Back
Bishkek to Kathmandu
SAVE UP TO $1,790 on this tour

Asia is the continent where overlanding all started, and Dragoman has been the leading operator there since our first trucks went through in the 1980s - take advantage of our years of experience and come with us as we include all the must-see attractions as well as heading into the wilds, well away from the usual tourist trail. Starting our epic journey in the evocative Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, we'll head into the legendary land of Tibet - here we'll cross breathtaking 5000m-high mountain passes, taking in some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world, and become fully enveloped in the incredible Buddhist culture. We'll see prayer flags snapping in the wind, visit monasteries with burgundy-robed monks and witness a way of life unchanged for centuries as we travel through Tibet, past Mount Everest, the iconic city of Lhasa, and into central China. We'll visit the phenomenal giant Buddha statue at Bingling Si en route to Xi'an, the home of the world-famous Terracotta Warriors! From here we'll head through the the temples of Mount Kongtong and acsend to the Tibetan town of Xiahe, before overlanding to the western end of the Great Wall of China. We'll visit the incredible Buddha caves of Mogao and the oasis of Turpan in China's remote western provinces, then cross the isolated Taklamakan Desert to the arrive at the fascinating city of Kashgar. We continue on to the stunning Lake Karakol in the colossal Karakoram Mountains before ascending to cross the Torugart Pass into the mountainous country of Kyrgyzstan. We will overland across the remote and desolate mountains in the south of the country to the stylish capital of Bishkek. Join us on this unforgettable epic Asian overlanding experience!

  • Duration: 57 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Active/Adrenaline, Local Culture & Cuisine, Historical Sites
  • Physical rating: Demanding
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: EBT1/158268
  • Starts: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  • Finishes: Kathmandu, Nepal
You will Visit
  • Bishkek
  • Kochkor
  • Tash Rabat
  • Kashgar
  • Lake Karakol
  • Aksu
  • Bayanbulak
  • Heavenly Lake
  • Turpan
  • Dunhuang
  • Jiayuguan
  • Zhangye
  • Liujiaxia
  • Xiahe
  • Bingling Si
  • Lanzhou
  • Pingliang
  • Xi'an
  • Qinghai Hu
  • Golmud
  • Amdo
  • Lhasa
  • Gyantse
  • Shigatse
  • New Tingri
  • Rongbuk
  • Friendship Highway
  • Nuwakot
  • Pokhara
  • Khatauti Khola
  • Kathmandu

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Bishkek

For everyone that is continuing with us to China, there will be quick pre-departure meeting at 10:00am in order to explain the next 6 days until Kashgar, and your leader will collect the kitty for this linking section.

The remainder of the day is free to explore the relaxed and atmospheric city of Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

In Bishkek we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Hotel for the night: Hotel Asia Mountains
Hotel Asia Mountains
1a Lineinaja St
Bishkek 720021
Kyrgyzstan
Tel: +996 312 694 075

02

Day 2: Kochkor

Today we drive to the small village of Kochkor, where we stay in local family-run guesthouses and enjoy traditional Kyrgyz hospitality!

Whilst here we will visit a small museum and women's felt making cooperative that produces 'shyrdaks', the felt carpets for which Kyrgyzstan is renowned. We may also have the opportunity here to see some excellent local musicians playing traditional Kyrgyz folk music and to see how a yurt is put up!

In Kochkor we will stay in family-run guesthouses, accommodating up to 8 guests in each home.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

Please note that if the group has no new people joining in Bishkek, we may choose to stay instead in a guesthouse in the small town of Naryn (a further 2 hour drive beyond Kochkor). This is so that we don't repeat Kochkor unnecessarily and can have more time to explore the area of Tash Rabat the following day.

03

Day 3: Tash Rabat

Today we continue our journey south to Tash Rabat, once a key staging post on the Silk Road close to the Kyrgyzstan-China border. During our time here we will visit an ancient caravanserai and have some time to explore the surrounding area.

