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Ultimate Guide to Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour in 2024/2025: Roaming the Roof of the World

March,22 2024 BY Jamyang Tsering 0 COMMENTS

Of all the road trip adventures in Tibet, the thrilling 1300km Lhasa to Kathmandu overland tour stands out as a holy grail, alluring every adventure-seeker to embark on an epic rollercoaster ride across the majestic Himalayan range.

If you are an intrepid road trip enthusiast, yearning to fulfill your bucket list by enjoying this legendary Lhasa to Kathmandu overland adventure, we’ve got you covered.

In this tutorial, we will offer you an A to Z tutorial on what you should be preparing for and how to make the most of your trans-Himalayan overland tour from Lhasa to Kathmandu.

Why Choose the Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Adventure Over 2-hour Flying

Unlike getting stuck in a sealed plane cabin for 2 hours of lifeless air travel, the thrilling Lhasa to Kathmandu overland tour allows you to travel via the scenic Friendship HWY across central Tibet.

From Lhasa, the spiritual heart of Tibet, to Shigatse, Tibet’s second-largest city and home to Mount Everest and Panchen Lama before you descend from the soaring Tibetan plateau into the oxygen-rich and curry-scented Kathmandu valleys via the Gyirong border.

On the road, you can discover the magic of Tibet and reclaim the true essence of travel. Rub shoulders with likable local Tibetans; wander through butterlamp-lit chambers in sacred Tibetan monasteries; savor local Tibetan food straight out of the street, etc.

map of sino nepal highwayLhasa to Kathmandu overland tour (click to enlarge it).

What Are the Highlights of Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Tour?

The 1300km Lhasa to Kathmandu overland tour is filled with spectacular highlights that showcase the diverse cultures, stunning highland landscapes, and rich history of the Himalayan region.

Culturally, you will be able to explore sacred Tibetan monasteries like Jokhang Temple, Potata Place, and three of the great Gelug monasteries in Lhasa City and trace the source of Tibetan Buddhism from Nepal.

Besides, you can join local pilgrims for pilgrimage on the Barkhor Circuit, witness dynamic monk debates at Sera Monastery, and explore the charming backstreets of old Lhasa. These experiences offer a profound insight into Tibetan folk traditions and the serene way of life embraced by the local community.

From Lhasa to Shigatse and Everest Base Camp, you will feast your eyes on otherwordly Yamdrok Lake and get a glimpse of the awe-inspiring Gyantse fortress and marvel at the stunning north face of Mount Everest up-close at EBC before.

The final leg of the Lhasa to Kathmandu overland tour takes you down to the enchanting Kathmandu Valley traversing stunning vistas including the majestic Mount Shishapangma, tranquil Pekutso Lake, and the picturesque Gyirong border.

Visit Mount Everest in Tibet Everest Base CampVisit Mount Everest in Tibet Everest Base Camp.

The Most Popular Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Tour Itinerary Is: 7-Day in Small Group

For international adventurers, joining the 7-day Lhasa to Kathmandu overland small group tour is your ticket to unlocking the ultimate trans-Himalayan odyssey. Let’s take a sneak peek at the daily highlights you are about to experience.

Day 1 to Day 3: Get Acclimatized and Explore the Monastic Lhasa City

As the spiritual heart of Tibet, Lhasa (3,650m) offers a captivating blend of history, tradition, and natural beauty that makes your jaw drop.

You can visit the magnificent Potala Palace, and Jokhang Template, and watch monks debate and mingle with friendly local pilgrims at a traditional teahoue.

Potala PalaceVisit the magnificent Potala Palace.

Day 4 Lhasa to Shigatse, home to the Mount Everest (271km, 6h)

Altitude Changes: 3650m (Lhasa) - 4790m (Gampa La Pass) - 4000m (Gyantse) - 3800m (Shigatse).

Venture out from Lhasa and head westward to Shigatse, passing turquoise Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier, and enchanting Gyantse County, etc.

Yamdrok LakeThe turquoise Yamdrok Lake.

Day 5 Shigatse to Everest Base Camp (353km, 7h to 8h)

Altitude Changes: 3800m (Shigatse) - 4600m (Tsola Pass) - 5280m (Gyatso La Pass) – 5210m (Gawula Pass) - 5154m (Rongbuk Monastery) - 5200m (EBC)

Embrace the roller-coaster ride for the Himalayan thrills towards Everest Base Camp and gaze in awe at the highest peaks along Himalayan peaks, esp. the close-up view of Mount Everest at EBC, etc.

Enjoy Mount Everest sunset in Tibet Everest Base Camp.Enjoy Mount Everest sunset in Tibet Everest Base Camp.

Note that due to the high altitude at EBC (5200m), it’s important to avoid strenuous activities like jumping and running to avoid acute altitude sickness. Our Tibetan guide will check your blood oxygen level sporadically and provide portable oxygen bottles and other help needed. You can stay in clean and cozy EBC tent hotels, keeping you snug and shielded from the freezing cold of the night.

Day 6 Everest Base Camp to Gyirong Border (433km, 9.5h to 10h)

Altitude Changes: 5200m (EBC) - 4591m (Pekutso Lake) - 5236m (Ghungtang Lhamo) - 2800m (Gyirong)

Rise and shine in the morning to savor Tibetan noodles and dishes offers by EBC tent hotel owners. Then, explore the Rongbuk Monastery (5154m) and head to Gyirong Town, en route, you will admire the breathtaking vista of Mount Shishapangma (8027m), and pass Pekutso Lake (4,591m).

