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Home4WD/OverLand4WD overland drive from Kunming to Lhasa:

4WD overland drive from Kunming to Lhasa:

Dali, Lijiang, Deqin, Ranwu, Bomi, Bayi, Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse

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Tour Code: 4WD-S/W-011
Duration: 20days
Destination: Dali, Lijiang, Zhongdian(Shangri-la), Nyinchi, Lhasa, Gyantze, Shigatze
Good time to visit: May, Aug, Oct
Departure date: on request 2016
Effort Nature Culture

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This programme promises an entirely different way to experience the great variety of cultures which are collectively called 'Tibetan'. The natural splendor of the route is unrivalled in terms of the diversity of landforms encountered. We follow four of Asia's major rivers: the Yangtze, Salween, Mekong and Brhamaputra, and experience the imposing mountain ranges that separate one from the other. The whole area has never really been open to foreigners, and as permits for the region are hard to come by it is not unusual for our groups to raise a few eyebrows amongst the locals.
From Kunming we travel to Dali where the ancestors of the Bai people made their home over three thousand years ago. There is enough time to see something of the peaceful lakeside villages before heading north into the Tibetan tablelands and the fascinating Naxi people who live in the shadow of Jade Dragon mountain. We follow the upper Yangtse then cross over to the spectacular valleys of the Mekong where picturesque villages cling to the steep mountainside. In Tibet, we stop at Ramwu, Bomi and Basumtse Lake to relax yourself in the picturesque highland scene. Roughly half of our time is spent on the road and we'll be able to make frequent stops at the temples, markets, high mountain passes, and alpine lakes along the way; while in Lhasa we have left enough time to see the city's most important sites.

Yunnan-trading grou on the tea-horse road.jpg Yunnan-Mt_Meili-Princess Peak-04.jpg Yunnan-Deqin-bent of Jinshajiang on the way to Deqin.jpg


Day 1 Kunming(pick up service)
Arrive in Kunming. Meet and greet at the airport, transfer to the hotel(4 star), free for preparation work for the rest of the day.  In the evening, we will have a short briefing about the adventure while savoring delicious Yunnan cuisine. Stay in 4-star hotel.

Day 2 Kunming/Dali(about 5 hours, BLD)
We will depart Kunming in the early morning for the old town of Dali, the former capital of Nanzhao Kingdom. Dali has been inhabited mainly by the Bai ethnic people for nearly 1,200 years. The afternoon is left open for you to explore the town at your own pace, either renting a bike to cycle to Erhai Lake, or just relax in one of the street-side coffee shops watching people go by. Stay in 3-star hotel.
Day 3 Dali /Lijiang(BLD)
The Dali-Lijiang drive, which cruises along the Cangshan mountain range and Erhai lake, is scenic and pleasant in itself. We will stop en route to visit the Orchid King of Dali. After arriving in Lijiang, we will visit the Black Dragon Pool in the northern edge of the town, and explore the old town maze of Naxi houses. A classic Naxi music concert in the evening will be the highlight of the day. Stay inside of the Old Town.  Stay in 4-star hotel.

Day 4 Lijiang/Zhongdian(BLD)
After breakfast, we will drive to Zhongdian, the first Tibetan town in Yunnan with a sprinkling of Bai, Muslim and Naxi cultural influences. We will stop on the way to visit the spectacular Tiger Leaping Gorge, which was once the deepest gorge in the world. Stay in 3-star hotel.

Day 5 Zhongdian/Deqin(BLD)
The drive to Deqin is simply the best way to view the great variety of landscape in the Great Rivers region. The grand curning of Jinshanjiang(the upper part of Yangtse River),  Baima Snow Mountain Nature Reserve, the Town of  Deqin, the gateway town to Tibet. In Deqin, visit a Tibetan school in the afternoon, and have our dinner in the Town, then we will take a ten minutes drive to Feilaisi, where you could have a good view of Mt. Meili just out of your room. Stay in 3-star hotel.