In Tash Rabat we will wild camp. In cold weather (or if simply the group prefers and there is availability), we may choose to stay in local nomadic yurts that are set up for guests near the caravanserai, sleeping 8-10 people per yurt.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours (from Kochkor).

04

Day 4: Kashgar

Border information: Exit Kyrgyzstan at Torugart, enter China at Torugart.

Today we will have a full day drive over the 3752m Torugart Pass, crossing into China and heading down to the Uighur city of Kashgar.

In Kashgar we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

05

Day 5: Lake Karakol

Today we will set off on a stunning journey along the Karakoram highway to Lake Karakol. The drive takes us up past some truly incredible mountain scenery and underneath a few 7000m peaks, including Mustagh Ata.

Near Lake Karakol we will stay in local nomadic yurts, sleeping 6-8 people per yurt. Provisions here are very basic, but the scenery is incredible and it is an interesting glimpse into the way of life of the local Uighurs.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

06

Day 6: Kashgar

Border Information: if joining in Kashgar, you will most likely enter China at Kashgar Airport (IATA code: KHG).

Welcome to Kashgar, one of the ancient trading posts on the Silk Route! If you are joining in Kashgar, you are free to explore the city, and there will be a group meeting today at 6:00pm. Please do not be alarmed if there is no welcome note at the hotel on your arrival, as this is often a travelling day for the tour leader and they will often arrive in Kashgar mid-afternoon.

If you are arriving by truck to Kashgar, we will drive from Lake Karakul and the Karakoram Highway back to the city, arriving mid afternoon.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Kashgar before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Kashgar.

In Kashgar we will stay in a hotel with good facilities.

07

Day 7-8: Kashgar

Today we will visit the animal market just outside of town, and then the famous Kashgar Sunday Bazaar.

The following day we will have a free day to explore the town, the central Id Kah Mosque and its surrounding square, while your crew finalise the customs procedures for our truck to continue further into China.

08

Day 9-10: Aksu

Our journey through China begins as we leave Kashgar and head east through the Taklamakan Desert! Our crossing of the desert usually takes 3 days/2 nights, and we plan to wild camp near Aksu on our first night and near Korla or Bayanbulak on our second.

Please note that occasionally the police insist that we do not camp in times of political tension - in this case we will stay in local hotels in the small towns en route.

Estimated Drive Times - 8-9 hours each day (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

09

Day 11-12: Heavenly Lake

Today we will complete our drive through the Taklamakan Desert and arrive at Heavenly Lake, a beautiful lake set in the Tian Shan mountains.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

We will stay here for 2 nights, and will have many opportunities to relax in the incredible scenery and walk around the lake.

In Heavenly Lake we will stay in local yurts with very basic facilities.

10

Day 13-14: Turpan

Today we will travel to the oasis town of Turpan, where we stay for 2 days exploring the surrounding sites including the famous Jiaohe ruins.

In Turpan we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

11

Day 15-16: Dunhuang

Today we will have an early start and a big drive to the city of Dunhuang.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-11 hours.

Please note that sometimes it may be preferred by the group and the leader to split this drive over 2 days, wild camping in between - in this case we will have 1 less night in Pingliang towards the end of the trip.

The following day we will have an included visit to the awe-inspiring Mogao Buddha Caves in the morning. We will then have a free afternoon to explore this amazing town and it’s surroundings - there are possibilities for camel rides along the sand dunes and bicycle rides out to the nearby White Goose Pagoda!

In Dunhuang we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

12

Day 17: Jiayuguan

Today we continue our journey with a drive to Jiayuguan, where we will have an included visit to the Jiayuguan Fort - the most western point of the Great Wall of China. Please note the Great Wall in this area is adobe, unlike the more famous stone sections further to the east.

We will wild camp near an adobe section of the Great Wall near Jiayuguan.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

13

Day 18: Zhangye

Today we will drive to the incredible Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains - we'll spend some time exploring the region before heading off to wild camp nearby.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.

