Highlights of Tibet

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Traveller ratings
4.2 / 5 from 22 reviews >
Trip code: 
ACB
Way to Travel:
Guided Group Adventure Holidays
Activity:
Cultural Wonders
Min age:
18
Group size:
5–16

A classic and spectacular route through Tibet to the foot of Everest

Traverse high passes, cross the stark but spectacular Tibetan Plateau to Everest Base Camp. This is one of the world's classic road journeys. Traversing the Tibetan plateau is only part of the experience - equally important is the wealth of cultural interest which Tibet has to offer. The Buddhist culture combined with the warmth and friendliness of the people make this a truly unforgettable journey.

ITINERARY UPDATE: Please note that the itinerary that is operating differs to that published within our 2017/18 Discovery & Wildlife brochure. Please refer to the Trip Notes for further explanation.

Highlights

  • Spectacular flights across the Himalaya to and from Lhasa
  • Explore Lhasa, including the fascinating Potala Palace
  • Everest Base Camp and Rongbuk Monastery
  • Guided tour of Kathmandu
  • Iconic journey along the Friendship Highway

Key information

  • 13 nights en suite hotels and 1 night Tibetan tea tent (basic, multi-share)
  • Group normally 5-16, plus leader. Min. age 18 yrs
  • Time spent at high altitude (above 3,500m)
  • Travel by private bus and two flights
  • Free transfer for any flight

What's included

  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation 
  • Arrival & departure transfers
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas & vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call us on
015 407 558
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Kathmandu
to
Kathmandu
  • Day 1

    Start Kathmandu.

    Those on the group flight will be transferred to our centrally located hotel. Those not flying with the group from London will join us at the hotel.
    Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    Explore the temple of Pashupatinath and Bodnath stupa.

    Today there is a half-day sightseeing tour visiting the temples of Bodnath and Pashupatinath. Bodnath is one of the largest Buddhist stupas in the world and home to a large Tibetan population, whilst Pashupatinath is the most important Hindu temple in the country. The tour will end at lunchtime and there will be free time in the afternoon to explore the Durbar Square area of Kathmandu or Swayambhunath, the Monkey Temple, with its all seeing eyes of Buddha overlooking the whole valley. There will also be a trip briefing today.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Free day in Kathmandu.

    Today is free for sightseeing in and around Kathmandu - you may choose to visit historic Bhaktapur perhaps. We offer a full range of sightseeing tours, which can be booked and paid for locally. Please see the Optional Excursions section or the Exodus notice board in the hotel in Kathmandu.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Morning flight to Gonggar, Tibet; drive to Tsedang; visit Yumbu Lakhang.

    Transfer to the airport and board the plane for the flight over the Himalaya to Lhasa. If the weather is clear there are wonderful views of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and other peaks en route. On arrival at Gonggar airport (90km from Lhasa), we meet our Tibetan guide and we drive east along the Yarlung Tsangpo Valley (the Yarlung Tsangpo is the longest river in Asia) to Tsedang (3,400m). We head directly to the oldest building in Tibet, the Yumbu Lakhang, a beautiful castle-like dwelling and monastery, dramatically perched on a spur looking out over the fertile valley below. Today's drive is a total of approximately 100km. Please note that the flight can sometimes be delayed due to poor weather.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    To Samye Monastery and Lhasa.

    We drive from Tsedang following the Tsangpo River to Samye (approx. 1 hour). Samye was Tibet's very first monastery, founded by Trisong Detsen in 779AD. Very badly damaged in the Cultural Revolution, it has now been completely rebuilt, and although the new work is not as fine as the original, this is a magnificent example of Tibetan religious architecture, with wonderful painted wooden roof beams and typical gilded roofs. Around the main building is a fine cloister and there is now a substantial body of monks living and studying here. We then drive directly to Lhasa (approx. 100km/3hrs drive). As we near the capital of Tibet we can see the great bulk of the Potala looming over the city.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Days 6-7

    Visit the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Sera and Drepung Monasteries; free time to explore.

