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Ultimate Guide to Self-Drive Tour from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp in Tibet

Since now it is available for international tourists to self-drive in Tibet, driving to Everest Base Camp by yourself is not a dream any longer.

Here, we offer the ultimate guide for your self-drive tour across the plateau to Everest Base Camp in Tibet. Let’s explore how to plan your long-awaited self-drive tour to Everest Base Camp in Tibet.

1. Can foreign tourists self-drive to Everest Base Camp in Tibet?

Yes, you can self-drive in Tibet with a local guide now. Since independent travel is still not permitted in Tibet, while taking a self-drive trip in Tibet, you also need to travel with a local tour guide and have pre-booked your tour with a registered Tibet travel agency.

Based in Lhasa, we provide worry-free self-drive service in Tibet. Upon your arrival in Lhasa, you will get the temporary driving license and pick up the car on the other day. Our local guides also provide a co-pilot driving service during your trip. While you are tired or not familiar with the road conditions, your guide can drive for you.

If you want to drive your own car to Tibet, feel free to contact us for more information.

Self-drive tour in TibetTo international tourists, self-drive tour needs the company of a Tibetan guide.

2. What travel documents are required for a Self-driving tour from Lhasa to Everest?

You need two main documents to visit Tibet: a Chinese visa and a Tibet Travel Permit. The Chinese Visa can be obtained from the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in your home country and requires a valid passport, completed application form, passport-sized photo, and proof of onward travel and hotel bookings in China.

Tibet Travel PermitTibet Travel Permit is essential to Tibet travel to international tourists.

The Tibet Travel Permit (TTP) can only be applied for by us once you have booked your Tibet tour with us. Just provide the scanned copies of your passport and Chinese visa for the application of the Tibet Travel Permit. The processing time can be up to 15-20 days. Once it is received, we will forward it to your hotel in China or keep it in the hands of our Tibetan guide if you fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa.

For anyone doing a self-drive tour of Tibet, you also need a valid Chinese Temporary Driving License that will enable you to drive in Tibet.

3. How to get a Chinese Temporary Driving License in Tibet?

China does not recognize the International Driving Permit, and a China Provisional Driving Permit is needed to self-drive in Tibet. The process is straightforward, it can be completed upon your arrival in Tibet and takes only an hour or two. The following documents are needed for the application:

- National driving license (of your home country)
- International Driving Permit.
- Chinese translation of the foreign driver's license
- Completed application form.
- A hotel booking for at least one day.
- Three one-inch colored photos with a white background.

After receiving the permit, you can drive and rent vehicles. Make sure to keep the license with you at all times.

4. How many days are required for self-driving from Lhasa to Everest

The overland distance between Lhasa and EBC is 605 km, and the round trip generally takes 8 days. The time includes three days in Lhasa to acclimatize to the high elevation of the region and an overnight stay at EBC. You will drive from Lhasa to Shigatse via the G318 National Highway with stops in the turquoise Yamdrok Lake and the ancient town of Gyantse to experience the stunning landscapes together with local village life.

Lhasa to EBC self-driving via Yamdrok LakeSelf driving from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp via Yamdrok Lake.

On day five, you'll drive along the winding road, passing through the mountain passes, and finally reach Everest Base Camp at 5,200 meters above sea level. You’ll spend the night under the stars in sight of the towering mountain. It takes two days to return to Lhasa, and then you depart for your next destination on day 8.

For an in-depth self-drive experience from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp, you can spend more days en route before getting to the base camp. Staying in local towns and villages will provide you with more chances to explore the real life of the locals.

If you want to continue your journey to Kathmandu, you can follow the Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway after visiting Everest Base Camp in Tibet and cross the Gyirong border to get to Kathmandu. You will need to stop for the night, as the border is closed after 3:00 pm Beijing Time. In the morning, you will drive to the border and cross into Nepal. After exiting China, you can cross the Resuo Bridge over the Trishuli River Gorge and continue your journey to Kathmandu. The overland trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu via Everest Base Camp takes 7 days.

5. How is the road condition from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp in Tibet?

The G318 National Highway, also known as the Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway, has perfect conditions between Lhasa and Shigatse. It's one of the most traveled sections of road in Tibet and the easiest part of the drive.

Lhasa to EBC self-driving tourThe road condition from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp is quite good.

The highway continues past Shigatse until Zhufeng Road, a smaller road that heads towards Everest Base Camp in Tibet. With the road upgrades in recent years, the last section of the dirt road has also been turned into an asphalt road in good condition. So you don’t have to worry about road conditions at all. Just be mindful of the turns while crossing the mountains en route.

6. What type of vehicle is best suited for an Everest Base Camp self-drive tour?

Since road conditions from Lhasa to EBC are excellent, most vehicles in good condition can make the journey. Some of the most popular rental options are:

Great Wall Motors Tank 300 SUVThe Tank 300 is one of the most popular vehicles for self-driving in Tibet.

Great Wall Motors Tank 300 SUV: A mid-sized SUV that seats seven people. It's a sturdy and reliable vehicle with a lot of storage space and is capable of off-road travel.

Toyota Land Cruiser: The Land Cruiser has been in production for over 70 years and has acquired a reputation for comfort, safety, and reliability. There are five and seven models, all with a full range of safety features.

