Overland tour into Tibet itself is far more than interesting. Crossing high desert and driving through over three 5000+meter passes and at the same time visiting Millarepa's cave. Clear view of Mt. Everest is visible from a distance. A 4 nights 5 days staying at the guest houses en-route, another three nights in the mystical Tibetan capital of Lhasa takes you to the palaces of the Dalai Lama, and the finest monasteries and temples. A breathtaking mountain fiesta flight over the eastern Himalayan range will take you past, Mt. Everest (8848 m), Mt. Makalu (8478 m), Mt. Kanchejunga (8585 m) and a host of other mighty Himalayan peaks finally reaching Kathmandu.
You will begin your overland journey from Kathmandu via Zhangmu, Nyalam, Tingri, Xeger, Xigatse, Gyantse and to Lhasa. The distance covered is roughly 1000 km on four-wheel drive vehicles or a coach. The last three days are spent sightseeing in and around Lhasa. Although the road from Kathmandu to Lhasa was opened in 1984, it has not yet been metalled. Since the road is mostly over a mountainous and remote area repairs are difficult and costly and landslides and floods frequently damage major portions, which are usually repaired as soon as possible.
Day 01: Early morning starts with a drive to Tatopani a border town in Nepal, which is 141 km. The drive is scenic and part of the road is in good condition. Trans border formalities. You Tibetan host will be at the border and the drive to the town on the other side is 8 km uphill. All formalities will be completed and your hotel will be assigned.
Day 02: From Zhangmu, it is a 251 km drive to Xeger. The drive gains elevation as it crosses slide tracks to Nyalam. Visit the Millarepa's cave where he is supposed to have attained enlightenment. Millarepa is a sage and is highly respected in Tibetan Buddhism. Overnight at Xeger.
Day 03: Morning a short hikes to view the distant Mt. Everest known as Qomolangma in Chinese. Then drive to Xigatse via Sakya Monastery. The Monastery is 143 km south of Xigatse and was built in the thirteenth century by Konchok Gyalpo and houses some 30,000 volumes of ancient Buddhist scriptures or Sutras. The total distance between Xigatse and Xegar is 245 km. Overnight Xigatse Hotel.
Day 04: Xigatse is the second largest city in Tibet and the capital of the province of Tsang. The rulers of this province had dominion over all of Tibet prior to 1642 AD. At Xigatse you will visit Tashilunpo Monastery which is the seat of the Panchen Lama who is second in spiritual importance only to the Dalai Lama. The monastery was built in 1447 by Gendun Drup and once housed upward of 3400 monks. Of particular interest at Tashilunpo is a nine story gilded statue of Maitreya - the "Future Buddha". A short drive of 95 km will take you to Gyantse.
Day 05: An early morning start to Lhasa and a 259 km drive will get you via Yamdrok Tso or the "Turquoise Lake". Overnight at Lhasa hotel.
Day 06: We, spend this day exploring palaces. First on your list will be the Potala Palace. The palace of the Dalai Lama a treasure of Tibetan culture was, till 1965, the seat of both religion and politics in Tibet and quite possibly, the singularly most important building in all Tibet. It was built in the seventh century by Tsongtsen Gampo as a fort and later renovated by the Fifth Dalai Lama in the seventeenth century to its present specifications. Your next stop will be Norbulingkha the winter palace of the Dalai Lama, which was built, in the eighteenth century.
Day 07: Today you will visit the Drepung monastery. This is the largest monastery in the world and once housed 10,000 monks and nuns. It was built in 1419 and the second, third and fourth Dalai Lamas lived and were entombed here. A visit to the kitchen of this monastery is a must. Look out for the washing machine in which the monks mix their butter tea! Your next stop will be the Jokhang Temple. This is the holiest shrine in Tibet and houses a golden statue of the Buddha, which was brought to Tibet by the Chinese princess "Wen Chen". You then stop off at Barkhor Bazaar outside the Jokhang monastery. This is a bustling flea market and is, generally, the place to buy souvenirs and meet other tourists.
Day 08: Early, morning drive to the airport. The flight back to Kathmandu, which is probably one of the most spectacular flights in the world. A representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
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