    These two days are spent in Lhasa, the religious, cultural and economic centre of Tibet. One of the highlights is the visit to the symbol of Tibet; the Potala Palace set high on Red Hill, the winter home of the Dalai Lama until 1959. We will also visit the most sacred temple in Lhasa, the Jokhang, where people come from all over Tibet to pray in this spiritual heart of the country. It was used as a military kitchen during the Cultural Revolution but has now been beautifully restored, with many statues adorning the chapels, and magnificent gilded roofs. The most holy statue in Tibet is the Jowo Shakyamuni, housed now in the Jokhang. We also visit Sera and Drepung monasteries, two of the great monasteries of the Gelukpa (yellow hat) sect, just outside Lhasa.

    In your free time you may like to spend time exploring the Barkhor, the old city, in the company of pilgrims. Around the Barkhor there are numerous stalls selling all sorts of handicrafts, brightly coloured boots and fur-lined hats, silver and turquoise jewellery, rosaries, prayer flags and charms, as well as beautiful Tibetan carpets and all manner of ordinary household ware. Other great treasures are the Norbulingka - the wonderful old summer palace of the Dalai Lama - and the Ramoche temple; if there is time your leader will be able to organise excursions to these which you can pay for locally.

    Please note that the order in which we do the sightseeing depends on when we get tickets to visit the Potala. Potala visiting times are restricted due to the large number of tourists and only a limited number of tickets are issued every day. Outside the Potala and walking up to and down from the palace we can take our time but all tourists are only allowed 1 hour actually inside the Potala.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Cross the Yarlung Tsangpo, and climb to Khamba La; follow shore of Scorpion Lake and over Karo La (5010m) to Gyantse.

    We leave Lhasa and re-cross the Yarlung Tsangpo at Chusul, then turn upstream to climb steeply to the first of the many passes. The Kamba La (4794m) is traditionally the divide between 'front' and 'back' Tibet. At the top is a splendid panorama with the Yarlung Tsangpo, the great river of Tibet, behind us, while in front is a superb vista of the stunning scorpion-shaped turquoise lake of Yamdrok Tso and the peaks along Tibet's southern border. The road quickly drops down to the lake, and then follows the shore for a couple of hours. A short climb brings us to the Karo La (5010m) passing close to a magnificent hanging glacier near the summit. This was the site of one of Younghusband's battles in 1904. We then climb to our third pass of the day, the Simi La, before descending to a broad flat valley and the town of Gyantse, an important market town and trading crossroads. Gyantse is dominated by the great fortress captured and destroyed by the British during their incursion into Tibet in the early years of last century. Apart from the fort, there are two particular points of interest in Gyantse - the Pelke Chode Monastery and the Kumbum Stupa. The stupa is reckoned to be the finest in Tibet and is filled with innumerable manifestations of Buddha, some of which are incredibly old. Today's drive is at total of approximately 260km.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Visit Kumbum stupa and Pelke Chode Monastery; drive to Shigatse; visit Tashilunpo Monastery and the fascinating bazaar.

    We spend part of the morning visiting the Pelke Chode Monastery and Kumbum stupa before driving through a landscape of fields and low hills to Shigatse, Tibet's second largest town (3900m). Shigatse is situated near the junction of the Ngang and Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) rivers, with many traditional low ceiling, flat roofed, mud brick Tibetan houses, but quite a lot of modern Chinese buildings as well. It is home of the Tashillunpo Monastery, traditional seat of the Panchen Lama, and one of the great centres of Tibetan Buddhism. Unlike most religious buildings in Tibet, the Tashillunpo monastery was largely untouched during the Cultural Revolution, and contains numerous impressive chapels and prayer halls. Don't miss the giant statue of the Maitreya Buddha which contains 280kg of gold. Shigatse also has an interesting bazaar, where various traditional items can often be found at more reasonable prices. Today's drive is a total of approximately 90km.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Continue via small villages to Lhatze; across high altitude moorland to New Tingri.

    Leaving Shigatse we climb steadily to the top of a 4050m pass, then follow valleys with a few small villages before climbing to the Tsuo La (4500m). From here the road drops steeply down towards Lhatse and meets the main road from western Tibet. Another climb through virtually unpopulated high altitude moorland brings us to the summit of the Gyatso La (5248m), the watershed between Tibet and the Indian sub-continent. After a long descent we arrive at Shegar (now called New Tingri). Today's drive is a total of approximately 230km.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    To Rongbuk Monastery; visit Everest Base Camp.

