Best of Tibet 2023
USING OWN BIKE: USD 3122
USING SACRED SUMMITS BIKE: USD 3407
A sacred land of myths and mysteries inhabited by the ever smiling people, has not only exerted a magnetic pull upon travelers for centuries but also spies, missionaries, scholars, geographers, mystics, soldiers and cranks, etc. Yet, only a few intrepid, serious and determined have been able to make it. Tibet was opened to tourism in 1985. Before this, it avoided influence from the West and this country developed its unique culture and religion independently. Since Tibet was governed by the spiritual leaders, monasteries and religious institutions were the backbone of power so the importance and prestige were shown by the size and magnificent architecture of these buildings. Tibetan Buddhism contains many elements of their older religion,” Bon Po” which worshipped the sky, moon, sun, fire, soil and even evil spirits and this is why a monastery such as Tashilhunpo contains thousands of unique statues, paintings (thangka), religious and historical books. The Monasteries are crowded by pilgrims who often travel long distances to fulfill their vows and wishes and their emotions show that religion still holds a very important place in their daily lives.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
Full name: Tibet Autonomous Region of China
Area: 1.2 m. sq. km
Population: 3 million
In Exile: 300,000
Capital city: Lhasa (Population 200,000)
People: Tibetan & Chinese
Language: Tibeto Burmese, Tibetan and Chinese
Religion: 90% Buddhist, 1% Muslim, 3% bon, 6% others
Government: Occupied by China in 1949/1950
Currency: Yuan (Y 6.87 = US$ 1.00)
Geography: Tibet has border with India, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Burma
Climate: Spring (May to June) – Best weather condition, May to Mid-
September Winter – (October to April)
What to wear: Light weight clothing is recommended for May to June, Warm garments are required from September to April. An umbrella or a raincoat is a must for the summer season.
Voltage: Standard voltage only 220 volts.
The Tibetan landscape changes from lush green to rugged and barren and harsh and cold, yet, magnificent and awe inspiring at the same time. The many serene and sacred lakes you come across makes you truly understand why they say it’s the “water tank of
central Asia”. Riding on the Roof of the World on a legendary RE 500cc motorcycle is THE
ultimate biking experience for any passionate biker and traveller alike. Gliding
along the NEPAL-CHINA friendship highway which is smooth as silk and over
some of the world’s highest passes of over 5000m is surely an “adventure of a
• Hire of 411cc Royal Enfield Himalayan motorcycle for the entire trip as per the itinerary (If Required)
• Services of an experienced Road Captain on motorcycle including his meals, accommodation, daily allowance
• Services of an experienced mechanic including his meals, accommodation, daily allowance
• Support of a 4X4 back up vehicle to carry luggage and spares for Nepal portion Kathmandu / Timure / Kathmandu (Pre and post Tibet Tour) including fuel and driver and his daily allowances.
• 01 night stay at Syabrubesi or Timure at a lodge/ Guest House with attached bathroom on twin sharing basis and inclusive of breakfast and all applicable govt. taxes. (Currently 24.3%)
• All Government taxes
• Visa Fee for Tibet of USD 120.00.00 (process which takes two working days) per
person for all nationals except US nationals (US nationals need to pay an
additional USD 120.00) (Visa fees are subject to change without notice)
• Hire of 411 CC Royal Enfield HIMALAYAN motorcycle for the entire trip as per the itinerary.
• Services of an experienced Road Captain on motorcycle from Nepal including his meals, accommodation, daily allowance and visa fees.
• Services of an experienced mechanic including his meals, accommodation, daily allowance and visa fees.
• Support of a Twin Cab Truck in Tibet to carry spare parts and luggage and mechanic for the entire trip as per the itinerary.
• Documentation for Tibet travel permit and a special permit for Everest Base Camp.
• Services of a knowledgeable Tibetan Guide from Lhasa Agency for the entire tour.
• Permit for Motorcycles to enter Tibet and the Everest Base Camp region in Tibet.
