Embark on the classic 1,000 km long journey along the Friendship Highway that connects the fabled city of Lhasa, Tibet to the bustling city of Kathmandu, Nepal. The route covers some of the most historic cities in Tibet, taking in important palaces, monasteries and natural vistas such as lakes, glaciers and mountains.
Visit the famous Potala Palace where the legendary Dalai Lama used to live. At Jokhang Temple – the most sacred temple in Tibet, you will be impressed by the devotion of the Tibetans as you observe them performing their full body prostration and kora (circumabulation) rituals around the temple compound. Catch the sunrise over the vast, 4700m high, turquoise Namtso Lake with the magnificent Nyenchen Tanglha mountain range as its backdrop.
Rumble down the mountain roads through several high mountain passes to the Everest Base Camp for a close up view of Mount Everest. Stay overnight with a nomadic Tibetan family and savour a bowl of Thukpa (Tibetan Noodle Soup) and butter tea in the warmth of their yak fleece tent. The journey also brings you across the 5150m Thong La Pass with enchanting views of Shisapangma (8012m), Makalu (8463m), Lhotse (8516m) and Cho Oyu (8210m). As you journey towards Kathmandu, a whole new adventure and experience begins.
CHENGDU – LHASA
In the morning, you will board a domestic flight from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport to Lhasa Gonggar Airport (1 hr 50 min flight). Get your cameras ready as you will be flying above the beautiful Himalayas mountain range among the clouds. Upon arrival at the airport, you will be greeted by our friendly Tibetan guide who will bring you to the hotel (1 hr drive away). As you will need to adjust to the high altitude, the rest of the day is left for you to rest or to explore Bakhor Street which is within walking distance.
The next two days will be spent exploring the sights in Lhasa City and understanding the culture of the local Tibetans. Visit the famous Potala Palace, where the legendary Dalai Lamas used to live, and revisit scenes where the movie “Seven Years in Tibet” took its inspiration from. Take a short stroll to Jokhang Temple nearby and appreciate the religious devotion of the local Tibetans by seeing how they perform their koras. Spend your afternoon watching the monks debating about Buddhist philosophies animatedly in the courtyard of the Sera Monastery. Food choices are plenty in Lhasa, ranging from local Tibetan, Indian, Western and Chinese. Do not miss out on visiting a local Tibetan teahouse and try a sip of their local tea as well.
Make a trip to Drepung Monastery that is situated in the west, be awed by its magnificence as it is the largest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery. Deepen your understanding of the history of Tibet by exploring the Tibet museum. In the late afternoon, take a stroll in the Norbulingka Palace (aka Summer Palace) where the 14th Dalai Lama last stayed before fleeing to India and enjoy the greenery.
LHASA – NAMTSO LAKE
(Distance and time: ~250km, 5 hrs)
Namtso Lake (“Heavenly Lake” in Tibetan) is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet. Situated at 4718m above sea level with an area of 1920 km2, it is the biggest lake in Tibet and one of the highest lakes in the world. The snow-capped Nyenchen Tanglha mountain range, with peaks more than 7000m, forms a picturesque backdrop behind Namtso Lake. Interestingly, these were the actual mountains that Heinrich Harrer (from the Seven Years in Tibet) scaled. Make your way up to the small hill beside the lake for a bird eye’s view of the lake and the Tanglha range. Get your cameras ready as you witness the dramatic sunset cast over the calm of the lake.
NAMTSO LAKE – LHASA
(Distance and time: ~250km, 5 hrs)
Early risers can choose to wake up early to catch the equally dramatic sun rising over the lake. You will make your back to Lhasa after a leisure breakfast. On the way back, there is an opportunity to visit the Yangbaijing hot springs, which have been harnessed to produce electricity for Lhasa.
LHASA – YAMDROK TSO – GYANSTE – SHIGATSE
(Distance and time: ~320km, 5hrs)
You will travel along the famous Friendship Highway from Lhasa to Shigatse – a scenic route with plenty of viewpoints among the Himalayas mountain ranges. The dazzling Yamdrok-Tso (another one of the three holy lakes of Tibet) from the 4700m Kamba-La Pass in a fabulous shade of turquoise is so breathtaking that it looks almost surreal. Far in the distance is the glaciated peak of Nojin Kangtsang rising to 7191m. In Gyantse, you will visit the Pelkor Chode Monastery and the Gyantse Kumbum (multi-storied aggregate of Buddhist chapels) – the largest chorten in Tibet and one of its architectural wonders.
