Map of your 4x4 road trip :
Arrive in Kunming in China
There is a reason why even today, Tibet maintains such a mysterious reputation because it isn’t easy to get there. Any trip there requires a lot of preparation and patience. We begin our Tibet trip from Kunming, a charming mountainous city in Southwest China and hub for many international flights. Be sure your flight arrives early as you’ll need a Chinese Driving Permit to be allowed to drive in the in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Don’t worry, we’ll make sure you have everything you need as long as you show up on time!
Fly to Lhasa
We land in Lhasa before lunch. The center of the Tibetan Buddhist world for more than a thousand years, A lunch in a city of wonders awaits you because Lhasa is the center of the Buddhist world for more than a thousand years.
You will already be at 3650m, so we recommend you take this day to acclimatize it. An expedition briefing will take place in the evening before returning to our beds, so we are up and fresh to explore Lhasa the next day.
Today, we spend time exploring Lhasa and climating at high altitude. We will comment by the Potala Palace which counts above the holy city. Its charming, old whitewashed Tibetan quarter continues to preserve the essence of traditional Tibetan life. Next, we visit the most sacred and active Tibetan temples, including the Jokhang Temple, a golden-roofed 1300 building in the center of Barkhor Market. Then we go on to see the famous debates by the monks at the monastery of Sera. It is very interesting to see these movements with noisy, animated and exaggerated arm movements that interrogate the Buddhist scriptures.
Lhasa - Shigatse
271 Km - 5h of riding
We spend another day in Lhasa to ensure everyone is ecclimitized and also we will utilize this day for issuing driving permits for all the participants. Post the permits, we will have our detailed expedition briefing and also familiarize with the vehicles we will be driving in this expedition. Post the breifing we have dinner and sleep early for a very early morning start.
We begin our epic expedition today morning, driving along the iconic Friendship Highway. The drive is long, yet the most scenic drive in Tibet that would take us over the Kamba Pass, to views of Lake Yamdrok Tso. The water of this holy lake takes the colour turquoise to a whole new level. We will be taking multiple switchbacks to cross various 5000 meters plus mountain passes and crossing giant Khorala Glacier. The altitude declines after the glacier and winds down to Gyantse. The road from here is flat but still we will be hovering around 3900 meters. We arrive Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest town and spend the rest of the day exploring the town. The site of the Potala-lookalike Shigatse Dzong, high on a hilltop overlooking the town, will probably fire your imagination.
Today we will be creating the most memorable experience in your life. We will be driving across the summit of Gyatso La Pass, at 5200 meters, and then Gawalu Pass. From here we could see five mountains above 8000 meters. We will be driving through some of the most stunning switchbacks all the way to the basecamp, to catch the glimpse of the Golden Everest Peak during Sunset. Then we drive to Tingri where we will stay for the night. It’s a 70 km drive so that we can hit the basecamp again the next morning to witness the sunrise!
In the morning, we get back to the basecamp to watch the sunrise of Everest Peak. At 17,060 feet, it affords impressive views of entire Northeast ridge and summit of Mt. Everest. Then we will visit the Rongbuk Monastery – the unique highest monastery with nuns and monks living together. You can send a postcard to yourself from the world’s highest post office. After we spend time exploring the places in and around the basecamp and finally we start our drive back to Shigatse. This time we will visit the Tashilhunpo Monastery, one of the few monasteries in Tibet to weather the stormy seas of the Cultural Revolution, Tashilhunpo remains relatively unscathed. The huge golden statue of the Future Buddha is the largest gilded statue in the world.
Shigatse - Lhasa
We start our day tracing different route back to Lhasa driving along the Brahmaputra River which is a different road from Shigatse to Lhasa. In the evening we have the final felicitation dinner and celebrate all the good times we spent on this epic expedition.
Lhasa - Kunming
It’s time to say bye to our Tibet expedition and head back towards Kunming. If you wish to remain in Tibet longer then you need to arrange special permission otherwise we recommend heading back to Kunming and spending some time enjoying the great city especially the legendary Stone Forest before you head home or continue your journey onward.