13 days

Tibet - Roof of the World

Tibet - Roof of the World

The North Face of Mount Everest from Rongbuk (5000m)

Tibetan rural life and the Kumbum Monastery in Gyantse

Tashilhunpo Monastery - the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama

Cooking school in Chengdu

The cliff-cut road to the border town of Zhangmu

Potala Palace of Lhasa - home of the 14th Dalai Lama and most of his prior incarnations

Everest Base Camp and the notorious Everest Ice Fall

Kathmandu’s hidden old town

Chengdu's Giant Pandas and Sichuan cuisine

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Giant Buddha at Leshan

Trip rating
  • Boudhanath Stupa has been an important place of pilgrimage and meditation since the middle of the 5th century. Caravans of salt traders, monks, nuns, lamas and others would stop here to perform protection and prosperity rituals and to this day it is the most popular site for Buddhists in Nepal. The stupa is set on an enormous three-level Mandala dome base, which is adorned with 108 images of Buddha and 147 prayer wheels. 

     

    Why we love it

    • Tales of magic and mystery have long attracted travellers to Tibet and today the lure of this once forbidden land remains strong.
    • Fascinating culture, magnificent monasteries and awesome mountain scenery combine to make this journey one of the most spectacular in the world.
    • In Chengdu, in Sichuan province, you will see China's most endearing icon - the giant panda.
    • In Lhasa you will explore the magnificent Potala Palace, as well as various monasteries.
    • You will go to Gyantse, at the head of the old trading route to India, and Shigatse, home to the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery and the Panchen Lama.
    • Travel on rugged and dramatic roads, crossing Pang La (Pass) on your way to Rongphu Monastery and on to Everest Base Camp.
    • The final leg of this extraordinary journey descends through an impressive gorge, then winds through the terraced hillsides of Nepal to Kathmandu.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Chengdu

    • On arrival in Chengdu you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Our airport representative will be holding a sign.
    • In the evening you meet your tour leader and the other group members for a pre-tour briefing. This is generally followed by an optional group dinner at a local restaurant.
    • Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, is known for its hot, spicy dishes that are considered by the Chinese to be the best in cuisine within China. In such a food-loving country, this is no mean feat.
    Nanhe Hotel or similar

    Day 2 - Chengdu

    • A history of trade built on cottage industry handicrafts has had a major influence on the development of Chengdu.
    • Recent changes in Chinese regulations have seen a revival of this tradition of private industry and, at almost every turn, you see signs of a thriving market.
    • Today you will visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, located just out of the city. The giant panda is one of the world's most endangered species and has become an icon for conservation movements everywhere. It is still found in parts of Sichuan province, but is very difficult to spot in the wild.
    • In the afternoon there will be an opportunity to relax in a bamboo chair at the teahouse in Renmin Park. There is often an ear-picker with cotton buds wandering around, if you feel the need!
    • A stroll to Wenshu Temple will take you past beggars, children, tourists, fortunetellers, and fireworks sellers. This is an active and noisy place of worship.
    Nanhe Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 3 - Leshan (Giant Buddha) - Chengdu

    • Today you will travel to view one of the major monumental highlights of China - the Giant Buddha at Leshan.
    • Situated on the shores of the Min River, the sleepy town of Leshan is bursting with alleys and backstreets, all waiting to be explored.
    • The Giant Buddha ('Dafo') measures 71 metres high and is located at the convergence of the Dadu and Min Rivers. At the time it was built, it was the largest Buddha image in the world.
    • Carved out of the cliff face, construction on this amazing statue began in the year 713 AD by a Buddhist monk named Haitong. It took 90 years to be completed. It was built for good luck because many boats had previously come to grief on this treacherous bend in the river.
    • Ironically, the construction of the statue led to the creation of a buffer that diverted the raging torrents away from the dangerous cliffs, perhaps saving many lives.
    • After the excursion, you will return to Chengdu.
    Nanhe Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 4-6 - Lhasa

    • An early morning flight (please note that you will also be unescorted on this flight) takes you over snow-capped mountains to Lhasa, capital of the autonomous region of Tibet.
    • This is one of the most spectacular flights in the world, as you cross over high mountain peaks before arriving in the high Tibetan Plateau.
    • On arrival at Gonggar Airport you will be met and driven by coach to the fabled city of Lhasa, which lies at 3650 metres above sea level.
    • Here you will have three days to explore this once-isolated city, with its monasteries and markets bulging with pilgrims and traders. This includes an organised tour to the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and Sera and Ramoche Monasteries.
    • Free time to explore the city is subject to the Chinese authorities and the ever-changing political climate, although there are never any problems filling the days in such a fascinating city.
    • In your free time you may wish to visit the Norbulingka Summer Palace or the interesting Tibet Museum.
    Yak Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 7 - Gyantse

