Home > Tibet Self Drive Tour with Own Vehicle
23 Days Private Tour (Nepal) – Kyirong – Paiku Tso / Xixiabangma – Shegar - Rongbuk / Everest BC – Shegar - Shigatse – Gyantse – Yamdrok – Lhasa – Basum Tso – Linzhi – Baxoi – Markam – Dechen – Shangri-La – Lijiang – Dali – Kunming – Jianshui – Yuanyang – Jiangcheng - Mengla – Mohan – (Laos)
Highlights
Self Drive Tour from Tibet to Yunnan
DAY
1

Kathmandu - Kyirong

Welcome to Tibet, China

Today drive from Nepal through customs Kyirong to Tibet, China with your own vehicle. After completing the formalities for entry, drive to the hotel.

Overnight in Kyirong
Kyirong
Kyirong
DAY
2

Kyirong - Paiku Tso / Xixiabangma - Shegar

Paiku Tso Lake, Xixiabangma

Today, there is a long drive on the program. Drive via Peiku Tso Lake to Shegar (New Tingri). With 300 square kilometers, Paiku-Tso is the largest lake in Shigatse Prefecture. Located between three mountains, it is rich in fish and various wild animals, such as wild horses, wild donkeys and yellow ducks etc.

333km
5 hours 53 minutes
Overnight in Shegar
Mt. Xixiabangma
Mt. Xixiabangma
DAY
3

Shegar - Rongbuk / Everest BC - Shegar

Rongbuk Monastery, Admiring Everest, Sunrise over Qomolangma (Everest)

Today you will get up early to see the unforgettable sunrise over Qomolangma (Everest). Then drive to the Rongbuk Monastery (5,154 m) and the Everest Base Camp. Here the Qomolangma’s steep of the north side makes a profound impression on you. On the way take photos at Pang La (5150 m) where the view is magnificent: from left to right is Makalu, Lhotse, Everest, Nuptse and Cho Oyu. Built at the beginning of the 20th century, Rongbuk is the largest monastery in this region. If the weather is well, you can admire the magnificent sunset on Qomolangma (Everest). In the afternoon return to Shegar.

223 km
5 hours 19 minutes
Overnight in Shegar
Rongbuk Monastery and Mt. Everest
Rongbuk Monastery and Mt. Everest
DAY
4

Shegar - Shigatse

Tashilunpo Monastery

Drive to the second largest city in Tibet - Shigatse and visit the Tashilunpo Monastery, "Mountain of Happiness". Tashilunpo Monastery is also one of the six master monasteries of the Gelug Sect. Shigatse is the seat of the Pantschen Lama. The largest gilded statue of Maitreya, the Buddha of the future, can be found in the monastery in China.

237 km
3 hours 57 minutes
Overnight in Shigatse
Tashilunpo Monastery
Tashilunpo Monastery
DAY
5

Shigatse

Formalities for self drive in China

In Shigatse, handle your temporary number plate and temporary driver's license. If there is enough time, have a travel in Shigatse city and the free market.

Overnight in Shigatse
Pilgrims in Tashilunpo Monastery
Pilgrims in Tashilunpo Monastery
DAY
6

Shigatse - Gyantse - Yamdrok - Lhasa

Pelkor Monastery, Kumbum Stupa, Yamdrok Lake

In the morning after the first 2 hours drive you will arrive in Gyantse and visit its Pelkor Chode Monastery as well as the splendid Kumbum Stupa (100-Thousand-Buddha Pagoda) nearby, both of them built in the 15th century and situated in the northwestern edge of Gyantse. Afterwards leave Gyantse along the lake Yamdrok to Lhasa (3650m), the capital of Tibet. The holy lake of Yamdrok Yumtso (4441 m), one of the three holy lakes in Tibet and the largest habitat of waterfowls in south Tibet. Enjoy amazing views at the Kamba La pass both to the lake Yamdrok and snowy Peaks Nojin Gangzang and Jangzang Lhomo.

