Tibetan Discovery

Tibet may not be the easiest place in the world to reach but it is well worth the effort. Give us two weeks of your time and you’ll be rewarded with an unforgettable experience to an extraordinary, mystical region.

We've combined Tibet with a stopover in Kathmandu: an easy and popular country combo. However, this is not set in stone and it's also possible to access Tibet via mainland China. Your Destination Specialist can provide more information.

At a glance
  • Join pilgrims on their daily kora around the ancient Jokhang Temple.
  • Get a close-up view of the mighty Mount Everest from Base Camp.
  • Visit some of the largest, most important Buddhist monasteries in the world.
  • Admire the breath-taking, unspoilt natural scenery & Himalayan vistas.
  • Spin prayer wheels as you travel, for good karma
Itinerary
Price & Hotels

Kathmandu - 3 nights

Day 1 - arrive Kathmandu, Orientation Tour

Upon arrival in Kathmandu you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel. The airport is close to the city centre, but traffic can make the journey a little slow, especially in peak hours.

The capital of Nepal, Kathmandu is an assault on the senses: the smell of incense mingles with pungent spices and scooter exhaust; merchants shout to make themselves heard above the sound of motorbike horns; cars and cows share the streets which are lined with ancient temples alongside internet cafes. Be prepared for a sensory overload!

Whilst the 2015 earthquake brought devastation to much of Nepal and major damage to Kathmandu, the country’s spirit endures and the rebuilding is underway at a pace in the capital.

In the afternoon, meet up with your guide for an orientation tour focusing on the area around Durbar Square. Durbar means palace and it is on this site that the city’s kings were crowned and from where they ruled. Many of the surrounding buildings date back to the 18th century (some even older) and it still remains the traditional heart of the capital. The labyrinth of lanes that lead off from the square are lined with shrines and temples; teahouses and markets. Your guide will point out places of significant interest, such as Hanuman Dhoka - Kathmandu’s Royal Palace, and the intricately carved Kumari Chowk which is home to the young Kumari (living goddess).

Having got your bearings, return to your hotel where your evening is at leisure.

Overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 2 - Kathmandu, Pashupatinath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa, Bhaktapur.

Includes:

Spend the day exploring Kathmandu’s sacred sites.

First stop of the day is Pashupatinath Temple, one of Nepal’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. Situated on the banks of the holy Bagmati River, it is the oldest and most sacred Hindu temple in Nepal, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Each year hundreds of Hindu pilgrims gather here, especially the sick and elderly who believe that those who die in Pashupatinath Temple are reborn as human and wish their bodies to be cremated at the funeral pyres that line the banks of this sacred river. Only followers of Hinduism are permitted to enter the main temple, but it is possible to visit the rest of the temple complex.

Your next stop is the Boudhanath Stupa, another UNESCO World Heritage site. The Boudhanath Stupa is the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It’s a popular place of pilgrimage and buzzes with activity from dawn until dusk. Four pairs of eyes stare out from the base of the gilded spire which sits atop the great white dome; coloured prayer flags flutter in the wind. Join the endless streams of monks, pilgrims and locals as they stroll (in a clockwise direction) around the base of the stupa to gain merit.

In the afternoon, head out of Kathmandu to Bhaktapur, one of the three former royal cities of the Kathmandu Valley (the other two being Kathmandu & Patan) and home to some of the finest religious architecture in Nepal. Sadly, many of the ancient buildings were destroyed during the 2015 earthquake however the city still boasts more temples than neighbouring Kathmandu and there is plenty to see. Wander through the maze of narrow streets and you will see evidence of Bhaktapur’s rich cultural heritage: courtyards are filled with fired clay pots, women sit weaving cloth and craftsmen carefully chisel timber into furniture and statues.

After some time losing yourself amongst the alleyways, return to Kathmandu where the remainder of your day is at leisure.

Overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 3 - Kathmandu: Explore Patan

Includes:

After breakfast, meet your guide and transfer across the Bagmati River to Patan: the oldest of the valley’s three ancient kingdoms. Also known as Lalitpur, meaning ‘City of Beauty’, Patan boasts the finest collection of temples in the whole of Nepal, and is a well-known hub for craftsmen and artisans.

Spend the morning strolling through Patan’s narrow alleyways, wondering at the extraordinary architecture and ancient sites. On the eastern side of Patan’s Durbar Square is the richly decorated, wing-roofed Royal Palace of Patan. Originally constructed in the 14th century, it predates the palaces in neighbouring Kathmandu and Bhaktapur. One wing of the Palace now houses an excellent museum packed with bronzes, sculptures and old photos.

