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Travel Year 2011

Tibet Adventure

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Trip notes: KLK17 (Kathmandu-Lhasa-Kathmandu)

Validity: 01/04/2007 to 31/10/2007

Welcome to Caravan Himalaya Trek the real Himalayan life experiences... we hope that you enjoy exploring the world as much as we do. Tibet is a sacred land of mystery, spectacular views and extraordinary people and traveling overland gives an even greater insight into the country and its inhabitants. The landscapes are vast and dramatic, the people are warm and peaceful, the food...OK you might not write home about the food (well maybe the yak butter tea!), but every aspect of Tibet will be a memorable experience. All of the highlights are included in your sightseeing tours. The flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa is a highlight in itself as some of the most awesome peaks in the world are visible from the aircraft and you can see why it's called the 'Roof of the World'!

Itinerary Disclaimer

The itinerary attached is correct at time of printing. Please note: occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travelers' comments and our own research. Our brochure is usually released in November each year. As such the information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated trip notes please visit our website:


Days 1-2 Kathmandu

You will be met on arrival at Kathmandu airport and transferred to the Hotel (transfers be arranged on arrival, please advise flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to departure). Hotel is perfectly positioned in an authentic Nepali street in the heart of the Themal. Step out of the hotel and you are in an area of traditional shops and markets Thamel area of western style shops and restaurants, the tourist's Mecca of Nepal. Fifteen minutes walk in the opposite direction brings you to the cultural riches of Durbar Square. The hotel's rooms are well appointed with airconditioning and attached bathrooms, TV and telephone. Hotel facilities include room service, restaurant, coffee shop and bar, safety deposit boxes, laundry and foreign currency exchange facilities. Email and international phone calls are available at the hotel, though they are cheaper at one of the many offices nearby or in Thamel. An extra day in Kathmandu is required for the processing of your Chinese visa and Tibet entry permit. Please read details under 'Visas' on this trip notes.

Overnights: Hotel, Kathmandu
Meals: Breakfast included but meal not include.

Day 3 Flight to Lhasa

You are transferred to the airport for the flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa which is a highlight in itself as some of the most awesome peaks in the world are visible from the aircraft and you can see why it's called the 'Roof of the World'!** The flight takes 1:5 hrs. Upon arrival in Lhasa you are met by your local guide and transferred to hotel in Lhasa - the drive takes about 1 hour. We know the temptation is to rush about and explore Lhasa, but please take it easy and use this afternoon to acclimatize to the altitude and be sure to drink plenty of water.

**Please note that your itinerary may be reversed. Due to the limited availability of the flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa, you may travel overland into Tibet and fly from Lhasa to Kathmandu on day 10.

Overnight: Hotel, Lhasa
Meals: breakfast includes but meal not include.

Day 4-7 Lhasa sightseeing

Now the mystery of Tibet starts to unfold as the stench of yak butter permeates the air. You visit Jokhang Temple, the surrounding pilgrim circuit of The Barkor and Drepung Monastery. This ancient Monastery is said to be the largest in the world and once housed 10,000 monks. Today there are approximately 600 monks in residence and you have the opportunity to wander through this impressive community. The Barkor is also famous for its bustling Lhasa market and is a great place to spend any spare time. It is busy with devout Tibetans in their traditional costume and local handicrafts and souvenirs are on display. You also visit The Norbulingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas. A highlight for so many people is the Potala, a palace of the Dalai Lama. Potala Palace has been listed as a World Heritage Site and is definitely a sight to behold. It was built in 1645 during the reign of the Great 5th Dalai Lama and completed 12 years after his death. The Potala is divided into two main complexes - the outer white building which houses the administration and the Red Fort where you will find the chapels, tombs and living quarters of the Dalai Lama.  You will visit Sera Monastery, The second biggest Monastery. You will see the Monk debating in sera Monastery but you must be there before 3:15 PM. 1 day to go visit Ganden Monastery. It is 45 KM far from Lhasa and situated 4500m. Ganden was built in 1414 during the reign of the Tsongkhapa (the founder of Gelukpa sect). Visit monastery and back to Lhasa.

Overnights: Hotel, Lhasa
Meals: breakfast includes but meal not include.

Day 8-9 Lhasa to Samya.

