Tibet - from Kathmandu to Lhasa

This journey passes through the culturally rich heart of Tibet. Discover fascinating Buddhist traditions, many important historical sites and meet local nomads roaming the highlands. Before we fly to Lhasa, we can enjoy a beautiful insight into the mythical Kathmandu Valley with its Hindu influences. Explore Bhaktapur, the royal city with its myriad of Hindu pagodas of red bricks, tiles and delicate woodcarvings. Then, we arrive in the thrilling Himalayan Tibetan Buddhist world of Lhasa. Explore a multitude of spiritual sites including the Potala Palace and its impressive collection of masterpieces (thangkas and statues), the great monastic universities of Sera and Drepung where monks are trained for philosophical debate and Jokhang Temple in the heart of the old city. Then, we head to Mount Everest, we cross the highlands of Central Tibet exceeding 4000m of altitude. Discover the charming cultural villages of Gyantse, Shigatse and Sakya, enjoy sweeping views of the towering summits of Everest, Cho Oyu and Shejapangma mountains as we venture high above the vast Tibetan plateau with our local guide.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Kathmandu

    Welcome to Kathmandu! Your guide will greet you and escort you to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time, perhaps your trip leader can show you the old streets of Ason Tole and Indra Chowk and introduce you to the Nepalese way of living.

    Accommodation: Hotel
    Meals not included

  • Day 2 Kathmandu Valley: Bhaktapur, Pashupatinath and Bodnath

    Today we discover the jewels of the valley of Kathmandu. First stop Pashupatinath, the important Hindu site dates back to the twelfth century and is a 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, this is the most beautiful of the valleys three imperial cities. Then, it is a short transfer to the great stupa of Bodhnath, found in the heart of the Tibetan district, many the Tibetan style monasteries were constructed here.

    Accommodation: Hotel
    Meals not included

  • Day 3 Kathmandu city hike: Durbar Square - Swayambhunath

    After breakfast, we head for Swayambounath, an impressive hilltop Buddhist stupa overlooking the Kathmandu Valley. We visit the stupa and the nearby monastery. Then, it is a short drive to Kathmandus Durbar Square, with its pagoda temples and palaces which date back to the seventeenth century. Enjoy lunch in the historical Durbar Square. The local atmosphere is a marvel to behold: narrow, charming streets teeming with people and businesses... Meet street food vendors; observe colourful shops offering traditional dishes, clothes and jewellery... Explore hidden courtyards 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 after a fantastic cultural and historical enlightenment.

    Accommodation: Hotel
    Meals not included

  • Day 4 Flight to Tibet - Lhasa - Tsetang

    Early morning scenic flight to Lhasa (1 hour). Then, we take the road to Tsetang, skirting the Brahmaputra (Tsangpo) River. In the late afternoon, we visit the old parts of Tsetang and Yumbulhakhang.

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 5 Samye - Lhassa

    Today begins with an interesting visit of a fantastic monastery! We cross the Tsangpo River and explore Samye, the first monastery built in Tibet back in the 8th century. Samye is built according Buddhist tradition and the plans of Mandalas in the heart of an oasis. It was rebuilt and completed only in 1989. The site makes a lovely lunch spot before our drive to Lhasa.

    Accommodation: Hotel in Lhassa

  • Days 6 to 7 Lhassa : Potala - Sera - Drépung

    Days 6 and 7 are earmarked for the complete discovery of Lhasa. Visit the most famous and lesser known sites of cultural and historical importance. Explore Potala Palace, the seat of the Dalai Lama until 1959 which houses an impressive collection of masterpieces (Thangkas and statues). Visit the great monastic universities of Sera and Drepung where monks are trained for philosophical debate amid chapels, temples and oratories. Our complete discovery of Lhasa also includes visits to Jokhang Temple in the heart of the Old City, the Norbulingka, the Garden of Jewels and the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lama...

    Accommodation: Same Hotel

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

    Discover the turquoise lake Yamdrok in its fabulous mountain setting where yaks and sheep graze. Enjoy a picnic by the lake and cross Karola Pass (5200 m) at the foot of the imposing Norjin Kangsang glacier. We walk for one and a half hours along a beautiful plateau to discover the small monastery of Ralung where we are welcomed by local monks. In the late afternoon, we drive to Gyantse and walk in the old district.