    After a few more kilometres on the Friendship Highway we leave the main road and head towards Rongbuk. There is a new paved road all the way. It is a spectacular drive as we wind our way to the Pang La (5120m), from where, on a clear day, we have a magnificent panorama of Everest, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Gyachung Kang and Makalu. Descending from the pass the road winds its way through a stunning valley to Rongbuk. Just before we reach the monastery we get our first close up view of the North Face of Everest. We usually stay near the monastery in a very basic guest house for the night (4900m), a cold night but the views are amazing. Straight ahead is the north face of Everest and the changing colours of the sunset on the mountain are not to be missed. Monks and nuns from the Nyingma sect live at Rongbuk; some speak English, learnt through contact with foreigners, and are generally very friendly. In the afternoon we will visit Everest Base Camp, which is 9km from Rongbuk. We are usually allowed to take our vehicles half way to Base Camp, from where we take a bus. From Base Camp we get even closer views of the North face of Everest. From the viewpoint it's possible to make out the route that Mallory and Irvine climbed in 1924. There is a memorial to them by the prayer flags. We return to Rongbuk for the night.

    Today’s drive is approx. 85km/3.5-4hrs drive.
    Basic Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Drive over the Pang La and rejoin the Friendship Highway to Shigatse.

    After watching the sunrise, we have a fairly long drive from Rongbuk back to Shigatse. We drive back over the Pang La to New Tingri, where we re-join the Friendship Highway and from here we return to Shigaste.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Continue to Lhasa via a different route.

    We drive back to Lhasa using a more direct road and we should arrive in Lhasa by the early afternoon which will give us some free time for last minute exploration or shopping.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Fly to Kathmandu.

    Take a flight from Gonggar back to Kathmandu. The flight is usually in the morning so there will be time in the afternoon for individual exploration of Kathmandu.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    End Kathmandu.

    Those on the flight inclusive package will depart this morning for the daytime flight to London; Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out from the hotel.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

NEPAL: Most nationalities require a visa for Nepal, which can be obtained in advance or on entry. If you wish to apply before departure the current visa cost is £20 for a 15 day visa and £35 for a 30 day visa for UK passport holders. The current cost of a visa on arrival is US$25 for 15 days, US$40 for 30 days or if extending your stay $100 for 90 days. All are multiple entry. The visa on arrival fee can be paid for in cash in US Dollars, Pounds Sterling or Euros. You will also need one passport photo. Application forms are available in the immigration hall (or for electronic passports there are visa registration machines which, after inserting your passport, automatically fill out a form for you). You must firstly join the queue to pay the visa fee, and then go to the relevant immigration desk to obtain your 15, 30 or 90 day visa stamp. There can be long queues for visas on arrival. Non UK nationals should check requirements with their nearest embassy (a few nationalities are not permitted visas on arrival).

TIBET: In Tibet, all nationalities require a permit. The permit is organised by Exodus for you in advance; we will require the following information when you book:

  • A clear colour copy of your passport details page and confirmation of your occupation.
  • On arrival in Kathmandu our local representative will apply for a Tibet group visa. The application takes 2 working days, therefore please ensure that you have the following with you on arrival in Kathmandu:
  • Your passport (this must match the passport copy supplied to Exodus at the time of booking).
  • 2 x passport sized photographs: there are strict photo requirements; photos must be 33mm x 48mm with a white background - please request our Tibet Visa Information Sheet for full photo requirements. 
  • The correct visa fee in US$ cash (when changing money before the trip please request notes in a good condition as old or scruffy dollar notes will not be accepted): US$85 for most nationalities (US$175 for US citizens / US$155 for Canadian citizens / US$115 for Romanian citizens).

Please note: If you carry a French passport we believe these rules may be different and that you would need to submit your passport in Kathmandu a week prior to the trip starting.

IMPORTANT: If you need to get a new passport for the journey, please apply for this immediately, and send us the photocopy as soon as you receive your new passport. It is VERY important that the information you give us is 100% correct, and that the copy of the passport you send us is the one you will be travelling to Tibet on as even a small error could result in your name not being on the group permit and a refusal of entry in to Tibet.

