An epic trip to the base of the tallest mountain in the world
Local inns and resorts 2 and 3 star
16 days (12 days cycling)
The aura around Everest hasn't reached iconic heights for nothing and this 16 day program will show you first hand why the Himalayas are a can't miss destination. On the road to Everest, in your group of no more than 12 guests, you will pass through historic temples, explore Tibet's oldest monasteries, taste local delicacies, soak in amazing glacier carved views and so much more! A series of strategically placed hotels, with necessary amenities, will give you the chance to recharge each night for one spectacular day of cycling after the other. This itinerary is perfect for experienced travelers and is fully supported to help you every step of the way.
Tackle the China-Nepal Friendship Highway and the lakeshore roads of Yamdrok.
Visit and cycle through multiple Monasteries and stop for a visit at Tibet's oldest one, Ganden.
- Navigate the city of Lhasa by foot and pedicab.
- Visit the Sera, Drepung, Nangartse and Ganden Monasteries.
- Explore the remarkable Gyantse Dzong fortress.
- Look at agriculture in a new light as you pass through local farming communities.
- Walk through Shigatse, considered Tibet's most fertile land and home of 13 different ethnic groups.
- Soak in glacier carved views that you will never forget.
- Taste some Yak Butter tea and find yourself hooked on a brand new beverage.
- Coast along the Rongbuk Highway which was built for the Olympic torch relay.
The China-Nepal Friendship Highway is a 500 mile panoramic route that links together Tibet's capital, Lhasa, and the Chinese/Nepalese border. Locations along the way feature a variety of cultural landmarks, endless grasslands and meadows as well as breathtaking views of the famous Himalayan mountain range. Some of the peaks include Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu and Shishapangma. The people of Tibet are known for their warm welcomes and contagious smiles. Despite decades of unsettled politics, Tibetan people remain some of the most openhearted on earth and provide memorable experiences for anyone passing through.
Arrive into Lhasa, Tibet's capital
We arrive first thing in the morning into Lhasa, the capital of Tibet and former home of the Dalai Lama. Other than the initial orientation, assembly of your bike and dinner, there is nothing planned for the day. Look at this as an opportunity to get acclimated to the altitude and build some anticipation for your journey ahead. Dinner is highlighted by traditional Tibetan dancing and musical performances. (Meals: Dinner)
Explore Lhasa by foot and pedicab
Our first full day will be a leisurely exploration of Lhasa on foot and by pedicab. In the morning we will travel through the old city as we watch the day to day life of Lhasa, through the lens of markets and nearby temple squares. After a light lunch, hop in a pedicab to visit the Portola Palace. This massive Monastery magnificently overlooks the city from its rocky perch. A traditional Tibetan dinner will be served at a great restaurant near the Jokhang Temple. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Cycling daytrip to nearby Monasteries - Yellow Hat Monks (28 Miles)
It is finally time to hit the roads! We will set out to the Northeast by bike and visit the Sera and Drepung Monasteries. These are two of the three famed Gelupka University Monasteries of Tibet, home of the Yellow Hat Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. At its peak, Drepung housed about 10,000 monks. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Cycling daytrip to local farming communities and Tibet's oldest Monastery (84 miles)
We will start today with a ride east of Lhasa and into the countryside, allowing us to pass greenhouses, potato farms and small Tibetan communities. Halfway through our day exploring the stunning Yellow River Valley, we will head up to the Ganden Monastery. Considered one of the oldest in Tibet, this Monastery stands among the hills as an amazing complex with buildings dating back to the 1400s. Ganden means “joyful” and you quickly realize the atmosphere is well deserving of this name. A swift downhill run back to the Yellow River will begin our leisurely ride back to Lhasa. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Day at your leisure in Lhasa (0 miles)
Today is a perfect opportunity to take some time for yourself. Stroll through Lhasa’s ancient streets or kick your feet up at a market, the day is yours. Relax and recharge! (Meals: Breakfast)
Start down the road to Everest (42 miles)
The moment you have been waiting for has arrived as we begin our first ride on the Road to Everest. This relaxing start carves through the Lhasa River Valley via a rode often lined with Poplar trees that perfectly hug the river. The quiet town of Quxul will be your home for the night. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Tackle the Kamba La pass on your way to Yamdrok lake (75 miles)
Today we will embark on our first big ascent going from Quxul to Nangartse. Other than the slow 30 KM ascent to Kamba La Pass, most of our day will be spent riding on the valley floor. Descending off the pass you will see the fruits of your labor with breathtaking views of Yamdrok Lake. We will follow the lake’s shoreline all the way to Nangartse, providing plenty of photo opportunities to capture its perfect turquoise waters. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Cycle to Gynaste and the Dzong fortress (59 miles)
Glaciers have paved the way for today’s ride to Gyantse, which is the third largest settlement in Tibet. Gyantse is surrounded by a wall that is 3 KM long and at the town’s highest point stands the Gyantse Dzong Fortress. Although it now provides spectacular views, this facility once guarded southern approaches to the Tsangpo Valley and Lhasa. Something you have to see to believe! (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Leisurely cycle for early arrival into Shigatse (56 miles)