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 9 Gyantse - Kumbum - Shigatse

    Today we take time to visit the old city of Gyantse, one of the most authentic places in Central Tibet. Explore the monastery and the famous Kumbum Stupa with its 72 chapels before taking the road to Shigatse. In the late afternoon we stroll through the market of Shigatse where beautiful antiques are displayed.

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 10 Shigatse - Sakya Monastery - Tingri

    After breakfast, we drive to Tingri. On the way, we visit Sakya, which means 'grey earth' and was the seat of the Sakyapa School which ruled Tibet in the fifteenth century. The monastery architecture has an amazing Mongolian style and houses an impressive library, probably the largest in Tibet! We cross a Mountain Pass (5000 m) which, on a clear day has views of Mt. Everest.

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 11 Tingri - Kyerung

    This morning, we walk to explore the village of Langkhor (2 hours). After lunch, we drive towards Tibet-Nepal border crossing a high pass of 5000 m on the way to Kyerung. The road to Nepal is one of the highest in the world and harbours fantastic views of Mt. Everest (8848 m), Mt. Cho Oyu (8188 m) and Mt. Shejapangma (8027 m) ... we stop to discover Lake Pekho Tso on the way then continue through the gorges to the Nepal border.

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 12 Kyerung - Katmandou

    After some formalities, we cross the border into Nepalese territory where we are wecome by our Nepalese team. In comparison to the arid landscapes of Tibet which we have become accustomned to, the lush greenery before us now is a joy to behold. We continue our journey towards Kathmandu. Our road skirts the Trisuli River which passes between the Langtang and Ganesh Himal massifs. We see rice fields on hillsides and typical villages of Nepal along the way, before arriving in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu in the evening.

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 13 Free Time in Kathmandu

    A day at leisure to relax and explore the vibrant city of Kathmandu at your own pace. Our expert guides can provide advice and recommendations.

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 14 End of stay

    End of our services

The details in this programme are updated regularly but imponderables and unpredictable circumstances may result in inaccuracies. In order to provide the adventure which is best suited to your demands, the weather and the operational conditions, changes to the programme may be made. For safety reasons, we reserve the rights to interrupt your participation in this programme at any time if your technical level or fitness are deemed unsuitable or if you are seen as a danger to yourself or to those around you. This will in no case give rise to refunds or compensation.

Dates & prices

Departures for English-speaking groups:

No departure for now

Trip code: NTIB-EN

Included

  • All in-country transfers by private vehicle as detailed in itinerary
  • Accommodation in 3 * hotel or B&B in Kathmandu (Hotel Tibet, Manaslu or similar) 
  • Full accompaniment by an English speaking Altaï Guide
  • Visits as per itinerary: with a cultural guide in a private vehicle
  • Domestic flights Kathmandou / Lhassa
  • Full board exluding meals in the Kathmandu Valley
  • Staff Insurance
  • All local taxes

Not included

  • Entrance fees for historical sites & monuments
  • 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)
  • Meals on Day 12 & Day13. Lunch Day 1. Dinners Day 2 & Day 3
  • International flights
  • Insurance: Repatriation, Medical & Helicopter Services
  • Drinks, tips and personal expenses - all that is not in "THE PRICE INCLUDES"

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.

Level 3/5

Altitude between 4500m and 5200 m This trips demands a very good physical condition, suitable clothing and good hiking boots. Regular and serious training (running, swimming, brisk walking...) during the 2 to 3 months prior to your trip is recommended. This trek includes an average of 5 to 6 hours of hiking per day and daily elevations of +/-1000m.

Terms and conditions

Booking conditions

Booking a trip with us implies acceptance of the terms and conditions of sale. Each customer is required to complete a registration form and, subject to availability at the time of registration, travellers are expected to pay a deposit of 30% of the total price to complete their booking. Payments can be made online or by bank transfer. You will receive an e-mail with your booking confirmation.

Invoice procedure

Once your booking is confirmed you will receive an invoice by e-mail. The full balance of the trip must be received at least 30 days before your departure date. We reserve the right to cancel your booking, free of charge, if this deadline is not respected.