    • Today you will travel for about four hours as you take to the Friendship Highway; a spectacular road, which traverses high mountain passes and crosses plateaus, connecting Lhasa with Kathmandu.
    • You will first travel through Tibet's richest farming areas, then cross the Brahmaputra River as it winds its way down to the Bay of Bengal.
    • Running at an altitude of 3939 metres above sea level, it is the highest major river in the world.
    • You will wind your way to Kamba La (Pass) at 4970 metres, and enjoy a view over the huge Yamdrok Tso Lake.
    • After the lake, you will climb again to Karo La (Pass) (5010 metres) before descending to the historic town of Gyantse, a small village and home to the Kumbum Monastery and Pelkhor Chode Temple, where you will find interesting Buddhist murals.
    • Time permitting you may also make an optional visit to Gyantse Fort.
    Gyantse Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 8 - Shigatse

    • In the morning you will explore Gyantse, a town renowned for the exploits of Colonel Younghusband in the 1920s. You will walk down the newly rebuilt main street, along with the Nepali Kumbum Stupa.
    • In the afternoon you will drive for an hour-and-a-half across the Tibetan Plateau. Shigatse is the second largest city of Tibet with a population of some 40,000 people.
    • The Tashilhunpo Monastery is the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama, the most important incarnation for Tibetan Buddhists after the Dalai Lama. This impressive religious centre contains a giant statue of Buddha in the Temple of Maitreya, as well as an ornate tomb, which is the final resting-place of the fourth Panchen Lama.
    • Its huge size ensures it is almost a town in itself. One of Tibet's most active monasteries, it is currently being restored to its former beauty.
    Shigatse Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 9 - Shegar

    • Your adventure continues with a five-hour drive over rough, dusty roads to Shegar.
    • In the morning you will cross the Gyatso La (Pass) with stunning views of the Himalayan peaks to the south. Although the scenery is desolate, the country is dotted with busy villages and ruined monasteries.
    • Amongst these villages is the major town of Lhaze, which makes a convenient halfway stop, where you will have a local-style lunch break.
    • Shegar is a small village of 1500 inhabitants, overlooked by an impressive fort (unfortunately this is currently closed to visitors).
    Shegar Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 10 - Everest Base Camp - Shegar

    • Departing from Shegar, you will drive south towards the mighty Himalaya. The initial part of the road journey involves climbs in a series of zigzags to the top of the Pang La (Pass) (5150 metres), where you will stop to take photos of Mount Everest.
    • Along the drive you can bask in the splendour of the all of the other snow-capped peaks from Makalu to Shishapangma. As you will now be travelling off the main highway, it could get dusty travelling on these dirt roads, so you may like to carry something like a scarf or big handkerchief with you while you’re driving.
    • Even though you will only be travelling 140 kilometres on the round journey, it is a long day due to the poor road conditions.
    • At 5000 metres above sea level, Rongphu is home to the highest monastery in the world. From here you will enjoy a breathtakingly close-up view of Mount Everest as it seemingly hovers over you.
    • You will then branch off on to a small path that leads to Everest Base Camp itself, which is situated at 5040 metres above sea level.
    • The base camp itself is dry and barren, but the stunning view of Everest more than compensates. It truly is an awe-inspiring place with the sheer north face of the highest mountain in the world towering above you.
    • This is certainly a major highlight on this incredible journey.
    • From here you will return to Rongphu and make your way back to Shegar.
    Shegar Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 11 - Zhangmu

    • You will continue your journey on the main road and head in the direction of the Nepalese border, passing through a checkpost and continuing to Tingri, where you will enjoy more views of the world’s highest peaks including the 8201-metre-high Cho Oyu - the world’s 6th highest peak.
    • From Tingri the road ascends to reach the Lalung La (Pass) (5050 metres), where the scenery is again fantastic. The panorama also includes the 8000-metre-high Xixapangma.
    • From the top of the pass you will descend nearly 3000 metres to the small town of Nyalam, before continuing to the border town of Zhangmu. As you near the border, the road is cut into the cliffs high above the valley floor. If you don’t like heights, sit on the left-hand side of the vehicle! At Zhangmu we say farewell to our Tibetan guide and driver.
    Chaiyuan Hotel or Similar
    Breakfast

