This morning a sightseeing tour takes in the key attractions in and around Kathmandu. We will visit Pashupatinath and Boudhanath. Following lunch we will drive to the village of Balthali about 40kms outside of Kathmandu. Our visit here gives us the opportunity to get out of the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu life and experience the reduced pace of rural Nepal while the Tibetan visa formalities are being completed by the Chinese Embassy. If the weather is kind you may also get magnificent views of the Himalayan Range.Evening drinks are held in the hotel for all World Expeditions clients arriving today. Drinks and snacks will generally be served from 6:30 pm until 7:15pm, and this is a great opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow group members before heading out to dinner. Overnight Radisson Hotel
This morning a sightseeing tour takes in the key attractions in and around Kathmandu. We will visit Pashupatinath and Boudhanath. Following lunch we will drive to the village of Balthali about 40kms outside of Kathmandu. Our visit here gives us the opportunity to get out of the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu life and experience the reduced pace of rural Nepal while the Tibetan visa formalities are being completed by the Chinese Embassy. If the weather is kind you may also get magnificent views of the Himalayan Range. It's best if you pack a day pack with the things you will need for the next couple of days as a short walk of about 20 minutes is required to access our accommodation from the road head. Overnight hotel.
Today is a day to explore our surroundings with a walk around the village and nearby environs. Alternatively, you may opt to put your feet up in preparation for the Tibetan adventure that awaits. Overnight hotel.
With visa formalities due to be completed today we head back to Kathmandu in preparation for tomorrows flight to Lhasa. En route back to Kathmandu we stop in at Bhaktapur on of the three ancient cities that have fused to created modern day Kathmandu. We will visit the UNESCO listed Durbar Square that many relate to be the finest in the Kathmandu Valley. Despite some damage being done by the 2015 earthquake there still remains many reasons to visit this wonderful city. In the afternoon you will have free time to explore more of the city and make final preparations for your trip. Overnight Radisson Hotel
The flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa takes an hour and is without doubt one of the most spectacular flights in the world. The flight path takes us just east of the Everest massif, with unrivalled views of the remarkable Kangshung face of Everest. On arrival at Lhasa Airport you will be transferred to the city a drive that takes around two hours. Overnight hotel.
Two days are scheduled to appreciate the rich cultural history of Lhasa. We include visits to the Jokhang, the Norbulingka (the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lama), and the famous Potala Palace. We also include visits to the nearby monasteries of Drepung and Sera. The Jokhang The Old City of Lhasa was built around the Jokhang, the most sacred temple in Tibet. Overnight hotel.
From Lhasa we drive down the Kyichu Valley to the Yarlong Tsampo (Brahmaputra) before ascending to the Khamba La (Khamba Pass) at 4900m. The views are outstanding in the foreground is the vast freshwater Yamdrok Tso or Turquoise Lake, while to the south the snow-capped ranges merge with the main Himalayan range. We drive around the lake before crossing the Karo La (5200m) to reach Gyantse. Overnight hotel.
Gyantse is a remarkable place that has escaped much of the Chinese influence evident in other major Tibetan towns. It is dominated by the ancient fort that was besieged by British forces in 1904 during the famous Younghusband Expedition. We also visit the remarkable octagonal chorten, the Kumbum (or Pango Chorten) built in 1444 on a series of four levels, each of which contains separate chapels. In the afternoon we drive to Shigatse. Overnight hotel.
In Shigatse we visit the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery, founded in 1447 by the 1st Dalai Lama. Since the time of the 5th Dalai Lama in 1642, the abbot of Tashilhunpo has been known as the Panchen Lama (literally the 'Great Scholar ). Over the generations, the Panchen Lama became established as the chief spiritual and temporal adviser of the huge western portion of Tibet known as Tsang, and at times was even considered a rival to the Dalai Lama.
During the Cultural Revolution much of the Tashilhunpo and the nearby fort were destroyed, and what we see today is a huge complex in various stages of rebuilding. Of particular interest are the huge temple to the Maitreya Buddha (the 'Buddha to Be ); the tomb of the 10th Panchen Lama (who died in 1989), which is said to be encased with over 300kg of gold; the Palace of the Panchen Lama; and the tomb of the 5th to 9th Panchen Lamas. The latter, recently reconstructed, contains the remains of the former Panchen Lamas that were retrieved after their separate tombs were demolished by Chinese troops in 1966. Also of interest is the main Assembly Hall, adjacent to many of the important chapels that are in everyday use. Later in the day we drive to Shegar and overnight. Overnight hotel.
From Shegar we divert from the main highway and drive south towards the Everest region. From the top of Pang La (5150 metres) we gain views of Everest and the lie of the surrounding country. From the pass we descend to the village of Phadhruchi where the jeep track divides - the track to the west heading to the Rongphu Valley - the one to the east leading to the (Phung Chu) Arun Valley and the village of Kharta - the administrative headquarters of the region. We camp at the nearby village of Yuba. Overnight camping.
