Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland Tour

Trip Overview

Tibet has enthralled travellers for centuries. Our drive over the vast, arid plateau will allow us to meet its people and allow travellers of today a glimpse into what Tibet might have been before the Chinese occupation. The drive from Kathmandu to Lhasa promises to be an experience of a lifetime as it gives visitors the opportunity to see the stunning landscape, architecture and the spiritual populace of Tibet. When flights to Lhasa are not operating the only way to travel to Lhasa is by road from Kathmandu. However when flights are operating some travellers prefer to go by road one way and fly the other.

The drive from Kathmandu to Lhasa will take us over spectacular high passes, with revealing views of the majestic Himalayas. The journey will take us four days along the Friendship Highway. The drive is well worth while as visitors will encounter some enchanting Buddhist monasteries and remote villages. These have been untouched by modern civilisation. While approaching the city, we will be able to see the Potala Palace. This is set high on Red Hill. Here, a vast white and ochre fortress dominates the Lhasa skyline.This fort is the historical seat of Tibetan power and contains the tombs of previous Dalai Lamas. The Potala Palace has been reduced to serving as a symbolic feature for Tibetan aspirations. The Jokhang temple, 2 km to the east of the Palace, has become the spiritual hub of the country. Bustling with worshippers and with an air of mystery, the Jokhang offers an unrivalled Tibetan experience. The medieval Barkhor Bazaar is almost mystical – with its crowds, street performers, hawkers’ stalls selling everything from prayer flags to jewel-encrusted yak skulls. You may see the devout touching their foreheads to the ground at every step to Jokhang. All in all, this is an exotic brew that few newcomers can resist. We will have the opportunity to visit the Drepung and Sera monasteries; these are two of the great monasteries of the Gelukpa (yellow hat) sect. These monasteries are just outside Lhasa and are well worth the effort, and, for some, these visits can be a very enlightening experience. The Norbulingka – the wonderful old summer palace of the Dalai Lamas – is the other highlight of this adventure. The Kathmandu to Lhasa Tour journey ends with a two days sightseeing tour around Lhasa.

Important Note: Your safety is of paramount concern whilst travelling with Griffon Travel. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if this becomes necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary as planned. However, as this is adventure travel in a remote mountain region, we cannot guarantee it! Weather conditions, health condition of a member, unexpected natural disasters, etc, can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible- if required.

Day to Day Activity

Day 01:  Drive from Kathmandu to Nyalam (3,750m)
Day 02:  In Nyalam – acclimatisation day
Day 03: Drive to lao Tingri /Lhatse (4350m)
Day 04: Drive to Shigatse(3900m)
Day 05: Drive to Lhasa (3650m)
Day 06: Lhasa – visit Jokhang Temple
Day 07: Lhasa – visit Potala Palace, Drepung and Sera Monasteries
Day 08: Drive to Gongkar International Airport and fly to Kathmandu

Note: You will be on B/B Basis throughout the trip.

Trip Highlight

» The epic drive from Kathmandu to Lhasa
» Magnificent landscapes and dramatic high passes
» Time to explore Lhasa, including the fascinating Potala Palace
» Dramatically changing scenery of the Himalaya
» A spectacular flight across the Himalaya to Kathmandu

  • Day 01: Drive from  Kathmandu to Nyalam (3,750m) - 162km
    7 hours Driving.
    Early morning departure, we drive (approximately 5 hrs) from Kathmandu to Kodari (1,873m) at the border.  After completing Nepali customs/immigration formalities, it’s about a 10 minutes walk across Friendship Bridge to Tibet where further immigration formalities have to be done. Here, our Tibetan Guide and land cruiser awaits (4 passengers plus a driver per vehicle). It’s a 30 minute uphill drive from Kodari to Zhangmu (2,300m), where the Chinese border police will check your passport and visa again. This is a Tibetan border trading town.  From Zhangmu it is 2 hours scenic drive to Nyalam.  On the way, we will journey through a deep valley with a fantastic view of some spectacular waterfalls.
    Overnight Guesthouse, Included meal: Breakfast,