Day 6 Deqin to Tibet via Yanjing(BLD)
If we are luck enough to have a good weather, we could see the golden snow-covered Kawagebo peak (6,740m, the Peak of Mt. Meili. Then we travel along the north of Mekong River valley into Tibet. Once into Tibet, our first stop will be in the town of Yanjing, which was once the main source of salt for half of the Kham Tibetan area, which ranged from northwestern Sichuan down into Yunnan. We will visit to the salt fields, followed by a stop at the hot springs, where each of us could pick our own natural hot bath overlooking the Mekong. Certainly the best way to relax our body for the adventure ahead! Stay in guest house.

Day 7 Yanjing to Zugong(BLD)
We cross two high passes in this section of the drive, one at around 3,900 m(12,795 ft), the other at 5,008 m(16,430 ft). Driving past local Tibetan houses scattered round the feet of snow-capped peaks, the expressions on innocent Tibetan girls would make you realize that you are one of the first foreign visitors to this isolated region. Stay in guest house.

Day 8 Zugong to Ranwu(BLD)
We will drive along the deep valleys of the Nu River (the Salween River), which is a long and tough journey, but our destination, the Ranwu Lake, is another Shangri-la, stay in the tent beside the Lake. Stay in guest house.

Day 9 Ranwu(BLD)
A rare day which involves no driving! You have two options available: for those interested in a day hike, our photographer/guide would take you onto a scenic day hike; while those who'd rather opt for a day of retreat would find this place ideal for relaxing, writing your travel notes and washing off the dust accumulated in the journey so far. Stay in guest house.

Day 10 Ranwu/ Bomi(BLD)
A drive of 129km would take us about 5 hours to Bomi, Stay in the guesthouse.

Day 11 Bomi/Bayi(about 230km, BLD)
Waking up to the birds' singing, you will have an unobstructed view of the majestic Najiabawa peak(7,782m, No. 6th peak of the world).  After a long 9 hours drive, we will arrive in Bayi, the largest Tibetan town we will have reached at this point. Stay in similar 3-star hotel.

Day 12 Bayi/ Basumtse Lake(BLD)
Lake Basum has another Tibetan name, Tsokou, which means green water in Tibetan. Many glaciers on the upper reaches of the lake provide it with sufficient water supply. Covering 26 square kilometers (10 square miles), the clean green lake, reflecting snow capped peaks in the water, has so beautiful scenery that it makes one feels in Swiss. Fish are shoaling in the water; birds are circling in the air; beasts are roaming in the woods. Animals are living a comfortable and easy life in Basum. Camping beside the lake. Stay in a 2-star hotel.

tibet-04.jpg Tibet-Qinkejia-01.jpg tibet-06.jpg

Day 13 Basong Lake/Gongbujiangda (BLD)
Leaving the lake after breakfast, we arrive at Gongbujiangda in time for lunch. The afternoon will be left open for you to take a gentle walk or explore the nearby glacier. Stay in a 2 star hotel.

Day 14 Gongbujiangda/Lhasa(BLD)
Believe it or not, thirteen is a lucky number in Tibet. This is the day we finally arrive in Lhasa. After the 13-day-long challenging overland trip, you will understand why Tibetans regard the journey to Lhasa as one of the most sacred of pilgrimages. Stay in Lhasa Hotel(4 star)

Day 15  Lhasa (by jeep, BL)
Visit Potala Palace, Jokang Temple , Bakhor Bazaar, stay in the same ;

Day 16 Lhasa(by jeep, BL)
Visit Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, and Norbulingka. Stay in the same;

Day 17  Lhasa/Gyantse (6-hr by jeep, about 285km,altitude 3900m)
Vsit Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier, Gyantse castle; stay in Gyantse Hotel or the similar;

Day 18 Gyantse/Shigatse(2-hr by jeep, about 100km, BL)
Visit Baiju Monastery(or Pelkochode), drive to Shigatse, visit Tashilunpu Monastery, Carpet Factory, Bazaar; prepare food and the other necessity for the following trip, stay in Shigatse Hotel(3 star) or the similar;

Day 19 Shigatse/Lhasa(BL)
After breakfast, drive back to Lhas, free in the afternoon for last minutes shopping or walking around the holy city.

