Roof of the world: Kathmandu. Tibet. West China

Price
$2145
+ flight to Kathmandu and from Urumqi back home
Duration
18 days

What you get

Two countries
Nepal and China
Transportation
During the entire trip
Guiding
Professional tour leader - traveler
Permits
To enter Tibet
Accommodation
17 nights
Physical grade
Level 3 (medium) out of 5

Roof of the world: Kathmandu. Tibet. West China

An exclusive journey from the capital of Nepal through the main spiritual centers of Tibet to the Chinese Gobi desert. Incredible views of the highest mountains of the planet and some of the most authentic cultures in Asia. 

  • Walk around the main stupas of Kathmandu with pilgrims from around the world. 
  • See the amazing treasures of the palace of the Dalai Lama in the capital of Tibet, Lhasa. 
  • Take the highest mountain railway in the world, enjoying incredible views. 
  • Explore the sacred Mogao caves. Hundreds of Buddhist temples are located in a huge cave complex here since the 4th century. 
  • Walk on the endless Minsha sand dunes in the oasis of the Chinese Gobi desert.

Trip code
AAQA
Kathmandu, Tibet, West China

Departures

2019
Price
Book
01 August, Thu 18 August, Sun
$ 2145
2020
25 April, Sat 12 May, Tue
$ 2145

Day 1 - 3

Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal Swayambhu and Buddhanath stupas Ancient cities Patan and Bhaktapur

We arrive in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, and check into the guesthouse in the historic center. We begin to walk through the narrow streets between the ancient stupas and palaces and immediately realize that we are in one of the most ancient cities of the continent. You can wander between traditional stone houses, peeking into the courtyards for days on end. And enjiy the most delicious milk tea from street vendors and chat with Tibetan healers in their shops smelling of herbs. 

We reach the Kathmandu Durbar square to see the royal palace and the house of the living goddess Kumari. This girl is worshiped here as a deity. We go to the Swayambhu stupa on the mountain, and then, according to the Buddhist custom, walk around the 6th century Buddhanath stupa three times. Pilgrims from all over the world stretch along the earth here in unusual prayers. Monks in colorful clothes conduct their ceremonies. This place is just magical. 

One day we spend in the neighboring ancient cities - Patan and Bhaktapur. A few centuries ago, they were the capitals of separate kingdoms, and now they boast unique ancient temples and palaces.

Day 4 - 6

Town of Shigatse 15th century Tashilhunpo monastery

In the morning we leave for Lhasa on specially rented cars. We will spend 4 days on the way, traveling for 1000 kilometers. It is necessary to acclimatize to the local heights of 4000-5200 meters above sea level. On the way, we will stop at the main centers of Tibet and spend nights in hotels in cities. And of course admire the incredible views of snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes and observe picturesque Tibetan desert with yaks. 

First night we will spend in Rasu Vaghadi, second - in Nyalam. We arrive in the city of Shigatse. It boasts the famous Tashilhunpo monastery, built in the 15th century. The second man in Tibet - the Panchen Lama shares this monastery with thousands of monks. We will see Buddhist ceremonies and huge stupas of gold and precious stones. Inside each is the body of the previous Panchen Lama. But the main attraction of the monastery is the 26-meter tall statue of the Buddha of the future - Maitreya. It is considered the largest statue in Tibet and consists of 280 kilograms of gold, the same amount of silver, 40 diamonds and thousands of large pearls.

Day 7 - 8

The town of Gyantse Kumbum stupa Sacred Yamdro lake

We reach Gyantse- the third largest city in Tibet with a population of only 10 thousand people. Walk between the traditional houses and observe local life. We reach the main shrine of the city - the Kumbum stupa. This is one of the few multi-storie stupas in the world. Its numerous halls and niches hold hundreds of ancient Buddha statues. Pilgrims from all over the world come here to roll prayer wheels and stretch along the ground in prayers. 

We go to the lake Yamdro, which is considered sacred. The blue of its water merges with the color of the sky, and the mountain peaks are framed on all sides. On the banks heavy yaks graze. Sit down by the water and enjoy these views and the fragrant mountain air. 

In the evening of the last day of the trip we reach Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region and check into a hotel.

Day 9 - 10

Lhasa, the capital of Tibet Jokhang monastery Potala, residence of the Dalai Lama

In the main city of Tibet, many still live in the traditional stone houses. They have a square shape, and the wood-burning kitchen is located in the courtyard and is divided by residents of several houses. We walk along the streets, watching the traditional way of life of the locals and reach Jokhang monastery on the central square. It was built in 652 by the most famous Tibetan king, Songtsan Gampo. He is considered the ruler who brought Buddhism to Tibet. 

Interestingly, the wives of the king, Princess Wencheng from China and Princess Bhrikuti from Nepal, played a key role in the adoption of the new religion. It is believed that the king built the monastery for the statues of the Buddha and the scrolls of scriptures - sutras, which the princesses brought with them as a dowry. Pilgrims bypass the Jokhang, as a shrine, three times, prostrating on the ground. Yes, this place is impressive. Even more so, Potala - the famous residence of the Dalai Lamas, which we will visit in the afternoon. 