Primarily river valley cycling will provide an early arrival into the town of Shigatse. Now guarded by the restored Samdrubtse Dzong, Shigatse is home to the Panchen Lama who once co-ruled Tibet with the Dalai Lama. There is plenty to explore on foot, so enjoy some time navigating one of the most important cities to the Tibetan culture. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Begin on the China-Nepal friendship highway (47 miles)
For the next two days we will bike along the China-Nepal Friendship Highway. Our surroundings might remind you of Utah’s high desert regions, with rolling hills highlighted by multicolored stripes of browns and reds. Keep your eyes peeled for Sheep, Yak and Cattle that along with Barley make up the economics of the region. Along the way we will stop at the remains of the Narthang Monastery, home to one of the earliest printers in Tibet. Our final destination will be the village of Lhatse. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Cover the Lappa La pass on your way to Old Tingri (56 miles)
The second day on the China-Nepal Friendship Highway will provide dramatic scenery as we head over the highest pass on the route, Lappa La. We’ll wrap up the day just a few miles past New Tingri in Old Tingri, the starting point of the next diversion towards Everest. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Ride the Rongbuk Highway - Built for the Olympic torch relay (68 miles)
Traverse the path of an olympian on a road created by China for the 2008 Olympic Games. The road goes from New Tingri to Rongbuk and paved the way for the torch to meet the world famous Mount Everest. Although the project was met with controversy, it did make the mountain more accessible. The grand arrival at Rongbuk Monastery provides some of the most breathtaking views in the world. Along the way we will head over Pang La pass which opens up to an unparalleled panorama of the Himalayas. As the road doesn’t receive maintenance very often, we may drive part of the way to Rongbuk. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Early morning views of Everest before shuttle back to Shigatse (0 miles)
This morning isn’t one you will want to accidentally sleep through. If the weather cooperates, a morning sunrise will highlight a remarkable view of Mount Everest that your camera will never do justice. With this image ingrained in your mind, we will drive back to Shigatse where you will explore the Tashilunpo Monastery. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Bike through the Yellow River Gorge (50 miles)
From Shigatse we will visit the Gang Gyen carpet making factory, a project started by the 10th Panchen Lama whose staff of 150 is made up of 95% Tibetan women. Next, we will hop back on our bikes at the start of the Yellow River Gorge for an 80 KM ride punctuated by small villages and white water rapids. A small resort nestled above the cascading river will be your home for the night. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Drive back to Lhasa (0 miles)
A short, morning drive back to Lhasa will give you free time to explore, relax or shop for any last second souvenirs. A final dinner will be at one of the best restaurants in Lhasa offering a priceless opportunity to reflect on your journey with your fellow adventurers. (Meals: Breakfast and Dinner)
Bid farewell to your fellow adventureres! (0 miles)
It's time to give a final goodbye to everyone you have been traveling with, odds are they will become friends you see again. This trip will rank as one of your favorites of all time with the welcoming people of Tibet and the dramatic views of the Himalayas etched in your memory forever! We will arrange a shuttle back to the airport to meet your flight departing Lhasa. (Meals: Breakfast)
This elegant hotel was once the home to a high-ranking Tibetan Lama, perfectly tucked into a secluded private lane. Each room offers luxury comfort amidst the splendor of ancient Tibet. The rooms overlook a courtyard that through wall carvings tell the story of the mythic Shambala Kingdom.
Yeti hotel is a recently refurbished facility with a Tibetan culture theme and a classic, friendly ambience. It is only a 5 minute walk from the picturesque Gynaste Old Town and the remarkable Gyantse Dzong Fortress. The creative design captures the essence of central Tibet.
Tashi Choten Hotel
The Tashi Choten Hotel is decorated in the unique Tibetan folk style. There is Tibetan mural in every room painted by local folk artists, providing a perfectly organic experience. Everything you would want to access is within a 10 minute walk.
Lhatse Shanghai Hotel
The best place to stay in Lhatse!
Tour Cost: $3995
6 or more people: $4095
2 to 5 people: $5095
1 person: n/a
Single Supplement: $800
Bike Rental: free of charge
(All costs per person in US $. Seasonal supplements may apply on private trips.)
There are currently three planned departure dates:
June 27th, 2016
September 5th, 2016
September 4th, 2017
Join a guided tour
This tour is possible on a private basis or by joining a group tour.
Consult & Book
We work with a local partner to provide this trip.
We help you understand the product offering, book the trip with our partner and guide you through the preparation process.
Pygmy Elephant provides:
- Transfer arrangements: to Lhasa
- Pre-departure support: what to pack, arranging travel insurance and informing on travel advisories
- 24 hour customer service: if something goes wrong, we have your back
- Pygmy Miles: receive discounts off future travel