Tibet - From Kathmandu to Lhasa

This journey passes through the heart of Tibet, where we discover a fascinating Buddhist tradition, a rich culture and historical sites, coupled with meetings with the nomads roaming the highlands ... Likewise, before flying to Lhasa, we also enjoy a beautiful insight into the mythical Kathmandu Valley where, it is popularly said, Gods walk! We also discover Bhaktapur, a royal city within Kathmandu Valley, which has a myriad Hindu pagodas made of red bricks, tiles and delicate woodcarvings. Then, arriving in Lhasa is simply a thrill of Himalayan magnitude! Here, we see the Tibetan and Buddhist world, while visiting multitude of spiritual sites: the Potala Palace, and its impressive collection of masterpieces (thangkas ou Buddhist paintings and statues), the great monastic universities of Sera and Drepung where the monks get trained for philosophical debate, the Jokhang Temple in the heart of the old city ... Then, we head for Mount Everest, crossing the highlands of Central Tibet exceeding 4000m of altitude. The villages of Gyantse, Shigatse and Sakya make for rich cultural halts. Towering summits of Everest, Cho Oyu and Shejapangma mountains offer a sweeping view above the vast Tibetan plateau that we explore with our local Tibetan guide.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Arrival in Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel

    Reception and transfer to your hotel. Depending on your arrival, your guide will show you the old streets of Kathmandu and present the first insight into the lives of the Nepalese.

    Accommodation: Hotel
    Meals not included

  • Day 2 Kathmandu Valley: Bhaktapur, Pashupatinath and Bodnath

    Day of discovery of the jewels of the valley of Kathmandu: Pashupatinath, Hindu site dating from the twelfth century, place of cremation dedicated to Shiva, where the pilgrims bathe in the sacred river Bagmati. We then leave for the sumptuous pedestrian city Bhaktapur, 15 km from Kathmandu, the most beautiful of the three imperial cities of the valley. Then, we have a short transfer to Bodhnath. The great stupa of Bodhnath is located in the heart of the Tibetan district where many monasteries of in the Tibetan style constructed.

    Accommodation: Hotel
    Meals not included

  • Day 3 City hike in Kathmandu: Kathmandu Durbar Square - Swayambhunath

    Today, we discover the historical jewels of Kathmandu: after breakfast, we head for Swayambounath, an impressive hilltop Buddhist stupa overlooking the Kathmandu Valley. We visit the stupa and a monastery nearby. Then, we have a short drive to Kathmandu Durbar Square, with its pagoda temples and palaces dating back to the seventeenth century. Enjoy your lunch in historical Kathmandu Durbar Square! The local atmosphere is a marvel to behold: narrow, charming streets teeming with people and businesses, yes, welcome to Kathmandu! Meet street food vendors; observe colourful shops that offer dishes, traditional clothes, jewellery etc. Hidden courtyards are indeed another joy to see, with big and small temples housing thousand of Gods and Goddsses! We return to the hotel on foot, via the old streets of Ason Tole and Indra Chowk.

    Accommodation: Hotel
    Meals not included

  • Day 4 Flight to Tibet - Lhasa - Tsetang

    We take an early morning flight to Lhasa (1 hour). We take the road for Tsetang, skirting the Brahmaputra (Tsangpo) River. In the late afternoon, get around the old parts of Tsetang and Yumbulhakhang.

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 5 Samye - Lhassa

    Our day begins with an interesting visit of a great monastery! After crossing the Tsangpo River, we visit Samye, the first monastery built in Tibet (8th century). In the heart of an oasis, Samye is built according to the plans of the Mandalas, a Buddhist tradition. It was rebuilt and completed only in 1989. We have our lunch on the spot then drive to Lhasa.

    Accommodation: Hotel in Lhassa

  • Day 6 Lhassa : Potala - Sera - Drépung

    Days 6 and 7 are earmarked for a complete discovery of Lhasa, where we visit the most famous but also the lesser known, yet beautiful, sites: Potala Palace, the seat of the Dalai Lama until 1959 and which houses an impressive collection of masterpieces (Thangkas and statues), the great monastic universities of Sera and Drepung where, even today, the monks get training for philosophical debate, amid chapels, temples and oratories. We also visit the Jokhang Temple in the heart of the Old City, the Norbulingka, the Garden of Jewels, the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lama, etc.