Cancellation policy

If for any reason you have to cancel your trip, we require written confirmation of your decision so please contact us by e-mail, fax or letter. The money you have paid will then be refunded according to the following deductions:
  • Cancellation received more than 30 days prior to the departure date: No cancellation fees.
  • Cancellation received 30 to 21 days before the departure date: 30% of trip price will be retained.
  • Cancellation received within 20 days of the departure date: 70% of trip price will be retained.
Please note if you decide to cancel your trip having agreed, in writing, to pay for additional tailor-made services (hotel, additional flights or activities...), these services are usually non-refundable.

If we have to cancel a departure due to an insufficient number of participants, you will be informed no later than 21 days before departure and a full refund will be issued, you will not be entitled to further compensation. We reserve the rights to cancel departures due to exceptional circumstances which may impact the safety of participants. Such circumstances may include those amounting to 'force majeure' in which case participants will receive a full refund but they will not be entitled to any compensation.

Changes to travel contract

If you wish to make a change to your booking please contact us in writing; you will be expected to pay any fee which might arise from this change. In the event of unforeseen external events, Altaï Nepal may change some aspects of the travel contract. If any changes are necessary you will be informed as quickly as possible.

Pricing

The prices on our website are updated regularly and all of the prices we advertise are accurate when published. We reserve the rights to make changes to any of these prices. Before you make a booking we will give you the up-to-date price of your chosen holiday including any supplements, upgrades or additional activities you may have requested. If the number of travellers is fewer than the indicated number of participants on the website, a small group surcharge may be applied. For all of our trips we include details of services, prices and what is/is not included but please be aware that changes to the prices may be necessary in accordance with exchange rates or price changes of various components of the journey.

Contract transfer

If you are unable to travel for any reason, you can transfer your booking to another person in which case our modification conditions apply. Both the transferor and transferee will be jointly and severally liable for payment of the total holiday price and other associated expenses. Some airline carriers treat name changes as cancellations and you may be required to pay for the cost of a new ticket.

Insurance

We strongly recommend that you take out personal travel insurance for your trip with Altaï Nepal as soon as your booking is confirmed. We advice you to purchase a travel insurance policy which covers flight cancellations, luggage loss and emergency health care. Please look carefully at which activities are covered by your insurer and do not forget to bring all necessary documents and information with you (name of the company, name of the contract, insurance policy number, telephone number...)

Practical info

Staff

Armed with an abundance of experience and a wealth of knowledge, our professional guides are all real experts. This trip is led by a professional Nepali English-speaking Tour Leader, who is part of the Altai Nepal Team. During the trek, they may be assisted by junior guides, sirdar and porters.

Food

Lodge meals
The international success of treks in the Annapurna and Everest regions influences the economy; tarifs for food and lodging are now set by the National Park and have increased sharply in recent years, but quantities and quality of food have paradoxically decreased. To offset this decline in quality and quantity of food and in order to focus on the local economy, we plan Dal Bhat daily for our menus.It is a balanced dish, full of energy and nutritive intake, not fatty and above all, very digestible (digestion is more difficult at altitude). For all challlenging treks, we provide energy snacks (like dried fruits). Meals in Kathmandu and in the valley are not included in the trip price. You will have plenty of time to discover Indian, Bhutanese, Chinese, Thai and other cuisines.
Please be aware that tap water is not normally drinkable. All drinks are at your own expense.

Accommodation

This trip uses (3*) hotel accommodation. Only very good quality hotels are selected.

Transportation

Transport/transfer by bus, private minibus & plane.

Budget & exchange

The local currency in Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee NPR. The local currency in Tibet is the yuan renminbi which translates to 'people's currency'.
Visit http://www.xe.com for the latest currency converter and exchange rates.
You can withdraw the local currency from in-country ATMs our Visa card in Kathmandu, Lhasa and Shigatse. Credit cards are accepted except in shops and hotels. Please budget for meals as needed, drinks, tips and other personal expenses.

Tips

Tipping is an integral part of the 'tourism' culture of the country: independent of salary levels, your tip is seen as a sign of appreciation. The amount depends on your satisfaction with the services rendered and your generosity. If you are satisfied with the services of your guide, tipping is always appreciated - it is not obligatory and should be left to the discretion of each individual.

Vital equipment

  • Warm Sleeping Bag
  • Water purifiers (micropur, aguatabs ...)

