Tibet and Nepal: Journey to the Highest Himalaya

  • 16-day Himalaya adventure
  • Explore Lhasa, Shigatse, Kathmandu, and Mount Everest's North Face Base Camp

Expedition Details


Delve into the fascinating world of mountain lore and Tibetan and Nepalese cultures while visiting the fabled cities of Lhasa, Shigatse, and Kathmandu. Take in some of the most magnificent mountain vistas on Earth as we journey overland across the Tibetan Plateau to the North Face Base Camp of Mount Everest and into Nepal.

Trip Highlights

  • Admire the extraordinary landscapes of the Himalaya, from towering peaks and hanging glaciers to the lush foothills of Nepal.
  • Venture into the legendary Potala Palace in Lhasa and visit Tibet's holiest and most historic monasteries.
  • Gaze up at the soaring crags of Mount Everest from the storied North Face Base Camp in Tibet.
  • Discover many layers of symbolism and belief at ancient Bodhnath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal.

Itinerary - 16 Days

Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Beijing, China

Depart for Beijing, cross the international date line, and arrive the next evening.
The Four Seasons Hotel Beijing

Day 3 — Beijing/Lhasa, Tibet

This morning, embark on one of the world's most astonishing flights, crossing the Hengduan Range and three of Asia's greatest rivers—the Salween, the Mekong, and the Yangtze—en route to Lhasa (11,970 feet). Drive to the Holy City, scanning the vast countryside for the first sight of the Potala Palace. Gather for a welcome reception and dinner this evening.
Four Points by Sheraton Lhasa (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Lhasa

Explore Tibet's two greatest monasteries: Drepung and Sera. Drepung once housed 10,000 monks, and Sera almost as many. If we're lucky, we'll see and hear the monk's lilting, booming chanting of the sutras, or their theatrical debate.
Four Points by Sheraton Lhasa (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Lhasa

Venture up to the Potala Palace and explore the grandest of its myriad rooms. See the jeweled burial chortens of past Dalai Lamas as well as statuary, frescoes, and paintings. Later, visit the Jokhang, Tibet’s holiest temple; and wander through the Barkhor, Lhasa’s old market.
Four Points by Sheraton Lhasa (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Lhasa

Take an excursion to the historic Ganden Monastery, destroyed by China's Red Army in 1966 and now a working monastery once again.
Four Points by Sheraton Lhasa (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Lhasa/Gyangzê

Our drive to Gyangzê (12,956 feet) traces the turquoise waters of the holy Lake Yamdrok and crosses two spectacular high passes. Stop to view a spectacular hanging glacier, and if you wish, take a short walk for a closer view.
Yeti Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Gyangzê/Shigatse

Explore the Pelkor Chode, a complex of monasteries and temples in which all four major sects of Tibetan Buddhism worshipped. Then drive to Shigatse (12,792 feet), home to the immense Tashilunpo Monastery, the seat of Tibet's second highest incarnation, the Panchen Lama. Venture into its warren of chapels and shrines linked by mysterious alleyways and steep staircases. Walk back to the hotel through the town of Shigatse, stopping to browse through the old market.
Tashi Choe Ta (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Shigatse

Take an optional hike from remote Ja Village to Ngor Monastery, crossing the Chak La pass (14,700 feet). From the pass, the tiny, remote monastery is visible below, and we continue walking another 1,000 feet down to reach it. Those who don’t wish to make the five-hour hike can spend the day further exploring Shigatse. As one of Tibet’s larger towns, Shigatse is at a crossroads between its history as an ancient Tibetan settlement and the encroaching modernity of contemporary China.
Tashi Choe Ta (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Xêgar

The scenic drive to Xêgar crosses the Lakpa La pass (17,121 feet) and provides us with our first glimpse of Mount Everest (weather permitting). Settle into our hotel in the small town of Xêgar (14,268 feet), where the first expeditions to Mount Everest stopped in the 1920s.
Qomolangma Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Xêgar/Everest North Face Base Camp/Tingri

From Xêgar, cross the 17,000-foot Pang La pass. Here, take in a superb vista of ice-capped peaks dwarfed by majestic Mount Everest— described by George Leigh Mallory, who pioneered today's route, as the "prodigious white fang...[rising] from the jaw of the world." Visit Rongbuk Monastery before continuing to the North Face Base Camp of Everest.
Qomolangma Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Zhangmu

Today, journey from the barren Tibetan Plateau toward the lush foothills of Nepal, descending more than 9,000 feet flanked by towering summits. In the border town of Zhangmu, settle into our hotel overlooking the Bhote Kosi river.
Cai Yuan Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 13 — Zhangmu/Kathmandu, Nepal

Cross the Friendship Bridge from Tibet into Nepal, and continue to the medieval city of Bhaktapur where much of the movie Little Buddha was filmed. Discover ancient temples and palaces adorned with intricately carved wooden windows and latticework. Continue to Kathmandu and settle into our hotel.
Hotel Yak & Yeti (B,L,D)

Day 14 — Kathmandu

Spend today exploring the colorful capital city of Kathmandu. Visit the 2,500-year-old shrine at Swayambhunath. Delve into the bustle of Durbar Square and the Hanuman Dhoka palace complex. View the great Buddhist stupa of Bodhnath, the largest such structure in Nepal. Tonight, celebrate a remarkable journey with a festive farewell dinner.
Hotel Yak & Yeti (B,L,D)

Days 15 & 16 — Kathmandu/U.S.

Depart Kathmandu and connect in Bangkok or Hong Kong for flights home.

Optional Extension

Related Trips

National Geographic Expert

Peter Hillary

Peter HillaryWhen Peter Hillary first climbed Mount Everest in 1990, he and his father, Sir Edmund Hillary—who made the first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953—became the first father and son to reach the summit. He reached the summit again in 2002 on a National Geographic-sponsored ascent later featured in the film Surviving Everest. Peter has completed more than 40 mountaineering expeditions and is deeply involved in assistance programs for the people of the Mount Everest region in Nepal.

Peter will join the following departures:

Apr 22 - May 07, 2016
Oct 12 - 27, 2016


  • Apr 22 - May 07, 2016
  • Oct 12 - 27, 2016

In the aftermath of the tragic earthquakes of April and May, 2015 in Nepal, modifications to the October, 2015 departure were required. Due to the state of the roads around the Tibet-Nepal border, as well as reduced air service between Lhasa and Kathmandu, there is no reliable way to travel from Tibet to Nepal that fits within the timing of this departure. After visiting Everest Base Camp, the itinerary returns to Lhasa by land along a scenic northern route, then continues home via Beijing. Please click on ALT above for further details.

To learn how you can support on-going earthquake relief efforts, visit nationalgeographicexpeditions.com/helpnepal.

Expedition Cost

2015 - 2016


Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $1,925.

International airfare to Beijing and return from Kathmandu and airfare from Beijing to Lhasa are not included in the expedition cost. The group flight from Beijing to Lhasa is $475 (subject to change).

What To Expect

We spend nine nights at elevations up to 14,268 feet and travel as high as 17,200 feet by four-by-four vehicle, often on rough, dusty roads. Participants should be physically fit. This trip is not suitable for those with a respiratory, cardiac, or circulatory disorder or a disability that limits mobility. We stay at first-class hotels in Beijing, Lhasa, and Kathmandu; and at best available hotels elsewhere.

Please note: Access to Everest Base Camp is regulated by the Chinese government. We expect to operate this trip as planned, but may need to alter the itinerary if access to Everest Base Camp becomes restricted.