A China visa is NOT required to visit Tibet. The Chinese do not allow anyone to enter Tibet from Nepal with an individual Chinese visa in their passport. If you do have an individual Chinese visa in your passport it will be cancelled by the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu when the group visa is issued.

Along with many countries China occasionally refuses visas to those with certain occupations or those who are or have been involved in pressure groups or other political activity deemed to be against the interests of the country. Exodus cannot be responsible for any costs if this occurs.

You will need 2 passport photographs for your Tibet permits and 1 more if you get your Nepal visa on arrival at Kathmandu airport.

 

Vaccinations

China

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Nepal

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

There is low to no risk of malaria throughout Nepal and antimalarial tablets are not usually advised although may be considered for certain higher risk groups; you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. The risk is highest in the low lying southern ‘terai’ districts bordering India.

A yellow fever certificate is only required if travelling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission or for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through a country with risk of transmission.

Dengue fever is a known risk in Nepal. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Most of our trips to Nepal go to high altitudes where there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please refer to the Altitude Warning within the Trip Notes for further advice on AMS.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts included.

We suggest you allow about GBP150 for all other meals. All the hotels have restaurants but your leader will endeavour to take you out to local restaurants wherever possible. If you are vegetarian it may be an idea to bring a few extra snacks along. Please discuss any specific dietary requirements at time of booking.

Weather

As nearly all of Tibet lies above 3,500m it has a harsh climate. At the times of year when we visit Tibet (March to October) the weather is generally dry and clear, with brilliant blue skies and daytime temperatures of 10ºC to 25ºC in Lhasa. There can be some rain in the month of July. The days should be pleasantly warm (provided there is sunshine) for most of the trip, although on the trips in October it will be much cooler. On the road journeys the tops of the high passes can be cold and windy and it is advisable to keep a warm jacket with you. As soon as the sun goes down the temperature falls rapidly. The nights will be cooler and will be very cold in Rongbuk in September and October with temperatures well below freezing. Some of the hotels we use can be cold at nights in September and October. There can be wind and dust storms in the afternoons especially at Rongbuk. From June to September it is monsoon season in Nepal and it will be hot and humid in Nepal and you may well get rain. The monsoon does not usually get over the Himalaya but it is not unusual to experience some rain in summer in Tibet.

Lhasa

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate).

There are some fairly long days of driving on this trip, and along with some rough roads and altitude, it can be tiring. Whilst in Tibet you will spend most of the time above 3500m and altitude must be taken into consideration, but plenty of time is given for acclimatisation. This is quite a tough trip, due to the high altitude, but the stunning scenery, cultural interest and Tibetan people make it worthwhile. It is best to approach travel in Tibet with a very adventurous spirit, and try to be flexible if your leader suggests changes to the planned itinerary due to unforseen circumstances. At Rongbuk the accommodation is very basic.

Call us on
015 407 558
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Tibetan tea tent

This tour spends 13 nights in standard hotels (all rooms have en suite bathrooms) and 1 night in a Tibetan tea tent. The night at Rongbuk in the tea tent is very basic but cosy. They are large tents with a heater in the centre, and sofas with mattresses and Tibetan rugs are used as seats in the day and for sleeping on at night. There are typically four 'beds' per tent. There is no running water and toilets are in an outside hut (basic, hole in the ground style). It can be very cold and windy at Rongbuk and you need to be prepared for this.

It is possible to book a single room for the holiday duration, with the exception of the night at Rongbuk. Single supplements are subject to availability and prices start from £365; please enquire with your Sales Consultant at the time of booking.

