Days
15
Price from
$6,395AUD

Experience the magic, mystery and culture of Nepal and Tibet

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. Begin in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, and discover one of the plant's most legendary cities. In Lhasa, explore the magnificent Potala Palace, as well as various monasteries. Continuing across the arid Tibetan Plateau, pass through Shambala to Gyantse, at the head of the old trading route to India, and on to Shigatse, home to the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery and the Panchen Lama.


Start
Kathmandu, Nepal
Finish
Kathmandu, Nepal
Countries
China, Nepal
Style
Peregrine
Code
PCTB
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Discover how Kathmandu remains a legendary destination, with temples rich in symbolism and narrow streets filled with monks, incense, goats and sacred cows, all ringed by iconic Himalayan Mountains

  • Explore Lhasa, from the architectural wonder of the former home of the Dalai Lama to the incredible atmosphere of the pilgrim-filled Jokhang Temple, the holiest in the Tibetan Buddhist world

  • Stay overnight in a hidden cliffside retreat on an incredible detour from Lhasa to Shambhala

  • Every drive in Tibet seems more stunning that the last. Climb phenomenal passes, twist up thrilling peaks, and take in incredible views of skies and lakes, where the only way to tell their perfect blue apart is the towering mountains that separate them

  • Join pilgrims on their kora (prayer circuit), spinning prayer wheels on a clockwise walk around the perimeter of the vast Tashilhunpo Monastery

Is this trip right for you?

  • As this trip visits the spectacular mountain peaks and passes of the Eastern Himalayas, and one of the highest cities in the world, an excellent level of fitness is required for this trip given the high altitude reached. Altitude sickness can affect travellers regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this. The maximum altitude on this trip is 5150m.

  • The political situation in the Tibet Autonomous Region remains complex, so a flexible attitude is heavily suggested for this trip, as entry into Tibet can be restricted by China without prior notice.

  • Photography in some Buddhist monasteries requires a separate photo ticket. These are not included in your trip cost and will need to be paid locally.

  • One of the beautiful things about this trip is the remote regions that it visits, allowing travellers to get a real insight into daily Tibetan life. Part of this though is that while accommodation in remote regions may not be as per Peregrine's regular hotel standard, all hotels will be comfortable and clean.

  • The majority of sites, places of interest and activities in Tibet are related to Tibetan Buddhism. While we try to include a number of other activities, such as market and family visits, you will get the most out of this trip if you have an interest in the history of this religion.

Itinerary

Namaste! Welcome to Nepal. On arrival in Kathmandu, you’ll be met at the airport by a Peregrine representative and transferred to your hotel (approximately 20 minutes). To book your complimentary arrival transfer, please provide your flight details at the the time of booking or at least 14 days prior to departure. Your trip begins with a welcome meeting at 2pm. Look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, perhaps arrive a day early so you're able to attend. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. At this meeting, details will be collected and important forms filled in. If you arrive in Kathmandu early, step out into the buzzing markets and narrow streets where holy men, monks, bicycles, incense, goats and cows all mingle in a rich spiritual melting pot. This evening is free, but your leader will usually organise an optional evening meal at one of Kathmandu's fine Nepali restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Annapurna Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Please do not obtain a Chinese visa in advance. We will enter on a group visa when entering Tibet from Nepal, so any other valid Chinese visa in your passport will be cancelled.
Explore Kathmandu on a sightseeing tour. You’ll start by joining the pilgrims at Bodhnath Stupa, the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It's the centre of Tibetan culture in Kathmandu and rich in Buddhist symbolism. Continue on to Pashupatinath, a Hindu temple on the banks of the Bagmati River in Deopatan, just outside the city. It's dedicated to a manifestation of Shiva called Pashupati (Lord of Animals) and here you can see Hindu holy men (sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing, and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the ghats. The rest of your afternoon in Kathmandu is free for further sightseeing and exploration. Perhaps explore Patan's Durbar Square, or see the ancient Swayambhunath stupa, known to tourists as the Monkey Temple, which is Kathmandu's most important Buddhist shrine. The sleepy, all-seeing Buddha eyes that stare out from the top have become the quintessential symbol of Nepal.
Accommodation
  • Annapurna Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa (approximately 1.5 hours). You will have the next four nights in Lhasa to explore this once-isolated city, with its monasteries and markets bulging with pilgrims and traders. The colourful and historic holy city of Lhasa is situated in a small valley, and for many years it was a mysterious place, virtually unknown to the outside world. Even the most adventurous and hardy of explorers rarely reached the city without being turned away, either by the treacherous terrain or the fierce warrior monks that protected Tibetan territory from intruders. Over the next three days there will be a mix of included activities and you can enjoy some free time to explore the city. While this is subject to the Chinese authorities and the ever-changing political climate, there are never any problems filling the days in such a fascinating city.
Accommodation
  • Lhasa Ganggyan Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Lhasa is at high altitude (3,490 metres), so we've allowed four days here to allow for appropriate acclimatisation. While you acclimatise it pays to moderate activity and take short breaks. Some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.