    Accommodation: Same Hotel

  • Day 7 Lhassa : Potala - Sera - Drepung

    Days 6 and 7 are earmarked for a complete discovery of Lhasa, where we visit the most famous but also the lesser known, yet beautiful, sites: Potala Palace, the seat of the Dalai Lama until 1959 and which houses an impressive collection of masterpieces (Thangkas and statues), the great monastic universities of Sera and Drepung where, even today, the monks get training for philosophical debate, amid chapels, temples and oratories. We also visit the Jokhang Temple in the heart of the Old City, the Norbulingka, the Garden of Jewels, the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lama, etc.

    Accommodation: Hotel
    Walk: 1h30

  • Day 8 Lhasa - Kampala Pass (4900 m) - Ralung Monastery - Gyantse

    Discover the turquoise lake (Yamdrok) in a mountain setting, where graze yaks and sheep. Picnic at the lake and pass the Karola Pass (5200 m), we pass at the foot of the imposing glacier Norjin Kangsang. 1:30 am walk on the plateau to discover the small monastery of Ralung where we are welcomed by the monks. In the late afternoon drive on Gyantse, walk in the old district.

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 9 Gyantse - Kumbum - Shigatse

    In Gyantse, we take our time to visit the old city, one of the most authentic places of Central Tibet. We then visit the monastery and the famous Kumbum Stupa with its 72 chapels, before taking the Rrad to Shigatse. In the late afternoon, stroll down in the market of Shigatse where we still see some beautiful antiques.

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 10 Shigatse - Sakya Monastery - Tingri

    After breakfast, drive to Tingri. On the way, we visit Sakya, which means the “gray earth” and was the seat of the Sakyapa School that ruled Tibet in the fifteenth century. The monastery architecture has an amazing Mongolian style, it houses an impressive library, probably the largest in Tibet. We cross a Mountain Pass (5000 m), then we may see Mt. Everest (weather permitting).

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 11 Tingri - Kyerung

    In the morning, we walk around two hours to visit the village of Langkhor. We take our lunch on the spot then drive towards Tibet-Nepal border. Today also, we cross a high pass at 5000 m on the way to Kyerung. The road to Nepal is one of the highest in the world. Enjoy the view on Mt. Everest (8848 m), Mt. Cho Oyu (8188 m) and Mt. Shejapangma (8027 m) ... we make a stop at Lake Pekho Tso and then drive through the gorges to the Nepal border.

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 12 Kyerung - Katmandou

    After some formalities, we cross the border and reach the Nepalese territory where we are wecome by our Nepalese team. We leave behind the arid landscapes of Tibet and now, greenery is a joy to marvel! We continue our journey towards Kathmandu. Our road skirts the Trisuli River that passes between the Langtang and Ganesh Himal massifs. We see rice fields on hillsides and typical villages of Nepal all along, before arriving the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu in the evening.

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 13 Free Time In Kathmandu

    Free day in Kathmandu, where you can take rest after the great journey, or visit Patan, etc. on your own...

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 14 End of stay

    End of our services

Travel notes :
The program has been drawn up according to the latest information available during its drafting. Imponderables are always possible and situations beyond our control can modify the process. Depending on the meteorological and operational conditions, your management team reserves the right to modify this itinerary in order to ensure the best version of the stay and your safety. Always,  for security reasons, the management and the organization reserve the right to interrupt your participation if your technical level and / or your physical form do not correspond to those required. In no case shall this interruption give rise to any reimbursement or payment of compensation.

Dates & prices

Departures for English-speaking groups:

No departure for now

Trip code: NTIB-EN

Included

- Air taxes
- Transport by private as per itinerary
- The flight Kathmandu / Lhasa
- English-speaking Altaï Guide
- Visit of some historical sites in Kathmandu
- Transfers according to the itinerary
- Accommodation
- All meals except in the Kathmandu Valley

Not included

- Nepalese visa: multiple entries & valid for 15 days (30 US$)
- Entry permit to Tibet is done in Kathmandu by Altaï Nepal ($ 120 payable in US Dollars only before departure)
- Lunches on days 2 and 14 and dinners on days 3, 4, 13 and 14 (~ 10 to 15 $ / meal)
- Entries in the historical sites in Nepal
- Drinks
- Personal expenses
- Insurance: repatriation, helicopter, medical...
- Tips

Notes

For many years, we put our know-how and our experience of Himalayan destinations to the service of travelers coming from different horizons. You will be able to find in your groups participants coming from our various partners.

Terms and conditions

Booking conditions

By registering for one of our travel, the customer bindingly accepts the General Terms and Conditions of Sale. Each customer must complete a registration form. The booking is definitively recorded when the customer has settled the payment of a deposit of 30 % of the total travel price (subject to availability at the time of registration). In case of short-term bookings – within 30 days prior to the travel departure – the full travel price is due immediately. Payments can be settled via bank transfer (SWIFT code/IBAN number) or online, directly from our website (soon available). You will receive an email with a booking confirmation as quickly as possible.

