Tuesday, 18 June 2019
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Travel Year 2011

Tibet Over Land

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Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland - the Classic Route

The lure of Lhasa, capital on the roof of the world, cannot be underestimated and it is truly a fascinating city, fully justifing its reputation. Dominated by the awe-inspiring grandeur of the Potala Palace and bustling with pilgrims circling the sacred Jokhang Temple it is a feast for the senses.

Cross the spectacular Khamba-La (pass) with the turquoise waters of the sacred lake, Yamdrok-tso, spread below. Prayer flags, glaciers, snow covered mountain ranges - the scenery is incredible!

Gyantse stands at the junction of trade routes from India and retains the feel of a Tibetan town. The forts and well-protected monasteries of Gyantse, Shigatse and Sakya reveal a not always peaceful history - the riches within, testament to past glory.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1
The flight to Lhasa from Chengdu or Kathmandu is spectacular. From Gongkar airport it is about 1½ hours’ drive to Lhasa, first along the Yarlung Tsangpo then into the Kyi Chu Valley.

Days 2-3
Two full days to explore this fantastic city on the roof of the world. The spiritual heart of Tibet is the Jokhang Temple and every morning is full of life as pilgrims bring offerings of butter and barley flour. The Potala Palace rises above the city and, more than any other sight, symbolizes the history and culture of Tibet. Nearby are the huge monastic universities of Drepung and Sera – still active institutions.

Day 4
Once an important trading town, Gyantse retains a feel of 'old' Tibet. Gyantse’s monastery – Pelkor Choede – and the justifiably famous Kumbum, are within the same complex. There may also be time to visit the dzong (fort) that towers above the town.

Day 5
In Shigatse, the great Tashilhunpo Monastery is the seat of the Panchen Lama, second only in importance to the Dalai Lama. Its numerous halls contain a 21.6-meter wooden statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha and elaborate, jewel encrusted reliquary chorten.

Day 6
Continue the scenic drive to Sakya. For much of the way the road follows the Yarlung Tsangpo (known as the Brahmaputra once it reaches India).

Day 7
High passes give a last, spectacular view of the Himalaya before reaching Nyalum, on the Tibetan Plateau.

Day 8
A long day as we dive, beginning with the steep descent down the gorge to Zhangmu-Kodari where we complete border formalities before continuing the winding descent to Kathmandu.


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