356 km
6 hours 41 minutes
Overnight in Lhasa
Yamdrok Lake
Yamdrok Lake
DAY
7

Lhasa

Potala Palace – landmark of Lhasa, Jokhang and Barkhor Street

Visit Potala in the morning and visit Jokhang in the afternoon. Potala was originally constructed in 637 by Songtsen Gampo, the first king of the united Tibet, and later was expanded and served as the winter residence of the Dalai Lamas as well as the religious-political nexus of traditional Tibet. The crowds of pilgrims, innumerable magnificent murals, Buddhist statues, scriptures and rare treasures altogether create a dense religious and art atmosphere that impresses every visitor. Built in 647 and as the earliest wood-and-masonry structure still existing in Tibet, Jokhang Monastery, the center of the Tibetan Buddhism and the sacred land of Buddhist followers, attracts thousands of pilgrims coming for worship everyday. Have a walk on the Barkhor street surrounding Jokhang, a big free market with its prolific stalls for selling local specialties.

Overnight in Lhasa (3650 m)
Potala Palace
Potala Palace
DAY
8

Lhasa

Panoramic view over Potala, Norbulingka, Debate in Sera

In the morning, you will visit the Parla Lupu Grotto Monastery. Located on the slope of the Yaowang Mountain and built in the 7th century, it is 22 meters high and offers a wonderful view of Potala Palace. Then visit Norbulingka, a 40-hectare jewel park, was built in the mid-18th century and considered as the summer residence for the Dalai Lamas. In the afternoon, you drive to the Sera Monastery. Sera Monastery, a wild rose courtyard, is also one of the six master monasteries of the Gelug Sect. You have the opportunity to experience the lama debates. Public religious debates are part of the education for the monks.

Overnight in Lhasa (3650 m)
Debate in Sera Monastery
Debate in Sera Monastery
DAY
9

Lhasa - Gandan - Basum Tso

Gandan Monastery, Mi La Pass, Basum Tso

Drive over the Mi La Pass (4865 m) to Basum Tso Lake, a holy lake of Nyingma school. On the way visit Gandan Monastery. It was built in 1409 by Tsongkapa, the founder of the Gelugpa of Tibetan Buddhism. Gandan, Drepung and Sera are the three largest monasteries in Lhasa. And Gandan is the place where Tsongkapa passed away. Therefore, it has the highest reputation of all the monasteries of the Gelugpa. If you are interested, you can walk along the pilgrimage way to the left and right hillsides of Gandan Monastery to visit Tsongkhapa’s meditation cave and enjoy the panorama of Gandan Monastery and magnificent scenery of Lhasa River valley. With more than 6000 meters above sea level, Snow-covered mountains around Basum Tso make Basum Tso very cinematic. It is no doubt that the main actor is Tsodzong Monastery on the Tashi Island. Hike on the island to visit Tsodzong Monastery. If you are interested, you can continue to walk by Basum Tso, enjoy the snow mountain and thick forest, and enter the Jieba Village that maintains pure Gongbo style. Basum Tso is located in Gongbo’gyamda County. The Tibetans who live in Gongbo’gyamda County are called “Gongbo people” by other Tibetan people. They have their own costume, special buildings, different festivals, and even different dialect. Visiting a family at Jieba Village, you will be treated warmly by them.

363 km
6 hours 30 minutes
Overnight by Basum Tso (3500 m)
Gandan Monastery
Gandan Monastery
DAY
10

Basum Tso - Linzhi - Lulang

Niyang River, Ancient Giant Cypress Forest, Buchu Monastery, Lamaling Temple, Overlook Gyala Pelri and Namjabarwa

Drive to Linzhi along the Niyang River and visit the ancient giant cypress trees. Then you will visit the two monasteries, the Buchu Monastery of the Gelug Sect and the Lamaling Monastery that are only a few kilometers away from the runway. During uphill to Serkhyem La Pass, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of Niyang River valley and the panorama of Lingzhi. When crossing Serkhyem La Pass (Seji La, 4,515 m) you will have spectacular views of Mount Gyala Pelri (7,150 m) and Mount Namchak Barwa (Namjabarwa, 7,782 m), when the weather is so fine. Late in the afternoon reach Lulang Town. Leisurely walking in the natural oxygen bar - Lulang.