From head to toe:
  • A cap or sunhat
  • 1 or 2 sets of thermals: long-sleeved thermal tops and full-length long johns
  • Long sleeved and short sleeved t-shirts, preferably in quick-drying technical material
  • A light fleece or equivilent (plus extra warm layers if necessary)
  • A breathable wind proof, waterproof jacket (Gore-Tex...)
  • Lightweight waterproof over trousers
  • Suitable shorts
  • Walking trousers
  • A pair of high-rise walking boots - strength, good grip of the foot and ankle (high stems) and impermeability are essential. Choose shoes with non-slip soles (vibram).
  • A pair of trainers/sandels or equivilent casual shoes for cities, villages and evenings
  • Thick walking socks
  • Warm gloves, hat and scarf (it can be chilly in the mountains)

Do not forget
  • Your personal toiletries and a fast drying towel
  • Water bottle(s). Min. 2 litres, light and isothermal
  • A good pair of sunglasses (think min. category 3)
  • Sun-cream, face and lips
  • Head torch and spare batteries
  • A pocket knife
  • A pair of hiking poles
  • A waterproof bag cover (or plastic bags) to protect your belongings
  • Toilet paper
  • Anti-bacterial hand gel
  • Your camera
  • Notebook or travel diary

For climbing Island Peak
  • A pair of mountain hiking boots for wearing with crampong (B2 or B3)
  • Gaitors
  • Crampons
  • A harness
  • A descender or figure of 8
  • 2 locking carabiners (for use with gloves, think pear shaped)
  • A self-locking Jumar
  • A 8mm rope, 1.5 or 2m
  • An ice-axe
  • A helmet
  • A survival blanket

Material

We prefer that you do not wear cotton clothing, including underwear, when participating in activities. When cotton gets wet from water or sweat it ceases to insulate and it does not dry fast. The best materials for outdoor activities are fast drying materials like polyester or materials which are warm when wet like wool.

The most powerful materials against the wind and rain are 'breathable' materials like Gore-Tex or Nikwax. Soft shell layers are effective against the wind.

Our advice for keeping warm
Weather conditions in the high mountains can be variable, please think carefully about what clothes you pack especially for our winter trips and remember that the layers you wear next to your skin can make the biggest difference.
We recommend:
  • No cotton
  • Always carry dry spares of everything, including underwear and gloves

Wear multiple layers including:
  1. A warm breathable base layer
  2. A second thermal layer
  3. Wind and water proof protective outer layers

Luggage

Your luggage must be divided into two bags:
  • A rucksack (35-40L or 45-50L) for use as a day bag. This will contain your (vital) personal belongings for the day (sweater, spare t-shirt, water bottle, picnic-lunch, sunglasses, small things ... )
  • We use porters to transport our other belongings when trekking. Please bring a flexible travel bag with zips for easy access max 80L and max 13kg (16kg with camping gear). Please do not bring suitcases or other hard bags which the porters cannot transport.
  • You may also be able to store some belongings securely at the hotel in Kathmandu.
To protect your bags, we will provide solid waterproof Altaï Bags.

The domestic flight between Lukla and Kathmandu is limited to 10 kg of hold luggage, and 3 kg of cabin bags. Altai Nepal supports 2.5 kg of supplement in the hold for everyone, 10 kg for people climbing a trekking peak. Here, trekkers have 12.5 kg in the hold, and those who climb the Island Peak 20 kg.

Medicine

Your guide is a trained first-aider and will carry a full first aid kit at all times during the trip. We recommend that you bring a small personal first aid kit containing any medication you may need such as inhalers, plasters, antiseptic and painkillers.

Passport

Your passport should be vaild for at least six months after the last day of your stay. It is your responsibility to confirm your specific passport requirements and please be aware that proof of onwards travel may be required.

Visa

It is your responsibility to confirm your specific visa requirements. Please bring valid passport photos with you to obtain a visa upon arrival.
To obtain trekking permits, your passport and photo ID is also required. Please provide us with good quality scans of your passport and 2 photos of identity.
For an individual visa, obtained on the spot as you arrive in Kathmandu, rates are as follows:
- 15 days : 25 US$ + 1 picture
- 30 days : 40 US$  + 1 picture
- 90 days : 100 US$ + 1 picture

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 will take care of all the administrative procedures for you.
- Your passport must be valid for 6 months after the return date of your trip. Please send us a good quality copy of your passport in colour 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

No mandatory vaccinations are required. Recommended vaccines include Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Japanese Encephalitis, and Influenza.