    Day 02: Rest day in Nyalam to acclimatize,
    After breakfast we will take a short walk through Nyalam village to visit the Monastery. If you are still energetic there is an optional 2 hours walk following the river.  We will use a gently ascending track for good views of the mountains and the surrounding valley below, Alternatively you may choose to stroll around and have a rest at the guesthouse.
    Overnight Guesthouse, Included meal: Breakfast,

    Day 03: Drive from Nyalam to Lao Tingri/Lhatse (4,350 m)- 185km
    4 hours driving.
    The day starts with an uphill drive through little valleys to the highest plateau in the world.  The Tibetan plateau is known also as the roof of the world.  We will travel through the first high pass of Lalung La Pass (5050m).  From here there is a magnificent view of high Himalayas including Gaurishankar and Shishapangma (This is the only 8,000m peak that is entirely in Tibet), and Lang tang Himal. Then we will drive eastwards along the Friendship Highway to lao Tingri, or continue on to Lhatse. From lao Tingri you can enjoy an excellent view of the breath taking mountains- Everest, Gyajung Khang and Cho Oyu.
    Overnight Guesthouse, Included'meal: Breakfast,

    Day 04:  Drive to Shigatse (3,900m)- 255km
    5 hours driving.
    After seeing sunrise on the Himalaya from Lao Tingri, we drive to Shigatse - the second largest city in Tibet. This is the home of the Tashilunpo Monastery, the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama, and one of the great centres of Tibetan Buddhism.
    In the afternoon we will visit Tashilunpo Monastery, a prominent landmark of the region. This is located on the southern slope of the Nyima Mountain, to the west of the Shigatse city. It is one of the four monasteries of the Geluk Pa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism.  The main structures here are the Maitreya Chapel, Panchen Lama’s Palace, Kelsang Temple and an interesting Bazaar. Tashilunpo Monastery has been the seat of the Panchen Lama since the Fourth Panchen Lama took charge over the Monastery. It now houses nearly 800 Lamas.
    Overnight comfortable Hotel, Included meal: Breakfast,

    Day 05:  Drive from Shigatse to Lhasa (3,650m)- 365km
    7 hours driving.
    After breakfast we can visit the interesting local market in the old part of Shigatse city. Afterwards we will enjoy a pleasant 2 hours drive to Gyantse. This is an important market town and trading crossroads.  Here we will have a short photography break. From Gyantse, we continue to drive to Lhasa.  Along the way we will be crossing a couple of high passes - the Karo La (5010m) and Khamba La (4794m) pass.  Also we will be passing Lake Yamdrok Tso (Turquoise Lake). Later on, in this journey, we will cross the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) river and see the distant views of the great bulk of the Potala looming over the city.
    Overnight comfortable Hotel, Included meal: Breakfast

    Day 06:  Sightseeing in Lhasa,
    Here we will spend the next two days (6 & 7) in Lhasa, the religious, cultural and economic centre of Tibet. Our tour begins with a visit to the most sacred temple in Lhasa, the Jokhang.  People come from all over Tibet to visit and pray in this spiritual heart of the country.  It was used as a military kitchen during the Cultural Revolution. Now it has been beautifully restored, with many statues adorning the chapels, and magnificent gilded roofs.  The most holy statue in Tibet is the Jowo Shakyamuni, housed now in the Jokhang.  You will probably also want to spend time wandering around the Barkhor, the old city, in company with the pilgrims.  Around the Barkhor there are numerous stalls selling all sorts of handicrafts - brightly coloured boots,fur-lined hats, silver and turquoise jewellery, rosaries, prayer flags and charms, as well as beautiful Tibetan carpets and all manner of ordinary household ware. Truly, a cornucopia of wonders! You will find it very interesting to be able to see pilgrims undertaking their circumambulation walk (Kora) around Barkhor street in the early morning and late evening.
    Overnight comfortable Hotel, Included meal: Breakfast