Driving out of Lhasa, the journey takes you through the vastness of the Tibetan plateau. The roads can be very rough after cross Bhramaputra and can make for a long day traveling, but the scenery is dramatic and you pass through desolate mountains and many Tibetan villages. 4 Hrs drive and cross Bhramaputra River by Pheri then drive 1hour by local jeep. Samya, there is basic hotel (only dormitory) 4 people sleep 1 room. Common Toilet and bucket shower. Next day, Visit around Samya and Visit Samya Monastery. Samya is the 1st Monastery in Tibet. It was built in 7th century by Tibetan Kind Thisung Dewache, Padmasambava and Santarakchhita.

Overnights: Hotel, Samya
Meals: breakfast includes but meal not include.

Day 10 Lhasa to Gyantse

Driving back throw by river cross by Pheri, the journey takes you through the vastness of the Tibetan plateau. A long day traveling, but the scenery is dramatic and you pass through desolate mountains and many Tibetan villages. You will break for lunch in a local restaurant and drive by the turquoise Yamdrok Lake. Crossing Kampa La Pass (4794m) and Karo La Pass (5010m) you arrive at Gyantse town (3950m). Gyantse is a remarkable town that has escaped much of the Chinese influence common to other main Tibetan towns. The town is dominated by its ancient fort built in the 14th century, destroyed by the British forces in 1904.

Overnight: Gyantse Hotel or similar, Gyantse
Meals: breakfast includes but meal not include.

Day 11 Gyantse to Xigaze.

In the morning, visit the Pelkor Choede monastery complex, once a collection of 15 temples which brought together three different orders of Tibetan Buddhism in the one compound. Nine of the monasteries were Gelugpa, three were Sakyapa and three belonged to the Buton sect whose head monastery was near xigaze. Drive for about two hours to Xigaze (3900 m.) the second largest city in Tibet.

Overnight: Manasarovar Hotel or similar, Xigaze.
Meals: breakfast included but meal not include.

Day 12 Xigaze to Sakya

Xigaze's major attraction is the impressive Tashilumpo Monastery - the home of the Panchen Lama and the second largest monastery in Tibet. Tashi Lumpo is a very colourful and active monastery with many halls to visit; some housing large Buddha’s and others are learning centers and libraries for monks. This monastery houses the Maitreya Buddha statue made of wood covered with gold which weighs 275 kg and is 26 m. in height. It gives you an idea of just how vibrant the Potala Palace would be if still in residence. Visit Sakya Monastery, which was one of the largest in Tibet before the Cultural Revolution.

Overnight: Sakya Hotel or similar
Meals: Breakfast included.

Day 13 Sakya to Rongbuk (Everest Base Camp -5000m).

Start early in the Morning. Long Drive good road but after Xigar to Everest base camp there is rough Road. Sleep overnight in Rombuk Monastery Guest House, very basic room (dormitory). Take it easy and drink plenty of water.

Day 14 Rongbuk to Low Thingri.

Morning go to visit Everest base camp by horse cart. It is 8 KM far from Rongbuk. Good Picture of Mt. Everest (8848m). Back to Hotel and drive to Low Thingri throw by rough road. It takes 4-5 Hours. In low Thingri also basic privet room.

Day 15 Low Thingri to Zhangmu

You drive for about 6-7 hours today to Nyalam (3500 m), an important old trading post, crossing Lalung La (5050 m) and Nyalam Pass (3800 m). After passing through New Tingri there are spectacular views of Mt. Everest Mt. Cho u and Mount Shisapangma (weather permitting!). This is an extremely scenic drive as the road cuts through the Himalaya and the dramatic changes in the vegetation and landscape in such a short distance are truly amazing. Zhangmu is a remarkable town that hugs the rim of a seemingly never-ending succession of hairpin bends down to the customs area at the border of China and Nepal. After Tibet, it all seems incredibly green and luxurious with the smells of curry and incense in the air. The population is a fascinating mix of Han, Tibetan and Nepali, and the shops brim with goodies from India, Nepal and China.

Overnight: Zhangmu Hotel or similar.
Meals: breakfast included.

