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Himalaya Overland Explorer
Overland through Tibet and Nepal
Truly one of the planet's greatest overland journeys and a must for anyone who loves traveling across vast open spaces, our Himalaya Overland Explorer begins in Beijing as you are assisted with boarding the Qinghai-Tibet railway, aka the "Lhasa Express," the world's highest rail line. You'll travel through China and the Tibetan Plateau for the incredible forty hour journey to the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. Upon arrival you'll continue overland by private vehicle with an expert local guide across Tibet and into Nepal, finishing your voyage of discovery in the magical and enchanting city of Kathmandu.
With the mighty Himalaya as your backdrop you'll travel through small villages and across incredible high mountain passes stopping for hikes, cultural interaction and outdoor activities and will spend the night in small guesthouses and local hotels. A slow pace and expert guides really allow you to get off the beaten path and truly explore the fascinating religious history, culture and landscapes of this remote corner of the planet.
This incredible itinerary is just a sample trip to get your imagination flowing. Call us now at (866) 577 2462 or submit the form and let one of our international travel specialists custom design the perfect trip for you today!
Why Travel with Global Basecamps
- Expert local guides with an intimate knowledge of local culture and wildlife.
- Private vehicles and beautiful small guesthouses, hotels and lodges
- Travel at a slow pace with a focus on cultural interaction and intimate wildlife encounters
- All of our trips directly benefit local communities through a variety of educational and cultural initiatives.
- Through our partner CarbonFund.org, Global Basecamps will plant a Nepal fruit tree for each trip booked (full carbon offsets coming soon)
Browse our collection of sample trips which have been designed to inspire you. Keep in mind, we customize every trip to meet your specific travel needs and budget.
Overland through Tibet and Nepal Itinerary
Day 1: Depart BeijingToday you’ll board the highest railway in the world for your exciting overland journey from the bustling modern capital of Beijing to the ancient religious city of Lhasa and across the spine of the incredible Himalaya to Kathmandu. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway is the highest in the world, climbing from 2,829m above sea level to 3,641m at Lhasa and its highest point is the Tanggula Pass at 16,640 feet (just over 5,000 meters) above sea level. All passenger coaches have extra oxygen pumped into them due to the incredibly high elevation and oxygen is available to passengers through tubes if they have problems. You’ll be assisted with the boarding formalities in Beijing on the evening of your departure and will spend the next two days on the train in a Soft Sleeper compartment.
Day 2: Beijing - Lhasa TrainYou’ll spend the day onboard the train and marveling at the view as you make your way through China passing through the cities of Xi’ian, Shanghai and Chengdu among others. Overnight on the train in a soft sleeper compartment.
Day 3: LhasaThis afternoon you’ll be met at the train station by your driver and guide and transferred to a small local hotel near the historical center of the city. The rest of the afternoon and evening are free to relax or explore on your own.
Day 4: LhasaThis morning after breakfast you’ll begin a full day tour of the city’s cultural and religious attractions including the Sera Monastery, Jokhang temple and Barkhor Street.
Day 5: LhasaToday’s excursion will explore some of surrounding areas including a visit to Potala Palace, Drepung Monastery and Norbulinkha. Lhasa's cardinal landmark - Potala Palace - is a structure of massive portions towering over the city. Built to symbolize the love of an early king and his new bride, your first sight of the Potala will be an awe-inspiring moment and an excellent introduction to Tibetan culture. Drepung Monastery, the largest and richest monastery in Tibet, was founded in 1416 by a disciple of Tsong Khapa under the patronage of a noble family and later enlarged by the Fifth Dalai Lama. Drepung, which means rice heap in Tibetan, lies 8 kilometers west of Mt. Gambo Utse and covers a floor space of more than 200 thousand square meters. At its peak, it had a registration of more than 10,000 monks. In the late afternoon you’ll return to your hotel for the evening.