Invoice procedure

Once your booking is registered, we send you an email with the invoice. Full payment is required at least 30 days before your arrival. If the customer does not settle the payment of the travel price within the period agreed upon, Altai Nepal reserves the right to cancel the booking free of charge.

Cancellation policy

If for any reason, you decide to withdraw from a journey, the amount already paid will be refunded subject to the following exceptions:
  • Cancellation up to 30 days prior to the agreed beginning of the journey: No cancellation fees. Unless you have given a written agreement to pay for additional tailor-made services (hotel, internal flights, activities…). In that case, you shall be charged the corresponding amount
  • Cancellation between the 30th and 21st day prior to the agreed beginning of the journey: You will be charged 30 % of the travel price, in addition with every non-refundable expense for additional services booked on request (internal flights, site entrance tickets, activities…)
  • Cancellation less than 20 days to the agreed beginning of the journey: You will be charged 70 % of the travel price, in addition with every non-refundable expense for additional services booked on request (internal flights, site entrance tickets, activities…)

Any cancellation shall be notified in writing (email, letter or fax). Notice of cancellation will be effective upon receipt by us of your written communication. All the cancellation conditions will be specified on your booking confirmation. 

If it comes apparent at an earlier point in time that the minimum number of participants cannot be reached for a travel, Altaï Nepal is to exercise his right of withdrawal immediately. In such a situation, you will be informed of the cancellation of your travel no later than 21 days prior to the agreed beginning of the journey. Altaï Nepal can also cancel a travel in case of circumstances amounting to "force majeure": volcanic eruption, civil disturbances, strikes, weather and climate conditions, and travellers’ security… In such cases, you are immediately refunded any payments on the travel price; however, you shall not be entitled to any compensation.

Changes to travel contract

If a change to travel contract is made at the customer’s request, the customer shall pay any fee that might arise from this change. In any cases, every request for changes shall be notified in writing. In case of external events that could not be foreseen, Altaï Nepal might change some aspects of the travel contract. We will endeavor to advise you of any changes as quickly as possible.

Prices and price revision

All group travel prices on our website have been calculated for the indicated number of participants for each trip. The price list is confirmed after the booking. If the number of participants is lower than expected, an additional payment charge might be applied. For each travel and program, we mention the price per person – valid for the minimum number of participants – and we provide you with detailed explanations about the services included or not. Any change in the exchange rates or in the price of travel services in particular regarding the cost of the fuel, might entail price revision.

Contract transfer

In case of assignment of the contract by the customer to an assignee, modification and cancellation conditions apply.

Insurance

We recommend that you take out personal insurance for your travel with Altaï Nepal, as soon as your booking is confirmed. We kindly request you to send us the information related to your insurance contract (name of the company, name of the contract, insurance policy number, telephone number) and to bring it along with you during the journey.

Practical info

Staff

This trip is led by a professional Tibetan English-speaking Tour Leader, who is part of the Altai Nepal Team.  In Nepal, visit with a cultural, English-speaking Nepali guide.

Food

Meals
Full board in Tibet. In general, dinners in the hotels & lunches in local restaurants. Pleasant mixture of Tibetan, Nepali and Chinese food.

Accommodation

Accommodation in hotels of good category, in double or twin rooms sharing basis.

Transportation

Transport/transfer by bus & plane

Budget & exchange

In Nepal, the national currency is the Nepalese Rupee: 1 US$  ~ 100 Nepalese Rupees. The easiest currencies to trade are the Euro and the US dollar (cash or traveler's checks). Credit cards are accepted in the shops of major hotels.

In Tibet, the currency is the yuan. You can easily change US Dollars on the spot. Credit cards are accepted in all cities. The easiest currencies to exchange are the euro and the US dollar. You can withdraw currencies with your Visa card in Kathmandu, Lhasa and Shigatse

Tips

Tipping is still very present in Asia, hence in Nepal and Tibet as well. Linked to the customer's satisfaction, it is an integral part of the “tourism” culture : independent of the salary level, the tip is taken as a sign of appreciation. Its amount depends on your appreciation of the services rendered and your generosity. Your guide can help you on this subject by making a collective envelope to ensure a just share for the staff. Plan a budget of 50 to 60 US$ EUR per participant for a two-week trip and a budget of 75 US$ to 90 US$ per participant for a three-week trip for the whole team (English-speaking Altaï guide, drivers, local guides, cook ...). Like money, if you have clothes to give, do not hesitate to seek the guide’s help who will make a fair distribution. In addition, we ask you specifically not to give sweets and / or bars energy / chocolate to children: there is virtually no dentist in mountainous areas. The same rule applies for medicines: they are not necessarily adapted to local people who have, moreover, a lot of trouble to follow the correct dosage.


