An adventurous itinerary taking in the exotic sites and smells of Kathmandu and journeying to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. Next, cross the border into Lhasa and beyond in Tibet. Accommodation is basic and journeys long but the unique landscape and culture are worth it.
Welcome to Tibet
Tibet is a vast country - five times the size of Nepal and even with its current high political profile it is still seen as a mysterious entity by the West. It is the high-altitude Land of Snows, the mystical inspiration for James Hilton's best-selling novel Shangri-La, and the possessor of some of the most desolate yet magnificent scenery on the planet.
Its towns and cities have suffered from the leaden hand of Communism, with bombastic architecture and insensitive road systems. Underlying everything is a profound religious sensibility; Buddhism arrived in the 7th century, merging with the indigenous religion, BÃ¶n, evidence of which can still be seen. From a visitors' point of view, Tibet is not only very large but very high; Lhasa, the capital, is 3,650 metres above sea level and the bulk of the country is above 5,000 metres, rising to 6,000 in the south - the highest plateau in the world. Tourists are drawn by the picturesque culture and dramatic landscapes. Lhasa is home to the forbidding white-and-ochre Palace and JokhangTemple, the religious centre of the country, and is ringed with temples, monasteries and nunneries. In the south is Mount Everest - on the Nepali border - whose north face can be seen from Rongphu Monastery. The views are marvellous and it is possible to divert to Everest Base Camp.