    Day 07:  Lhasa Sightseeing,
    On the second day of our tour, the highlight will be the visit to the symbol of Tibet; the Potala Palace set high on Red Hill, the winter home of the Dalai Lama until 1959.  This 17th century Palace offers an awesome view of the entire city. It also houses the private quarters of the Dalai Lama, as well as numerous grand state rooms and chapels. We also visit Sera and Drepung monasteries, two of the great monasteries of the Gelukpa (yellow hat) sect, just outside Lhasa. Other great treasures are the Norbulingka- the wonderful old summer palace of the Dalai Lama, and the Ramoche temple. Our day concludes with the return to the comforts of our hotel.

    (Please note that the order in which we do the sightseeing depends on when we get tickets to visit the Potala.  Since 2006 Potala visiting times have been restricted due to the large number of tourists: only a limited number of tickets are issued every day to each travel agent.  Outside the Potala, and walking up to and down from the palace, we can take our time but all tourists are now only allowed 1 hour actually inside the Potala palace).
    Overnight comfortable Hotel, Included meal: Breakfast

    Day 08: Drive to Gongkar International Airport and fly to Kathmandu,
    After breakfast we depart to Gongkar International Airport for the flight to Kathmandu. We will have a one and half hour drive from Lhasa following Friendship Highway through a tunnel to the airport.  After that we take a fabulous one hour flight over Himalayas to Kathmandu.  If the weather is clear we will have wonderful views of Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, and other peaks, en route.  You will get small snacks and a drink on the plane.  Your representative will meet you at the Kathmandu Airport and take you to the hotel.
    Included meal: Breakfast

    Important Note:

    Health & Experience Requirements

    Our overland Journey to the Lhasa is usually, planned for those who do not want to walk. Therefore, this itinerary will offer the best and magnificent views of the Trans Himalaya, Tibetan people and their culture. The itinerary also includes 5-7 hours (220km) of driving over 4,000m (13,123ft) on many days.  With the combination of high altitudes and some quite long drives we all must maintain a positive attitude and a strong determination. Therefore, previous high altitude experience will be a very great benefit for both you and your fellow travellers. Walking is not mandatory on this trip.

    A Day on your Overland Journey...

    The first day journey commences early in the morning.  We will have interval stops for both breakfast and lunch en route.  The journey includes a rest break at Nyalam.  Most of our journey, each day, starts after breakfast is finished by 8.00am. We will have breaks for lunch en route in pleasant surroundings. Finally, we go to sleep in twin bedded rooms with foam mattress - for a well deserved night's rest.


    Seven nights’ accommodations are included in the price of the trip. We have chosen accommodation options based on the following criteria; standard of hygiene, standard of service, location, food standards and cost. Bedrooms will be twin share with attached bath, except in Nyalam.


    Breakfast is provided every day, at the lodge, or guest house. Local and western style cooking are included in the trip which will be served at the lodge, guest house or hotel in which we stay.  Your leader will ensure good restaurants for lunch and evening meals. We recommend that you prepare to spend Yuan 60 -100, per day (100 Yuan equals approximately US$10 to US$16) for both lunch and dinner. However, dependant upon local circumstances, sometimes this can exceed our previous guidelines. You will find, generally speaking, that meals are cheaper in Tibet.

    Visa and Travel Procedures:

    Travelling to Tibet is a dream for many people. Griffon Travel does understand this and will ensure your Tibet tour is the adventure of your lifetime.  We will take care of the necessary formalities and procedures for your entry into, and exit from, as well as your journeys through Tibet.For more info: Contact us

    Equipments no 's' & Packing List

    While packing for Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland Tour certain equipment is essential. Please prepare your own comprehensive checklist for this.  Then check it with us – well before your departure to Kathmandu.