222 km
3 hours 29 minutes
Overnight in Lulang (3700 m)
Mt. Namjabarwa
Mt. Namjabarwa
DAY
11

Lulang - Bome - Midui - Ranwu

Guxiang Lake, Parlung Tsangpo River, Midui Glacier, Ranwu Lake

After breakfast go through the Tongmai tunnel and over the Tongmai bridge, then you will reach the Guxiang lake (2600 m). Then drive into the most beautiful section of the Sichuan-Tibet Highway: from Bomi to Ranwu, about 100 km, is the most beautiful part of this overland tour and you can drive along the Parlung Tsangpo River and enjoy the beautiful primitive landscape of snow mountains, forests and rivers. On the way, visit Midui Glacier which is consisted of beautiful Tibetan village, farm fields, snow mountains, glaciers, forests, lakes, etc. Midui Glacier is on the upstream of Midui River and melting glacier flows into Midui River and then into Parlung Tsangpo River. Midui Glacier is the most important marine glacier in Tibet and the lowest elevation glacier in China. The main peak of the glacier is 6800 meters above sea level and its snow line is only 4600 meters above sea level. Departure to the spectacular Ranwu Lake (Ngan Tso), a spectacularly crystal blue lake surrounded by snow peaks.

305 km
5 hours 36 minutes
Overnight in Ranwu (3200 m)
Parlung Tsangpo
Parlung Tsangpo
DAY
12

Ranwu - Baxoi - Bangda - Zuogong

The greatest natural hazard in the Henduan Mountains, 72 curves, Yela Pass

As a part of Parlung Tsangpo River, Ranwu Lake is composed of Upper Ranwu Lake and Lower Ranwu Lake. And there is a large meadow between Upper Ranwu Lake and Lower Ranwu Lake. Parlung Tsangpo River originates from Laigu Glacier that is 40 km away from Ranwu Town. Walking along the Upper Ranwu Lake and Lower Ranwu Lake, you can enjoy the scenery of beautiful snow mountain and meadow, as well as village by the lake. Then departure from Ranwu to Zuogong. You will go through the beautiful gorges in Southeast Tibet and alpine meadow and have a view of the snow mountains and glaciers. You will drive on zigzag road - the famous 72 curve which is the most tortuous road in Tibet. Continue to go over the Yela Pass (4839 m) that is considered as the greatest natural hazard in Hengduan Mountains by all drivers and go through the Bangda City (4000 m) to Zuogong.

292 km
5 hours 32 minutes
Overnight in Zuogong (3000 m)
Winding Mountain Road
Winding Mountain Road
DAY
13

Zuogong - Markam - Yanjing - Dechen - Feilai Si

Farewell to Tibet and greetings from Yunnan. Drive through the three rivers area, main part of the Hengduan Mountains. Sunset of Meili Xueshan

Departure from Zuogong in the morning. Firstly, you will go through the three passes Lawu (4358 m), Jueba (3880 m) and Dongda (5008 m). Crossing the Jiangshajiang Bridge at Markam that is always considered as the Yunnan-Tibet border, you enter Yunnan Province. In Yanjing, you can see the traditional salt extraction site in the distance. Then you drive through the three rivers area where the three major rivers - the Jingshajiang River, the Nujiang River (Salween in Myanmar) and the Lancang Jiang River (Mekong) that originate from the Tanggula Mountains of the Tibetan Plateau - flow parallel to the south. In the evening you will reach your destination today, Feilai Si. However, if the weather is well, you can have a panoramic view of sunset of the Meili Snow Mountain (main summit Kawakarpo 6740 m). The word "Meili" is transliteration of Dechen Tibetan “mainri”, meaning “herbal medicine mountain”, which is named for its rich variety of valuable medicinal materials. With an altitude of 6740 m, Kawakarpo is the main peak of Meili Snow Mountain, and the highest peak in Yunnan Province. “Kawakarpo” is in Tibetan “the white snow mountain”. The Lancang River and the Nujiang River flow from the foot of the mountain to the east and west sides. The warm and humid air on the river valley meets the cold air, which makes the climate unpredictable. Local Tibetans call it "the god of snow mountains".