• Twin sharing accommodations with daily breakfast on local best hotel and guest house; 02 nights Lhasa at Snow Heaven International Grand Hotel, 01 night at Gyantse Hotel, 01 night at Shigatse Tashichoeta Hotel, 01 night at Guest House
Rongbuk, 02 nights at Kyirong Phuntsok Rabsel Hotel, 01 night at Saga The Grand Hotel of Western Post & 01 night at Lhatse Hotel or similar standard hotel
• A support truck for luggage transfer .Tibetan guide and Nepal escort team or Mechanical staff will sit with the support truck.
• All major meals (lunch and dinner) throughout the entire trip at the hotels and Guesthouses OR at local restaurants on en-route stopovers as per the itinerary.
• Bike compulsory insurance
• Bike border paperwork
• Temporary bike driving license
• All monastery entrance fees during sightseeing tours
• Electric bus ride from Chuzom / Rongbuk Monastery / Chuzom (as per the itinerary).
• Comprehensive medical kit.
• International Airfares.
• Nepal Visa fees (If applicable).
• Personal Insurance
• Covid Related all Travel Insurance and PCR Check-up cost
• Meals (Lunch & Dinner) while the guest stay at hotels in Kathmandu
• Accommodation in Kathmandu
• Cost of fuel for the bikes.
• Items of a personal nature such as bar bills telephone calls, laundry, extra
mileage and any extra costs incurred due to natural calamities, flight delays etc.
• Personal medication
• Insurance for or against accidents, loss of life, theft etc.
• Personal insurance, evacuation and medical expenses.
• Tips for the Guide, Road Captain, Mechanic, Hotel Staffs etc on tour.
• Costs incurred due to cancellation of flights, altitude sickness or unforeseen circumstances (riots, natural calamities etc) and situations beyond the control of Moto Himalaya Tours & Travels (P) Ltd and its associates.
• Any item not mentioned in the above ‘cost includes’.
• Supplement for TIBET visa for US nationals of USD 85.00 per person
• Personal insurance and evacuation.
• Cost of fuel for the bikes.
• Flight delays or cancellation due to adverse weather condition.
• Photography charges for Still and Video cameras inside monasteries.
• Items of a personal nature such as bar bills, alcoholic beverages, bottled -drinks
and mineral water, extra mileage, etc.
• Personal gratuities such as tips to Road captain, mechanic, hotel staff, guides
and drivers etc.
• FINE for venturing into prohibited area
• Oxygen and Mineral water
• Covid test fee and Quarantine fee if needed
• Costs incurred due to natural calamities, strikes, breakdowns and beyond the control of Moto Himalaya Tours & Travels (P) Ltd and its associates.
• Items not mentioned in the cost includes
Ride Kathmandu to Timure (1450m/137kms/6-7 hrs)
Negotiate traffic out of the Kathmandu city to the Ringroad cross section – Balaju. From here, follow the Nagarjun highway to Kakani with the winding and narrow forested road.
We will have a short break here to see the beautiful mountain views.
From here it is a steep winding descent till Trishuli but the scenery is fantastic. Deep forested areas, with clear flowing streams and waterfalls provide visitors of what Nepal is all about.
Trishuli – The beauty of the area is not easily forgotten. The rolling hills, the trishuli river, ethnic villages, suspension bridges all make it a very interesting ride.
It is a good place to stop for lunch.
After lunch head north and continue ride to Dhunche & Syabrubesi.
From here steep descend on a winding and snaky trail till Syabrubesi.
Note: There are many military and Police check posts and everyone is required to show permits and luggage searched. Usually they are looking for animal and flowers that people take from the National park.
Upon arrival at Syabrubesi, check in to the lodge.