Due to Chinese government regulations, an official licensed Tibetan guide must accompany all foreign tour groups in Tibet.
Enjoy a walking tour around Lhasa's old town. Visit a Tibetan Traditional Medicine market. Some types of medicine, such as the caterpillar fungus are known to fetch prices as high as $50,000 per pound! This rare substance, which grows as a parasite in ghost moths on the Tibetan plateau, is lauded for its health benefits for humans. Seeing it marketed and sold in its birthplace is a most fascinating intersection of Eastern medicine and Tibetan culture. Today you will also visit an area where Thangka painting are made and sold. See and learn more about the preparation and significance of Thangka painting in the region. A Thangka is a traditional painting on a cotton or silk canvas, usually depicting a Buddhist deity, and the authentic article seen up close is a beautiful thing.
Accommodation
  • Lhasa Ganggyan Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lhasa - Tibetan Traditional Medicine Market
  • Lhasa - Thangka Painting Centre
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please note that the Potala Palace is the most popular attraction in Lhasa, especially among Chinese tour groups, so it can be very crowded and tickets are for a limited time period only.

As the majority of the cultural and historical sites in Tibet are temples and monasteries, it’s best to choose carefully which activities you do in your free time, and pace yourself in order to enjoy the sites group-visited as much as possible. Tibetan Buddhism is a fascinating part of the region's culture, however some travellers find that they get ‘templed out’ quickly with so much information to take in. Take your time, ask your local guide about what interests you most, and if you’d prefer your own time rather than visit a religious site with the group, let your leader know.
Today you will visit the Drepung Monastery, Nechung Monastery and Sera Monastery. The latter is one of the most important university monasteries in Tibet. To get there, you'll travel out to the base of Pubuchok Mountain. It's well known for its dramatic daily debates between monks, who as part of their training come together in a central courtyard to contest the finer points of Buddhist learning. Junior monks sit on the floor while senior monks drill them on knowledge, dramatically slapping their hand in a signal to respond, which makes the temple much livelier and noisier than many others.
Included Activities
  • Lhasa - Sera Monastery
  • Lhasa - Drepung Monastery
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Visit the incredible Potala Palace, the former home of the Dalai Lama perched 130 metres above the city. The palace is divided into two parts, the White Palace (secular and used as offices and the like) and the Red Palace (home to chapels, shrines, and tombs of Dalai Lamas). Although the palace cannot be freely explored, and a strict guided-viewing schedule must be adhered to, this in no way lessens the impact of seeing what is truly a wonder of the architectural world. As you witness the gold and jewel-filled rooms and take in the views from the roof, you’ll rub shoulders with excited Tibetan pilgrims making offerings at the altars. (Keep in mind that this is the most popular attraction in Lhasa, especially among Chinese tour groups, so it can be very crowded and tickets are for a limited time period only.) Then it's on to the holiest temple in the Tibetan Buddhist world, Jokhang Temple. The spiritual heart of Tibet and one of the region's most active religious sites, the atmosphere amongst visiting pilgrims is much of the temple’s appeal.
Accommodation
  • Lhasa Ganggyan Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lhasa - Jokhang Temple
  • Lhasa - Potala Palace
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by private bus from Lhasa to Terdrom. Venture into the high hills where the Drigung Monastery awaits. At 4,465 metres above sea level, this monastery boasts a dramatic location, perched on a broad mountain ridge overlooking the Shorong Valley. From here you will take in stunning panoramas. There will also be a visit to the impressive Trimdum Monastery today. Your accommodation tonight is the sublime Shambhala Source, a hidden  retreat built on the edge of a cliff.
Accommodation
  • Shambala Source Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lhasa - Drigung & Trimdum Monastery
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a private bus to Lhasa via the 15th-century Ganden Monastery, which is located 50 km northeast of Lhasa. This is one of the earliest and largest Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, and stands above of the six great temples of Gelugpa (a branch of Tibetan Buddhism). It makes for one of the most incredible day trips from Lhasa, which is saying a lot. After exploring this immense sight and learning some of its history, continue to Lhasa, where you can enjoy some free time and rest your legs.
Included Activities
  • Lhasa - Ganden Monastery