    We will be travelling overland to the highest plateau in the world. Our route will constantly be above 4000m/13123ft, during our journey except Lhasa (3,650m/11,975ft). Driving fast in these high elevations can cause medical conditions - Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) which can be fatal.  There is 50% less oxygen in places like Tibet compared with sea level. The higher the altitude the less oxygen there is in the air. Our bodies do need a few days to acclimatise to this low oxygen environment.

    Although Griffon Travel provides enough information regarding AMS, if we should have guests who suffer from, or with, AMS, we do not have facilities to treat it - other than medication. Sensible planning can help to minimize AMS during the tour. Therefore, Griffon Travel requires that its customers participate actively in some trek or altitude activities in Nepal, or elsewhere, before joining this trip. Griffon Travel very strongly advises that its guest(s) who have heart, lungs or blood disorders and or weaknesses to consult a doctor before travelling. Mild headaches, fever, loss of appetite or stomach disorder are symptoms of AMS.

    Leader(s) & Staff Arrangements:

    Griffon Travel provides the best experienced tour leaders all of whom have a good command of English. On every trip to Tibet, Griffon Travel operates together with its Tibetan counterpart. This can lead to some differences in attitude and customer service in between Nepal and Tibet. Griffon Travel always assures you of our best and highest level of customer service.


Price Includes

» Arrival/departure transfers in Tibet
» All necessary Tibet travel permits
» Obtaining the Chinese visa
» Kathmandu - Tibet  border(Zhang-Mu) transportation by comfortable vehicle
» Zhang-Mu - Lhasa transfer by non AC Jeep, or mini bus
» Accommodation in Tibet on twin sharing basis (except in Nyalam) with breakfast
» English speaking Tibetan guide
» Sightseeing and Monastery fees, as per itinerary
» All applicable taxes and service charges
» Lhasa- Kathmandu flight

Price Excludes

» Chinese visa fee {US$ 198, for the US nationals and US$ 114, for other nationals (visa fee is subject to change without prior notice)
» Nepal visa fee
» Accommodation and meals in Kathmandu
» Your travel insurance
» Meals other than breakfast in Tibet
» Tips for staff
» Any additional expenses due to unforeseen circumstances

Equipment List

You can bring your personal clothing if you already have them with you,if not it's worth buying all below mentioned clothing and equipments here in Kathmandu in good rates and your guide will help you with it.You will have plenty of time before the trek to buy stuffs in Kathmandu(thamel). 


  • Fleece beanie
  • sun glasses
  • Chapstick / Sunscreen
  • Face mask or Scarf
  • Hand towel
  • Wind stopper / waterproof top and bottom
  • Cold weather down jacket below waist
  • Fleece jacket and trouser
  • Trekking trouser
  • T-Shirts(short or long sleeves) dry fit is better
  • Polypropylene thermal tops and bottom
  • Wind stopper and fleece gloves
  • Socks and under wears
  • Trekking boot
  • Runners
  • Head torch
  • Personal medical kit
  • Water Bottle/Camel Pak
  • Trekking / Ski pole (optional. Handy for anyone with knee problem)
  • Spare batteries for Camera andflash light. Check charging facility along your journey
  • Day pack  Minimum25L with side pocket for water bottle
Latest News
TAAN Pokhara Chapter Explored New Trail
A team of Trekking Agencies'' Association of Nepal (TAAN) Western Regional Association Pokhara has explored a new trekking trail that starts from Kushma of Parbat and ends at Baskharka of Myagdi district.

A 17-member team led by Narayan Sapkota, former president of TAAN Pokhara, started the exploration with a drive to Kushma from Pokhara. From Kushma, the walk started toward Banau (2150 meters) through Ghumti, Bagaicha, Bhatebari, Dhakdhake and Sidhali
Your Guide
01. Hiking
01. Hiking

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02. Camping
02. Camping

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Company Info
Griffon Travel is an adventure company in Kathmandu, Nepal, which has been established by experience people from the Himalayas
Address: Minbhawan, Kathmandu, Nepal
Email: info@griffon-travel.com