Health information & recommendations

It is your responsibility to check that your personal health insurance covers everything in this trip. A consultation with your doctor is a prerequisite for any trip and we advise you to visit your dentist too as untreated cavaties have an annoying habit of waking up with altitude.

Hygiene Recommendations
The water is not drinkable. It is always possible to buy bottled water but 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 (micropur, agua tabs ...). Consume only treated water or water which has been boiled for 30 minutes and then filtered.Be sure to wash your hands frequently, and definitely before each meal (anti-bacterial hand gel is recommended) and take care to disinfect any skin wounds. Avoid drinking natural drinks like pressed fruit juice and do not consume ice cream or "lassi" (a milk-based beverage) bought in the street. Meat and fish / shellfish should be well cooked before consumption.

Weather

From the eternal snows of high peaks to the tropical lowlands, Nepal has a wide variety of climates.
- In autumn (October to mid-December): the days are very beautiful but can be fresh at altitude. At 3000 m altitude, temperatures can drop to -10 ° C at night.
- In winter (mid-december to mid-february): The nights are generally cold, the climate is dry. If nighttime temperatures drop easily below 0 ° C to 3000 m, the days are often sunny. Treks below 4000 m are very pleasant. Few tourists at this time.
- In spring (March to end of May): in this season, Kathmandu is in full bloom and the rhododendrons are magnificent. The weather is pleasant, it is getting hotter with some night storms. Temperatures vary between 10 ° C and 28 ° C, but can rise to over 30 ° C. Between 2000 and 3000 m, temperatures rarely drop below 0 ° C. A few rare frosts or snowfalls are possible in March from +4000 m.
- In summer: it is the monsoon season. This interrupts the majority of trekking from June until the end of September. However, certain regions of the "Trans-Himalayan" zone, Mustang and Dolpo remain sheltered from the monsoons - these are the only circuits available in Nepal in the summer.

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.

Local time

Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)/ Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) +5.45. Daylight Saving Time (DST) is not observed here.

Sustainable tourism

As adventure and wilderness travel experts who run trips to some of the most remote parts of the world, we take responsible tourism very seriously. We respect the ‘Leave No Trace’ outdoor ethical code and try to explore this beautiful location whilst causing minimal environmental damage.

Since the beginning, we have advocated for responsible tourism and the importance of equitable and sustainable principles. Harmonising these fundamentals ensures a fair distribution of economic benefits, improved working conditions for local teams and an increased awareness of the importance and practice of environmental protection. We hope that all of our clients will respect our philosophies and embrace these attitudes.

The Leave No Trace policy can be summarized in 7 simple steps which we hope you will follow during ourtrip...
1.    Be prepared
2.    Stick to trails and camp overnight right
3.    Stash your trash and pick up waste
4.    Leave it as you find it
5.    Be careful with fire
6.    Respect wildlife
7.    Be considerate of other visitors

Over the years we have built up good relations with our local suppliers and we are keen to support local businesses as much as possible. We are a small company and we pay our local partners and suppliers directly insuring fair rates.

Our small group sizes not only provide a more intimate adventure but also cause less impact on the environment and local communities.We expect all who travel with us to support and uphold our Sustainable Tourism philosophies.
Request a quote
Anurodh

My local agent
Anurodh

  • From Kathmandu
  • More than 20 years of experience in tourism
  • Himalayan Travel Logistics Specialist
  • Languages: English and French
Request a quote
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

  • Discover culturally and historically important sites of Kathmandu
  • Lhasa, the Potala Palace and other Tibetan sites & monuments
  • A authentic glimpse into life in Tibet
  • A full 2 week mythical itinerary across the Tibet-Nepal Himalayas

Required level

Altitude between 4500m and 5200 m This trips demands a very good physical condition, suitable clothing and good hiking boots. Regular and serious training (running, swimming, brisk walking...) during the 2 to 3 months prior to your trip is recommended. This trek includes an average of 5 to 6 hours of hiking per day and daily elevations of +/-1000m.
Request a quote