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Himalaya Holiday Service
Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan & India Tours and Travel Operator

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Yunnan Tibet Overland tour via Northern Tibet
Duration: 17 Days
Accommodation:Hotels and guesthouses.
Activities: Sights seeing, monastery visits, 4WD adventures.
Trip Grading: Moderate
Trip Type: Popular
Group Size:2-10 pax
Start From:Kunming, Yunnan
Finish In:Lhasa, Tibet
Highest Altitude:Kyogche La Pass (4900 m)
Best Season: March to October

Detail Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive in Kunming
Arrive in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province. Meet your guide and transfer to hotel. Overnight at a middle range 3 star hotel.

Day 02: At Kunming.
Today, you will take a day excursion to the Stone Forest- consisting of eighty hectares of ancient limestone cliffs and peaks eroded by wind and water over two hundred million years. The area is the home of the Sani minority people.

Days 03 Flight to Lijiang.
After breakfast, take morning flight to Lijiang. Meet the Lijiang Guide at the airport and after some rest in the hotel, visit the Old City of Lijiang, including Dongba culture museum.

Day 04: At Lijiang
After breakfast, take an excursion to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain with a chair lift ride to discover the much famed thirteen peaks. On the way, visit the Jade Peak Monastery and Baisha Village. You have free time in the afternoon to stroll around. Overnight hotel.

Days 05 Drive to Zhongdian
Drive to Zhongdian, also called Shangri La. En route, stop and tour the Shigu (Stone Drum) Village overlooking the First Bend of the Yangtze River. Continue to the Tiger Leaping Gorge, which you will enter by bus before taking a path down to the Golden Sands River.

Day 06 At Zhongdian
Visit the Gedan Songzanlin Monastery, which was built in 1679 by the Fifth Dalai lama. In the afternoon, walk to visit Dabao Si Monastery and Napahai reserved area. Overnight at hotel.

Day 07:Drive Dechen
Drive through parts of the Hengduan Range along the Jinsha Jiang River. Have a break in a beautiful small town named Benzilan. Finally arrive at Dechen. Enjoy a far view of Mt. Meili, the highest peak of Yunnan Province, with an altitude of 6,740m. This peak is named "Kawagebo" after a Tibetan brave man. Overnight in best available Guesthouse.

Day 08: Drive to Markham
Drive northwards along the Langcang Jiang River Valley, the upper reaches of the Mekong River towards Yanjing country. Yanjing is a nice place to stroll around, enjoy the peace of life, and visit a Church at the north end of the town. In the afternoon, reach Markham, a small but important town on Sichuan - Tibet Highway. Overnight in best available Guesthouse.

Day 09: Drive to Bangda
After breakfast, from the most eastern corner of, start westwards in the direction of Lhasa on the northern side of the Nyenchentangla Shan Range. Pass Zuogong county town and in the late afternoon, arrive in Bangda. Overnight in best available Guesthouse.

Day 10: Drive to Chamdo
After breakfast, drive over the Chuma Shankou Pass (4360m). Then drive down along the Mekong valley, which leads to Chamdo (3200m.). Chamdo was the former capital of Kham in the East - Tibetan area. Visit Galden Jampaling Monastery, built in the 15th century and is the biggest Monastery of Gelugpa sect in East - Tibetan area or Kham. Overnight in best available Guesthouse.

Day 11: Chamdo to Dengchen
Drive over the Zholpel La Pass (4690m), through the Ngamda village in Dzi Chu and up to a small town of Ratsaka . Finally reach Dengchen. Overnight in best available Guesthouse.

Day 12: Dengchen to Bachen
Dengchen is the centre of the Boen religion, a pri-Buddhist religion based on ancient witchcraft and the worship of gods and ghosts. Visit two monasteries: Tengchen and Ritro Lhakhang. Continue over Tsuri La Pass (4200m) and Shel La Pass (4750m) to Bachen. Overnight in best available Guesthouse.

Day 13: Bachen to Nagchu
Drive to Sok Tsanden Zhol village and during the journey stop to visit two monasteries of the Nyimpa sect: Sok Tsanden Gonpa and Kapgye Lhakhang. Then cross over two passes and reach the city of Shakchuka . Another 100km and two more passes have to be mastered before arriving at Nagchu. Overnight in best available Guesthouse.