Also found on Durbar Square is the 17th century Krishna Mandir, an Indian-style temple constructed entirely from carved stone; and the Taleju Temple, which is dedicated to the four-headed Hindu goddess Taleju Bhawani. A short walk away is the Golden Temple (or Kwa Bahal), which is neither a temple nor strictly golden – it’s a monastery decorated in brass and bronze, but beautiful nonetheless.

Before becoming templed-out, head back across the river to Kathmandu where your afternoon is at leisure.

Overnight in Kathmandu.

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Lhasa - 4 nights

Day 4 - Kathmandu, Tibet: Lhasa

Includes:

After breakfast transfer to Kathmandu Airport in time for your onward flight to Lhasa, Tibet. Request a window seat to make the most of the views of the Himalayas.

On arrival into Gonggar Airport, having cleared customs you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel in Lhasa: a journey of 75-minutes through a scenic landscape.

Check in to your hotel and the remainder of your day is at leisure.

Lhasa, Tibet’s spiritual and political capital, is a city of contrasts. The western side, with its’ concrete shopping malls and glass-fronted high-rise buildings, shows a definite stamp of Chinese rule. However, the east of the city still retains an old-world Tibetan charm: its’ winding alleyways are lined with rickety whitewashed houses and lamp-lit temples full of prostrating pilgrims. Rise early and join the locals on their daily kora (pilgrim circuit) around Jokhang Temple and wander the surrounding labyrinth of backstreets for a true sense of life in Lhasa.

Overnight in Lhasa.

Day 5 - Lhasa orientation walk

Includes:

Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world, sitting at 3,650 metres above sea level. At these lofty heights oxygen levels are seriously diminished and it’s not uncommon to feel breathless and experience mild headaches. It’s important to give your body time to adjust and acclimatise, and as this is your first full day in Lhasa, it’s best not to cram in a hectic schedule of dawn to dusk sightseeing.

In the morning meet your guide for a leisurely walking tour of Lhasa, which will help you get your bearings and give you time to simply absorb the atmosphere.

Overnight in Lhasa.

Day 6 - Lhasa: Drepung & Sera Monasteries, Ganden Palace, Norbulingka

Includes:

After breakfast you will be met by your guide who will transfer you to the outskirts of Lhasa, to visit two of Tibet’s most important Gelugpa monasteries: Drepung and Sera. Back in the day, these Buddhist institutions housed and educated a mind-boggling number of monks, with figures suggesting Sera was home to 5,000 monks whilst Drepung had a population of nearly 10,000, making it Tibet’s largest monastery! Drepung is so large that the kora takes a good 90-minutes.

Built in the 1400’s both monasteries continue to operate as a ‘university monastery’, housing different colleges for the study of Buddhism, although resident numbers are now in the hundreds rather than thousands. If you visit in the afternoon you’re likely to witness monks animatedly debating Buddhist scripture and philosophy in the courtyard.

It’s not all about monasteries today! Whilst at Drepung you will visit Ganden Palace, which is where the Dalai Lama lived before Potala Palace was built. You will also make a stop at Norbulingka, the former summer palace of the Dalai Lama, which boasts the largest and most beautiful gardens in the country. It is also one of Lhasa’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

On returning to Lhasa the remainder of your day is at leisure.

Overnight in Lhasa.

Day 7 - Lhasa: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple

Includes:

Your touring today focuses on two of Lhasa’s three UNESCO World heritage sites, and the city’s best-known landmarks: Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple.

You can’t fail to be impressed by Potala Palace. Perched atop the 130m high ‘Red Mountain’, this 13-storey, 1000+ room complex towers imposingly over Lhasa. Constructed during the reign of the 5th Dalai Lama in the 17th century, it took 7000 workers more than 50 years to complete and was the winter residence of subsequent Dalai Lamas until 1959.

Potala is divided into two parts: the White Palace, housing the Dalai Lama’s private living quarters; and the Red Palace which was used for religious functions and features the burial chambers of former Dalai Lamas. Inside you’ll find priceless, jewel-bedecked treasures, ancient sutras and beautiful murals. Security is tight and photography inside is forbidden.