378 km
8 hours
Overnight at Feilai Si (3400 m)
Meili Snow Mountain (Meili Xueshan)
Meili Snow Mountain (Meili Xueshan)
DAY
14

Feilai Si - Shangri-La

Sunrise of Meili Xueshan. The first bend of Jinshajiang River. Sumzanlin Monastery, Old Town Dukezong

Get up early. If the weather is well, you can enjoy the glorious panoramic view of sunrise of Meili Snow Mountain. At this time, Kawakarpo Peak looks like covered in gold when the sun rises in the east, just like the British writer James Hilton wrote in "Lost Horizon". Go through the Hengduan Mountains along the Jinsha Jiang (the upper reaches of the Yangtze River) and then take a break in the beautiful small town Benzilan and enjoy the panoramic view of the "first bend of Jinsha Jiang (Golden Sand River)". Afterwards you head for Shangri-La (former Zhongdian, 3280 m), a Tibetan region in Yunnan province, the southern gateway to Kham and Tibet. “Lost Horizon”, a novel wrote by British writer James Hilton and published in April 1933, describes a xanadu paradise in the southwest of China, a peaceful, quiet, eternal and mysterious living place for Tibetan, and there is a beautiful Lamasery, the center of “Shangri-La”. Lamasery leads the entire valley, forming a "Shangri-La" society. The author was inspired by the series of articles and photos published in “National Geographic Magazine” by Josef Rock during his expedition in northwestern Yunnan from 1924 to 1935. The word "Shangri-La" means in Tibetan “the sun and moon in heart” and "the land of sanctuaries and peace". Located on the old trade route to Tibet and literally called "Tea Horse Trail", the region around Shangri-La is set in an enchanting landscape of snow-capped mountains, deep gorges, high mountain lakes, grassy steppes and primeval forests. Here, several nationalities, including Tibetans live in the northeast of Yunnan Province. The main attraction of Shangri-La is the famous Songzanlin Monastery (Ganden Sumtseling Monastery), built by the fifth Dalai Lama in 1679. Its appearance is strongly influenced by the Potala Palace in Lhasa, hence the nickname "little Potala". It is the main monastery of the Gelukpa school in Yunnan province. After visiting Songzanlin Monastery, you will discover the old village Dukezong.

183 km
3 hours 36 minutes
Overnight in Shangri-La (3280 m)
Sumzanlin Monastery
Sumzanlin Monastery
DAY
15

Shangri-La - Tiger Leaping Gorge – Shigu - Lijiang

Soft hike in the Tiger Leaping Gorge. The first bend of Yangtze river

Today, you can enjoy the spectacular spectacle of nature in the legendary Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiaoxia), on Jinsha Jiang (Golden Sand River) - the upper reaches of the Yangtze River (the longest river of China, 6380 km). The Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hu Tiao Xia), one of the deepest and longest canyons in the world and about 15 km long, was formed by a cliff of about 4000 meters high and was named from a legend that a tiger can jump over a canyon of 30 meters wide with one jump. After a short hike in the Tiger Leaping Gorge, departure to Shigu (stone drum) Village to admire the first bend of Yangtze River. In the evening, arrive in Lijiang (2416 m). Located at the foot of Jade Dragon Mountain (Yulong Xueshan, 5596 m), the Old Town Lijiang is famous for its old wooden houses and the layout of the town’s streets. It has been listed as a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 1997.