Day 20 Lhasa(B)
Transfer to the airport for flight back. The end of the tour.

B-breakfast  L-lunch  D-dinner 

Tour Cost:               Currency Converter
 2-5 person6-9 personOver 10 personSingle Supplement
Tour CostCNY35630/P
(The cost for the child of 2-12 year old is based on 15 % discount of the adult's tour cost.Any baby less than 2 year old is free of any charges. If it turns out there is cost involved, we reserved to collect the cost.)

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The tour cost includes:

  • Good tourist van or 4WD vehicle as mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Meals daily as listed in the itinerary, picnic lunches in remote area if required(B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner);
  • Service of English guide and experienced driver;
  • Scenic spots admission fee; Nature Reserve Protection fee and/ or camping permit fee (inside nature reserve) if required
  • Accommodation: double-occupancy in 4 star hotel in big city, and the best hotel in small cities or counties, clean guest house/hostel/or home-stay in villages as clarified in the itinerary; camping in non-residential area as mentioned in the itinerary, camping gear like tent, sleeping mat, and cooking equipment when required;
  • All the Foreigner's Travel Permit to Tibet and the remote area/border area if needed;
  • A truck for carrying food and all supporting equipments when necessary.(Normally it is for a group over 6 person driving for more than 5 days into non-residential area,) 
  •  Camel/yak/porter to carry your luggage if trekking and camping for more than 2 days in the desert or non-residential area when required in the itinerary; for a group more than 6 persons we will provide outdoor cooking equipment and a cook to prepare meals;
  •  All domestic flights/trains/local airport taxes if there is in the itinerary;

The tour cost does not include:

  • Meals in your free time or on the train/plane, Personal travel insurance, sleeping bag when camping, tips to tour guide and driver, international flights and related airport taxes, excess baggage charged by Airlines; The medicine for the sickness or accident while on the way, single supplement cost for those who wants to accommodate on a single basis, supplementary trips and services not mentioned, visa costs, any expenses on personal nature not listed above, the extra cost due to the unforeseen events;


  • As the exchange rate of CNY to USD is subject to Change, the final price will be calculated according to the Chinese currency CNY. The price in USD dollar is just for your reference.
  • We are ready to reserve the e-air ticket from another city to the starting city or from the ending city back to your preferred city if needed.
  • The prices do not apply to National Holidays (e.g. Chinese National Day Sep. 30th -Oct.8th , Or other Special Festival time).
  • We reserve the right to alternate the visiting order of the scenic spots. The entrance tickets to scenic spots are based present price. We reserve the right to revise the price without notice if the tickets price rise up.
  • The really itinerary and hotel/hostel maybe different from the itinerary. For the enjoyment of your trip a "go with the flow" attitude is necessary. Many factors will influence your trip, such as weather conditions, health, route conditions, etc. Please prepare one-two days more as "cushion" day in case of delays in travel due to unforeseen events.
  • Tourist insurance is a must before going. Take out appropriate travel insurance to cover hospital treatment, medical evacuation and any activities, including adventure sports, in which you plan to participate. Please provide us the confirmation of insurance company when sign up. 
  • The part of the area we will visit has not been well developed like Beijing and Shanghai. While it is good to enjoy the well protected nature view and experience unique primitive customs, we should prepare for that even the four star hotel is not so good and the food is not so delicate and various in the small town.

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What Our Clients Say

We had a fantastic trip! Our guide, Tenzin Tashi, was great. He was very fun, knowledgeable, and passionate about his job. Our driver, Wangal did a good job getting us safely to all places. We were very lucky to see Mt. Everest on a very clear day - no clouds to block the view. We have many beautiful pictures. We met Lili in Chongqing with no problem - she was very helpful.  I will send another email about the Great Wall Hike we want to take starting Nov 7th. I think this one will be easier to organize, I hope. Thank you for your help.
Wendy and Hal Evans

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