SHIGATSE – LHATSE – SHEGAR
(Distance and time: ~485km, 8 hrs)
In the morning, visit Tashilunpo Monastery – one of the six great monasteries of the Gelugpa sect and the traditional seat of Panchen Lama. This is followed by a drive to Shegar, also known as New Tingri over Tso-La pass (4500m) and Gyatso-La pass (5252m) via Lhatse.
SHEGAR – RONGBUK – EVEREST BASE CAMP
(Distance and time: ~100km, 4 hrs)
Today, we will get up close and personal with the Grand Dame – Mount Everest. To travel to Everest Base camp, you will be driven from Shegar to Rongbuk on unpaved roads, climbing up to Pang-La Pass (5050m) with sweeping views of the Himalayas range – including Makalu, Lhotse, Everest and Cho Oyu. The drive then descends down to valleys lined with photogenic villages. Visit Rongbuk Monastery, probably the highest religious building in the world. You can then take a shuttle bus or trek approximately 3 km from the “Tent Hotels” area to the Everest Base Camp. The Base Camp itself is dry and barren, but the views of Everest are beyond breathtaking. Catch the sunset over Mount Everest and witness how the mountains get illuminated by the sun rays.
Overnight: Guesthouse or “tent hotel”
RONGBUK – OLD TINGRI – NYALAM –GYIRONG
(Distance and time: ~240km, 10 hrs)
Begin your day by watching the sun rise over the Everest Grand Dame. You will then be driven to Gyirong via Old Tingri and Nyalam, crossing the Thong-La pass (5150m) – the last high pass before descending to the sub-continent – with enchanting views of Mt. Shishapangma – the only eight thousander entirely within the Chinese territory. From the pass, the route will descend down to Gyirong, the border town of Tibet. The landscape changes drastically in the last 30km from Nyalam to Gyirong, leaving behind the rocky and arid Tibetan Plateau to enter into a humid, dense and evergreen forest with deep river gorges and waterfalls.
GYIRONG– KODARI – KATHMANDU
(Distance and time: ~120km, 5 hrs)
After a leisure breakfast, you will bid goodbye to your Tibetan guide to clear the Chinese Customs and walk across the Sino-Nepal Friendship Bridge – a no man’s land – to the Nepali border town of Kodari. Our friendly Nepali local guide will greet you at the Nepali end of Friendship Bridge and will assist you with the VISA application and Custom clearance. For the adventurous, there is an option to experience extreme sports like Bungee jump or Canyon swing, available at The Last Resort situated at about 12km past Kodari. You will be driven directly to Kathmandu city, 114km away.
KATHMANDU – SINGAPORE
After a buffet breakfast in the hotel, lose yourself in the shopping stretch of Thamel Road to pick up some last minute souvenirs. After which, we will arrange for your transport to the airport for your flight home.
- Domestic air ticket from Chengdu to Lhasa
- All airport transfers to and from hotel
- Private 4WD land cruiser with driver for transport outside Lhasa
- All accommodation in Chengdu, Tibet and Kathmandu (3-star hotels or guesthouse)
- English Speaking local Tibetan guide
- Lodging and meals for guide and driver
- All necessary Tibet permits to carry out above itinerary
- Vehicle and guide entrance tickets to Everest Base Camp
- Return international air ticket*
- Travel insurance*
- Transport during sight-seeing within Lhasa*
- All entrance fees to places of interest (you only pay what you want to see)
- All meals not indicated
- Chinese Visa (Singaporeans are Visa-free up to 15 days)
- Nepali Visa (You can get it on the spot when you arrive at Kodari – USD25 for a 15 day tourist visa )
- Shuttle bus to enter EBC (if you hike up, then you can save it)
- Tips for guide and driver
- All expenses of a personal nature
*International fights and AIG Travel Guard Insurance can be arranged on your behalf.
*Transport during sight-seeing within Lhasa can be arranged but we recommend you to take taxi to save cost.
Need more information on Tibet travel? Read through our Tibet FAQ and get them answered!
The trip to tibet n nepal opened my eyes to the locals’ way of living, as well as both countries’ rich culture n beautiful natural scenery. There were numerous exhilarating experiences for me during the trip – including seeing the elusive mt everest peak after waiting for hrs on end for the clouds to disperse, and waking up at 3am to partake in the traditional tibetan “yogurt” festival w the locals. We also had the chance to paraglide in nepal, an awesome way to enjoy the surrounding mountainous view; it was something that I had not intended to do before the trip but was glad i did! The tibet itinerary was rather flexible as we were allowed to choose the places we wanted to visit during the trip, based on our personal preferences. Looking back, it was gd that we were able to drive from tibet directly into nepal via the friendship bridge as it was interesting seeing the immediate contrast between the 2 countries’ architecture, infrastructure n pple despite their proximity. Thank you iwannatravel for this eye-opening trip!