Located a short walk from the Palace is the 1300-year old Jokhang Temple. This ancient temple is the holiest of holies for Tibetans: pilgrims from all over the country begin arriving at dawn, and a steady stream of worshippers continues throughout the day. In the centre of the temple is a revered golden statue of the young Buddha, in front of which every pilgrim will prostrate and pray. Join devotees as they make their daily kora in a clockwise direction around the periphery of the temple, passing through the atmospheric Barkhor neighbourhood.

Stroll back to your hotel where the remainder of your day is at leisure.

Overnight in Lhasa.

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Gyantse - 1 night

Day 8 - Lhasa, Yamdrok Tso Lake, Gyantse

Includes:

Depart Lhasa after breakfast, heading in a south-west direction to Gyantse, one of Tibet’s best-preserved towns. It’s a long, but scenic drive that journeys over several dramatic mountain passes including Khamba La (4,852m) and the even higher Kora La (5,010m). You’ll also pass by the shores of Yamdrok Tso Lake: a vast expanse of freshwater surrounded by mountains. Yamdrok Tso is regarded as holy by Tibetans: they believe that circumambulating the lake in seven days will wash away their sins and earn them merit.

On arrival in Gyantse, check in to your hotel and the rest of your day is at leisure.

Once an important town for traders journeying across the Himalayas between India and Tibet, Gyantse has largely escaped the excesses of Chinese development and retains an authentic, Tibetan charm and laid-back vibe. If you’re feeling energetic, trek up to Gyantse Dzong from where you will be rewarded with incredible views over the old town, the surrounding plateau and mountains from its hilltop perch.

Overnight in Gyantse.

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Shegar - 1 night

Day 9 - Gyantse, Pelkor Chode Monastery, Sakya Monastery, Shegar

Includes:

Spend the morning exploring Gyantse’s 15th century monastery – Pelkor Chode. Unusually, three different schools of Tibetan Buddhism (Gelugpa, Sagyapa & Kadampa), coexist peacefully under one roof here, while the architecture is a fascinating mix of Tibetan, Han Chinese and Nepali craftsmanship. The monastery’s most notable feature is the Gyantse Kumbum (pronounced goom-boom): a 32 metre-high chorten that houses numerous tiny chapels decorated in beautiful murals and intricate sculptures.

After visiting the monastery, depart Gyantse, heading west for nearly 400km towards the Nepalese border. Your destination is the small town of Shegar (a.k.a New Tingri), which is a popular overnight stop for visitors en-route to Everest Base Camp.

A stop will be made en-route to visit the isolated Sakya Monastery - the principal monastery of the Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. This immense monastery is quite unlike other monasteries you will see during your Tibet travels – its’ imposing red and grey walls and parapets look more akin to a fortress. The Sakya monastery is well known for its extensive collection of sacred Buddhist scriptures and ancient Thangkha (sacred Buddhist paintings).

Continue on to Shegar, arriving early evening.

Overnight in Shegar.

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Everest Base Camp - 1 night

Day 10 - Shegar, Qomolangma National Park, Rongbuk Gompa, Mt Everest views

Includes:

After breakfast depart Shegar, following the Friendship Highway for a few kilometres before turning onto a road that winds through Qomolangma National Park, the world’s highest national park. Spanning 78,000 square kilometres it boasts ten mountains over 7,000 metres high and an additional five that peak above 8,000 metres, including the legendary Mount Everest, known as Mount Qomolangma in Tibetan.

Your destination is the tiny Rongbuk Gompa, which is regarded as the highest monastery in the world (at 5,000m) and unusual in that it is home to both monks and nuns. Cloud-cover permitting, from here you should catch your first unobstructed view of the snow-covered north face of Mount Everest - the tallest mountain in the world at 8,848m.

Until recently it was possible to trek for a few kilometres further up the valley towards Everest Base Camp, which sits at 5,200 metres, however the government has currently restricted access to the area for environmental reasons. Stroll around the monastery complex: lines of prayer wheels and colourful prayer flags surround the large stupa and numerous meditation caves are hidden in the mountainside. Just above the monastery there’s a particularly magical, unobstructed view point.

Next door to the monastery is Rongbuk Guesthouse and it is here that you will spend the night. The sun sets quite early, and you’re likely to spend the evening in the small restaurant, huddled around its warm stove. The guesthouse is incredibly basic in all departments (this is Everest Base Camp after all!) however the views at sunrise and sunset certainly make what will undoubtedly be a chilly night, worthwhile.

Overnight at Rongbuk Guesthouse.