    Day 12 - Kathmandu

    • Today, after finalising departure formalities, you will exit China and enter Nepal. Descending steeply down the zigzag road, you will reach the Nepalese immigration and customs at Tatopani.
    • During the monsoon season there may be landslides, which could leave sections of the road near the border closed. Should this be the case, porters will then carry your luggage as you walk across the border to your Nepalese vehicle.
    • It is then a four-and-a-half hour drive to Kathmandu. There is much to see in the Nepalese capital, so you may consider extending your stay with extra time here to explore Kathmandu and the valley.
    • There are fascinating temples in the city's Durbar Square as well as the Hindu Pashupatinath Temple and the Buddhist Bodnath Stupa, whilst the neighbouring towns of Patan and Bhaktapur are both worth a visit.
    Shangri La Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 13 - Kathmandu

    • Your tour will come to an end today after breakfast. A transfer to the airport is not included, however, your tour leader will be on hand to advise you as to the options available.
    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • An experienced, English-speaking Peregrine leader and specialist local guides in Tibet and Nepal
    • Authentic Accommoation: 9 nights comfortable hotel, 3 nights basic hotel
    • Meals: 12 breakfasts
    • Arrival transfer
    • Entrance fees to Everest National Park
    • Visit to Chengdu’s Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
    • Sightseeing (and entrance fees where applicable): Giant Buddha at Leshan, Lhasa (including Potala Palace, Jokhang Palace, Sera Monastery), Gyantse (Kumbum Monastery) and Shigatse (Tashilhunpo Monastery)
    • Spectacular mountain panoramas from several passes: Kamba La, Karo La, Gyatso La, Pang La and Lalung La
    • Drive from Rongphu Monastery to Everest Base Camp for view of the north face of Mount Everest
    • Domestic flight from Chengdu to Lhasa
    • Tibet Autonomous Region permit
    • Chinese visa support

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Airport departure taxes
    • Departure transfer
    • Visas
    • Meals unless specified in the itinerary
    • Insurance
    • Laundry - may be available at locations where we stay two or more nights
    • Optional tours or activities during free time
    • Camera fees
    • Excess baggage charges
    • Tips - this is something to consider, and it might be worthwhile speaking to your group about making a group contribution at the end of the trip

    Safety Information

    The Chinese authorities sometimes suspend issuing Tibet Entry Permits to foreign nationals, and may also restrict travel to Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures in neighbouring Provinces by those who have already obtained a permit. These restrictions can happen at any time, but in particular during sensitive periods or major religious festivals - especially around February and March, coinciding with the Tibetan new year festival and the anniversary of certain uprisings in Tibet. Travellers to all Tibet areas should check with tour operators or travel agents and monitor this travel advice and other media for information about travel to Tibet.

    Ongoing political and ethnic tensions can lead to unrest and violent protest in Tibet. While foreigners are not normally targeted during unrest, you should be alert to the possibility of being caught up in any unexpected demonstrations or outbreaks of violence. Security measures are tight around any large public gathering and unauthorised gatherings may be dispersed by force. There have been a large number of self-immolations since 2011, including in Tibetan areas outside of the Tibetan Autonomous Region itself. The Chinese authorities tend to react quickly to these incidents and will increase the security presence in the area. Avoid becoming involved in any protests or calls for Tibetan independence. Don’t film or photograph any such activities.

     

  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Tibet - Roof of the World

    Anthony - Mt Keira, NSW, 12 Jun, 2011
    5
    Overall Rating

    Peregrine has a number of experienced trip leaders. Gauri must be one of the best because he was adaptable when clients got sick. He arranged alternative transport and modified itineries to make the trip more satisfying than it usually would be.

    Tibet - Roof of the World

    Susan - West Pennant Hills, NSW, 12 Jun, 2011
    5
    Overall Rating

    I suffered altitude sickness and needed to be hospitalised in Lhasa for around 7 hours in the middle of the night.  The Trip Leader (Naresh Rai) was exceptional in his care, in that he organised for the Tibetan guide to meet us at the hospital and stay for about 4 hours until the treatment was underway.  Naresh stayed all night and ensured we were safely back in the hotel.  Next morning another Peregrine rep had been organised to stay with me in case I was too unwell to join the Potala Palace Tour.  This type of service is the reason we choose to travel with Peregrine.

     

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PCTR
Group size 4 - 16
Start City: Chengdu, Sichuan, China
End City: Kathmandu

What to know

An excellent level of fitness is required for this trip given the high altitudes. While this trip is not physical in nature, travel at altitude can be extremely strenuous for those not in good health.

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