Day 14: Nagchu - Lhasa
Nagchu is an important and big town in on the Qinghai - Tibet Highway, which starts from Golmud of Qinghai province and ends in Lhasa. Drive over Kyogche La Pass (4850m) and continue down to Damsung. After passing Yangpachen, arrive in Lhasa, capital and center of Tibetan culture.

Day 15-16: At Lhasa
Visit the highlights of Lhasa such as Potala Palace, Drepung and Sera Monasteries, Norbulingkha Palace and Barkhor Street.

Day 17: Depart Lhasa
You are transferred to the airport for your flight to next destination. You can fly to Kathmandu, Beijing or Chengdu and other major Chinese cities and other Asian Cities via Chengdu.

Trips Highlights

• Stone Forest of ancient limestone cliffs and peaks in Kunming.
• Old City of Lijiang and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
• Tiger Leaping Gorge and Gedan Songzanlin Monastery in Zhongdian
• Views of Mount Meili and Nyenchentangla Shan Range.
• Galden Jampaling Monastery in Chhamdo.
• Dengchen and Ritro Lhakhang Monasteries in Dengchen.
• Sok Tsanden Gonpa and Kapgye Lhakhang.
• Potala Palace, Drepung and Sera Moansteries, Jorkhang Temple and Norbulingkha Palace in Lhasa

Dates and Prices
Start and End dates - Flexible
Tour Cost: For best and reasonable cost, contact us

Trip Cost Includes
• Mid range hotels in the cities and best available in other stops.
• Daily Breakfast.
• All transportation by a 4WD Toyota Landcruiser Jeep.
• English speaking Local Guides
• Tibet permits
• Sightseeing Admission Fees.
• Kunming-Lijiang airfare

Trip Cost Does Not Include
• International airfare to Kunming and return from Lhasa.
• Lunch and dinner
• Drinks and tips and other expenses of personal nature such laundry, phone etc.
• Extra expenses due to nature and unforeseen events.
• Travel Insurance.

Trekking Equipments
The following basic equipments check lists should help you with your packing. Please remember that you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. At the start of the trek your packed trek bag should not weigh more than 33 pounds or 15 kg.

- Sun hat or scarf
- Light balaclava or warm fleece hat
- Sunglasses with UV protection

Lower Body:
- Under Garments
- Hiking shorts
- Lightweight cotton long pants
- Light and expedition weight thermal bottoms
- Fleece or wool pants
- Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell pants

- Thin, lightweight inner socks
- Thick, warm wool hiking socks
- Hiking boots with spare laces
- Camp shoes (sneakers and/or sandals) Gaiters for hiking in winter to the base camp

Upper Body:
- T-shirts
- Light and expedition weight thermal tops
- Fleece jacket or pullover
- Fleece Wind-Stopper jacket (optional)
- Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell jacket
- Down vest and/or jacket *

- Lightweight gloves
- Heavyweight gloves or mittens with a waterproof shell outer

- Sleeping bag rated to zero degrees F *
- Headlamp (e.g. Petzl Zoom) with spare bulbs and batteries
- Small pad or combination lock-to-lock
- Trekking Bags *
- Basic First Aid Kit *
- Large plastic bags - for keeping items dry insidetrekbag
- Daypack (approximately 2500 to 3000 cubic inches)
- Thermarest sleeping pad
- Water bottles
- Toiletries (Small wash towel, Toilet papers etc)

- 1 medium sized quick drying towel
- Tooth brush/paste (preferably biodegradable)
- Multipurpose soap (preferably biodegradable)
- Deodorants
- Nail clippers
- Face and body moisturizer
- Feminine hygiene products
- Small mirror

Personal Hygiene:
- Wet wipes (baby wipes)
- Tissue /toilet roll

- Binoculars
- Reading book
- Trail Map/Guide book
- Journal & Pen
- Walkman
- Pencils and small notebooks
- Travel game i.e. chess, backgammon, scrabble

Travel Notes

By Air
The Capital city Lhasa, is connected with Kathmandu by China Southwest Airlines. There are flights on Tuesdays from April 1st week to November last week, the flight of Saturdays are in operation from April First week to the last one of October and the flight of Thursdays is in operation from the first week of August to the last one of October. (However this flight operation schedule might be changed, please contact us for further information) Besides these, there are daily flight to Chengdu from Lhasa and twice a week flights to Beijing and through Chengdu Lhasa is connected with other major cities in China and Hong Kong.

By Road
The Friendship high way connects Lhasa with Kathmandu, the only overland route now in operation as the route from Golmud or Chengdu is very often prohibited for travelers.

