for details!

For information on a Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour going overland from Tibet to Nepal, email us at: info@himalayajourney.com

Lhasa to Kathmandu

Hindu Sadhu’s at Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal