Go East, Young Man – Eastern Tibet and the Ride to Everest Base Camp
Until recently, the roads descending from the Tibetan plateau to the province of Yunnan via the eastern Himalayas were off limits to foreigners. On our new Tibet Motorcycle Tour, you can look forward to the finest views of the world’s highest mountain, the cultural highlights of Tibet, remote mountain roads, undiscovered wilderness on the banks of the Mekong, snow-covered Himalayan peaks, deep evergreen forests, and of course endless winding roads and beautiful mountain passes.
Tour Overview: Go East, Young Man
|Price:||4,490€ (Shineray X5 400) /|
5,090€ (BMW F 800 GS)
4,790€ (BMW G 310 GS)
Single room supplement: 690€
|Highlights/Itinerary:||Chengdu – Lhasa – Tsedang – Gyangze – Sakya – Everest Basislager – Ranwu See|
|Difficulty:||3/5 – 3/5 – Demanding due to high altitude and climate. Experience on curvy mountain roads is a requirement.|
|Duration/Length:||16 days / ~ 3.100 Kilometer|
|Style:||Tibet motorcycle tour with overnight stays in hotels, guest houses and accommodation. The roads on this tour are mainly paved. Ratio dirt track or gravel/tarmac: 5/95.|
|Motorcycles:||Shineray X5 400 / BMW F 800 GS / BMW G 310 GS|
Daily Itinerary: Go East, Young Man
Arrival in Chengdu: The first day of the Tibet Motorcycle Tour begins with a pick-up service at the airport, transfer to the nearby hotel and a group dinner.
|2||Chengdu -Lhasa: We’ll leave early for the airport and fly to Lhasa. After checking in at the hotel and a break, you can visit the old town and Barkhor market, as well as the most sacred temple for Tibetans, the Jokhang. In the afternoon, we’ll visit Drepung Monastery.|
|3||Lhasa: The day will start with formalities: everyone will be issued a Chinese driver’s license at the traffic authority. In the afternoon, the former residence of the Dalai Lama, Potala Palace, is on the program.|
Lhasa – Gyangze: The first day of our ride to Everest Base Camp: From Lhasa, we’re going to follow the Yarlung Tsangpo River toward Yamdrok Lake. Winding roads will take us up to 4,900 meters, with a view to the azure blue lake far below.
We’ll ride down a fantastic road toward Nagartse, then on to Gyangtse via the 5,100-meter Karo La Pass that takes us right up to the foot of a mighty glacier. The ancient Gyangtse Dzong fortress towers over the small town.
Gyangze – Sakya: In the morning we’ll visit the Buddhist Pelkhor Monastery, also known as the “Monastery of Ten Thousand Paintings”. With its four floors, 108 chapels and over 10,000 murals, it is the largest stupa (pagoda) in Tibet.
The ride to Everest Base Camp continues on the Friendship Highway between China and Nepal toward Sakya, through tiny hamlets and along endless wheat fields with isolated villages.
Sakya Monastery was once the most important of its kind in Tibet. The Mongolian architecture stands out in contrast to the other Tibetan monasteries, its walls rising majestically above the grasslands of the valley.
Sakya – Rongbuk: We’ll take a remote mountain road past a dry salt lake and arrive in Tingri – the starting point for every ride to Everest Base Camp – in the early afternoon.
From Tingri, the road heads south and winds further up into the Himalayas, where we have a perfect view of the most famous and highest 8,000-meter mountains and their surrounding valleys. An incredible road with hundreds of twists and turns and views of the numerous 8,000-meter peaks will take us to Rongbuk Monastery, where we will arrive in the afternoon – the high point of our ride to Everest Base Camp.