Call us on
015 407 558
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call us on
015 407 558
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

The mountains will always draw us back to this majestic country: and now, with the return of a very special trip, the

  • Reviewed September 2017
    David Scott

    Lhasa to Everest

    the trip felt like a real travel experience, rather than a holiday. This is because Tibet is such a land of contrasts: The monasteries with their devoted pilgrims as well as monks, the modern Chinese cities, the villages with a still medieval lifestyle, the lakes and mountains, and of course the punishing altitude. It has a real feel of being a long way from home.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My first view of the Potala palace in Lhasa, the clouds lifting in the morning at Everest Base camp North to reveal Mount Everest, the amazing colour of the scorpion lake, seeing the yellow hats of the monks, like Roman legionary helmets, laid out on their seats in the monasteries, discovering I liked yak butter tea.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The many bureaucratic and organisational demands of this trip mean that a committed and capable leader is essential for success. Fortunately for us Keshar was always tirelessly working away to ensure that we got the most out of our time in both Nepal and Tibet. Ready with information and advice given in a friendly way whenever he was asked, (which was often), he was a real asset. On the way back to Lhasa he also revealed himself to be a great singer of Nepali folk songs.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Tibetan public toilets are horrible beyond description. I would have liked a face mask with some scented essential oil to put inside. Also consider buying yuan before you get to Tibet. They weren't available in Kathmandhu and those who had to buy them in Lhasa faced a long complicated process in the bank before getting hold of any.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were glad we did the Chitwan extension. After the dry, stark landscape of Tibet, which by its very nature is a tiring experience, it was wonderful to revel in the rich forest with its many birds and butterflies. We were lucky to see four rhino as well. It felt like such a refreshing end to an amazing and multi layered experience, and gave us time to think about all we had seen and done, before the journey home and a return to normal life.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Terence Stevenson

    Tibet

    Wonderful trip but be aware that this is not a trip for the faint hearted. The altitude is a real issue and even though Exodus says there is plenty of time for acclimatisation the impact of an instant leap to 3500 metres can be frightening.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting the nomads. This was unplanned as I suffered from altitude sickness.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    the group leader (Gum) was excellent and very knowledgeable. Nice smiley face personality and looked after us from start to finish.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you have suffered with altitude sickness before go prepared.
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Caroline Bradley

    Highlights of Tibet

    Breath taking in many ways.. physically due to the high altitude but also the country and the scenery was fabulous

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Tying a white pray scarf (in memory of my mum who always wanted to go there but never managed to before she died) to a pole at Everest base camp. It will remain their with all the other pray flags and scarfs flapping in the wind taking their good wishes and prays up and away.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Pleasant, competent guy who knew his stuff regarding altitude and it's affects on people. He had all the gear which he knew how to use....just in-case we needed it (oxygen cylinder and portable compression chamber). He could also sing a good Nepal folk song, showed a bit of sense of humour but kept himself to himself.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need to be mentally and physically prepared for this trip. A good strong stomach and pair of thighs for the toilets!! A tip would be take some Vick or menthol to put under your noise before you enter them!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Well worth doing, would not have missed it for the world.
  • Reviewed September 2016
    M B

    Highlights of Tibet - ACB

    A busy trip , although not arduous, covering a lot of distance in order to see lots of different landscapes.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The turquoise lake, Everest Base Camp , Potala Palace amongst others

    What did you think of your group leader?

    BothNepalese and local Tibetan leaders kept provided informative commentary and useful assistance ( when buying things in local shops etc ) .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Toilets ( public toilets ) range from grim to deplorable. Carry lots of own hand gel and toilet tissue . keep small change ( 2 yuan ) for toilets as there was always a screeching demand for money ( doesnt appear as if that money is NEVER spent on actually doing anything to improve facilities ) . At first opportunity get hold of some tiger balm or similar ( vicks ) to put under nose before entering the toilets. Make sure you bring a small torch or head torch , especially useful at Rongbuk monastery for toilet visit at night . Buy/bring some sweets / snack for the long coach days , on those days could be long break between miserly breakfast and lunch . Bring some "squash drops" or juice flavouring to add to water. You have to drink a lot of fluids to help stave off AMS and plain water gets pretty boring after a few days. Also bring re-hydration powder , as agin drinking so much water daily flushes through your body . Also bring some nasal decongestant and your own painkillers ( Ibruprofren ) as everyone seemed to get "stuffed up nose" ( due to altitude) . Some travellers were using Diamox but by no means was everyone. Seemed like average meal with a soft drink ( i.e. fried rice and a coke ) would be around 45 - 50 yuan , easily spending 100 yuan a day on 2 meals . Alcohol ( beer ) would increase that budget . I purchased Yuan in UK to avoid any issues with bank opening hours in country . Lots of "admin and bureaucracy" for local guides to deal with , so some time wasted at numerous checkpoints. Gongga ( Lhasa) airport has a level of "admin" all of its own.............the thermal body checking caught a few people out and they had to be "cooled down " before entry allowed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The altitude can cause some discomfort , but drink plenty of fluids, do things SLOWLY and listen/follow advice from the guides . Said as an unfit , overweight 50+ whose main discomfort was with a head cold.
  • Reviewed April 2015
    Pamela Powley

