Everest Base Camp from Tibet (9 Nights 10 Days)

For many centuries Tibet remained for westerners a mysterious and forbidden land cut off from the rest of the world by the mighty Himalayas in the south and the Kunlun Mountains to the north. Only a handful of brave and resourceful travellers ever managed to breach the country's snowy mountain fastness and reach its fabled capital Lhasa. Those that did returned with stories of an exotic and intriguing land of monastic cities and mountain passes, where nomads grazed huge herds of yaks, hermit monks spent years in meditation and pilgrims prostrated themselves over vast distances to achieve their religious goals. In recent years there have been many changes to the Tibetan world but its staggeringly rich, and easily misunderstood, culture remains resilient and continues to fire the imagination of the Western mind. Moreover Tibet is no longer the inaccessible land that it once was, and although by no means always comfortable, travel to the Roof of the World, with all its rewards, is well within the grasp of today's adventurous traveler.

The Himalayan Caravan begins its journey by exploring Nepal's bustling capital, Kathmandu. From here one of the most beautiful mountain flights in the world takes us past Everest, across the width of the Himalayas and into Tibet. We spend our first night at a relatively low altitude in Tsetang, one of Tibet's former capitals and visit the Tolkienesque temple of Yumbu Lhakhang. For much of the way following the mighty Yarlung Tsangpo River we carry on to Lhasa and at one point cross the river to visit Samye Monastery, considered in the Tibetan world to be the centre of the universe. The holy city of Lhasa is Tibet's intriguing, historic capital and we have three full days in which to explore all the city's major sights including the Potala Palace, Drepung and Sera Monasteries and also the Jokhang Temple, Vatican of Tibetan Buddhism.

Using high quality Landcruisers, capable of dealing with the rugged terrain ahead, we travel south via the Khamba La pass, with its stunning views of Scorpion Lake, to Gyangtse. Here, in this largely unspoilt Tibetan town, we visit the medieval Pelkhor Chode Temple complex with its huge Kumbum stupa, and also see Gyangtse fort, scene of an assault by the British Younghusband expedition in 1904. We carry on via Shalu to Tibet's second city, Shigatse and visit Tashilhunpo Monastery, formerly home of the Panchen Lama. As we continue to Everest Base Camp we will, depending on road conditions, visit the important and unusual monastery at Sakya, before crossing over the Pang La pass to spend a spartan night at Rongbuk Monastery. Here in the footsteps of Mallory and Irving (and Tintin!) we are likely to be rewarded with unforgettable views of Everest's northern face. Carrying on over highland passes and through some of the most stunning mountain vistas in the world we eventually cross the Himalayas and begin our descent down through cultivated foothills and back to the Kathmandu valley.

    Itinerary In Details.

    Day 01: Kathmandu-Lhasa by flight
    Transfer to the airport for the flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa on China Southwest Airlines. This one-hour Trans Himalayan Flight will give you an opportunity to have an aerial view of the Mt. Everest and other Himalaya Peaks (weather permitting). Arrival Gonggar airport around 13.30 hrs. local time. After clearing immigration and customs it will be a two hours drive to cover the 93 KM. to Lhasa, which is situated at an altitude of 3650m. Upon arrival we check in at the Snow land Hotel, right in the heart of the old city.

    Day 02-03-04: Sightseeing in Lhasa.
    During these three days in Lhasa we visit the Potala Palace, Drepung and Sera Monasteries, the Narbulinka and of course the famous Jokhang temple including the surrounding Barkhor.

    Day 05: Lhasa-Gyantse.
    You begin your overland adventure with a full day drive to Gyantse. Along the way you cross the Kamba La (4794m) and the Karo La pass (5010m), both grant spectacular views. After the Kamba La you come to Yamdrok Tso, also known as the Turquoise Lake. You will want to have your camera ready. Altitude 3900m.

    Day 06: Gyantse-Shigatse.
    This is a busy Day. In the morning visit Gyantse stupa and monastery followed by a 2 hrs. Drive to Shigatse. Here see the. Giant Buddha in the famous Tashilunpo monastery. The seat of the Panchen Lama.

    Day 07: Shigatse-Shegar/Lhatse.
    Takes you to visit Sakya monastery. Here you can spend the afternoon enjoying the scenery. You'll spend the nigh t in the Tibetan truck stop town of Lhatse.

    Day 08: Shegar/Lhatse-Rombuk.
    Begins with the Tsho La (4500m) and ends with the spectacular view of Mt. Everest from Rombuk monastery (5,000m). Relax tonight and stroll around the monastery.

    Day 09: Rombuk-Lao Tingri.
    Get up early and start the 2-3 hour leisurely walk (1-way) to the base-camp (5,200m) itself. You should return early afternoon to head to Lao Tingri. Lao Tingri is a small Tibetan town that offers the best view from a toilet that you're liable to get any where in the world.

    Day 10: Lao Tingri -Zhangmu-Kathmandu.
    Make sure you have some photos left for the panoramic view of the Himalayan range as you cross the Lalung La pass (5050m). On your way to the border town of Zhangmu you may visit Pelgyeling monastery where Milarepa's cave (Tibet's most famous Yogi) is situated. This evening relax in Nepal.