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Shigatse - 1 night

Day 11 - Qomolangma National Park, Shigatse

Includes:

Having savoured a once-in-a-lifetime sunrise, depart by road back through the national park and onto Shigatse. It’s quite a long drive, but the spectacular scenery will help your journey pass quickly.

On arrival, check in to your hotel and the remainder of your day is at leisure.

Shigatse is the second-largest city in Tibet. Despite commercial development in recent years, it remains an important centre of Tibetan history and culture, and is home to the 15th century Tashilhunpo Monastery, and the Summer Palace of the Panchen Lamas, as well as being the birthplace of Tibetan opera.

Overnight in Shigatse.

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Lhasa - 1 night

Day 12 - Shigatse, Tashilhunpo Monastery, Lhasa

Includes:

Early morning visit to Tashilhunpo: one of the most important monasteries in Tibet, and seat of the Panchen Lama (second only in importance to the Dalai Lama). It’s an immense complex - more of a monastic city – comprising of numerous assembly halls, chapels and living quarters, which in its heyday was home to 5,000 monks.

Tashilhunpo isn’t short of fascinating treasures - ancient Buddhist manuscripts, bejewelled stupas and intricate murals - but arguably its’ most impressive site is the 26-metre tall, golden statue of the Future Buddha. Built in 1914 it took nearly 1,000 workers four years to construct. Each of the Buddha’s fingers is one metre long and it’s rumoured that over 300kg of gold was used in the coating, which is also dotted with precious stones.

If you have time, join the steady stream of pilgrims on their one-hour kora around the periphery of the monastery, which takes you into the hills behind the complex.

Having explored Tashilhunpo, depart Shigatse for the five-hour journey back along the Friendship Highway to Lhasa.

Arrive late afternoon and the rest of your day is free for a final stroll around Lhasa.

Overnight in Lhasa.

Day 13 - depart Lhasa

Includes:

Your day is at leisure until your transfer to Lhasa Airport in time for your onward flight.

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We only provide privately guided holidays - meaning that you will not be expected to share guides or transport for the duration of your visit. You can also start on any day you choose.

Please click on the hotel category buttons below to view hotel details. These are recommended properties only - we have many alternative options for you to choose from if you would prefer. You can mix hotel categories throughout your holiday.

Hotel class Price per person (based on total # travelling)
2 persons 3 - 4 5 - 6
First Class £2,792US$3,658 £2,349US$3,077 £1,990US$2,606

Traditional Comfort

The Traditional Comfort hotel, just outside the busiest area of central Kathmandu, showcases a stylish fusion of Newari craftsmanship and contemporary design… See more

Gang Gyan Hotel

Centrally located within easy reach of several major sights, including the Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street market and Ramoche Monastery, the Gang Gyan hotel offers convenience and flexibility in the heart of Lhasa… See more

Gyantse Hotel

Location, location, location! You can’t get more central and convenient than the well-established Gyantse Hotel. The imposing Gyantse Dzong, one of the best preserved dzongs in Tibet, is within walking distance... See more

Shegar Grand Hotel

Chances are you will only spend one night in Shegar en-route to Everest Base Camp, and the Shegar Grand Hotel offers all the facilities needed for this overnight stay. Whilst the interior décor may not be on-trend, the rooms are a good size and perfectly comfortable, with an en-suite bathroom.

Rongbuk Monastery Guesthouse

High in Tibet’s Himalayan foothills, with unparalleled views of Mt Everest, the Rongbuk Monastery Guesthouse offers a down-to-earth, vibrant and visceral taste of this extraordinary part of the world… See more

Tashi Choeta Hotel

The Tashi Choeta is a fairly large, traditional hotel in central Shigatse, overlooked by rugged hills on one side and the Tashilhunpo monastery on the other… See more
Deluxe £3,683US$4,825 £3,186US$4,174 £2,915US$3,819

Dwarika's Hotel

Housed in an extraordinary building that showcases its founder’s passion for Nepali culture and craft, the Dwarika Hotel is an atmospheric sanctuary amid the temples and monuments of historic Kathmandu… See more

Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa

Exemplifying the consistently high standards of their brand, the Shangri-La Lhasa hotel combines premier luxury accommodation and facilities with a peak location overlooking Tibet’s sacred Potala Palace… See more

Gyantse Hotel

Location, location, location! You can’t get more central and convenient than the well-established Gyantse Hotel. The imposing Gyantse Dzong, one of the best preserved dzongs in Tibet, is within walking distance... See more

Shegar Grand Hotel

Chances are you will only spend one night in Shegar en-route to Everest Base Camp, and the Shegar Grand Hotel offers all the facilities needed for this overnight stay. Whilst the interior décor may not be on-trend, the rooms are a good size and perfectly comfortable, with an en-suite bathroom.