Overnight at the Lodge
Ride Timure to Kyirong Town (2700m/40kms/3hrs)
After breakfast ride approx. 16 Km to Kyirong – Nepal / Tibet border, the last border town, complete Nepali Immigration formalities and cross the friendship bridge. Complete Chinese Immigration and met by guide and Rider from Tibet. Proceed for China Custom clearance for the motorcycles and after completion, load up the gear on the waiting Landcruiser / Mini Truck and ride for another 24 kilometer to Kyirong town.
Kyirong, one of the frontier counties of Tibet Autonomous Region, lies in the southwest of Tibet and the southwest of Xigaze prefecture, covering 9,126 square kilometers with a population of 10 thousand. kyirong means in Tibetan happy village. kyirong Town is one of the important towns in Kyirong County, with a sea level of 2,700 meters. Pagba Monastery, Chagar Monastery and Qiangzhen Monastery are main monasteries of Kyirong and kyirong Jiangcun Nature Reserve is the famous beauty spot.
Up to 1960 one of the main trade routes between Nepal and Tibet passed through this region. Easily accessible from Nepal, it was used several times as an entrance gate for military actions from the site of Nepal against Tibet.
Upon arrival, check in to the Hotel.
Rest of the day is free to relax or explore around the town to acclimatize.
Overnight at the Hotel Kyirong Phuntsok Rabsel or similar
Day 03: Ride to Kyirong Town to Saga (4640m/170kms/5hrs)
After breakfast, ride through the beautiful Tibetan landscape. We enter a valley and the climb to a pass and then again descend into another valley one after another and each one more scenic than the next. Finally after about 3 ½ hours, we get a glimpse of the mighty Brahmaputra river or locally known as “Tsang Po” and ride along its banks for a while and take the bridge (newly constructed. In the earlier years, all passengers and vehicles had to be ferried across) to arrive at the hustle and bustle of the Saga town.
Overnight at Saga The Grand Hotel or Similar
Ride Saga to Lhatse(4025m/300kms/8hrs)
Start the scenic ride from Saga to Lhatse crossing over 5 passes, Heading to Lhatse from an elevation of 4600 meters, the trail wends towards the South route. Now, the trail follows a route that brushes past Brahmaputra River. Further ahead, a river valley sprawls over and then traditional picturesque villages come into picture and Namring being one of the biggest. This scenically rewarding ride provides plenty of opportunities for photography. On this long day’s ride over the sandy and rocky landscape of Tibet, other sites like lake, nomads chasing hundreds of yaks and sheep, keep you busy.
Upon arrival at Lhatse, Check into Hotel
Overnight at the Hotel Lhatse or Similar
Ride Lhatse to Gyantse (3950m/273kms/6hrs)
After breakfast ride 273 kilometers to Gyantse.
The route today is scenic with only a small pass of 4300 m. Upon arrival on the outskirts of the Shigatse City, we stop for lunch at a local restaurant.
After lunch, continue on to Gyantse. The 90 kilometer journey seems like hours because of the 40 kmph speed limit imposed by the traffic police. There are regular check posts as well as Patrol cars to strictly implement the rule.
Gyantse is a pastoral town and still retains the charm of a traditional Tibetan town untouched by modern expansion. It made world headlines in 1904 when Colonel Young husband, who led British Expedition to Tibet, defeated the Tibetan army there. As a crossroad on the principle trade route to India, it used to be renowned for the excellence of its carpets. The compound, encircled by an impressive wall, once contained 19 monasteries, presided over by the still intact fortress perched atop a nearby mountain.
Upon arrival, check into the hotel.
Late PM: Sightseeing tour of Gyantse Kumbum, one of the most unique and magnificent buildings in Tibet consisting of 6 storeys complete with a Buddhists Hall and a prayer hall. It has 112 chapels and its walls are adorned with religious paintings. Built in the 15th century, it has withstood all battles and revolutions since. We also visit the Pelkhor Chode Monastery located near the Khumbum, it was founded in the 15th century. It has been remarkably well preserved and many of the statues and paintings inside it date back to the time of its founding.