238 km
5 hours 12 minutes
Overnight in Lijiang (2416 m)
Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiaoxia)
Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiaoxia)
DAY
16

Lijiang

Old town Lijiang, Black Dragon Pool, Dongba Culture Museum, mural at Baisha Village and residence of Josef Rock at Yuhu Village

In the morning stroll in the old town of Lijiang. With its narrow streets, canals, bridges and wooden houses, the old town creates a cozy atmosphere. Climbing the Lion Hill, you have a wonderful panoramic view of the old town Lijiang from the Wangu Pavilion. Then visit the beautiful park Hei Long Tan (Black Dragon Pond) at the foot of the Elephant Mountain (Xiang Shan), located north of the old town Lijiang. The peaks of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulong Xueshan, 5596 m) are clearly reflected in the water of the pond. Then visit the Dongba Culture Museum. The Dongba culture is considered as the basis of the Naxi people. “Dongba” means “wisdom” and is a polite salutation for their religious priesthood. The Dongbas are highly respected, as the culture carriers and culture disseminators in terms of pictograms, music, dance of the Naxi people. With 1000-year history, the Dongba culture originated at the latest in the Tang and Song dynasties. After that drive to Baisha Village to admire these religiously-inspired murals that were painted in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Compared to other religious murals, the mural boasts an important feature that figures of Buddhism, Taoism, Lamaism, as well as the artistic styles of different nationalities, e.g. Naxi, Tibetans, Bai and Han Chinese can be found in a single image. Continue driving to Yuhu village to visit the small museum at the former residence of the famous Austrian-American explorer, geographer and botanist Josef Rock. Finally, drive back to Lijiang Ancient Town.

Overnight in Lijiang
Old Town Lijiang
Old Town Lijiang
DAY
17

Lijiang – Shaxi - Dali

Visit the Three Pagodas, Erhai Lake, stroll in the old town of Dali

Drive to Dali (2090 m) at the foot of Cangshan Mountain (4295 m), a city of Bai Minority. On the way visit the old town Shaxi, most of its residents are Bai People. Shaxi was an important caravan station on the ancient tea horse trade road between Yunnan and Tibet. Salt, tea and horses were exchanged on this route and the trade brought prosperity to the region. Upon arrival in Dali have a walk by the picturesque Erhai Lake, the shape of which resembles a huge ear, so gave "Ear Lake" as its name. The lake with an area of 249 square kilometers, is 40 km long and surrounded by high mountains such as Cang Shan. Then visit Dali's landmarks - the three white pagodas of Chong Sheng Temple. Especially when the ensemble is reflected in the small pond, a wonderful photo motive appears for you! At last stroll in the alleys of the ancient small town. The well-preserved ancient city gates and the historic buildings have shown the city’s long history.

227 km
4 hours
Overnight in Dali (2090 m)
Three Pagodas of Chong Sheng Temple
Three Pagodas of Chong Sheng Temple
DAY
18

Dali - Kunming

Dianchi Lake, Dragon Gate in West Mountain

Drive to Kunming (1891 m), capital of Yunnan province in southwest China, also called “Spring City” due to its fine climate all year round. Yunnan in Chinese means "to the south of the clouds". Take a rest in Kunming, or drive to the western suburb to visit Dianchi Lake and the Dragon Gate in the West Mountain.

339 km
4 hours 32 minutes
Old Town Dali
Old Town Dali
DAY
19

Kunming – Shilin – Jianshui

Bizarre Stone Forest. Double Dragon Bridge at sunset

After breakfast drive to Shilin, a county of Sani people of the Yi minority, to visit the Stone Forest. The bizarre karst stone rocks feature in various formation and some of them tower above to 30 m high. The Stone Forest is just a natural museum that was shaped by 270 million years of erosion. Walking in the forest, you’ll feel the magic power of the nature. Then keep driving to Jianshui City, an earthy city built at the earliest in Nanzhao Period (around 810 AD) and was extended as brick city in 1387 of Ming Dynasty. Visit the Double Dragon Bridge, five kilometers in western suburb of Jianshui Old Town. The bridge at the sunset has unique charm! Recorded in the history of bridge building in China, the Double Dragon Bridge was built with 3 arches during the reign of Emperor Qianlong in Qing Dynasty and 14 arches were built to connect it during the reign of Daoguang in Qing Dynasty, so it was also called Seventeen-Arch Bridge. There are three-storey pavilions in the bridge and one pavilion at each end. The bridge body is made of rock, and it has a total length of 148.26 meters and a width of 3 meters. Today, you can try roasted tofu (doufu), the special dishes in Jianshui. With long history, it has earned a very good reputation as early as since the middle and late of Qing Dynasty (1636-1912).

