Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland
Overland tour from Kathmandu to Lhasa offers spectacular crossing of the High Himalayas, up close experience of Mount Everest on the Tibetan side, and a journey through the heart of Tibet. While you do not partake in any trekking, sound health more so than physical fitness are essential on account of dealing with the adverse effects of high altitude. Ideally before embarking on this Himalayan traverse and drive across the Tibetan plateau you spend few days in Kathmandu. That is very important especially if you may be flying in from sea level. You need to acclimatize for the altitude and it makes little sense to undertake this kind of trip wanting to leave for Tibet without at least couple days in Kathmandu – that is even more important if you have a cold or just got over a flu – many foolish foreign tourists have died from pulmonary edema when setting out to these regions expecting that they will be fine since it is just for a few days. In other words, you need more time in this part of the world, hence the ideal way to do this trip is by adding Bhutan at the front end of this tour, so the itinerary becomes tour of Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet. The itinerary can be always customized further, for example by adding Darjeeling and Sikkim in between Bhutan and Kathmandu.
To visit only Bhutan and Tibet is not workable as there are no direct flights between Bhutan and Tibet and you’ll have to travel via Kathmandu and same or similar logistics would apply — you can find options where for example you fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa and drive out back to Kathmandu. Or you can do it in reverse, drive to Tibet/Lhasa from Kathmandu, then return back to Kathmandu by flight.
To begin in Bhutan you will need to fly either Delhi to Paro or Bangkok to Paro, then Paro to Kathmandu, and finally Lhasa back to Kathmandu unless you may opt to continue to China. Total for these three air fares will be approximately $1,500 per person.
When you may start planning this tour, think in terms of ample lead time — if for example you’d want to travel in the fall, keep in mind that October hotel bookings are very heavy in Kathmandu with Chinese tourist arrivals – in recent years over 60% of all room reservations in Kathmandu were by Chinese tourists that can now travel freely and arrive in Nepal and India in high numbers, often traveling in large groups.