Day 16 Zhangmu to Kathmandu

Today's adventure is crossing the border from Tibet into Nepal. You drive* across approximately 8km. of no-man's-land to the Friendship Bridge at Kodari. Now in Nepal, it is already obvious how much greener it is and after approximately 4 - 5 hours drive you returns to the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu. You will be dropped off at your hotel at approximately 5 - 6pm. (please advise flight departure details at time of booking).

Day 17 Departure.

Take you to airport and say Bye Bye.


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Tourist class hotel in Kathmandu (2 nts), simple tourist class hotels/guesthouses with private facilities (5 nts)
Please keep in mind that accommodation as shown in the itinerary is subject to availability at time of booking. The closest available alternative will be substituted if our first choice hotels are not available. Deductions or supplements may be applied to the trip price as a result.


While traveling with us you will experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Generally, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where and what to eat, not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. Please check the 'meal inclusions' section below for details of meals included.
Allow USD $200 for meals not included.


Landcruisser, flight Kathmandu-Lhasa (included). Roundtrip airport to hotel transfers are included - transfers must be arranged in advance so please forward us the flight numbers and times at least 16 days prior to departure.

Activities Included

This is a list of included activities on this trip. All other activities are optional and at your own expense. For a list of optional activities and sightseeing available on this trip, see the optional activities section below. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
Flight Kathmandu/Lhasa; Lhasa - Potala Palace, Norbulingka Palace, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, Ganden day trip and Jokhang Temple; Yamdrok Lake and Karo La Pass (5010m); Gyantse - Pelkor Choede; Xigaze - Tashilumpo Monastery; Sakya - Sakya Gompa and Everest Base camp (Rongbuk).

Physical Rating

Activities include treks of 3 to 4 hours per day in hilly terrain, flat water kayaking or a long day's bike ride, in conditions which are likely to be hot and muggy. You will raise your heart rate on these trips, so a basic level of aerobic fitness is required.

Important Notes

1. Price includes economy class flight Kathmandu-Lhasa (ticket delivered in Kathmandu). Due to limited availability on the Kathmandu-Lhasa flight, you may travel overland to Lhasa and fly from Lhasa to Kathmandu on day 16.

2.  Travelers must obtain their visa for China in Nepal which will be arranged by our Caravan Himalaya Treks. The cost is USD49 (USD65 for US passports) payable in cash and subject to change without notice.

3. Caravan Himalaya will arrange your Tibet permit. We require a CLEAR copy of the photo page of your passport so that the permit can be obtained in advance. We must receive the passport copy at least 30 days before your arrival in Tibet. Preferably this should be scanned and emailed. Alternatively, it may be faxed or sent in the post.

4. Altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation is likely to be felt while travelling in Tibet, particularly when arriving in Lhasa at just above 3,600 metres/3937 yards. You spend time in Lhasa to acclimatize and it is important that you take it easy on the first day and drink plenty of water.

5. We recommend spending a night post-trip in Kathmandu, as the return time is variable due to local conditions.

6. The best time to travel is between April and October, but be prepared for some wet weather from late June to August. Flights from Kathmandu to Lhasa finish for the season in October or early November so bookings for these months are subject to flight schedule.

7. Please our itinerary is currently running as normal. We continue to monitor the safety situation on a regular basis and if any changes occur to the running of the trip we will notify you immediately.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your tour leader will require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.


Please note that visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change. It is important that you check for yourself.

It is your responsibility to arrange visas before you travel. Please note that your Chinese visa should not be obtained in advance - this will be arranged in Kathmandu. Below are the visa requirements for Nepal at the time of printing. Remember you will need a double entry visa for Nepal for this itinerary. Note: Diplomatic or Official passports will not be granted a permit for Tibet, so holders of these passports must travel on their ordinary passports in both Nepal and China/Tibet.

Nepal: All foreign nationals (except Indians) require a visa to enter Nepal. Visas are obtainable from embassies abroad or on arrival at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan airport and at Kodari border. If getting the visa at the airport is prepared for long queues. You need to provide one passport photo for each visa and the following fees in US dollars cash only: single entry visa valid for 60 days - US $30: multiple entry visa valid for 150 days - US $80: transit visa - staying 3 nights or less - free.


