Journey Across the Roof of the World


On our magnificent overland adventure, we carve an arc across the soaring Tibetan Plateau from 8th century Samye, the oldest Buddhist temple in Tibet, to the sheer North Face of Mt. Everest, where the dazzling glaciers of the world’s highest peak seem almost close enough to touch. Along the way, you’ll find Tibet’s immense magic revealed in places like the Barkhor market, where we mingle among pilgrims and swashbuckling Khampa traders, and in remote fortress-monasteries where flickering yak-butter lamps illuminate ancient Buddhist frescoes. At journey’s end, we cross a high pass to descend into Nepal and explore the bazaars of Kathmandu.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4
Lhasa, Tibet

We join pilgrims who gather at the altars of the Jokhang, Tibet’s most sacred temple, and explore the majestic Potala Palace, once the residence of the Dalai Lamas. At sprawling Ganden Monastery (13,700'), we’ll be welcomed in to watch the monks in the great prayer halls and walk the kora (sacred circuit). In Lhasa, we witness a traditional Buddhist festival: Saga Dawa (June departure) or Shoton (August departure).

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Days 5-12
Tibetan Plateau / Everest Base Camp

From Samye, our journey brings us to Gyantse, with its mandala-shaped stupa, and to turquoise Yamdrok Tso, one of Tibet’s three holy lakes. Shigatse’s gold-topped Tashilhunpo is a vast and active monastery and pilgrimage site. After our explorations at this fascinating place, we head to Rongbuk Monastery (16,500'), below Everest Base Camp, to gaze upon mighty Everest, where the legendary British mountaineers Mallory and Irvine disappeared into the mists of history.

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Days 13-16
Lalung La / Zhangmu, Tibet / Kathmandu, Nepal

Crossing the Lalung La (16,600'), we feast our eyes on massive Shishapangma (26,397') piercing the sky, and then make our descent along the southern flanks of the Himalaya into Nepal. Our final explorations in Kathmandu’s bustling city bring us to some of the city’s treasures including Bodhnath temple and Durbar Square, with its elaborate architecture. Depart on Day 16.

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Explore the remote world of the Tibetan Plateau, with its soaring peaks and cobalt skies
Visit the holy lake of Yamdrok Tso, a pilgrimage site
Encounter Buddhist pilgrims, Tibetan farmers, yak-herding nomads
Walk the kora (sacred circuit) around spectacularly located monasteries
View the icy ramparts of the stupendous North Face of Everest from Rongbuk Monastery
Enjoy a traditional Buddhist festival—Saga Dawa or Shoton—on each departure
Explore Kathmandu’s bustling bazaars and gold-roofed temples


Length: 16 days
Cost From: $6295  
Arrive: Lhasa, Tibet
Depart: Kathmandu, Nepal
Lodging: 15 nights comfortable hotels and rustic lodges
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 1 dinner
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

Rugged road travel with light walking, altitudes between 11,800-16,900 feet

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