According to legend, this grand palace, built into the rock, was constucted around a cave in which King Gampo meditated. We go to the palace to see the many halls and countless treasures - hundreds of kilograms of gold, silver, huge pieces of lapis lazuli, amber, agate and carnelian. Huge stupas of pure gold hold bodies of the past Dalai Lamas ... Unfortunately, photography is forbidden here!

Day 11 - 13

The highest railway in the world The town of Golmud Picturesque road to Dunhuang

In the morning we take the highest railway in the world from Lhasa to Golmud (about 14 hours on the way). From our train windows we will enjoy beautiful views of the Tibetan plateau - mountains, valleys, wild antelopes, foxes and kulans. We come to Golmud in the evening and check into a hotel. We are at the city of just over 2 thousand meters above sea level, but we are still in Tibet. 

In the morning we take a bus to Dunhuang, Gansu province (8 hours on the way). This is a very picturesque road - we get to the last Tibetan mountain pass covered with snow, say goodbye to Tibet and descend into the valley at a level of 0 meters above sea level. We crossed all of Tibet and ended up in the Gobi desert! We arrive in Dunhuang - one of the largest cities on the ancient Silk Road, and check into a hotel in the center.

Day 14 - 15

Mogao caves The city of Dunhuang Minsha dunes

In the morning we go to Mogao caves - the largest Buddhist caves in China. In the 4th century, Buddhist monks built over 400 temples in these rocks. The largest ones hold the ancient statues of Buddha, other caves boast unique wall paintings, which are recognized as the best examples of Buddhist art in the whole of China. One of these caves was a library, where the monks of antiquity translated and copied the main sacred texts - the sutras. For example, it was here that scientists found the famous "Lotus Sutra" and "Diamond Sutra". And here the Sutra of Jesus the Messiah, the first Christian work in Chinese, was discovered. 

We explore the city, where everything reminds of Mogao. Even the pavement tiles here are reproductions of mosaics from the cave. We have lunch at the national food market. Local cuisine is a mix of Muslim and Chinese food. For example, they serve delicious pork hooves in a sweet soy sauce, minced lamb with garlic and bread and wide noodles with stewed meat. Delicious! 

In the morning we go to the Minsha dunes outside the city. This is the real desert! Here you can travel caravan style on the sandy ridges, riding camels, try sandboarding or just walk to enjoy the views. 

Day 16 - 18

The city of Turpan Tuyok village Ruins of Jiaohe city The city of Urumqi Uygur National Museum

We travel by train to Turpan (6-10 hours on the way) - the legendary oasis on the northern branch of the Silk Road, the hottest place in China. We check into a hotel in the center, not far from the picturesque Central Asian bazaar. Yes, we are still in China, but this is already Central Asia. We will visit the nearby village of Tuyok - a real Uygur village with traditional clay houses that are 300 years old or more. An essential attribute of each house is its own dryer for the main local product - raisins. Also here is the burial of the first Uyghur Muslim of the 10th century. 

We will visit the ancient Buddhist city of Jiaohe. From the 1st century BC, it was the capital of the local independent kingdom. Now there are only ruins of palaces and Buddhist stupas. 

We go by train to Urumqi (approximately 1 hour on the way), the capital of Xinjiang autonomous region and the largest city of Central Asia. We go to the Uygur national museum. Everyone knows about the Egyptian mummies. But this museum boasts unique mummies of the ancient inhabitants of the Gobi Desert, who lived in these places more than 2500 years ago! Interestingly, all these bodies are covered with very unusual tattoos. We take a walk in the colorful local bazaar and fly back home. 

Tour leader

Yevgeniy Ikhelzon
co-founder, tour leader

Подходит ли вам это путешествие?

The trip is of medium physical grade. It includes long walks in cities and towns. One part of the journey involves train journey of 14 hours at high altitudes of up to 5200 meters above sea level. Accommodation in double/twin rooms of tourist class hotels and guesthouses. All will have attached bathroom with hot water, and wi fi internet.

Стоимость путешествия включает:

  1. Entry permit to Tibet;
  2. All accommodation in budget hotels and guesthouses during the trip;
  3. All transportation including buses, trains, rented vehicles and public transportation;
  4. Professional guiding services.

What is NOT included:

  1. Flight to Kathmandu and from Urumqi back home;
  2. Visa to Nepal ($25);
  3. Insurance (mandatory);
  4. Entrance fees to museums, palaces and other attractions ($200);
  5. Food (in Nepal $5-10 per person per day, in China $6-13).

Visa

Citizens of most countries need a visa to enter Nepal. Visa is issued on arrival and costs $25 for 15 days.

Chinese visa and permit to enter Tibet is arranged by the guide for the entire trip in Kathmandu. 

We provide free visa consulting for our clients.

Additional options

Small plane flight around Everest
Price: + $200
Excursion flight around Everest from Kathmandu.

3g mobile internet in China
Price: + $30
Prepaid local sim card (no international calls) with 2GB internet package

3G mobile internet in Nepal
Price: + $30
Prepaid local sim card with 2GB internet package

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