Overnight at the Gyantse Hotel or Similar
Ride Gyantse to Lhasa via Lake Yamdrok (3656m/287kms/7hrs)
Set out of Gyantse for Nagartse (100 kms) near Lake Yamdrok passing the Simi La (4200 m) and Riding on a trail with fantastic views of the turquoise blue waters of the man-made lake caused by the dam for the hydro project. Later we also cross the Karo La (5010 m) and the ride to Nagartse, a small village near the Yamdrok lake and an ideal place for a lunch stop.
Then ride along the picturesque trail of the colorful Lake Yamdrok, the Tibetan lifeline of the river Brahma Putra (Yarlung Tsangpo). Yamdrok Tso or Turquoise Lake is a lake of a glaring blue that radiates a near mystical charm. It is about 240 kms in circumference and is more like an Island sea. There are Yak herders around and the lake itself supports a population of scale less fish in its non-saline waters. It is about 124 km from Lhasa.
Later we ascend to Kamba La (4,794m) and have an opportunity to meet the Yak Herders with their finely decorated Yaks and Tibetan Mastiffs. A great photo opportunity and one can take pictures on a Yak or with a bunch of decorated Tibetan Mastiffs for a fee.
From here we descend to the main road head before embarking on the grand finale entrance to the Lhasa City.
Lhasa – capital of Tibet at an altitude of 3650m is situated on the north bank of the Kyichu River in the province of U (central Tibet). Two high craggy hills stand up in isolation from the valley floor. One, Red Hill, is topped by the Potala Palace and the other, Chockpori or Iron Hill, is crowned by a tall antenna. Lhasa in Tibetan means ”Place of the Gods” and Potala Palace ” the residence of the Dalai Lama (the god king), is the earthly representation of the celestial Palace of Avaloketswora, the Buddha of infinite compassion whose incarnation in the human form is believed to be the Dalai Lama. As Tibet’s political, religious and cultural centre it is a city truly blessed by the gods, where life is unhurried, is people jovial and yet remaining staunchly independent.
Lhasa consists of two district parts consisting of different architecture, population and lifestyle. Old Lhasa, the Tibetan section, centers around the Jokhang Temple. Its streets are narrow, between white washed stone houses whose walls slope inward as they rise. Windows are framed in black trapezoids, with protruding fan shaped eaves above. Many houses have brightly painted woodwork. The Chinese section, was built in the last 30 years around the base of the Potala. It is characterized by straight, broad streets and utilitarian buildings that houses Chinese style department stores and all kinds of government houses.
In spite of its forced pace of modernization, Lhasa has not lost it’s soul. It is a friendly city where a Tibetan will always return a smile.
Overnight at the Lhasa Snow Heaven International Grand Hotel or Similar
Sightseeing Tour of Lhasa
AM: Visit the Jokhang Temple : Situated in the heart of old Lhasa, it houses Tibet’s most precious religious relic, a golden Shakyamuni Buddha which was brought as a gift by the Chinese Princess Wen Cheng on the occasion of her wedding to the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gompo.
JOKHANG dates back from the 7th century A.D. Legend says that Songtsen Gampo, who built the temple, threw his ring into the air, promising to build a temple where it landed. The ring fell into a lake and struck a rock where a white stupa miraculously appeared – an auspicious sign. Surrounding the Jokhang Temple is the bustling Barkhor market place which is the religious and social focus of Lhasa. This, the spiritual centre of Tibet, is also the heart of Lhasa.
PM: Visit Potala Palace – this architectural wonder – a spectacular edifice whose gold roofs soar high above the town and rise more than 300 meters above the valley floor and can be seen from all directions for miles around. The Potala Palace was built mainly during the Fifth Dalai Lama’s reign in 1645-1693 and remained the centre of political and religious power for the Dalai Lamas until the 14th.
With over 1000 rooms, it contains the living quarters of the Dalai Lamas and their magnificent golden tombs after their death. Regents, tutors and other high lamas had apartments in the palace too. The Potala held the offices of government, a huge printing house and a seminary run by the elite order of monks who surrounded the God-King to train government officials. Hundreds of elaborately decorated chapels and shrines, halls and corridors contain thousands of gilded statues – Tibet’s pantheon of Buddhas, Boddisattvas, saints and demons.