Visit Pekutso LakeVisit Pekutso Lake and Mount Shishapangma.

Day 7 Gyirong to Kathmandu (160km, 6h)

Altitude Changes: 2700m (Gyirong) - 1400m (Kathmandu)

Exit to Nepal from Gyirong port, Sino-Nepal border, and further travel to Kathmandu.

Gyirong PortGyirong Port border with tourists say goodbye.

Please Notice:
The opening hours of Gyirong Port are from 10:00 to 17:30 (GTM +8). You need to take a 40-minute drive from Gyirong Town to the border point.

The Best Time for Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Tour: From April to Nov.

April to May and September to mid-November is the best time to enjoy the Lhasa to Kathmandu overland tour. It is a perfect timeframe that skips the monsoon season in both Tibet and Nepal.

April, May, October, and Mid-Nov offer you stable weather conditions with a mild temperature (-1 to 20°C on average), crisp air, minimal rainfall, and azure skies.

This makes for comfortable traveling conditions and maximizes your opportunity to enjoy Mount Everest and alpine lakes in their full glory, unobscured by foggy weather.

It would be better to dress in layers as the weather on the Tibetan Plateau can change on a whim. Check the Tibet climate guide.

How Is the Road Condition of Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Tour?

As over 80% of your overland tour is in Tibet, traveling from April to May and Sept. to mid-Nov offers you the most ideal road condition Tibet has to offer.

Snow and ice have melted away, making travel smoother and safer at high mountain passes. You won’t encounter disruptions from landslides and adverse weather conditions at the Gyirong border.

Perfect road condition for travel in TibetPerfect road condition for travelling in Tibet.

Is It Expensive or Cheap for a Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Tour?

Traveling overland from Lhasa to Kathmandu is not cheap.

The reasons behind this involve sparsely located attractions, less-developed transportation infrastructures in vast remote areas, and fluctuating seasonal prices for hotels, flights, the Tibet train, etc. So, you're looking at a hefty bill of $1200 or more, posing quite the challenge for those on a tight budget.

However, is there a great solution for every traveler to savor the Lhasa to Kathmandu tour without emptying our pockets? Definitely, yes.

One of the affordable options is joining our 7-day Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Small Group Tour from 979$ with fixed departures. So, you can share travel costs with other like-minded travelers and fulfill your Lhasa to Kathmandu travel bucket lists without going broke.

Besides, If you can't find a date that suits your travel plans, no worries! Simply let us know your preferred travel time, and we'll create a custom schedule, inviting others to join you. No detours and forced shopping are involved.

What Kind of Documents Are Needed for a Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Tour?

As solo travel is not an option in Tibet for international tourists, to experience the Lhasa to Kathmandu overland tour, you need to book your tour through a registered local Tibetan travel agency like us for an organized Tibet tour.

Here is what you need to do to get fully prepared for all the documents needed: Chinese Visa and Tibet Travel Permit.

Get a Chinese Visa: Head to the closest Chinese embassy in your country to apply for the Chinese Visa (L, or tourist visa), which will be needed to apply for Tibet Travel Permit for Tibet entry. Make sure your passport has at least a 6-month validity remaining.

Get a Tibet Travel Permit: Email the images of your passport information page, and Chinese Visa page to us at least 20 days before your departure to Lhasa. We will help you apply for the Tibet Travel Permit free and manage to deliver it to your hotel or even to the train station or airport in gateway cities to Lhasa in mainland China.

A sample of Tibet Entry PermitA sample of Tibet Entry Permit.

More Recommended Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Tour Itineraries

Well, if the budget and time are not an issue for you and you want to take your Lhasa to Kathmandu overland tour to the next level, then cycling from Lhasa to Kathmandu or driving your own vehicle (car/motorbike) to experience the mesmerizing Lhasa to Kathmandu overland tour can be another ultimate option.

Currently, we can offer a custom 16-day Lhasa to Kathmandu cycling tour that gives you the flexibility to stop whenever and wherever you please, allowing for spontaneous exploration and detours off the beaten path.

Meanwhile, we will provide you with a tour vehicle to carry our bikes spare parts, luggage, and tents, together with an expert cycling tour guide to accompany you and other supportive crew, such as a chef, driver, mechanic, etc. Learn more about cycling from Lhasa to Kathmandu .

Tibet Everest Base Camp biking tourTibet Everest Base Camp biking tour.

Alternatively, you can rent a motorbike, or a car or drive your vehicle to experience the rollercoaster ride from Lhasa to Kathmandu via Friendship HWY. We can help you get vehicle entry and exit formalities, valid Chinese driving licenses and licensed plates, and other supports needed to materialize your dream adventure.


Ready to turn your travel dreams into reality? Join us on the epic journey from Lhasa to Kathmandu and discover the magic of the Himalayas firsthand. Don't miss out on this unforgettable adventure. Send your inquiry to tell us your travel plan or simply chat with our helpful travel agents to learn more about Tibet travel. Cheers!

Jamyang Tsering

About the Author - Jamyang Tsering

With a perpetual smile and a wealth of Tibetan knowledge, Jamyang Tsering is a seasoned Tibetan guide with over 15 years of expertise. Interestingly, many first come across him on YouTube as a humorous YouTube content creator, proudly introducing every facet of authentic Tibetan life to the world.

Now, not only can you watch Jamyang’s latest video update on our Tibet Vista channel, but also read his travel guide here or book our Tibet tours and travel with the YouTube influencer Jamyang to explore the majestic landscape and culture in Tibet.

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