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The drive to Gyantse today is spectacular, with unforgettable views around every bend. You’ll cross over several stunning passes, at elevations of around 5,000 metres, twisting through the thrilling mountains as the peaks dramatically tower over the road. You’ll enjoy incredible views of Yamdrok Lake, a mystical perfect mirror of the sky above where we will stop, climb Khamba La pass and see yaks plodding along the mountainside. Pass sheep herder villages scattered along the lakeside and be confronted by the soaring Noijin Kangsang, the peak of the Lhagoi Kangri mountain range. Climb up to the Karo La pass and then descend down to the town of Gyantse. The drive should take around 6 hours. Gyantse is a small agricultural town set at 3,950 metres above sea level, and is famed for its wool carpets. While there’s still a feel of tradition and life continuing much as it has for centuries, Gyantse is also a great place to see contemporary Tibetan life in the backstreets, where pilgrims, pop music, cows, “cowboys” on motorbikes, kids and monks all mingle in a lively mix of cultures. There are a number of interesting buildings in the town, including the Pelkhor Chode Temple complex, a unique structure built in 1414 that brought together 15 monasteries and three different orders of Tibetan Buddhism.
Accommodation
  • Gyantse Yeti Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yamdrok Lake
  • Gyantse - Tibetan family visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
This morning you will spend some time in the unique Gyantse Kumbum, an impressive layered stupa designed as a kind of 3D mandala (symbol that represents the universe) as well as a model of the Buddhist universe, with each storey representing a step to enlightenment. If you have a head for heights you can wind your way up the pilgrim circuit, passing dozens of tiny painting-filled chapels, the passages steadily getting narrower as you get higher and the air becoming more and more intoxicating with incense and smoke from yak butter lamps. Also visit the Pelkor Monastery and Shalu Monastery before driving to Tibet's second-largest city, Shigatse (approximately 90 kilometres, at least 2 hours). Encircled by mountains, Shigatse is a busy, buzzing and dusty city that’s rapidly modernising. Enjoy a free evening – perhaps ask your leader for directions to the tranquil Chapel of Jampa or Kelsang Chapel (the latter is one of the best places to observe the pilgrims and monks preparing for ceremonies).
Accommodation
  • Shangrila Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gyantse - Gyantse Kumbum
  • Gyantse - Pelkor Chode Monastery
  • Shigatse - Shalu Monastery
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Visit Tashilunpo Monastery today. This was founded in 1447 by the 1st Dalai Lama, and is a historic and culturally important monastery in Tibet's second-largest city. It's one of the few in Tibet to have come out virtually unscathed from the Cultural Revolution. With its expansive territory inside thick stone walls, it’s almost like a town in itself. Afterward the visit, take the 'Kora Walk'. This is a little trek that Tibetans do, in a clockwise direction, on a circuit that's considered holy. The one you will partake in will be around Tashilunpo monastery on a hill track, and it takes around 1.5 hours to complete. It's not strenuous per se, but it's best to consider the altitude, as with any physical activity while in Tibet. Afterwards, you will visit a local market in town, after which the day is your to spend as you please.
Accommodation
  • Shangrila Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shigatse - Tashilhunpo Monastery
  • Shigatse - Market
  • Shigatse - Kora walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel to Tsedang today (approx 6 hours). This small city is located 183 kilometres southeast of Lhasa. Tsedang is best known as the cradle of Tibetan's civilization, thought of as the birthplace of the earliest Tibetans, who are said to be the offspring of a monkey and a demoness. Tsedang literally means 'monkey’s playground'. Samye, Tibet's first monastery, is located 30 kilometres from Tsedang and was founded in 779 CE by King Trisong Detsen.
Accommodation
  • Tsedang Yarlung River Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Pay a visit to Yumbulagang Palace today. This marvellous site lies about 11 kilometres southwest of Tsedang and was built by the first Tibetan king, Nyatri Tsenpo, in the 2nd century AD. It is the very first palace to have been built in Tibet, giving it all the more allure. Its name, interestingly, translates to the 'Sacred Palace of Mother and Son'. Learn a little more about its history as you explore. After that, continue to Tandruk Monestary and the Chongye burial site. This burial site is a rare marker of pre-Buddhist cultures in Tibet, and a great chance to see how the Bon faith plays into the history of these mythical hills.
Accommodation
  • Tsedang Yarlung River Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tsedang - Chongye Burial Mounds
  • Tsedang - Tandruk Monastery
  • Tsedang - Yunbulagang Palace
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Farewell your Tibetan leader and return to Kathmandu with a spectacular flight over the Himalayas. The rest of the day is free to do some souvenir shopping or further sightseeing. Tonight you can enjoy an optional final dinner with your group to celebrate the end of your Himalayan adventure.
Accommodation
  • Annapurna Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your journey draws to a close this morning after breakfast. There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. A transfer to the airport is not included, but you can organise one through Peregrine prior to departure. Your leader will also be on hand to advise you as to further options.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