Kangar Hotel

Tourist accommodation in the small Tibetan town of Lao Tingri is limited: the Kangar Hotel is the best option in town. Rooms are simple, but comfortable; the staff are welcoming and impressive mountain views can be enjoyed from the rooftop sitting area.

Tashi Choeta Hotel

The Tashi Choeta is a fairly large, traditional hotel in central Shigatse, overlooked by rugged hills on one side and the Tashilhunpo monastery on the other… See more

Solo travellers are always welcome - please contact us for a tailored quote.

These prices are shown in GBPUSD.
Selective Asia is a UK-registered company, but our client-base spans the globe, so we bank in both GBP and USD and can therefore provide a fixed price in either currency.
We also have payment facilities in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the EU, and can typically offer better-than-bank exchange rates on the date of payment in these currencies (against a booking priced in GBP).

Itinerary additions

At Selective Asia we specialise in creating unique, tailor-made experiences. The holiday itineraries provided on this website are intended to help you visualise what is achievable in your destinations of choice, over a given period of time and at an intended budget.
Whilst many clients are happy with one of our recommended itineraries in the current form (and at the price quoted), there are those that wish to personalise their holiday in some way, whether it be a change of hotel, an additional destination or even start from scratch. This is when our tailor-made specialists come into their own; with many years of experience both living and working in the region they are ideally equipped to advise on alternatives and to facilitate any necessary changes.

The important stuff

Please note: During high season periods hotels often levy a surcharge and these are not included in the above prices. Your consultant will be happy to advise you of these.

Inclusive:

  • English speaking, local guide
  • All accommodation listed
  • Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
  • Any domestic flights listed (unless marked otherwise)
  • One way flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa.
  • Tibet Entry Permit
  • All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary and relevant permits
  • All meals listed
  • International flight reconfirmation.

Exclusive:

  • Flights to/from Asia. We are an ATOL bonded operator and can arrange flights from the UK
  • Tibetan Group Tourist Visa/Chinese entry visa
  • Nepal entry visa
  • International airport departure taxes
  • Any meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Drinks, other than water on activity days
  • Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
  • Travel insurance
  • All other services not listed in 'inclusive'

Please note

All prices are correct at the time of publishing. They are liable to change and can only be confirmed upon submitting an enquiry.

Extras

Flights

We will arrange all internal flights used within our holiday itineraries. We can also arrange discounted flights from all UK airports to Asia and we are a fully bonded ATOL operator. If you would like a quote for your international flights then please complete the required section on the enquiry form.

Visa

You will require a visa to enter Tibet and Nepal.

Passport

Please ensure that you have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity remaining after your return date. You will also need at least one blank page for each of the countries you are visiting.

Insurance

You will require a comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. We offer our customers a specially discounted insurance policy, ideally suited to the needs that a trip such as this creates. Tick the insurance box in the enquiry form and we will send you a quote to suit your needs.

Vaccinations and Malaria Prevention

You will undoubtedly require vaccinations for your visit to Asia. Please consult your doctor or a vaccination clinic for the most up-to-date advice. They will also be able to advise you of the most suitable anti-malarial medication if required. It is important that you do this well in advance of your departure date.

Booking Procedure

Only once you are completely happy with any holiday itinerary we create for you will we ask for a payment. In order that we can secure availability for your booking we would typically require a deposit of 20%.

Travelling Responsibly

We care about the places and the communities that you will travel through. It is important to us that we travel as responsibly as possible throughout Asia and that we are giving something back to the regions and the people that make these journeys so special. Full details on our approach to responsible travel can be found on a dedicated section of this website.

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Our tailor-made service costs you no extra

This itinerary is designed to work straight off the peg, but we'll happily tailor it until it's a perfect fit for you, to ensure we’re making the absolute best of your time and funds. All you need to do is ask...

Your own private guides & drivers

You'll typically have your own private guides & drivers throughout your trip. When you will be sharing a service (eg a boat cruise) with others, we'll always let you know.

Book With Confidence

For peace of mind when booking your future holiday to Asia, we have introduced flexible booking conditions & full financial clarity.