Overland Route 5: Kyrgyzstan – China – Tibet – Laos or Myanmar

Duration: 27-30 days
Distance: ca. 6.700 km
Best travel time: May, June, September, October


Duration Details
Day 01

Arrival from Naryn (Kyrgyzstan) or Torugart Pass (Kyrgyzstan)

The journey goes to Torugart Pass (Kyrgyzstan / China) and on to Kashgar. Meet the guide at the Torugart Port. Customs paperwork. Onward to Kashgar.

Distance: approx. 170 km

Day 02

Customs paperwork at the Office of Traffic Administration outside of Kashgar. Exhibition temp. Driver’s license, temp. license plate, vehicle inspection, etc.

Distance: approx. 100 km

Day 03

Free day (weekend). Visit to the historic old town of Kashgar. Day of rest.

Day 04
Kashgar – Yengisar – Yarkant – Kargilik

Stopovers in Yengisar and Yarkant on the way to Kargilik. Yengisar is famous for its traditional knife production. Yarkant is known for its historic old town, the Ammanisaham Mausoleum, and the Altun Mosque. All three places are important oasis stops on the Silk Road.

Google Maps for the first 5 days:

Distance: approx. 250 km

Day 05
Kargilik – Mazha

On this day, we ride from the “deep” of the Tarim Basin and the desert-like areas on the Silk Road up into the Tibetan mountain world with the first mountain pass on our journey that is higher than 4000 meters.

Distance: approx. 250 km

Day 06
Mazha – Duomaxiang

A long day driving across the Tibetan plateau.

Distance: approx. 500 km

Day 07
Duomaxiang – Ali

Ali is the administrative capital of western Tibet. Between Ali and Lake Manasarovar, we visit the areas around Tholing with their spectacular views of the Himalayas.

Distance: approx. 230 km

Day 08
Ali – Guge

This day’s travel brings you to the capital of the former Guge Kingdom. The desert-like landscape of sandstone creates a fascinating ambiance.

Distance: approx. 300 km

Day 09
A day in Guge

We visit the ruins of Guge and Tholing – A high point of our Tibetan journey. The kingdom that was here simply “disappeared” 700 years ago. To this day, historians are still speculating why. When there were weddings in Guge, archeological evidence indicates that up to 10,000 people lived in the city.

Day 10
Guge – Manasarovar Lake

Today’s journey ends on the shores of Lake Manasarovar, in which the area most sacred to both Tibetans and Hindus is found: at the foot of Mount Kailash.

Distance: approx. 250 km

Day 11
Lake Manasarovar – Mt. Kailash

The sunrise at Manasarovar is one of the fantastic nature experiences on the Tibetan plateau! Around the lake, there are various monasteries that can be visited. We recommend driving to Darchen at the foot of Kailash and taking a pleasant walk down some of the pilgrimage paths. Here it is possible to take some lovely fotos.

Distance: approx. 80 km

Day 12
Mt. Kailash day

Hike a part of the holy Mt. Kailash circuit.

Day 13
Mt. Kailash (Darchen) – Saga

Google Maps for days 6-13:

Distance: approx. 480 km

Day 14
Saga – Everest base camp

We drive along Lake Pelkhu Tso, which is located directly on the Himalayan backbone. During the day’s journey, we drive on the Friendship Highway to Tingri. From there, the journey follows a spectacular byway leading to Rongbuk (5000 m), the famous monastery at the foot of Mount Everest.

Distance: approx. 300 km

Day 15
Everest base camp – Lhatse

We visit the base camp in the morning at sunrise. The traveling time to the camp is about 1.5 hours. After that, we drive to Lhatse.

Distance: approx. 200 km

Day 16
Lhatse – Shigatse – Gyangze

We visit the Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, one of the largest monasteries in Tibet. It was formerly the seat of His Holiness the Panchen Lama. During the two-hour walking tour through the monastery, we will be able to see the huge, gilded grave monuments of the Panchen Lamas and visit the impressive central meeting hall. The journey continues to Gyangze.

Distance: approx. 245 km

Day 17
Gyangze – Lhasa

We drive to Lhasa along the Yamdrok Lake. Attention: This day marks the begiining of the October holidays in China. You should pre-arrange hotel bookings through your guide.

Distance: approx. 280 km

Day 18

A day visiting Lhasa. In Lhasa, we experience one of the high points of our Tibetan journey: the Potala Palace. We take a walk through the old city and visit the temple that is most important to the Tibetans, the Jokhang temple.

Google Maps for days 14-18:

Day 19
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.

Distance: approx. 410 km

Day 20
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.

Distance: approx. 380 km

Day 21
Ranwuzhen – Zogang

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

Distance: approx. 290 km

Day 22
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. This trip is optional. You also have the possibility to stay overnight in Deqen.

Distance: approx. 380 km

Day 23
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:

Distance: approx. 200 km

Day 24
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).

Distance: approx. 200 km

Day 25
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.

Distance: approx. 120 km

Day 26 Lijiang – Dali

A short drive to Dali via the new highway. We visit the Three Pagodas in Dali and the old town. In Dali, there will be an opportunity to get to know the Tibet Moto team personally. We will be pleased to invite you to drink a beer or a cup of coffee with us. On the way to Dali, we can also visit the old town of Shaxi on the Tea Road.

Distance: approx. 190 km

Day 27
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. The day in Basha and Shuhe can also serve as a flex day if it turns out that the trip schedule cannot be kept.

Distance: approx. 100 km

Day 28
Weishan – Lincang

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

Distance: approx. 230 km

Day 29
Licang – Xishuangbanna (Jinhong)

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

Distance: approx. 400 km

Day 30
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.

Google Maps for the days 24 – 30:

Distance: approx. 190 km (in China)

Contact us for your own overland tour

Change this itinerary

Shorten this itinerary by 1 day

Skip Weishan on day 27 and drive directly to Lincang

Shorten this itinerary by 1 day Skip Guge Kingdom on day 8/9

Exit into Myanmar

Duration Details
Day 22

Dali – Tengchong (Heshun)

Distance: approx. 325 km

Day 23
Tengchong – Ruili – Muse (Myanmar)

Distance: approx. 200 km


Duration Details
Day 22

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.

Distance: approx. 415 km

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.

Google Maps for the entire trip: https://goo.gl/maps/Knm66FG3RTP2

Google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/Knm66FG3RTP2 (exit into Laos)
Google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/9txK7tJGWkk (exit into Myanmar)