Motorcycle: Riding a motorcycle across Tibet is a way to experience the landscape up close. The freedom of a Motorcycle in Tibet lets you explore Tibet at leisure.

7. Where will you stay overnight during the self-drive tour from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp?

Accommodations in Tibet vary by location. Larger cities like Lhasa and Shigatse have a full range of options, from 5-star resorts to hostels and guesthouses. International and local hotel chains offer the same service and amenities you can find anywhere else.

Smaller cities like Gyantse and Tingri have more basic options. The best hotels have clean rooms with private bathrooms and basic amenities. Hot water is available but not always reliable.

At Everest Base Camp, there are two options for accommodations, the tent hotel or the Rongbuk Monastery guesthouse. The tent hotels are the most popular, which are located at the base camp with great views of the mountain. They are very simple but offer clean and comfortable beds, and simple food is provided.

Everest Base Camp Tent HotelThe tent hotel provide basic accommodation at Everest Base Camp.

However, all tent hotels are closed in winter, usually from November to early April. If you visit Everest Base Camp in winter, you can only stay in the nearby villages.

8. When is the best time to drive from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp in Tibet?

It's possible to self-drive from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp all year round, but the best time to visit Everest Base Camp is April, May, September, and October. In these months, the weather is clear and bright, with crisp, clear skies and very few clouds, ideal for a long road trip and clear mountain views. Temperatures range from around freezing at some points of the year to as high as 18 degrees in spring and autumn, though it does get colder the further west you travel.

Summer, from June to August, is the monsoon season. The high-altitude plateau doesn't see much rain, and what little does fall usually comes in the late afternoon and evening, leaving the days clear and bright for driving and sightseeing. The biggest drawback to summer is the fog and misty conditions that can obscure visibility at Mount Everest.

Tibet EBC self-driving tourSeptember and October is best time to Lhasa to EBC self-driving tour.

Winter is cold but has excellent visibility. Snowfall is not very common and usually doesn't affect driving conditions. Most of the road between Lhasa and EBC is a modern, well-maintained highway that is easy to drive year-round. Caution is needed when driving in mountainous regions, particularly over the high mountain passes after it has snowed.

9. What to expect during the drive from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp?

An Everest Base Camp tour covers most top attractions in Tibet. One of the first, between Lhasa and Shigatse, is Yamdrok Lake, one of Tibet's three largest holy lakes. Gyantse Ancient Town is another stop on the way to Shigatse. It preserves ancient culture and history at places like Pelkor Chode Monastery and the Gyantse Kumbum.

Pelkor Chode MonasteryPelkor Chode Monastery

On the way to Shigatse, there are many villages where you can stay for a while and experience the village life and farm work with the locals. The barley fields and villages on the roadside form a unique plateau pastoral scenery.

You will also have opportunities to witness kinds of animals en route. Yaks are the most commonly seen. Other plateau wildlife including blue sheep, Tibetan antelope, Tibetan donkeys, and marmot are also possible to see.

Stunning mountain passes will give you unforgettable views of the landscapes. Gampala Pass (4,794 m) offers the first view of Yamdrok Lake. At Gyatsola Pass (5,248 m), you'll get your first view of Everest, and at Gawula Pass (5,198 m), there is a breathtaking panorama of the five highest peaks of the Himalayas.

It is a challenge to drive along the winding roads across the mountain passes. At every turn, new sights appear, creating memories that could last a lifetime.

Zigzag road to EBCYou are expected to experience many thrilling bends before reaching EBC.

10. More Lhasa to Everest Base Camp Self-driving Safety Tips

Altitude sickness is a risk for anyone visiting Tibet. Spend time in Lhasa acclimatizing before going to EBC, and pay attention to symptoms. If you start to feel uncomfortable, let your guide know and immediately head to a lower elevation area.

The weather at high altitudes can be unpredictable, and temperatures will change a lot throughout each day. You should be warm in your vehicle, but make sure you have access to warm clothes at all times.

The Tibetan Plateau is vast and sparsely populated. Take advantage of stops when they come up to use facilities like restrooms or restaurants. For a better self-driving experience in Tibet, we can arrange camping and cooking services for you. Just feel free to let us know your travel ideas and we will arrange it for you.


Self-driving to Everest Base Camp in Tibet from Lhasa is an unparalleled adventure, offering a truly unique and unforgettable experience. This can be done all year round with April, May, September, and October being the best months to enjoy a clear view of Mount Everest.

The well-conditioned roads make it safe and comfortable to drive to the Everest Base Camp. You don’t need to worry about the travel documents and vehicle rental as we provide all-included tour packages for self-drive in Tibet. If driving to Mount Everest has been your dream, now is the time to make it happen.

Master Catherine Jigme

About the Author - Master Catherine Jigme

With exceptional passion and outstanding leadership, Mrs. Catherine has dedicated herself to Tibet inbound tourism and China tour for 15 years. As one of the handful females who see great potential of Chinese inbound tourism, Catherine has made great contribution to promoting Tibet tourism and enhancing the employment of Tibetans and prosperity of local Tibetan community.

Over the years, she travelled overseas with Tibet Tourism Bureau many times to promote Tibet tourism. Currently, Catherine works as the marketing director of Tibet Vista, an opinion leader behind the whole team of Tibet Vista.

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