All foreigners are required to have a valid China Visa with the permit for Tibet to enter Tibet. However, it is not as easy as it seems to travel and get the visa to Tibet. Entry point must have been mentioned at the visa and clients are not allowed to enter Tibet from other than the point mentioned in visa. So we recommend you to leave all these visa tension to your travel agent as there are lots of process to do to get the visa.

If you are traveling through Nepal Visa must be obtained in Kathmandu or if any travel operator is organizing the tour the local operator (We) can send the visa authorization to Chinese Embassy/ Consulate in their respective country through our counterpart in Lhasa. The authorization is the paper issued by the TIBET TOURISM BUREAU addressing the concerned Embassy to issue visa for the clients mentioned in the list. But min. no of PAX must be 5 on the list. PLEASE NOTE it is not possible to get the visa without joining the trip and the trip must have been organized by the travel agency.

Visa fee is changed every now and then by the authorities. Sometimes the fee is charged according to the Nationality of the clients and sometimes a flat rate is charged. However, expect to pay US$ 40-45 per person for the visa. Please contact us for further information, latest visa fee and regulation.

Entrance fees are charged in Each Monasteries in Tibet. Usually the fees is charged to your organizer and your organizer included this fee in their package cost. Normally travel agencies buy the entrance coupons from the monastery and distribute it to the clients return it back to the Monasteries while on sightseeing. The fee vary according to the monastery and the importance of the place (from US$ 4. (30 Yuan ) to US$ 8 (60 Yuan). Our prices include such fees.

There are entrance fees to Everest Areas and Kailash areas as well. Boating fee is charged while on a trip to Samye or road permit fee is charged for traveling outside Lhasa. You need to have Alien Travel Permit (ATP), Tibet permit and special permits to travel to Tibet except your visa. Tibet permit is issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau and Alien Travel Permit (ATP) or road permit is issued by Public Security Bureau (PSB). We arrange all these permits by ourselves leaving you free to travel. Except these army and culture permit is required to travel to Mt. Kailash area.

Chinese Yuan is used in Tibet. Big hotels accept major credit cards or you can exchange your money in any branch of Bank of China, located in Zhangmo, Shigatse, Lhasa and in Tsedang only. Currently the exchange rate is 01 US$ = 8 Yuan but the rate gates changed very often.

Chinese Standard Time (Beijing) is used in Tibet which is is 8 hours ahead (+) of GMT and 2 hours 15 minutes ahead of Nepal.

Warm clothing are always a must for the trip. For regular tours, light warm traveling clothing are required from June to October. Warm clothing are required for other months (including dusk mask) April, May and November. If you are going for trekking all trekking gears such as, down jacket, sleeping bags,  shirts, comfortable walking shoes, long johns, trousers and skirts, sweaters, jackets, dust masks, shocks, sun hats, sun glasses, suntan lotion, utility knife, water bottles/ thermos, flashlights, water purifying tablets, first aid kit, toilet & tissue papers etc. are important through out the trip. 

Traveling in Tibet involves high altitude & can be strenuous. Person having blood, lungs & heart problems should consult their doctor before taking any decision regarding trip though very few cases of altitude sickness have been reported. Simple headache, fever, loss of appetite or stomach disorder can happen before acclimatization. For your safety there will be oxygen bottles in or each vehicle. 

The best time to visit Tibet is from June to October. Even though monsoon touches some part of Tibet in July and August it is next to nothing if compared to Nepal. If you wish to skip this period then September, October, and the first half of the November is perfect time to visit. This does not mean that in other season you can or visit Tibet. In fact You can visit Tibet from March Last week to November last week. The flight connection to & from Lhasa is started from April the first week to the last one of November and it is closed from December to March due to extreme low temperature which goes below -13 degree centigrade. So plan your journey from April to November last to have the perfect view and sightseeing.   

In Lhasa various choices if hotels are available from 4 star Lhasa Hotel (Former Holiday Inn) to the local budget hotels But in other towns like Tsedang, Gyantse, Shigatse, Shegar, Zhangmo etc. there are 2-3 star hotel one at each towns charging US$ 45 to 65 per night for double room per night on room only basis. If you wish to skip these hotels there are no other choices but to stay in local BUDGET guest house, local lodges etc which you may not find as to your expectation. While traveling in Tibet please keep in mind that you are traveling in a very remote part of the world where you will have to cross more than 500mtr of passes on a dusty roads. So if possible it is suggested not to compromise on accommodation etc.