Today the Potala is a statue museum with 35 caretaker monks, but to thousands of Tibetan pilgrims, it remains a beloved shrine.
Overnight at the Lhasa Snow Heaven International Grand Hotel or Similar
Ride Lhasa to Shigatse (3950m/280kms/7hrs)
After breakfast set out for Shigatse via the northern route. The route today is relatively straight forward but scenic at times when we ride along the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra River).
Upon arrival at Shigatse, check in to the guest house.
PM: Visit Tashilumpo monastery.
The Panchen Lama’s Tashilhumpo Monastery was founded in 1447 AD by Gendun Drup, the first Dalai Lama. It is the seat of the Panchen Lama who is second to the Dalai Lama in Tibetan Buddhist Hierarchy.
The 5th Dalai Lama declared that his teacher, then the Abbot of Tashilhunpo, who is a manifestation of the Buddha Amitabha as the Panchen Rinpochhe. Tashilhumpo has one of the world’s largest statues – a 9 storeyed gilded bronze statue of Maitriya, the future Buddha. Also visit the Flea Market of Shigatse and browse around this ancient market looking for souvenirs.
Overnight at the Shigatse Tashichoeta Hotel or Similar
Ride Shigatse to Shegar (4300m/269kms/6hrs) to Shegar to Rongbuk and EBC (5100m/112Kms/4hrs)
After Breakfast, set out for the ride to Shegar (269 kms). Leave Shigatse and continue on the Friendship Highway to arrive at Lhatse in 3½ hours (156 kms).Then ascend to highest Gyatso La pass at 5228 m which is marked by an array of prayer flags and a gate. This is the highest point on this stretch of the ride. Descend a little and weather permitting; one can get a glimpse of Mt. Everest. Continue to descend and arrive at New Tingri/Shegar, a big bustling town in about 2 hours (113 kms).
Upon arrival, take a break for lunch at Shegar.
Shegar is surrounded by mountains and is another town that lies in the shadow of a great fortress. Even in ruins it is majestic. Seeming to grow out of the craggy brown rock, its sinuous wall bristles with watchtowers like stegosaurus spines. Isolated in 1855 by marauding Nepalese in search of booty, the Gurkhas cut off the dzong’s water supply and settled in for a long siege. Shegar proper has little to recommend except the highest post office in China.
From Shegar, set out for Rongbuk and arrive at the army check post and then in another 4 kilometers, leave the main highway and enter the Quomolongma National Park. This will be a long day’s ride. After purchasing our tickets, start the ride by ascending to Pang La at 5200 m. Stop to view the Himalayas and descend once again zig zagging our way on 100 switchbacks all the way to the settlement of Tashi Dzom.
NOTE: Due to pressure from environmentalists, the Chinese Government is trying to curtail vehicle entry into the Everest base camp area. There are Electric Buses stationed there to transport the visitors from the Bus Park to Rongbuk and return for a small fee. The rules keep changing and since tourism has been closed for a year, these details will be revealed only after the Govt. publicly announces the opening of Tibet (PRC) for tourists.)
We leave the motorcycles and carry and overnight bag and board the electric bus for the 26 kms (30 minute Ride to Rongbuk).
As we drive along the Drakar Chu, Mt. Everest starts to rise above the hills and the moraines. A sudden turn and we suddenly arrive at Rongbuk Monastery and the Lodges. In the distance, towering above everything else is the magnificent and awe inspiring view of Mt. Everest – Mother of the Earth at 8848.48 m.
Upon Arrival at Rongbuk, check into Guest House.
Late PM: A visit to the Rongbuk Monastery is quite an interesting and enjoyable one.