14

Day 19: Liujiaxia

Today we will drive onto the lower slopes of the remote Tibetan plateau and reach the small city of Liujiaxia. 

In Liujiaxia we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours.

15

Day 20-22: Xiahe

Today we set off to the enchanting Tibetan town of Xiahe where we spend the next 3 nights. We will have an included visit to the incredible Bingling Si Buddha Caves en route.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

The next few days are free to explore this beautiful town and surrounding grasslands. We can take a guided visit to the Labrang Monastery where Tibetan monks can be seen doing their daily rituals and chants. There may also be a chance to go trekking, horse riding or exploring the surrounding grasslands, visiting Tibetan families and perhaps trying the local Yak butter tea.

In Xiahe we will stay in a local Tibetan-owned hotel.

16

Day 23: Lanzhou

Today we will leave Xiahe and head to the chaotic capital city of Gansu province, Lanzhou. We will have some free time this evening to explore the city.

In Lanzhou we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

17

Day 24-25: Pingliang

Today we will drive to the small town of Pingliang at the base of the Mount Kongtong, one of the holiest mountains in Chinese Taoism.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

The following day we will have an included visit to Mount Kongtong, and will have the full day to explore the temples and walk and explore the pilgrimage routes on the mountain. 

In Pingliang we will stay in a decent local hotel.

Please note that if the drive between Turpan and Dunhuang was split over 2 days, there will only be 1 night in Pingliang and a half-day exploration of Mount Kongtong.

18

Day 26: Xi'an

Today we will journey to the amazing city of Xi'an, the ancient capital of Shaanxi province and the end of the 'Silk Road'! We will have a free afternoon to fully explore the city, it's famous walls, bell and drum towers, pagodas and Muslim Quarter.

In Xi'an we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

19

Day 27: Xi'an

Border Information: if joining the trip in Xi'an, you will most likely enter China at Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (IATA code: XIY).

Please note that our trips between Kathmandu and Xi'an travel through extreme environments and these itineraries WILL NOT NECESSARILY RUN AS PUBLISHED. We will adjust trip itineraries depending on weather, altitude effects, group make up and road conditions. This day by day itinerary is provided as a rough guide only.

There will be a group meeting at 10:00am in our hotel in Xi'an - please look for a note from your tour leader when you arrive at the hotel giving more details about this important meeting.

In the afternoon there will be an included visit to the awe-inspiring world-famous Terracotta Warriors.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Xi'an before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Xi'an.

In Xi'an we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

20

Day 28-29: Pingliang

Today we will start our journey with a drive from Xi'an to Pingliang.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

On the following day we will have an included day visit to the holy mountain of Kongtong, where we can freely trek and explore the incredible area and visit all the temples built on impossibly steep mountain sides.

In Pingliang we will stay in a local hotel.

21

Day 30: Lanzhou

Today we will arrive into the chaotic city of Lanzhou, with time to explore in the afternoon.

In Lanzhou we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

22

Day 31-33: Xiahe

From Lanzhou we will drive on to the enchanting Tibetan town of Xiahe, where we will be staying for 3 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

The following 2 days will be free to explore the incredible Labrang Monastery or the surrounding grasslands.

Whilst in Xiahe we will stay in a basic guesthouse.

23

Day 34: Bingling Si

Leaving Xiahe, we drive on to the small town of Liujiaxia. En route we will have an included visit to the phenomenal Bingling Si Buddha Caves.

In Liujiaxia we will staying in a friendly local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

24

Day 35-36: Qinghai Hu

For the next 2 days we will be overlanding through Qinghai province through an area that is a giant basin surrounded by high mountains, and en route we will pass the vast and starkly beautiful Qinghai Hu Lake. The population of this part of the Tibetan Plateau is thinly spread and mainly comprises of Kazakhs, Moguls and Hui. 

We will be stopping off and wildcamping along the way.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

25

Day 37: Golmud

We continue our overland journey today across the high plateau, arriving at the small town of Golmud.