    Highlights of Tibet

    This was a wonderful trip. We were very lucky to return home a week before the earthquake.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the snowy Himalayas against a blue sky and reaching Everest Northern Base camp.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gum, our Nepalese Tour Leader, who was with us the whole time, and Dhorjy, our Tibetan Tour Leader, were both brilliant. They were charming company, very knowledgeable and most considerate. Gum is very highly trained and experienced in dealing with minor medical matters including altitude sickness.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a challenging trip because of the altitude and the cold but if you are generally fit and healthy it is perfectly feasible for the over-seventies. You do not have to climb all the steps in the monasteries if you do not want to. Although there are some long drives they seem quite leisurely in the comfortable Landcruisers and there are no early morning starts. The hotels are of a good standard and the trip notes give a clear description of the accommodation at Rongbuk. However,you do need to be prepared for some unspeakable toilets along the way. There is medication you can take to prevent altitude sickness and our Tour Leader gave me some when I was slightly affected.
  • Reviewed October 2014
    Anonymous

    Some helpful tips for this trip

    Be under no illusions as to how tough this trip can be despite it being only an overland journey, but the rewards made it worth it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Beautiful monasteries, seeing the Potala Palace at long last, the incredible colours at the Yamdrok Tso lake and that first sight of Everest.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Prem is very experienced and a pleasure to travel with. Our local guide Dhoji also worked tirelessly to get us around the sights and through the numerous checkpoints.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    On this trip you have a lot of practical issues to consider, so be prepared. Here is my account of how I and some others managed on our trip, but please do your research and make your own preparations accordingly. Health - The prescribed drugs that I took with me were amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin and acetazolamide, but I only needed the ciprofloxacin to treat bacterial diarrhoea that I picked up in Kathmandu. Antibiotics should of course be a last resort for treatment but my symptoms had persisted for a few days. I didn't need to take paracetamol for the mild headaches associated with the altitude, but we all seemed to have stuffy noses. Decongestants if used continuously can cause nose bleeds and I used locally sourced Tiger Balm, buying a small bowl and dissolving some in boiling water (the hotel rooms have kettles) to inhale each night before going to bed. We paid into a kitty and bottles of water were provided, so fluid intake was sufficient (as were the associated toilet stops). I bought dried fruit from a supermarket to help balance my diet. Hygene - Do take plenty of hand gel (I got through 3 little bottles of it). I had packed a toilet roll, but I found the small packets of tissues that I bought in Kathmandu to be more convenient to carry. Many public toilets cost 1 or 2 Yuan to use, so make a collection of small notes when you can. I only used 2 little bottles of high factor sunscreen and a stick of lip balm, but our trip was in October. I never used my DEET as I only saw one mosquito. Food - Breakfasts can be basic. Attempts to imitate western dishes deteriorated as we travelled further, so going Chinese was the easiest option in Tibet. Supermarkets offer an opportunity to supplement your diet. I regretted not taking some vitamin tablets with me. Accommodation - At Rongbuk I needed and used my 4 season down sleeping bag, elsewhere in Tibet I just used my sleeping sheet, I also carried an inflatable pillow which I only used once and I used a 1 litre water bladder as a hot water bottle. The hostel at Rongbuk is somewhat rundown, cold and draughty and the smoke from the cooker chimney discouraged us from lingering in the only heated part of the building. The tented camp up the road may seem more comfortable, but the toilets there were dire. Some hotels struggled for hot water and the chamber maids at Zhangmu were the rudest I have ever encountered. Travel - the Land Cruisers were not as roomy as I expected, but I had a collapsible daysack with me that I used as my 'cabin baggage' each day. The buses used were generally spacious enough. Costs - I bought my Yuan in the UK (easy to do these days) and ended up taking too much, but then I didn't spend much on souvenirs (many are imported from India and Nepal anyway). Changing money in the banks in Tibet is very slow and bureaucratic, but the ATM seemed to work fine if you use the correct bank. The most expensive chapel to take photographs in was at Shigatze and cost £75 for still photos, but at other monasteries it was only £2 or less per chapel, so ask your local guide for advice on the best value photo opportunities. Meals in Tibet cost about £7 including one drink. GBP and US$ can be easily changed at the hotel in Kathmandu and can also be used a Delhi airport, although change is given in Indian rupees. Reading material - we had no trouble with this on our trip. I took an e-reader with me for convenience.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip can seem a bit rushed at times, but there is a lot of distance to cover and much to see. I recommend taking a small tripod and a polarising filter to the more serious photographers, although some photos will have to be taken through a vehicle window as you whizz by.
  • Reviewed September 2014
    Lisa Payne