Day 6: Lhasa - ShigatseThis morning you’ll be met at the hotel to begin your overland adventure to Kathmandu. Today’s first destination is the city of Gyantse, a town notable for its magnificent tiered Kumbum (literally, '100,000 images') of the Palcho Monastery, the largest chörten in Tibet. The Kumbum was commissioned by a Gyantse prince in 1427 and was an important center of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism. This religious structure contains 77 chapels on six floors and is illustrated with over 10,000 murals, many showing a strong Nepali influence. After lunch you’ll head to Shigatse, the home of Tashilhunpo Monastery, founded in 1447 by Gendun Drup, the First Dalai Lama. It is the traditional seat of the Panchen Lamas. In the evening you’ll be transferred to a small charming hotel in Shigatse for the evening.
Day 7: Shigatse - ShegarToday you’ll head onto the Friendship Highway that connects Tibet with Nepal in the direction of Shegar. The views as you drive through Tsou-la pass & Gyatso-la pass are among the most spectacular in the world and the day is spent experiencing firsthand the landscape that inspired Tibetan Buddhism. In the evening you’ll check into a comfortable local guesthouse with spacious courtyards.
Day 8: Shegar - RongbukShortly after leaving Shegar, you’ll turn off the Friendship Highway and head south over the Pang La towards the main Himalayan range. The view from the top is incredible with uninterrupted views stretching from Makalu to Shishapangma. Below the pass, Everest initially is hidden from view, but as you turn the corner into the Rongbuk Valley it reappears, more impressive than ever. Tonight you’ll spend the night at a local guesthouse.
Day 9: Rongbuk - Everest Base Camp - New TingriThis morning you’ll have the opportunity to see Everest Base Camp at 5150 meters. The base camp itself is dry and barren, but the views of Everest more than compensate for this. It is a truly awe-inspiring place with the sheer north face of the highest mountain in the world towering above you. No vehicles except for Everest expeditions are allowed beyond Rongbuk so you can choose either to walk the 8 kilometers or take a horse-drawn cart to the Base Camp. After lunch you’ll continue to New Tingri for the evening.
Day 10: New Tingri - ZhangmuLeaving New Tingri, you’ll cross another two high passes, the Lalung La and the Shung La. Once more you’re rewarded with magnificent views of the surrounding peaks of Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, Menlungtse and Gauri Shankar. In the late afternoon you reach Zhangmu, a customs town and port of entry located in Nyalam County on the Nepal - Tibet border, just uphill and across the Bhote Kosi River from the Nepalese town of Kodari. At "merely" 2300 meters elevation above sea level, Zhangmu has a mild and humid subtropical climate, a rarity for Tibet.
Day 11: Zhangmu - KathmanduFrom Zhangmu you’ll drive a few kilometers to the Friendship Bridge spanning the Bhote Kosi River and markings the Chinese - Nepalese border. After a short walk to Nepalese Immigration Control in Kodari and completing the -entry formalities you’ll continue the drive to Kathmandu, arriving in the early afternoon. Upon reaching Kathmandu you’ll be transferred to your guesthouse.
Himalaya Overland Explorer Information
- Prices start at $1825 per person
- Prices include expertly guided private touring in private vehicle, most meals, lodging in local guesthouses and hotels, 2nd class soft sleeper train from Beijing to Lhasa and all conservation and national park fees
- Prices do not include international airfare, taxes, international visas or gratuities for guides and camp staff.
- This incredible overland journey is just one option for exploring the Himalayan Region and the rest of Central Asia. Fill out the Custom Trip Form and let one of our international travel specialists custom design the perfect trip for you today!
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Who is Global Basecamps?
Help Us Plant a Tree!
Did you know that for every trip we sell, we have a tree planted? Reforestation projects are one of the best ways to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, so travel responsibly by choosing Global Basecamps.
With the help of our partner, Carbonfund.org, we also offset our company's entire carbon footprint each year.
Interested in offsetting your entire trip? Let us know! We are currently working to provide full carbon offsetting options for every trip.