In Golmud we will stay overnight in small local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

26

Day 38-40: Amdo

Leaving Golmud we head out across the plateau once again. We will spend the next 3 days slowly driving uphill to acclimatise to the altitude, finally crossing the famous Tanggula Pass (5231m) which marks the start of Tibet.

If time allows we will make a side trip to Namtso Lake en route. Spare days have been included in this part of the itinerary as contingency due to poor roads and extreme conditions - they will be used as required.

We will be wild camping en route.

Estimate Drive Times - 5-8 hours each day.

27

Day 41: Lhasa

Today we complete our journey to the famous and evocative city of Lhasa, the religious, cultural and economic centre of Tibet, where we will be staying for the next 3 days.

In Lhasa we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

28

Day 42-44: Lhasa

We will have 2 full days to explore the Tibetan city of Lhasa. There will be organised visits to the Sera Monastery, and the Jokhang Temple, as well as the options to visit the Drepung and Ganden Monasteries and the Summer Palace. There will be lots of opportunity for free exploration of the city as well.

29

Day 45: Gyantse

Today we will continue over the Kampa La Pass (4794m) to the town of Gyantse. In the afternoon we will have an included visit to the Palcho Monastery and time for an optional visit to the Gyantse Fort.

In Gyantse we will stay in a friendly local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

30

Day 46: Shigatse

Depending on what time we arrived in Gyantse yesterday, we may decide to have some more time here this morning before driving on to Shigatse, Tibet's second biggest city.

On arrival in Shigatse we will have an included visit to the Tashilhunpo Monastery.

In Shigatse we will stay in a friendly local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

31

Day 47: New Tingri

Today we continue our journey with a drive over some more high mountain passes to reach New Tingri (also known as Shegar), where we will meet the junction for the road to Everest Base Camp on the Tibetan side. This is usually a fairly long day's drive, but the stunning views and scenery make this one of the world's most visually fantastic journeys!

In New Tingri we will stay in a local guesthouse.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

32

Day 48: Rongbuk

From New Tingri we make the journey to the Rongbuk Monastery and Everest Base Camp.

The drive is not an easy one, passing over another 5200m pass, but the views are sensational and (weather permitting) we should have excellent views of Mount Everest.

Once we have reached the Rongbuk Monastery, it is about a 2 hour walk further to Everest Base Camp (please note that this is the Base Camp from the northern Tibetan side, not the famous southern equivalent on the Nepalese side that lends its name to the popular trek). 

We will usually camp here in Tibetan tents which take six to eight people.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

33

Day 49: New Tingri

This morning we have some more time at Base Camp - hopefully when you open up in the morning, there will be a spectacular view of Mount Everest! We will drive back down to New Tingri this afternoon.

In New Tingri we will stay in a local guesthouse.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

34

Day 50: Friendship Highway

We will spend the next 2 days climbing high into the mountains over the Lalungla Pass (5050m) up into the Himalayas and then down to the Nepalese border. This is part of the famous "Friendship Highway", cutting through gorges, across plateaus and over high passes. On all the passes that we cross you will see the ever present pilgrim prayer flags, cairns and scattered "wind horse" papers.

We will be wild camping en route tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

35

Day 51-52: Nuwakot

Border information: Exit China at Kyirong, Enter Nepal at Rasuwa Gadhi.

Crossing the border from the Tibetan Autonomous Region into Nepal, we will travel along small winding roads to the historic village of Nuwakot.  Nuwakot is one of Nepal’s hidden gems nestled in the central hills of the country. Full of ancient temples and palaces, it has a beautifully serene atmosphere and rustic ambience - perfect for getting a taste of the calm pace of rural Nepalese life.

Estimated Drive Time - 8 - 9 hours.

In Nuwakot we will stay in a hotel based inside an old manor house where we will have 2 nights to relax and unwind.

36

Day 53-54: Pokhara

Today we will spend a little more time enjoying the serenity of Nuwakot, before taking a short drive to Nepal's second city - the adventure town of Pokhara! We will spend 2 nights here. 