    Highlights of Tibet

    A wonderful exposure to Tibet (and elements of Nepal)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Due to a temporary landslip blocking the road back into Nepal we used helicopters for the final leg of the journey. This was a fabulous bonus. All sorted out without fuss and bother - a stress-free solution to a local problem

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The leader was brilliant - exemplary even, sorting out the practicalities of the trip but also discretely dealing with health issues. He was caring, knowledgeable and professional whilst friendly and outgoing

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We travelled in August and needed both hot and cold weather clothes. There was rain most days but mostly short-lived and had very little impact on our trip. (The monsoon probably differs year-to-year.) In other months no doubt the balance of requirements would differ. Shorts are not appropriate since there are many visits to temples and so forth. You need to be reasonably fit: the temples use ladder-type stairs between floors, and you are at significantly-high altitudes. Take a street map of Kathmandu, to find your way around during freetime

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be aware that Tibet is really a police-state with frequent police checks on roads (outside towns) and so forth. However this has more impact on the local staff supporting the trip rather than us visitors
  • Reviewed July 2014
    Joy Newman

    Highlights of Tibet

    A brilliant journey to a beautiful part of the world.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I was totally humbled and inspired by the devotion of the pilgrims at all of the monasteries and temples we visited. Lhasa was a fascinating city and a great place to people watch particularly around the Potala Palace. I wish we could have stay longer as there were several places we did not get time to visit. Seeing the beautiful north face of Everest, in all its glory with blue skies and fluffy white clouds on the roof of the world, was truly amazing. The weather was perfect, despite being bitterly cold over some of the passes and when the sun went down.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Prem was outstanding. He was with the tour from start to finish and managed our tour professionally and efficiently. He was extremely knowledgeable of the places we visited. He paid particular attention to our ability to cope with the altitude and ensured that the group properly acclimatised. Prem is definitely one of the best guides we have encountered on our travels with Exodus. Our Tibetan guide was superb. He was extremely patient with us all, particularly when our enthusiasm to explore resulted in us wondering off in all directions. We were a small group in two land cruisers in Tibet and our two guides swapped between the vehicles each day to share information with us. Our naturalist guide for the Chitwan extension was also excellent and extremely knowledgeable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Have your luggage receipt handy in Kathmandu as customs check this against your bag tag before you leave the airport. On the flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa we were advised not to lose our boarding pass until we actually arrived as flights sometimes divert to an alternative airport in China if the landing is aborted due to high winds. We circled the airport at Gonggar several times before landing but that could be normal practice. Be prepared for all of your bags to be searched on arrival and departure from Tibet in Zhangmu. When we left they were particularly interested in our ‘reading material’ so it's a good idea to have books and maps handy. In transit at Delhi airport security, if you do not use the correct gender queue you could find yourself briefly separated from your hand luggage and run the risk of leaving something behind as we did. All hand luggage is stamped as checked at the same time and security will not allow you to leave without that stamp on your bag label. The cost of taking photographs in the monasteries and temples gets progressively more expensive as the journey continues. Beware of pickpockets. In the monasteries and among the pilgrims in Tibet there is a tendency to become complacent and in awe of their honesty. Offerings of money are left in many locations and frequently seen just lying around on the floor. This honesty does not apply to everywhere in Tibet as I discovered to my cost when my purse was stolen in a supermarket in Shigatse. In hindsight I should have been paying more attention – while one young lady caused a distraction her accomplice was up to no good. Luckily my purse contained only some of my spending money. I know it seems obvious but spread your cash and secure your cards, passport