Route 2: Kazakhstan – China – Tibet – Laos or Myanmar

Overland Route 2: Kazakhstan – China – Tibet – Laos or Myanmar


Duration: 26 – 30 days
Distance:         ca 6700km
Best travel time: May, June, September, October


daily itinerary


dayroute: description
1Kazakhstan (Korgas border) – China: Border crossing. Meet your guide at the border. Fromalities at the border. Continue to Ili (Yining).

100 kilometers

2 Ili (Yining): Formalities at the traffic administration. You will receive your temporary Chinese driving license and number plate after the vehicle check.Yining was occupied by tsarist troops from 1872 to 1881. In 1962, major clashes between Chinese and Soviets took place along the Yili River.Possibilities to visit two mosques 
3Ili – Kuytun:

Kuitun is a city in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China, southwest of Dzoungarie

450 kilometer

4Kuytun – Turpan:

Turpan is an oasis city located in the Uighur autonomous region of Xinjiang, China.This place has been for centuries the centre of a fertile oasis (grape production, among others) and an important commercial city on the Silk Road

430 kilometer

5Turpan visiting day:

Visiting day in Turpan.Cultural influences are multiple here. The encounter between the culture of the West and that of the East is perfect. The caves of the thousand Buddhas of Bezeklik, the ruins of Jiaohe and Gaochang are very beautiful witnesses of the rich history of the region. The Flamboyant Mountains are among the sites to visit during your visit to Tourfan. A stifling heat emanates from it but the places have become very popular following the famous novel The Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en. The Emin Minaret is the oldest Islamic tower built in Xinjiang. It is located in the very city of Turpan

6Turpan – Hami (Kumul):

Walk to the Mazar Village of the Tuyugou Valley, this village is known as the oldest village in the Uygur. Visit the desert park near Shanshan and Hami Hui Kings Tomb…

410 kilometer

7Hami – Dunhuang:

Drive to Dunhuang in the morning. Visit Dunhuang Caves, Moon Fountain and Mingsha Sand Hill in the afternoon.

490 kilometer

8Dunhuang – Jiayuguan: Jiayuguan Fort, Overhanging Great Wall

The city of Jiayuguan has a population of about 300,000. It is located at the entrance to the Gobi Desert and near the Qilian Mountains. Jiayuguan, one of the province’s first cities, has a history dating back more than 600 years. The city was then a strategic gateway on the ancient Silk Road.The Jiayuguan Fort marks the western end of the Great Wall of China.The Great Hanging Wall is the other jewel of the Great Wall of China to be found in the city of Jiayuguan. Because of the 45 degree inclination of the walls, one would think that the walls fell suddenly from the sky…

370 kilometer

9Golmud – Nagqu

The Nakchu (Naqu) region is located in northern Tibet, between Chamdo in the east, Lhasa in the south, Ngari in the west and Xinjiang in the north. It is distinguished by its vast meadow (the Qiangtang meadow), as well as by its large uninhabited and mysterious spaces, both of which inevitably make a strong impression on tourists.

830 kiometer

10Nagqu – Namtso lake:

The Tibetans think that the Namtso lake would be the embodiment of a goddess. Thanks to it, all those who bathe in its waters would be cleansed of all sins. It is said that the lake is home to a huge fish 1000 years old and other dragon-like creatures. It is also said that anyone who sees these creatures will have their wishes granted.

250 kilometer

11Namtso lake – Lhasa:

Lhasa, sacred city, heart of Tibet but also roof of the world is a historical capital and a holy city for all Buddhists. Nevertheless, for travellers who venture there, the wonder at the power of the Potala Palace and its spiritual atmosphere will make you feeling something special.

200 kilometer

12Lhasa visiting day:

Lhasa was reportedly established more than 1,300 years ago. Its population is now estimated at about 400,000 inhabitants, more than 200,000 of whom live in the mountains. Lhasa is world-renowned for its cultural and historical sites of interest estimated at several thousand years. The splendour and immoderation of the Potala Palace is undoubtedly the most powerful symbol of the enigmatic political and religious power of the Tibetan region.



Lhasa – Ganden – Nyingchi:

From Lhasa, the route leads to the Ganden Monastery, another spectacular monastery. It is built at an elevation of over 4,000 metres, overlooking a wide gorge. After a short visit to the monastery, we continue to Nyingchi.

410 kilometer


Nyingchi – Ranwuzhen:

The next two days we travel down from the Tibetan plateau along mountains and woods that are often covered with snow. The landscape is changing, and the regions are increasingly forested.

380 kilometer


Ranwuzhen – Zogang:

The route takes us via Markham along the Yangtze, and the beautiful views are, once more, impressive.

290 kilometer


Zogang – Deqen (overnight stay at a Tibetan farmer’s home):

We have arranged something special for this day, one of the last days in the Tibetan area: spending the night with a Tibetan family in a traditional Tibetan farm on the banks of the Mekong near Deqen. Here you can experience life in a small Tibetan village. Our Tibetan family likes to cook the local, traditional dishes for our guests. (The homestay is not included – please inquirer if available).