14 breakfasts, 1 lunch

Transport

Plane, Private Vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (14 nights)

Included Activities

  • Lhasa - Tibetan Traditional Medicine Market
  • Lhasa - Thangka Painting Centre
  • Lhasa - Sera Monastery
  • Lhasa - Drepung Monastery
  • Lhasa - Jokhang Temple
  • Lhasa - Potala Palace
  • Lhasa - Drigung & Trimdum Monastery
  • Lhasa - Ganden Monastery
  • Yamdrok Lake
  • Gyantse - Tibetan family visit
  • Gyantse - Gyantse Kumbum
  • Gyantse - Pelkor Chode Monastery
  • Shigatse - Shalu Monastery
  • Shigatse - Tashilhunpo Monastery
  • Shigatse - Market
  • Shigatse - Kora walk
  • Tsedang - Chongye Burial Mounds
  • Tsedang - Tandruk Monastery
  • Tsedang - Yunbulagang Palace

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Important notes

1. A complimentary arrival transfer is included.
2. A Single Supplement is available on this tour.
3. The luggage limit for the KTM - LXA flights is 23kg.
4. Do not obtain a Chinese visa in advance. As we will enter on a group visa from Nepal, any other valid Chinese visa in your passport will be cancelled.
5. Travellers who have visited and/or stayed more than 2 weeks in the following countries are currently being refused their Chinese group visa, which is applied for in Kathmandu: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Syria. If you have visited these countries and wish to visit Tibet, then we recommend you contact your booking agent for other options.
6. Gratuities included for the essential services only that you will receive as part of your tour package. Please see our Tipping section of these trip notes for more information.
7. Please make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
8. This trip starts with a Welcome Meeting at 2pm on Day 1.

Essential Trip Information

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