Vital equipment

Clothes, from head to toe:

- A pair of light, walking shoes
- Some pairs of walking & mountain socks
- 1 or 2 T-shirts
- 1 Fleece / fur mountain jacket
- Gloves &  hat
- Sun hat
- Good sunglasses
- Sunblock
- Purifying tablets for water (micropur, aguatabs ...)

Tibet is in the northern hemisphere. Temperatures increase from January to May and decrease from September to December.

Material

- A sleeping bag (essential for all trekking trips). Warm, comfortable, tailored to your size, shaped sarcophagus (closer to the body and has a closing hood), with side zipper closure for an opening at your convenience. To sleep in all seasons, it is necessary that your bag is powerful enough to fight temperatures of -5 ° C to -15 ° C (according to trips, altitude and periods, the coldest months December to February). Feel free to take a comfortable sleeping bag, indeed, " He who can do the most, can do the least!”
- A toiletry bag and bath towel
- Sunblock cream (face and lips)
- Headlamp, with batteries and spare bulbs
- Waterbottle of 2 liter minimum, light and isothermal
- Pocket knife, multi-purpose preferably
- Toilet paper + lighter



Helpful equipment

- Walking sticks
- Waterproof bags to protect your belongings
- Notebook or travel diary

Luggage

All of your luggage must be divided into 2 bags: - Provide a flexible travel bag with side zipper giving easier access to its contents, bag type marine 80 L and about 13 Kg maximum (16 kilos for camp/tent trekking). Suitcases are acceptable as they are transported by a vehicle. You have the possibility to leave part of your belongings, that you will not use during the trek, at the hotel in Kathmandu. - A small backpack (capacity about 40l) for your belongings each day of journey: sweater, spare t-shirt, water bottle, picnic-lunch, sunglasses, small things ...

Passport

The information mentioned is only indicative. They may be subject to change without notice by the Nepalese authorities. It is therefore prudent to check with embassies and consulates in your country the month before you leave.
Passport valid for 6 months after the return date. Children must have an individual passport. They can no longer be registered on their parents' passports. ID card is not accepted

- Valid 6 months after the date of return. Please send us, as soon as you register, photocopy or scan your passport.
- From January 15, 2017, a child who travels abroad without being accompanied by one of his parents must present the following 3 documents: Valid ID of the minor, identity card or passport + possibly visa too, according to the requirements of the country of destination (to be verified by consulting the country sheets of your government's diplomatic website)
- Photocopy of the valid identity document of the signatory parent: identity card or passport
- Exit authorization form signed by one of the parents with parental authority.

NB: this authorization may be required by some countries when the minor child is traveling with only one of his parents( for example: Algeria, Morocco, Switzerland: to be verified by consulting the country sheets of your government's diplomatic website

Visa

This is an individual visa. Obtaining your visa is under your responsibility. It is obtained on the spot as soon as you arrive in Kathmandu. Rates are as follows:
- 15 days Visa : 25 US$ (or equivalent in euros) + 1 picture
- 30 days Visa : 40 US$ (or equivalent in euros) + 1 picture
- 90 days Visa : 100 US$ (or equivalent in euros) + 1 picture
To obtain Trekking permits, you must provide your passport and 1 photo ID. You must provide us with the good quality scans of the double page containing all the information of your passport and 2 photos of identity.

Tibet Special Permit: The Chinese authorities in Tibet do not recognize the Chinese visa issued in France or Europe. It is therefore imperative to obtain the Chinese visa and the special permit to stay in Tibet at the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. Our Nepalese team takes care of all the administrative procedures for you.
For it :
- Before departure: Make sure that your passport is valid for 6 months after the return date of your trip, and send us a copy of your passport in color and good quality upon registration.
- In Kathmandu: there is an administrative procedures amount of 120 USD charged by our local agency. This amount is payable in US dollars upon arrival in Kathmandu.

No formalities before departure!
For this trip, we travel through Nepal to enter Tibet. The Nepalese visa is easily obtained at the airport of Kathmandu. As for the Tibetan permit, our local team takes care of it when you arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal. There is no need of a Chinese visa or other administrative formalities before your departure. Kindly make sure that your passport is valid for 6 months after the return date of your trip, and send us a copy of it.