Different type of transportation in Tibet are provided for separate purpose. For instance for Government employee, local perople, domestic traveler (Chinese) and International travelers.
In normal condition foreign traveler must travel on the vehicles specified for them. Mustly for this purpose 90`s model of Landcruisers of Japan made and Jeeps of China Made are used and there are quite good Hino buses for group travel and Nissan/Toyata Coasters for smaller groups Places where the buses and coasters can not reach 4WD jeeps/Landcruisers are used.

While planning your trip you have to keep in mind that the infrastructure in Tibet is limited to some extent and during the month of July, August, September & October Tibet sees quite a big no of tourist and it seems difficult to handle all the people with the limited infrastructure. So if planning the trip for this period you may have to book the trip much more in advance to get the best you want. If the booking came late you may have to compromise with something you may not like to.

FAQ for Tibet


What statue of person is called "foreign tourist"?

"Foreign tourist" here refers to the person who doesn't hold Chinese ID card. For Taiwan people who have "TaiboZheng" still need to get permit for traveling in Tibet. Hongkong and Macao people now are in freely need of permit.

Is independent tour allowed in Tibet?

Independent tour is prohibited in Tibet. You should take part in an organized group or have the local travel operator to arrange for you.

What is the best season for tour in Tibet?

Generally speaking, from April to October is the best season for Tibet tour. However, having a winter tour can be pleasant ifyou don't mind the cold weather. You can avoid the tourist crowds, and economical accommodations and transportation are more available.

What are some popular places in Tibet?

Lhasa, Tsedang, Gyantse, Shigatse, Tingri, Zhangmu etc. are the most popular places in Tibet, for both normal and trekking itineraries. For expedition, Mt. Everest and Mt. Kailish are the most exciting and accessible areas.

How to enter Tibet?

By air, there are several routes are available now: Beijing-Lhasa, Shanghai-Lhasa, Chengdu -Lhasa,Xi'an-Lhasa, Xining-Lhasa, Guangzhou-Lhasa, Chongqing-Lhasa, Kathmandu-Lhasa. By land, the possible routes are: Qinghai-Lhasa, Sichuan-Lhasa, Yunnan-Lhasa and Kathmandu-Lhasa. However,land transportation takes much longer time, and can be very tough, especially the Sichuan-Lhasa route.

Can I travel in Tibet by bus? I really can't afford the car.

Yes, but very limited, only Golmud (ofQinghai Province)-Lhasa. And this route is subject to change,not always available.

Other than Chinese currency, what else currency is acceptable in Tibet?

USS is acceptable only in a very limited range, e.g. tips. However, for convenience, Chinese currency is the best choice. Ifyou want to change USS to Chinese currency in Tibet, you can change in Lhasa Hotel or the Bank of China in Lhasa.

Can I draw cash from the local banks in Tibet?

Yes, but only the Bank of China in Lhasa has this function. However, the ATM there doesn't always work properly. So we suggestyou to bring some cash with you.

What should I keep in mind when I contact with the Tibetans?

Tibetan people are very kind and hospitable, you can feel free to talk with them. But there are some rulers you should go by:

  • Do not photo them without permission, please show the respect to them!
  • Do not talk about the sensitive topics like political or t religious matters!
  • Do not eat dog, donkey or horse in Tibet!

What can I do with Tibetan beggars?

Religious beggars are an accepted part of society in Tibet. Giving money or food to a pilgrim is considered an act of merit. Donations of five fen to two jiao (Chinese currency) are appropriate. Please note: if the beggars are the old men and women who dress in shredded, bulky clothes, while the younger ones may have a monkey on a chain, it's a spectacle of great interest to the Tibetans.These beggars are professionals, having less meritorious intentions than religious pilgrims. Just wave them off as the locals do if you don't want give anything.

What medicines should I bring for the high elevation?

Try to bring the following medicines that will be very useful during your travel: cold and flu tablets, throat lozenges, nasal decongestant, Aspirin, Multivitamins. Or you can ask your local doctor for suggestions.

What should I bring for the plateau weather?

Tibet's high altitude and the atmosphere allow the sun's solar radiation to strike the earth with unusual intensity. It's very easy to get sun-burnt there. Sunscreen of high sun protection factor,quality sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat are good means of protection. Calamine lotion is good for mild sun-burnt. Those with fair complexions should bring reflective sunscreen with them. Apply the sunscreen to your nose and lips as well.