In Pokhara we will stay in a local guesthouse.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

On the 2nd day we will have a free day in the fantastic city of Pokhara. The area is famous for its myriad of spectacular waterfalls surrounded by fertile forests and towering mountains, for its fantastic choice of yoga and meditation retreats, and for its overwhelming choice of adventure activities from trekking to rafting to zip-lining to mountain biking!

37

Day 55: Khatauti Khola

This morning we will journey to Khatauti Khola, home to the Royal Beach Camp eco-adventure camp in the Nepalese mountains. 

There are several optional activities on offer here such as kayaking, rafting, hiking and mountain bikings or simply relax in the quiet surroundings. 

In Khatauti Khola we will camp at the Royal Beach Camp. 

Estimated Drive Time - 3 -4 hours.

38

Day 56: Kathmandu

This morning we will spend some free time at the Royal Beach Camp to give us more time to take part in the optional adventure activities there, then after lunch we will drive the last stretch up to Kathmandu, the evocative capital of Nepal. 

In Kathmandu we stay in a comfortable local hotel. 

Estimate drive time - 3.- 4 hours

39

Day 57: Kathmandu

Border information: if leaving in Kathmandu, you will most likely exit Nepal at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport.

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Kathmandu. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Overnight homestay at a traditional rural Kyrgyz village
    • See the traditional felt workshops or Kochkor and learn about how Kyrgyz carpets and hats are typically made here
    • Visit the ancient Silk Road caravanserai at Tash Rabat, close to the Kyrgyzstan-China border
    • Take in the spectacular mountain scenery on our drive along the Karakorum Highway to Lake Karakol
    • Stay overnight in a traditional yurt owned by Kyrgyz and Tajik families near the beautiful Lake Karakol, set amongst the 7500m-high mountains of the Tian Shan range
    • Explore Kashgar's Sunday market and Animal market
    • Enjoy a tranquil yurt stay at the beautiful Heavenly Lake
    • Exploration of the oasis and the Jiaohe ruins at Turpan
    • Learn about the Karez water system, the ingenious method of irrigating the area that was developed by the Han Dynasty and allowed Turpan to flourish as an oasis town
    • See the striking red sandstone landscape of the Flaming Mountains near Turpan
    • Guided tour of the Mogao caves, Dunhuang
    • Journey down the Gansu Corridor to Jiayuguan Fort, our first stop at the Great Wall
    • Explore the incredible and colourful natural phenomenon of the Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains
    • See the vast Buddha statue and the outstanding Buddhist cave sculptures at the fabulous Bingling Si gorge
    • Explore the stunningly beautiful Mt. Kongtong and its temples
    • Explore the world-famous site of the Terracotta Warriors, an army of 8000 life-size figures built to protect the Emporer Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife
    • Explore the stunningly beautiful Mt. Kongtong and its temples
    • See the vast Buddha statue and the outstanding Buddhist cave sculptures at the fabulous Bingling Si gorge
    • Journey west through the lower realms of the Tibetan Plateau to the remote Qinghai Lake
    • Take a guided tour of the incredble Potala Palace, the former winter residence of the Dalai Lama and the most famous symbol of Tibet
    • Explore the Jokhang Temple, the centrepiece of Lhasa and the most sacred and important temple in Tibet
    • Visit the stunning Sera Monatery, and witness one of the fascinating debating sessions between the monks
    • Visit to the stunning town of Gyantse and Baiju Monastery
    • Stopover in Shigatse and visit to Tashilhunpo Monastery
    • Overnight at Everest Base Camp, crossing Tibetan passes of 5200 metres en route
    Accomodation
    • 10% Camping - 90% Hotels
Why book with us?

Trusted by travellers since 1979

We guarantee to beat any price

Low deposits, Book now. Pay later.

24/7/365 Help on the road



Tour Highlights:
  • Adventure Activities
  • History & Culture