From Yuba (3650 metres) we follow the jeep trail along the banks of the Kharta River. At the end of the jeep road we cross a substantial bridge and follow a well defined trail that gradually winds above a series of small scattered settlements set amid barley fields. Two to three km above the bridge the trail splits. The lower trail continues up valley eventually diverting to the Langma La, while we follow the upper trail that ascends steeply in places towards the valley leading to the Shao La. There are good views back down the valley towards our camp and the Kharta district and the snow capped ridges to the east. In particular we can appreciate the forested hillside to the south of Kharta village that marks the upper limit of the monsoon. En route to camp we may pass villagers laden with planks of wood that have been carried from the Kama Valley. Our first camp is on a grassy meadow known as Dhampu (4300 metres) - the first of many magnificent alpine camps. Overnight camping.
Continue our drive to Kathmandu. Today we are heading for the border town of Kerung. Following the 2015 earthquake the former friendship highway was badly damaged resulting in its continued closure. This new route was opened initially to ensure that trade between Nepal and China could continue. In 2017 the border post was opened to tourists allowing for travel along this legendary overland route to recommence. This road is sure to add to the sense of adventure as it traverses parts of both Tibet and Nepal new to tourism. Road conditions along this route are changeable as improvements to the road continue to ensure that it can accommodate the traffic using it. Overnight hotel.
Access to Everest Base Camp used by the famous interwar British expeditions is currently restricted to mountaineers with the necessary permits. That said the view of Everest from the monastery is still worth the trip as it dominates the valley carved by the glacier originating from the mountains northern flank.
In the afternoon we will commence our drive to Kathmandu and the town of Old Tingri. Overnight hotel.
From Somale we drive back to the village of Phadhruchi before continuing onto the Rongphu Valley. Rongphu Monastery is situated 15 kilometres below the Base Camp and was reconstructed after the excesses of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960's. From our camp here we gain unrivalled views of the North Face of Everest. At Rongphu we stay in the small lodge attached to the monastery, which has recently been reconstructed following the excesses of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. Nowadays there are about twenty monks in attendance. Please note that there are no "5-star" hotels at Rongphu, and facilities at both the lodge and the nearby campsite are very basic, but any discomfort is more than compensated by the views in this spectacular location!
The climb to the Langma La takes two hours. From camp we climb a well graded trail with further views of Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu. From the pass (5330 metres) there is a steep descent to the valley floor. As the valley opens out we pass yak herders' camps from Kharta and the nearby villages. Here there is no shortage of fine campsites. Overnight camping.
The trail from Pathang heads back down the valley before diverting north towards the Langma La. It leads gradually across the yak pastures and en route we gain views of the summit of Makalu. Our camp at Shurimo (4800 metres) is located at the base of the pass. Overnight camping.
The first few km on this stage is hard going across a large boulder field. The trail ascends a series of 'glacial steps' before reaching a series of glacial lakes at the head of the valley located at the base of the Shao La (4700 metres). Overnight camping.
Depending on the selection of the camp it will take just a matter of hours to descend to the camp at Pathang (4550 metres), a beautiful meadow camp beneath the impressive peak of Chomo Lonzo (7790 metres). Options are available to ascend to the sacred lake immediately above the camp. The trail heads up the hillside to the north and it takes about 40 minutes to reach the lake. At the far end of the lake is Sacred Cave carved out of the hillside which is said to be one of the many places where the sage Padmasambhava meditated during his journeys through Tibet. Within the cave are a number of simple shelters and prayer rooms where offerings are made by the occasional pilgrim. Overnight camping.
From the valley floor there is a steep 300 to 400 metre ascent through the conifer forest to a ridgeline high above the Kama Valley. Here we gain magnificent views south towards the Arun Gorge and Nepal. Our trail then crosses alpine ridges that support the summer camps of yak herders' from Kharta village. We also pass a series of beautiful lakes before ascending a ridge and gaining our first uninterrupted views of the Kangshung Face of Everest. We camp in one of the idyllic meadows. Overnight camping.
An early start is imperative to ascend the Shao La (4970 metres) and gain our first views of Everest (8848 metres), Makalu (8475 metres) and Lhotse (8501 metres). From the pass there is a steady descent to yak pastures before a steeper descent to the valley floor and the trail on down to the Kama Valley. The rocky trail makes this stage quite demanding on the knees as it winds down through birch groves and dwarf rhododendrons to the camp at Joksam (4000 metres). This is an idyllic camp, situated amid pine and fir forests just above the Kama Valley. This change of vegetation reflects the monsoonal influence and summer rains that surge up the nearby Arun Valley throughout the summer months. Overnight camping.
Today we complete the final stage of our journey from Lhasa via the earthquake ravaged Langtang region. It is a fitting conclusion to an epic overland journey and the comfort of the Radisson Hotel will no doubt be welcomed with open arms. Overnight Radisson Hotel.
From Pathang the trail heads across the meadow before ascending across a loose scree slope. The climb up and across the scree slopes is tiring and it is good to get back onto the more established shepherd trails. Rounding the hillside the Kangshung Face of Everest comes again into view, while across the valley the impressive glaciers at Chomo Lonzo can also be appreciated. Return to Pathang for overnight camping.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport.