Tibet Photo Workshop: Lhasa to Everest and Kathmandu

• Dates: October 13-27, 2019
• Cost: $4499 USD
• 15 days
• Limit of 10 participants

This workshop and journey is organized by Himalaya Journey.



Tibet Landscape

The Journey: The 1300 kilometer overland route connecting Lhasa, Tibet with Kathmandu, Nepal is considered one of the most epic and most beautiful road trips on the planet. This 15 day journey will start in Chengdu, China on October 13, 2019. The next day, we will fly (flight cost included) to the Tibetan capital city of Lhasa where we will spend 3 days exploring some of the holiest Buddhist sites in the Himalaya. In Lhasa, we will visit the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Sera Monastery and other sacred sites. After our time in Lhasa, we will begin our epic road-trip to Kathmandu.

From Lhasa, the real adventure begins as you start the epic road trip through Central Tibet to Nepal. You will start by photographing Yamdrok Tso, one of Tibet’s most beautiful lakes. From there, you will get up close to the Karo La Glacier before visiting the quaint, historic town of Gyantse and the Pelkhor Chode Monastery. Passing through quiet farming villages, you will then go to Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest city. Outside of Shigatse, is Phuntsoling Monastery, one of Tibet’s best kept secrets. From there, you will work your way overland to Mt Everest’s spectacular North Face Base Camp, where you will get perhaps the single best view of the world’s highest peak.

But wait….you are just getting started! After photographing the sunset on Everest Base Camp, you will continue on towards Shisha Pangma, the 14th highest peak on the planet and the highest mountain that is completely in Tibet. You will also visit Peiku Tso, one of Tibet’s most remote and beautiful alpine lakes. From there, we will begin the descent down to the Tibet border town of Kyirong.

At Kyirong, we will say goodbye to our Tibetan driver and guide and say hello to our Nepali driver and guide. We will then continue on to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. We will spend 3 full days exploring the main sites in and around Kathmandu. We will visit Pashupatinath, a major Hindu pilgrimage destination as well as go to Boudhanath, home to the largest Buddhist stupa (pagoda) in the Himalaya. We will then spend the day exploring the ancient city of Bhaktapur, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This well-preserved city is one of the most fascinating places in Nepal to see traditional architecture and culture. Our journey will conclude on the morning of October 27, 2019 (Day 15) in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Throughout this journey, Canadian photographer Ariel Estulin will be giving lessons on photography in both a group and individual basis. Whether you are a beginner or a more advanced photographer, you are sure to learn a lot from this 15 day journey. We will be traveling at a very slow pace so that you not only can experience the uniqueness of Tibet, but you can also learn directly from Ariel. American guide Ben Cubbage and Tibetan guide Phurbu Chungdak will  both be lecturing on Tibetan culture and history so that each client has a deeper understanding of what they are photographing during this workshop.

For more information about this journey, send an email  to: info@himalayajourney.com

Full Itinerary

This workshop is run in partnership with:

October 13
All participants must arrive in Chengdu, China by 4pm on October 13. Himalaya Journey will give you detailed instructions on how to easily get to the 5 Star Chengdu Airport Hotel. We will eat dinner together during a time of meet and greet at a restaurant near our hotel.

October 14
In the late morning/early afternoon, we will fly to Lhasa and arrive in the mid afternoon. The Tibetan capital sits at 3590 meters and is the cultural and spiritual heart of Tibet. After getting situated in a centrally located hotel, we will explore and photograph the center of the Old Tibetan Quarter in the heart of Lhasa. The Barkhor is the main shopping market for local Tibetans. It is one of the most interesting markets in all of Asia and is an excellent place to photograph modern Tibetan culture. In Lhasa we will stay at the famous Kyichu Hotel, which is located within walking distance of the Barkhor.

October 15
After breakfast, we will spend the morning going through the Jokhang, Tibet’s holiest and most famous temple. Each day, thousands of Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims work their way through this nearly 1400 year old temple. In the afternoon, we photograph and explore Drepung, one of Tibet’s largest monasteries.

October 16
We will start the day by exploring Tibet’s most iconic building, the Potala Palace. Towering above Lhasa with more than 1000 rooms, the Potala Palace served as the winter residence of the Dalai Lama’s for hundreds of years. After this, we will explore more of the Old Tibetan Quarter of Lhasa.

October 17
In the morning, we will depart from Lhasa and drive to Gyantse via Yamdrok Lake. Yamdrok Lake, during clear weather, is a brilliant turquoise color and is one of the 4 main holy lakes in Tibetan Buddhism. The huge, glaciated 7191 meter Mt. Nojin Kangtsang forms the backdrop of the lake. The lake sits at an elevation of 4441 meters above sea level. Along the way to Gyantse, we will stop by the glaciers of Mt. Nojin Kangtsang at the Karo La Pass, which come down almost to the highway. Gyantse is a small, but modern Tibetan town, that lies at 4025 meters. We will be photographing the Pelkor Chode Monastery as well as the Gyantse Kumbum, the highest stupa (Buddhist pagoda) in Tibet. The drive from Lhasa to Gyantse covers 260 kms (162 miles). In Gyantse, we will stay at the 3 Star Yeti Hotel.