380 kilometer


Deqen – Shangri-la:

The journey to Shangri-la. In the historic old town of Shangri-la, we visit the largest prayer wheel in the world. There are two routes to Shangri-la: The longer route along the Mekong and another across the main road G214.

Google Maps for days 19-23:


200 kilometer



Free day in Shangri La: head to the Tibetan monastery Gedan Songzanlin, located just outside the city, to immerse yourself in the local Tibetan atmosphere. The monastery has undergone many renovations in recent years. The old town of Zhongdian is also worth a visit. Partly devastated by fire on January 11, 2014, it is rebuilding rapidly. It is nice to see the locals dancing every night in the main square of the old town.You can also discover the surroundings near Shangri La, on foot or by bike, from one Tibetan village to another. There are many possibilities for walks. A popular place is China’s first national park, Pudacao, home to Napa and Shudu Lakes. Napa season lake is located just outside the old city of Shangri La / Zhongdian.



Shangri-La – Tiger Leaping Gorge:

Along the way, we drive through the Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest gorges in the world. It is possible to do a hiking tour in the gorge (2.5 hrs. hiking time), hiking to the Tiger Leaping Stone.Another option is to do the high trail (appx. 6-8 hours). Discuss with your guide which option you prefer (we suggest to hike into the gorge).

200 kilometer


Tiger Leaping Gorge – Lijiang:

You drive to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Lijiang. In the town of Lijiang, there is the possibility of taking a walk through the historic old town and visiting the Black Dragon Pool. Lijiang and the surrounding areas have a lot to offer the traveler. Baisha and Shuhe are old towns at the foot of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountains, and it is worthwhile to take a break and relax here.

120 kilometer

21Lijiang visiting day:

Outside the old town of Lijiang, with its narrow streets and numerous canals, Lijiang is the hub of a region rich in diverse activities. Closer by, you can discover the village of Wenhai overlooking the Lijiang Valley, on foot or on horseback, or the ancient Naxi towns of Shuhe, Baisha or Yuhu, or Lashihai Lake.


22Lijiang – Tiger Leaping Gorge – Shaxi:

Shaxi once played an important crossroads on the road of tea and horse caravans, an important branch of the Silk Road. Just 1000 years ago, this city was to become the dominant node between Tibet and southwest China.Even if today the exchanges between Tibet and China are no longer carried out by this road, Shaxi keeps this atmosphere of a commercial crossroads city. These old cobbled streets still look like those of a thousand years ago. The minorities of the region, especially the Bai and Yi, still meet every Friday in the village centre for the market. Coming down from the surrounding mountains, they exchange goods with other traders or private individuals through the old streets of Shaxi.

225 kilometer

23Shaxi – Dali:

Dali is the centre of the Bai minority region, and the former capital of the kingdom of Nanzhao. The city is located at the intersection of highways to Myanmar and Tibet, and globally between Kunming and Lijiang as the crow flies. It is known for its white marbles with grayed lines. Despite an altitude of 1900m, the region enjoys a temperate climate all year round, attracting many Chinese city dwellers wishing to escape the pollution of the cities of eastern China, but also Chinese artists, the region having become in some respects a bohemian region. At the foot of Cangshan Mountain in the west, and Erhai Lake in the east, its location is exceptional, and it is one of Yunnan’s major destinations for rest and relaxation.

110 kilometer


Dali – Weishan:

Half a day for rest and relaxation. In the afternoon, we take a short drive to Weishan. Weishan has one of the most beautiful historic, “untouristy” old towns of Yunnan.There is also the option of spending another night in Dali.

60 kilometer


Weishan – Lincang:

On the way to Lincang, we arrive in tropical areas. Tea plantations and banana groves replace the forests of northern Yunnan.

235 kilometer


Licang – Xishuangbanna (Jinhong):

Journey to the capital city of Xishuangbanna – Jinhong. Here we will experience the lifestyle and architecture of Southeast Asia.

400 kilometer


Jinhong – Mohanzhen – departure for Laos:

The last day of travel in China leads us to the Sino-Laotian border. Customs paperwork. We recommend making the drive to Luang Namtha.

190 kilometer (in China)



Change this itinerary:

Shorten this itinerary by 1 day  Skip Weishan on day 22 and drive directly to Lincang
Extend this itinerary by 3 days  Visit Kuqa and the norther Silk Road from Kuytun


Exit into Myanmar:

24Dali – Tengchong (Heshun):

325 kilometer

25Tengchong – Ruili – Muse (Myanmar):

200 kilometer


Dali – Ruili – Muse (Myanmar): Start in the early morning (before sunset) and drive to Ruili. Exit into Myanmar. We suggest to stay overnight in Muse.

415 kilometer

Please note that for Myanmar a guide and pre-arranged transit paperwork is required. If you need a suggestion, which company to choose for this service, please contact us.

Part 1: https://goo.gl/maps/5jUC7jh8Fyn
Part 2: https://goo.gl/maps/Fc5KnJ3XztM2 (exit Laos)
Part 2: https://goo.gl/maps/nBPHz1M8PHQ2 (exit Myanmar)

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?