and phone. Free Wifi in the hotel in Lhasa was excellent but elsewhere not so good. Virgin email worked fine but some other providers and many websites are blocked. Take plenty of antibacterial wipes, gel and loo paper. Tibet takes squat toilets to a new level. We had a kitty for our drinking water supplies throughout the trip and Prem kept this fully stocked to ensure we maintained our fluid intake. The air quality in Nepal is particularly bad. You may want to take something to cover your nose and mouth. The air is dry in Tibet and you barely sweat at altitude so you don’t have to worry about missing the odd shower or two. Lip balm, hand cream and moisturiser are essential. All are available in Tibet but unless you can read Chinese it’s not easy to decipher the contents. Chitwan National Park extension was a great way to relax at the end of our tour despite the 5 hour drive along quite scary hairpin roads to get there and back. You don’t have to stick to the scheduled itinerary and can forfeit for other options or just add to them if you have time for an extra charge. I was initially a bit nervous about the dugout canoe option after reading some reviews on the web. In the end I actually elected to go twice as it was so calm and peaceful. There was aircon in the lodge and mosquito mesh on the windows and doors.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don’t expect luxury and be pleasantly surprised when the accommodation exceeds your expectations; our rooms were generally clean and comfortable with hot showers at most locations. There was no heating or hot water at the accommodation in New Tingri. Heating installation was imminent apparently and although there was supposed to be hot water we eventually gave up running the tap. Extra duvets were provided here so no issues with keeping warm at night. When we arrived at base camp we all elected to swap experiencing the cold basic guest house in Rongbuk to overnight in a Teahouse yak tent just 3 kms down the track at 5000m. Outside the clear night sky and a beautiful view of Everest, inside the cooling embers from the stove fueled by dried yak dung and sheep droppings kept us all snug and warm and was not as smelly as you might think. We used our sleeping bags here but duvets and blankets were available. Without doubt this was a fantastic trip.
  • Reviewed May 2014
    Ross Pezzack

    Unique adventure

    Great trip to a very unique area of the world. A view of Tibetan life, religion, geography, Chinese influence , great food. We also were able to get base camp and see everest very clearly, a wonderful experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everest! The Tibetans devotion to Buddhism! Insight into monks.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both great! They had to deal with the Chinese controls throughout but it went well. Very helpful throughout.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go on this trip but there are LOTS of steep stairs and ladders at religious sites, u are in a very isolated country , some accommodation is challenging (very doable but they are not Holiday inns), u need to be somewhat self sufficient. U are on a group visa so u have to go through check points together, move your own luggage in places, and travel as a group. Great way to meet new friends!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Unique trip worth experiencing, well guided. Go for it!
  • Reviewed November 2013
    Anonymous

    HIGHLIGHTS OF TIBET

    A very varied trip - everything from temples to beautiful snow scenery.  Unfortunately the 'snow scenery' stopped us getting to Everest Base Camp, which was a great disappointment, but obviously you can't argue with the weather and avalanches.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Potala Palace - and probably watching the pilgrims prostrating themselves and circling the Jokhang

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Keshar is an excellent tour leader - capable, approachable and with a great sense of humour

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The altitude is definitely a force to be reckoned with!  It's probably worth checking out Diamox with your doctor before you go.  (We didn't - and I don't really feel I got the most out of the trip because of feelings of lethargy.)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There is a lot of red tape surrounding a trip to Tibet.  Guide books and maps that refer to Tibet - rather than the Autonomous Region of Tibet or China - are not allowed and will be confiscated.A lot of Tibet has already been 'China-ized' so go before it's too late.  (If it isn't already) 

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

 

Private Adventures:

Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest!

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