October 18
After breakfast, we will photograph the 600 year old Pelkor Chode Monastery. This beautiful monastery lies within a walled complex in the Gyantse Old Town. The short hike to the top of the wall gives an excellent panorama view of the monastery, town and the high plateau in the distance. After lunch, we will depart Gyantse and drive to Shigatse, elevation 3840 meters. Near to Shigatse, we will go to the pleasant village of Shalu to photograph and explore. The The distance from Gyantse to Shigatse is 95 kilometers (60 miles). In Shigatse we will stay at the 4 Star Tashi Choten Hotel.

October 19
From Shigatse, we will go to one of Tibet’s best kept secrets—Phuntsoling Monastery. This monastery has both a newer section as well as some ancient ruins that are above it. The monastery looks out to a fantastic valley and is the perfect place to get in some hiking along with some teachings on how to improve your photography! Next, we will continue on to the fortress-like monastery of Sakya, one of the most uniquely built in Tibet. The distance from Shigatse to Sakya, elevation 4330 meters, is 160 kilometers. In Sakya, you will stay at the Manasarovar Hotel.

October 20
After breakfast we will continue westward thru the mountains of Tibet to the small town of Shelkar, elevation 4325 meters. Along the way you will cross over the Gyatso La Pass, one of the highest passes in Tibet at 5248 meters high. From the pass you will continue on to Shelkar. After checking in to your hotel, you will go to the ruins of the old Shelkar Fortress, a great place to have an outdoor workshop session. In Shelkar, you will stay at the 3 Star Qomolangma Everest Hotel. The distance from Sakya to Shelkar is 140 kilometers.

October 21
Today, you will cross over the Geu La Pass, elevation 5198 meters. If the weather is good (it normally is in October!), you can see 5 of the world’s 15 highest peaks from this pass, including Mt Everest. From the pass, you will continue on to the Rongphu (Rongbuk), the highest monastery in the world. The monastery looks out to the dramatic North Face of Mt Everest, located in the base camp region. You will stay the night at the very basic Rongphu Hotel while watching the sunset on Everest. The distance from Shelkar to the Everest base camp region is 115 kilometers.

October 22
In the morning you can photograph the sun rising on Mt Everest! From there, you will travel back over the Geu La Pass and on to the small trading post of Old Tingri, elevation 4300 meters. If the weather is good, you can see Cho Oyu (6th highest peak) as well as Mt Everest from town. In Old Tingri you will stay at the basic Kangar Hotel or the Snow Leopard Hotel. The distance from the Everest base camp region to Old Tingri is 120 kilometers.

October 23
From Old Tingri, you will depart for the scenic area in and around Peiku Tso, a high altitude lake surrounded by towering Himalaya Mountains. On the far side of Old Tingri, there is a great view of Cho Oyu, the 6th highest peak on the planet. You will continue on to another of the world’s highest peak: Shisha Pangma, the 14th highest peak on the planet and the highest mountain that is completely inside Tibet (Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu are all along the border of Tibet and Nepal). This impressive peak rises to 8013 meters and can be clearly seen on the Tibet side. There are numerous other peaks on the way to Peiku Tso Lake that rise over 6500 meters. In many ways, this will be the best day to get images of the mighty Himalayas! At Peiku Lake, you can explore the lakeshore while photographing the nearby peaks. From the lake, you will continue to the town of Kyirong, the last town in Tibet before the Nepal border. Kyirong sits at 2800 meters in altitude and is located 260 kilometers away. You will stay at the Phuntsok Rabsal Hotel, the best in town.

October 24
After an early breakfast, you will depart Kyirong and drive 40 kilometers to China Customs. There, you will say goodbye to our Tibetan staff (driver and co-guide) and walk across the bridge that separates Tibet from Nepal. Once you enter into Nepal, you will be greeted by our Nepal-based staff. After going thru Nepal Customs, you will be loaded into sport utility vehicles (SUV) to travel the 120 kilometers to Kathmandu. This road is a bumpy dirt road with numerous checkpoints along the way. It will be a long travel day, but a great experience in a new country and culture. During your time in Kathmandu, we will stay at a highly rated, centrally located hotel.

October 25
You will spend all day in the city of Kathmandu. The first place you will go is to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pashupatinath, one of Asia’s most sacred Hindu temples. This temple serves as the home for Nepal’s national deity, Pashupatinath and brings Hindu pilgrims each day from across South Asia. Cremations take place at the ghats that are located along the holy Bagmati River that runs thru the temple complex. Next, you will go to Boudhanath, the biggest and most famous stupa (Buddhist pagoda) in the Himalayas. This area is also home to many of Nepal’s refugee Tibetan population. The area in and around Boudhanath has several temples and monasteries to explore and photograph.