– Shing (Group of 4 on a 13D12N trip to Tibet and Nepal in Aug 2014)
Coordination with IWT was a breeze. Ying was quick in responding to queries and very helpful, giving tips according to her own experience climbing Pelapah Falls. Prasanth, the driver, was on-time, friendly and skillful. Despite the hours of driving and waiting for us, he always wore a smile on his face. Nan, our guide, was very experienced. He was like a fatherly figure who knew exactly what he was doing and that brought a lot of assurance to us. Pelapah Falls has its challenges but it was such a good experience for my friends and I. We had to tread through cooling rivers, climb using ropes, avoid giant ants and manage a few leeches but the amazing and therapeutic waterfalls made it all worth it. All of us were counted as beginner hikers and we all made it. So don't worry. Just do it!
– Xiuqing (Group of 5 on a Pelepah Falls & Kota Tinggi Trip in Feb 2017)
Guide and driver were very nice people. Caring, considerate, conscientious, patient, nice and fun people. Car was driven with care so that we were comfortable and did not feel car sick during the long rides. I enjoyed the trips to ijen, bromo and the waterfall at batu. Views were very scenic. Our guide Vinda and the local guides which she got along the way brought us to scenic spots (esp @ the waterfalls) and helped to take great pictures.
– Alexia (Group of 3 on a 5D4N Ijen Crater, Mount Bromo & Batu in Sep 2016)
Everything was great! From planning til the end of the trip, everything was organised. The activities were fun and itinerary was well planned. We did not feel that we were rushed at all and we get to enjoy Borobudur and Mount Bromo in our own pace. Our guide, Bayu, was very friendly and helped us a lot especially when it comes to ordering food :). This is the most relaxing, hassle-free trip I've ever had! Thanks Iwannatravel 🙂
– Sunshine (Group of 7 on a 4D3N trip to Bromo & Borobudur in Aug 2016)
I really enjoy the whole travel experience. The driver is always contactable and prompt, and transport it’s quite comfortable. The mountain guide is friendly, and is knowledgeable and ensures that the last person is not left behind, and there are 2 guides provided to us for a group of 10 which I think is quite good. The accommodation at Melaka is quite clean and it’s within the tourist attraction; Jonker Street and there’s also some free and easy time to explore with driver provided.
– Xian Ying (Group of 10 on a 2D1N trip to Mt Ophir in May 2016)
I liked how fast HS was able to plan the itinerary for our group, making it flexible to suit our preferences and how he was very prompt to answer our questions and give suggestions on things that we can do. We only ask assistance for bookings on our Vietnam trip (Mt. Fansipan trek, Lao Cai- Hanoi train tickets and Halong Bay Day Cruise). However, upon knowing that we are also traveling to Laos, HS has gone an extra mile and help us map out our Laos itinerary too. Transport provided both for Fansipan trek and Halong Bay Day Cruise were awesome as they picked us up from our hostel right on time. Our Fansipan guide was very helpful and patient and ensured everyone's safety during the trek. While our Halong Bay Cruise guide was quite informative and very entertaining as she makes us laugh without even trying. Our group was very much satisfied with the food served to us both during the Fansipan trek and Halong Bay cruise. And of course, we definitely enjoyed all the activities we did: trekking up to the summit of Fansipan, riding a sleeper train from Lao Cai to Hanoi and kayaking in Halong Bay. Organization of our trip is superb knowing that we were IWT's first customers to book for their Fansipan trek and Halong Bay Cruise trip. *^_^*
– Michelle (Group of 3 on a 4D3N trip to Mt Fansipan & Halong Bay in Apr 2016)
IWT LLP, acts only as an agent for The Client in acquiring transportation, accommodations, sightseeing, trekking and other services for The Client’s benefit, and on the express condition that IWT LLP shall not be liable nor responsible for any loss (including without limitation, direct, indirect, special, incidental or consequential loss, economic loss), damage, mishap, bodily injury, death, delay, defect, omission or any irregularity that may be caused to The Client, third parties or properties. IWT LLP is to be released from all liabilities deriving from acts of terrorism, hijacking, civil unrest, natural calamities, labour strikes, thefts or any other factors beyond IWT LLP’s control. Any losses and expenses are to be borne by The Client. In the event that IWT LLP is found liable by a court of competent jurisdiction on any basis in relation to The Client’s booking done via IWT LLP, IWT LLP’s maximum liability to the client is limited to the cost of the booking in question. See our full Terms and Conditions.