316 km
4 hours
Overnight in Jianshui
Stone Forest (Shilin)
Stone Forest (Shilin)
DAY
20

Jianshui – Yuanyang

Ancient city Jianshui, Chaoyang Tower, Garden of Family Zhu, Confucian Temple. Sunset of Bada Terrace in Yuanyang

In the morning, take a pleasant stroll in the ancient city of Jianshui and visit Chaoyang Tower. Built in 1389 of Ming Dynasty and preserved completely, Chaoyang Tower is the symbol of the important border town in Chinas old time. Then visit the Garden of Family Zhu that was built in Qing Dynasty (1636-1912) and keeps glorious till now. Then visit Jianshui Confucian Temple. Built in Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), it is the third biggest Confucian temple next to the Qufu Confucian Temple in Shandong and the Confucian Temple in Beijing. Many ancient music programs with large scale are performed here every weekend. The programs are divided two fields in the morning and in the afternoon and performance time are 9:00-11:00 and 14:00-16:00. Then drive to Yuanyang Terraces. The Hani terraced fields in Honghe Hani Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan Province has been listed in the world culture heritage list by UNESCO in 2013. Located in the south of Ailaoshan Mountain in south Yunnan, Yuanyang Terraces are the core area of Honghe Hani Terraces. Hani Terraces are agriculture civilization wonder that are cultivated by Hani people and all other ethnic groups from generation to generation, through taking advantage of the special geographical environment and climate. Walking and sightseeing at Bada Terraces, famous scenery for enjoying sunset, terrace, sea of clouds and Hani village. If the weather is well, you can enjoy the beautiful sunset of Bada Terraces in the late afternoon and evening (usually at 18: 00-19: 30 o’clock). Attention: the best season for photographing Hani Terraces is winter and spring, namely, from November to April of the following year. There is no rice in it and Hani Terraces are horizontal and bright, which produce terrific light and shade effects.

134 km
3 hours 39 minutes
Overnight in Yuanyang
Rice Terrace of Yuanyang
Rice Terrace of Yuanyang
DAY
21

Yuanyang

Sunrise at Duoyishu Terraces, Blue Terraces, Colorful Terraces at Eagle’s Beak, Tiger Mouth Terraces

Get up early, don’t miss the wonderful sunrise at Duoyishu Terraces in the morning (usually at 06:30 – 07:30 o’clock). Duoyishu Terraces are the best place for enjoying the beautiful sunrise. And then visit Blue Terraces in Aichun Village. Only at 9:00-10:00 AM you can enjoy the “blue” and every January to February is the most beautiful period of Blue Terraces. The combination of clear water in the fields, the angle of the terraces, and the clear blue sky formed the beautiful Blue Terraces. Besides, the beautiful Blue Terraces, golden ridges, distant Hani villages, scattered trees, and Hani women carrying baskets make up a magic grand spectacle. Afterwards, go to Colorful Terraces at Eagle’s Beak (Laoyingzui) that is near Mali Village. The beauty of Colorful Terraces is due to its rich color. Especially the blood-red terraces are very attractive, the blood-red of which is red algae floating on the surface of the fields. Finally, walking along the Tiger Mouth (Laohuzui) Terraces. If the weather is well, you will enjoy the beautiful sunset at Tiger Mouth Terraces in the late afternoon and evening (usually at 18:00-19:30 o’clock). Tiger Mouth is the best place for enjoying the beautiful sunset of Yuanyang Terraces.
Rice Terrace of Yuanyang
Rice Terrace of Yuanyang
DAY
22

Yuanyang – Pu’er

Sunrise of Duoyishu Terraces

If you are interested in the sunrise, you can get up early to enjoy the beautiful sunrise of Duoshuyi Terraces again. Drive to Pu’er.

348 km
5 hours 49 minutes
Overnight in Pu’er
Mohan
Mohan
DAY
23

Pu’er - Mengla - Mohan

Drive to border. Farewell to China

Drive to the customs at Mohan, assistance for the exit formalities.

277 km
3 hours 47 minutes
National Gate at Mohan
National Gate at Mohan
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