To reach the monastery, we have to cross two 5000-meter passes. Motorcycles are prohibited beyond Rongbuk. While the Base Camp, which is 2.5 km away, has been closed since January 2019, we still have a spectacular view of Everest. We’ll spend the night in Rongbuk Monastery’s very basic guest house and enjoy the view of Everest.
|7||Rongbuk – Xigaze: From Everest, we’ll tackle Gyatso-La Pass, which is the highest of the ride with its 5,222 meters, and continue to Xigaze, where we’ll spend the night in a comfortable hotel in the center of town. There are markets nearby, as well as the Tashilhunpo Monastery, which we can visit in the late afternoon.|
Xigaze – Tsedang:
Throughout the day, we’ll follow the Yarlung Tsangpo River, the life-giving water supply of Lhasa and southern Tibet. The broad, rushing river will accompany us to our destination for the day and captivate you with fascinating vistas. We’ll follow it through fields and gorges to Tsedang, the cradle of Tibetan culture. Samye Monastery and the 2,000-year-old Yumbulakhang Palace, Tibet’s oldest building, are on the program. The Yumbulakhang stands on a huge rock overlooking a broad and fertile valley.
Tsedang – Langxian: We’ll ride further east on winding roads close to the Nepalese border. From our vantage point on the Tibetan plateau, Nepal lies far below. On the way, we’ll visit the Thakpo Shedrup Ling Monastery in Gyanltsa and tackle a 4,900-meter pass shortly after breakfast.
|10||Langxian – Lulang: After the city of Nyingtri, we’ll say “tashi delek” – goodbye – to the Tibetan plateau, cross our last 5,000-meter pass, then descend on a winding road through fragrant spruce forests into the “Switzerland of the Orient”, with its wooded mountains and rolling grasslands with grazing yaks. There, in the small town of Lulang, we’ll spend the night.|
|11||Lulang – Ranwu See: Today is going to be another day for spectacular views on the Tibet Motorcycle Tour. We’ll take the various passes on the road to Ranwu and enjoy the fascinating landscapes rolling by. We’ll spend the night directly at the shore of Ranwu, a mountain lake framed by snow-covered peaks, at an altitude of nearly 4,000 meters – in the most beautiful resort of the region, of course.|
|12|| Ranwu See – Zogang: The day begins with a ride along the Salween River, which originates on the Tibetan plateau and descends to Shan State in Myanmar. On the way, we can enjoy spectacular vistas in the gorges through the expansive sandstone landscapes.|
But the treat of the day is yet to come: an iconic road, known by the locals only as “the road of 72 curves”. At the end of the serpentines, we reach a 4,300-meter pass with a view many miles into the valley below. The quiet mountain roads descend through gorges and evergreen forests to Zogang – a true highlight of ourTibet Motorcycle Tour.
Zogang – Feilaisi: Two more passes with altitudes of 4,300 and 3,900 meters await us. We’ll ride along the rugged banks and gorges of the Upper Mekong – which is quite unlike the placid river downstream in Thailand – to Feilaisi, the “Flying Temple”, and say farewell to Tibet. Yunnan awaits. The temple is dedicated to the deity enthroned on the peak of Kawa Karpo, the last snow-covered peak of our journey, and at the same time the highest mountain of the eastern Himalayas and final highlight with its majestic 6,700 meters.
We’ll spend the night there, at the foot of the mountain.
Feilaisi – Shangri-La: This will be the last riding day on our Tibet Motorcycle Tour. From the Flying Temple, our journey will take us over the 4,300-meter Pass of the White Horse and down into the gorges of the Yangtze, the longest river in Asia and third-longest in the world. Here, at “only” 1,900 meters above sea level, we’re at the lowest altitude of the tour. It’s quite warm and cacti grow on the river banks – an incredible contrast.
Our final riding stage takes us to the romantic old town of Shangri-La. Its small two-story houses are built entirely of wood and are richly decorated with carvings. In Shangri-La, we’ll visit the 22-meter prayer wheel – the largest in the world – and we should turn it at least three times for good karma.
|15||Shangri-La – Chengdu: Morning/midday flight to Chengdu. Overnight stay near the airport. There will be time for optional individual visits to the Chengdu Panda Base.|
|16||Chengdu: Individual departure from Chengdu. The end of our Tibet Motorcycle Tour.|
English speaking guide on own motorbike
English speaking local Tibet guid
Service vehicle for luggage and spare motorbike
15 overnight stays in mid range hotels, one simple accommodation at Rongbuk moanstery
Motorcycle of choice, insurance with partial cover
Breakfast, lunch snack, dinner, soft drinks, free water during the tour
All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary
Provisional Chinese driving license
All airport transfers (beside airport transfer on day 16)
Domstic flights Chengdu – Lhasa and Shangri-La – Chengdu