October 26
Today you will start off by going to the famed Swayambunath or Monkey Temple, another of Kathmandu’s holy sites. This temple is located on a hilltop overlooking the city. This active temple brings both Buddhist and Hindu devotees each day. It is a great place to experience Hindu rituals. From the Monkey Temple, we will drive 20 kilometers across the Kathmandu Valley to the ancient city of Bhaktapur, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. This city is built in traditional style and is a fantastic place to experience local architecture and culture.

October 27
Your journey will conclude after breakfast on October 27.


Lhasa, Jokhang monastery

The cost per person is $4499 USD. Price discounted to $4249 per person if you join with another person. Participants are responsible for their own international airfare to Chengdu, China and from Kathmandu, Nepal, but we will take care of just about everything else after that! Contact info@himalayajourney.com  to apply for this tour or for any questions you may have.

  • One-way airfare from Chengdu, China to Lhasa, Tibet
  • All accommodations (Based on double occupancy. Single room supplement available.)
  • All meals from the evening of October 13 until morning of October 27
  • All bottled drinking water (bottles will all be recycled)
  • Daily fresh fruit
  • All ground transportation in Tibet and Nepal from October 14—26
  • All meals and accommodations for Tibetan driver and guide
  • All entrance fees per itinerary
  • All Tibet permit fees
  • All Everest fees
  • Professional photography instructor from Canada
  • Professional American guide certified and trained as a Wilderness First Responder
  • Expert local Tibetan and Nepali guides who are fluent in English
  • Passport costs, Chinese Visa or Nepal visa fees
  • International airfare to Chengdu, China or from Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Travel vaccinations
  • Airport transfer in Kathmandu
  • Insurance (travel, medical, etc)
  • Souvenirs or personal items such as laundry, excess baggage fees, snacks, etc
  • Drinks besides purified water. Purified water is provided in the journey cost.
  • Photography fees inside temples and monasteries
  • Gratuities to the Tibetan and Nepali drivers and guides

This photography workshop to Everest Base Camp is open to ANY level of photographer from beginner to expert and is limited to 10 participants. No specific type of camera is required. We will be traveling this entire route by vehicle, though we will be doing day hikes around temples, villages and at natural sites each day. No trekking or climbing is required for this journey. Each participant will be sent a list of required and recommended gear for the tour that they will be responsible for. A suggested packing list will be sent to participants upon registration and acceptance.

Each participant will be sent a list of required and recommended clothing and gear for the tour that they will be responsible for as will information on how to obtain a Chinese Tourist Visa. Chinese and Nepalese Tourist Visa must be arranged at least 8 weeks before the journey begins.

High quality, professionally guided photography workshop: This journey is for clients who want to get the most out of their time in Tibet while improving their skills as a photographer. This journey price includes MANY extras, such as a 5 Star hotel in Chengdu, flight from Chengdu to Lhasa, upgraded hotels in Tibet, all meals at quality restaurants, all bottled drinking water, fresh fruit each day, expert English speaking Tibetan guide, expert foreign guide who is certified as a Wilderness First Responder as well as a professional photography instructor! Each day, clients will learn from our expert guides more about different aspects of Tibetan religion, culture and history so they can fully understand the places and people they are seeing and photographing. Our photography instructor will be there with you each day teaching you the skills take your photography to the next level.

Accommodations: In Chengdu, we will be staying at the 5 Star Chengdu Airport Hotel. In Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse, we will be staying in pleasant, locally-rated 3 and 4 Star Tibetan-owned hotels. Hotels in western Tibet are very basic, but clean. At Rongphu, near Everest Base Camp, we will stay in a very basic guesthouse (the only accommodation available). In Old Tingri and Kyirong, we will stay in the best places available. For the 3 nights in Kathmandu, we will stay at the highly rated 4 Star Hotel Mulberry, located in a quiet section of the Thamel District.

Meals: For this tour, we will be eating a variety of Western, Chinese, Tibetan and Nepali food. Food in the Everest and Tibet-Nepal border regions is limited to basic noodle and rice dishes with vegetables. If you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions, please let us know so we can plan accordingly. Our clients are always happy with the meals during our journeys!

Eligibility: Participants must be in good health and be able to spend each day walking around towns, villages and monasteries while carrying their own equipment.  Most of this tour will take place in mountainous terrain between 3600 meters and 5200 meters (11,800 feet to 17,000 feet) above sea level. We will spend 1 night in Chengdu and 3 nights in Lhasa for altitude acclimatization before going above 3600 meters. Ascent will be slow and gradual with the highest sleeping elevation be in the Everest Region at around 5000 meters (16,400 feet). This tour is not recommended for those who have severe asthma or heart conditions.

Responsible Tourism: Himalaya Journey is a joint American and Tibetan owned travel company based in the US, Lhasa and Kathmandu. All of our guides and drivers are local Tibetans and Nepalis who have been working in tourism for many years. In Tibet, it is a top priority for us to support as many Tibetan-owned businesses as possible. During this tour, all of the hotels we will be staying at in Tibet are locally-owned, as are all of the restaurants we will be going to. The preservation of the culture of Tibet, as well as the protection of the environment of Tibet, are extremely important to us. In fact, when we are not out leading journeys across Tibet, we are working with local Tibetans in numerous eco-tourism and conservation projects.