As one of the top destinations in Asia, Tibet is a land of mystery and wonder, set on the vast plateau at the roof of the world. Touring along this vast expanse of lakes, mountains, and prairies, travelers are met with a massive vista of Himalayan mountains, delightful plateau scenery, and innumerable holy lakes that are spread across the plateau just waiting for tourists and pilgrims alike to wander along their ragged shores.
For everyone traveling to Tibet, a wide range of sights and sounds awaits you, and with our huge range of Tibet tour, we have something to suit everyone’s tastes. From a short trip to Lhasa, exploring the stunning sights of the world’s highest capital city, to an immense journey across the plateau to visit both of the world’s most famous mountains and experience one of the most spiritual treks on the planet. Here are four of the top tours we have that can change your outlook on life and the way you see the Tibetan plateau forever.
Traveling in Lhasa and its surroundings
Lhasa is the high-altitude capital of Tibet, and the highest capital city on the planet, lying at an elevation of around 3,656 meters above sea level. Known as the “City of Sunshine: because of its long sunny days throughout the year, this beautiful city is the crown jewel of Tibetan tourism, and the center of the Tibetan religion and culture. Filled with monasteries and temples, palaces and parks, there is no place on earth more beautiful than the heart of Tibet.
Lhasa offers its visitors some of the best sights on the plateau, from the towering heights of the Potala Palace, sitting high above the city on the Red Hill, to the sacred heart of Tibetan Buddhism, the Jokhang temple, the home of one of the oldest known statues of Buddha, believed to have been blessed by Buddha himself more than 2,500 years ago. Once the center of government in Tibet, the Potala Palace is now the biggest icon of Tibetan tourism, which can be seen from anywhere in the city. While the Potala Palace was the center of government, the Jokhang Temple is the center of the beating heart of Buddhism in Tibet. Built more than 1,300 years ago to contain the statue of Buddha brought to Tibet by the Tang Princess, Wencheng, it is the most revered temple on the plateau, and is the destination of many of the pilgrims that can often be seen trekking or prostrating along the roads in the region.
If wandering around dusty buildings is not your thing, then Lhasa also offers a wealth of treks around its outskirts and in the surrounding mountains, which can get you out into the hinterland of the capital and back to being one with nature. From the inspiring day-long trek around the many hermitage caves in the area to the long trek from Ganden Monastery to Samye Monastery to the south of the city, Lhasa has some of the most ideal treks in Tibet for visitors with limited time to spare.
Travel from Lhasa to EBC
The most popular itinerary in Tibet, the tour from the Tibetan capital of Lhasa across the vast expanse of the plateau to the far western Himalayas, is an adventure of epic proportions, taking in the best sights of the plateau as you travel its long and winding roads, and terminating in the footsteps of some of the greatest mountaineers in history. The culmination of this 7-8-day tour is the visit to the famous Everest Base Camp, the closest place for tourists to enjoy the summit of the world’s highest mountain.
Starting in the capital city, the tour takes in the major sights of Lhasa, including the Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple, and the many monasteries that can be found there, before heading out on the road to visit the beauty of the plateau on your way to the highest mountain on earth. Sights along the route to EBC include Lake Yamdrok, one of the Great Three Holy Lakes of Tibet; the Gyantse Kumbum, a 32-meter high stupa that is covered with gold and is the only one of its kind on the plateau; and the stunning Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, built by the first Dalai Lama and dedicated as the seat of Tibetan Buddhism’s second highest incarnation, the Panchen Lama.
From Shigatse, after you have explored the monastery and the surroundings, you will take a ride to the world’s highest monastery Rongbuk Gompa, which lies at the foot of the Rongbuk Glacier, a vast glacial tongue that extends down from the northern face of Mount Everest. The drive to Rongbuk takes most of the day, and you can stay at the monastery for the night, getting a great view of the sunset on Everest, just a few kilometers away.
Travel from Lhasa to Mt. Kailash via EBC
If one famous mountain per trip is not enough for you, then you need to join the most sacred trekking tour in history, taking you from Lhasa to Mount Everest, and then on to the world’s most sacred mountain, Mount Kailash, in Ngari Prefecture in the far northwest of Tibet.
A tour to Mount Kailash normally takes around 15 days, and includes a three-day trek around the mountain that is the most spiritual trek in the world. From Lhasa, the travel route to EBC is the same, passing through Gyantse and Shigatse, and visiting the stunning Lake Yamdrok, the beauty of the Karola Glacier, and the Gyantse Kumbum in the first day. Then traveling on to Shigatse, taking in the Tashilhunpo Monastery, and the surrounding countryside, before heading for Rongbuk Monastery and the world’s highest mountain.
After the visit to Mount Everest, instead of heading back to Lhasa, the tour continues to the northwest, following barely used roads into the desolate and remote Ngari Prefecture. The route takes you along the national roads of the region to Saga, the last decent town in the area before you get to the sacred mountain, and the best place to stock up on things you forgot to bring with you from home or from Lhasa.
One of the most popular treks in the world, the route around Mount Kailash, known as the Kailash kora, is a spiritual route of pilgrimage for Buddhists and Hindus that flock to the mountain every year to follow the path around it to enlightenment. The trek around the mountain takes three days for normal trekkers, though many of the pilgrims can complete one circuit in a single day, and will make many circumambulations of the mountain before their sacred pilgrimage ends.
Travel from Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Tour via EBC
For those that have an interest in exploring the plateau as part of a longer tour of the area, then the tour from Lhasa to Kathmandu is an ideal trip, taking you from the stunning sights of the Tibetan capital to the world’s most exotic city, Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. One of the most exciting tours of Tibet, culminating in a trip to the beautiful Kathmandu Valley, the very heart of Nepal, this is one of the premier tours in Tibet for adventurous travelers.
This is where the tour takes a different route, heading towards the Nepali border instead of back to Lhasa, where most tours end. After leaving Mount Everest Base Camp, you will head for the town of Gyirong, in Gyirong County of Shigatse prefecture, in the far west of Tibet. Lying a few hundred kilometers to the northwest of Everest, Gyirong is the new border crossing to Nepal.
After a night in Gyirong, you will be taken to the Sino-Nepal border, at Gyirong Port, the crossing point, and exit China through immigration at the border. Then you will walk across the Resuo Bridge, which spans the deep Trishuli River Gorge, the border between Nepal and China, crossing to the Nepali border checkpoint known as Rasuwa Gadhi, or Rasuwa Fort.
After passing through immigration and obtaining your visa for Nepal, you can get a car or local bus to Kathmandu from the border, which leaves daily, taking around six hours to get to the stunning Nepali capital, in the beautiful Kathmandu Valley.
Whichever tour you take, whether it is just around the stunning Tibetan capital of Lhasa or all the way out to Mount Everest, Mount Kailash, and the exotic city of Kathmandu in Nepal, you are guaranteed to have the most amazing experience in the world, visiting the many sites of Tibetan Buddhist culture along the way. Please keep it in mind that you need a good Tibet travel agency to accompany with your whole tour. Tibet is a land like no other, and with its high mountains, huge holy lakes, and vast expanses of plains and prairies, you cannot go wring with a tour of Tibet.