Situated in the north side of Mt. Everest, it is one of the Nyingmapa Sect Monastery built in 1899 and houses both monks and nuns. Acted as a rest site for climbers once upon a time, it is now the site of the present-day Everest Base Camp marker and tourists are not allowed to go beyond this point without an mountaineering expedition permit.
(Look out for the blue sheep that inhabit the area but blend quite well in the rocky landscape). Later walk to the marker stating that it is the Quomolongma Base Camp at 5200 m.
Here we are one with the mountains we can spend some time walking around enjoying the view or even send a post card from the mobile post office which is considered to be the highest post office in the world at 5200m.
Overnight at the Shegar Bebar Hotel or Similar
Ride Rongbuk and EBC to Thingri (4348m/78kms/3hrs) to Kyirong via Paikut Tso (2700m/286kms/7hrs)
After Breakfast, Drive back in Electric Bus to Tashi Dzom. After we reach Tashi Dzom, ride out to the 26 kilometer marker. Leave the main road and take the small dirt track on the left leading to the river. Cross the bridge and head off with a steady climb through scattered Tibetan settlements. The road passes directly through the village and then descends steeply. On the other side of the ridge, we then start the climb through valleys with scenic views of the Tibetan landscape and fast flowing river to the highest plateau of the world. This area is still dry and dusty and has not been paved yet and allows for some entertaining off road riding.
Dusty and weary we arrive at the high Tibetan plateau with good views of Cho Oyu (8201 m) and enter the settlement of Thingri in about 3 hours by covering a distance of 70 kilometers. Thingri used to be an important trading post where Sherpas from Nepal exchanged rice, grain and iron for Tibetan wool, livestock and salt. It gives its name to the broad upland basin more than 4,500 meters high that is known as the Thingri plain. Shallow, fast-flowing rivers of melted snow water make its grassy meadowland ideal for grazing by livestock.
From Thingri, we Ride on the highest plateau of the world with typical view of the Tibetan landscape offering sheer feeling of standing on the roof of the world. As we ascend to the Lalung La (5,200m) from where, weather permitting, there is a breathtaking panorama of beautiful Himalayan ranges including Mt. Everest (8,848.48m) but is dwarfed by the vastness of the Tibetan plateau.
Leave the friendship Highway, Turn right at the cross road then Ride through the desolate plain of Digur Tang with its enormous sand dunes and the snowcapped peaks of Shishapangma (8012m.) and Langtang (7232m.) in close proximity to the south. Leaving the Bum- Chu basin we descend towards Pelkhu Tso (4600m.) a stunningly beautiful lake into which the glacial streams of Da-Chu and Lha-Chu drain.
Then ascend steeply to the Guntung La (5236m) and then descend to Kyriong.
Note: We will be required to stop at 2 check- posts to show the Permits.
Upon arrival, check in to the Hotel.
Overnight at the Hotel Kyirong Phuntsok Rabsel or similar
Ride Kyirong Town to Kathmandu (1370m/180kms/6hrs)
After early breakfast, Ride down 24kms to the border of Nepal and Tibet. Here we bid farewell to our Guide and Rider from Tibet and complete Chinese Immigration and then cross the small makeshift bridge and enter Rasuwagadhi into Nepal.
Met by representatives from Nepal to assist and complete Nepal Customs and Immigration which take some time and we enjoy a break for tea / coffee and some Nepali / India snacks.
The Ride from here is along the Pasang Lhamu highway with switch backs and dirt sections. This section of the highway is vulnerable to landslides and regular blockades during the monsoons. As we descend along the winding road, we will Ride along the edge of the Langtang national park which will fall on your left. Most of the Ride today will be slow and steady as this section is the major entry for goods to Kathmandu from China. We will come across big trucks and the road is just big enough for it. So giving way and waiting turns at corners and narrow stretches is time consuming.
80kms Ride from the border brings us to a small town of Bidur for a lunch break. From here, it’s another 60kms Ride to Kathmandu via Dhikure and Gurje Bhanjyang but will take about 3-4 hours.