All travelers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully in the group travel experience. If, in the opinion of our group leader, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Caravan Himalaya reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. We therefore ask that you read the itinerary in these trip notes thoroughly and then realistically self-assess your physical ability to complete the trip as described. Please consult with your doctor if you have any doubts.

There are no specific health requirements for this trip. However, you should consult your doctor for up-to-date information and prescriptions for vaccinations, anti-malarial requirements and any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst travelling in the region. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses). Please be aware that for legal reasons our guides are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

Money Exchange

Currency exchange rates often fluctuate.

US$1 = 64.45 Nepalese rupees (please check current rates at time of travel). For security reasons it is advisable to take most of your money as travelers cheques. The easiest cheques to change are Thomas Cook or American Express in US currency, but all major currencies are normally accepted. Some money should be taken as US dollars or Euro cash in case of emergencies as well as for your Chinese visa and possible 4WD surcharge. Black markets no longer exist in Nepal. Major credit cards are accepted in the larger shops and restaurants but only in the Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara. Though Nepal Stander Chatar Bank will allow cash advances against a Visa or Master Card credit card the service is again limited to these two places. In the Thamel area of Kathmandu there are automatic tellar machines (ATM) and money exchange facilities that accept most currencies. China: US$1 = 8 Yuan. It is advisable to take most of your money in cash or travel cheques in US or Euro currency. There can be delays when changing travel cheques. Credit cards are not often accepted in Tibet. We recommend that you avoid money changers on the street. Tibet hotels do not offer money exchange but the Bank of China is quick and easy.

Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Any tip that you wish to give your local guides or leader in recognition of excellent service is always appreciated.

Departure Tax

All departure taxes should be not included.

Emergency Funds

Please also make sure you have access to an additional USD$400 every trip, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, strike) necessitate a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence but it is well worth being prepared!

Responsible travel

We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimize the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please refer to Responsible tips for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

A couple of rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some this region but is not acceptable for caravan Himalaya travelers. Caravan Himalaya's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

What to Take

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking though, you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage (please see below for exceptions), and though you will not be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes) we recommend keeping the weight under 15kg/331b.

Suitcases are not recommended for Caravan Himalaya travelers! Most travelers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags with wheels are acceptable, although we recommend your bag has carry straps as well, as you may be required to negotiate bus and railway station steps. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day walks and day trips.
You will be on the move a good deal, so pack as lightly as possible (try to stay under 15 kg /33lb). It is in your own interest as you are expected to carry your own luggage at times. Distances are never great but it could be up several flights of hotel stairs and the altitude will get you puffing.


Travel documents: passport, visa, travel insurance, air tickets, voucher, Health requirements arranged, Money: travelers cheques/cash/credit card, Money pouch, First Aid kit, Day pack to carry your personal needs during the day, Alarm clock and torch/flashlight, Lightweight travel towel, Insect repellent, Refillable water bottle, Tampons are difficult to buy in Tibet, Nepali phrase book, Warm clothes (fleece, hat, gloves), especially in the winter months (Oct to April), It is recommended to bring thermal underwear, a fleece jacket, hat and gloves (see the climate section in the booklet)Raincoat or umbrella, especially in summer (June to September)Sunhat and sun glasses.

Local Dress

When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool if it's hot. Shorts should be knee-length (the closer they resemble long pants the better!). Singlet and tank tops are not suitable.

Participation form

All Caravan Himalaya travelers are required to sign a Participation Form on day 1 of the trip. Please note that signing the form is a prerequisite of travelling with Intrepid. The wording of this form follows:
"I understand that travelling with Caravan Himalaya may involve risks (and rewards) above and beyond those encountered on a more conventional holiday, and that I am undertaking an adventure trip with inherent dangers. I understand that I am travelling to geographical areas where, amongst other things, the standard of accommodation, transport, safety, hygiene, cleanliness, medical facilities, telecommunications and infrastructure development may not be of the standard I am used to at home or would find on a conventional holiday. I have read and understood the Caravan Himalaya trip notes for the trip I am undertaking and have provided details of any pre-existing medical conditions I have to Caravan Himalay's representatives. I accept these risks and obligations and I fully assume the risks of travel. I release Caravan Himalaya Treks from any liabilities connected to these risks to the maximum extent permitted by law."


After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 4 weeks of finishing your trip. Go to: feedback.

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