Mandatory vaccines

Although no vaccine is required, be sure that vaccines commonly used in western countries (tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid) are still valid. Hepatitis A and B vaccines also recommended.

Health information & recommendations

Your Tour-leader has a pharmacy of first urgency. It is recommended to bring your personal medication (in sufficient number): aspirin, elastoplast, iodized alcohol, intestinal antiseptic, small scissors, tricosteril, face and lip sunscreen ... Also think about visiting your dentist, if you have some untreated caries, they have the annoying habit of waking up with altitude.
- Recommendations: Even if no vaccine is required for Nepal, you will ensure that vaccines currently practiced in Western countries (tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid) are still valid. Hepatitis A and B vaccine also recommended. The risk of malaria is small, because we usually move more than 1500/1800 m, above the altitude of life of mosquitoes. The other areas crossed are hardly infested.
- Hygiene: water is not drinkable in Nepal. On the tourist grounds, it is always possible to buy bottled water. However, in order to limit pollution and preserve natural areas, we strongly recommend that you drink purified water. For that, think to bring a water bottle of minimum 1.5 liters and purifying tablets of water (micropur, agua tabs ...). Some hygiene rules: wash your hands frequently, and before each meal (there are pharmacy antimicrobial solutions to use without rinsing, useful in case of excursions); ensure the maintenance of perfect body hygiene and careful care (disinfect) of skin wounds; do not consume tap water, not drinkable, drink only boiled water for 30 minutes then filtered, or preferably bottled water capsulated (avoid drinking natural drinks like pressed fruit juice); do not consume ice cream or "lassi" (milk-based beverage) bought on the street; meat and fish / shellfish should be cooked well before consumption.

Weather

The weather is usually clement between April and October but differences in temperature can be significant between days and nights.

April - June: This is the best time. The weather is nice, but there can be a big difference in temperature between day and night. The landscapes just shine of beauty! Less frequented than in summer.
July - August: Very pleasant temperature but rains are not ruled out, due to the monsoon south of the Himalayas.
September - October: Good weather in general. The closer we get to winter, temperatures fall fast, especially in nights. It may also snow in high passes.

Electricity

In recent years, due to a lack of hydropower facilities, electricity and water outages are becoming more frequent in Nepal, especially in Kathmandu (mainly in winter and spring). The hotels have generator but the electricity is limited. It is the same for the consumption of water.

Sustainable tourism

In a concern of respect for the environment, Altai engages for a minimum impact on the environment. Altai has always worked for a more responsible tourism and is part of a journey organization that respects equitable and sustainable principles. Harmonization of practices ensures a fair distribution of economic benefits and improved working conditions of local teams and their awareness of the protection of the environment Adopt, you too, simple actions during your travels and act in favor responsible tourism.

- Avoid leaving garbage behind: drop them in garbage cans or bring them back with you
- Use drinking water sparingly (prefer showers to baths and report leaks) and avoid wasting it (prefer biodegradable soaps for washing etc.)
- Avoid degrading cultural sites: do not touch the statues, do not move stones and objects etc.
- Prefer exchanges to donations (gifts too important given the standard of living of the country can destabilize the local economic balance)
- Take a walk, especially in some fragile ecosystems, observe the wildlife from a distance, do not leave the trails, limit trampling and do not bring back "memories": give up picking rare flowers, collecting fossils, etc.
- In some hotels, you will have individual air conditioning. It is strongly recommended to avoid excessive energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions to cut it systematically when you are not present in the room.
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Anurodh

My local agent
Anurodh

  • From Kathmandu
  • More than 20 years of experience in tourism
  • Himalayan Travel Logistics Specialist
  • Languages: English and French
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Region
Tibet & Bhutan
Activity
Hiking & culture
Duration
14 days
Group
2 to 15 people
Code
NTIB-EN
Price
From €2,275
Level
3/5
Comfort
2/5
Language(s)
English

Strengths

- Discovery of principal historical sites in Kathmandu
- Lhasa, the Potala Palace and other Tibetan sites & monuments
- A great glimpse of Tibet, its culture and peopl
- A mythical itinerary across the Tibet-Nepal Himalayas

Required level

Altitude between 4500m and 5200 m
Depending on weather and operational conditions (frequent delays, changes in flight schedules, overbooked flights, flight cancellations due to unfavorable weather conditions, changes in rules for obtaining the Tibetan visa), the itinerary of this trip may be modified. We ask you to trust your guide who will find solutions and alternatives if such situations crop up. Keep smiling and be in a good mood !!!
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