Ray, why don't you talk to Arlene when she is in Florida about the four of us heading there next summer. Just remember that although Lhasa's elevation is just 12,000 feet; the surrounding area is higher. In fact, if we take the train to Lhasa it peaks at around 16,000 feet.
We are thinking of trying to go overland Lhasa to Kathmandu on the Peace Highway with a detour to Everest Base Camp. Still just in the thought process; haven't contacted a travel company to set up an itinerary. Here is a sample itinerary to Everest Base Camp round trip from Lhasa (so no trip to Kathmandu).
Everest Base Camp Itinerary.
Find a tour operator for you to arrange a tour. It may take up to 2-3 days for your tour agency to arrange permits and find a driver. Cost varies btw 4000-7000Yuan for basic EBC tours.
You have a choice when choosing a vehicle. You can choose an older 4x4 for 400Yuan less than a newer one. The difference is marginal! The following Everest base camp itinerary is for a typical 4 day tour.
Leave Lhasa around 9am. You will arrive at the Kamba-La Pass and have a view of the beautiful tourquois Yandrok-Tso Lake. Numerous vendors are their selling everything from Yak rides to traditional Tibetan jewellery. Shortly
after you will leave for the beautiful town of Gyantse.
You will arrive in Gyantse in the afternoon. Most likely your driver will have to take the alternative off-road route to the city as the roads are under construction. Your first view as you approach Gyantse will be of the majestic Dzong fortress on top a mountain. Typical EBC tours do not stop off here, as it must be arranged ahead of time.
When you arrive in Gyantse you will have the option of visiting the Tashilhunpo Monastery or just hang out in the city. The Monastery costs 40Yuan and 10-20Yuan more if you want to take pictures inside the main chapel.
You stay in Gyantse for about an hour and a half. The town is very small and quaint, great place to take pictures of Tibetan architecture and people. Some of the monks speak English, especially the ones outside the Monastery.
After you leave Gyantse, you head for Shigatse. You arrive at Shigatse in the evening. Here you will have the options of where you want to stay, it can be a dormitory style guesthouse (approx. 30-40Y), or upscale (120Yuan+). You spend the night and have dinner at the hotel or the few restaurants outside. Shigatse is a relatively large Tibetan town, so it imperative to go out in a group.
You will leave Shigatse around noon, until then you can explore this somewhat booming city. You can visit the Tashilunpo Monastery, which costs 55Yuan, or just walk around it which is just as good. Near the monastery are great shops to pick up souvenirs as well as a large city square just to hang out in. Internet cafe is nearby as well if you want to check your email. The city has almost all amenities. You will have lunch here as well, however you do not have to eat at the restaurant your driver has chosen. There are many other great restaurants in the surrounding area.
At noon, you will make your way to Lhatse. On your way to Lhatse you will stop at the Mt. Oomolamma Range - This will be your visit view of the great Himalayas mountains. Tibetan vendors there sell a plethora of souvenirs, and you can bargain down for as little as 1Yuan for a necklace.
Shortly thereafter you will arrive in Lhatse, around 3pm, you will stay here until 7pm since the road to the Gyantso La Pass does not open until then.
Lhatse is a smaller city, but just as nice. Not as picturesque as Shigatse but it does has its charm. There is an internet cafe as well as many restaurants. At 7pm you make your way to the Gyatso-La Pass, which is at 5220 metres above sea level. You will spend about 10minutes here snapping pictures. This is one of the highest points of the trip, so if you are prone to altitude sickness, it is best to remain in the car.
After leaving the Gyatso La Pass, you will head to the small town of Shegar, where you will spend the night. This is where your driver arranges the permits for the Everest Base Camp which is 405Yuan per vehicle, and 65Yuan per person. In this town you can buy oxygen as well for 40Yuan. The place where you will stay has basic amenities, but it does have hot water.
From Shegar, you leave for Everest Base Camp Drop off spot and the Rhongpu monastery. You arrive at that point around 3pm. This is the furthest point the Jeep can go due to national park restrictions. Here you will have 3 options: 1)Stay at the Rhongpu Monastery (60Yuan), 2)Take a horse drawn carriage to the Everest Base Camp (approx 30mins), or 3) Trek to the Everest Base Camp (approx 2-3hrs).
The distance from the drop off point to the basecamp is about 7kms.
At the Everest Base Camp, you can either camp on your own if you have a tent or camp in a group tent which costs about 40Yuan per person. It is very cold, so bundle up. The tent hosts provide you with warm Yak blankets as well.
The EBC is at 5200metres above sea level. 5 Minutes away is a glacier you can walk on if you have the time.
Day 4 (Following assuming you stayed at the EBC)
You will wake up early in the morning, pack your gear and watch the sun rise over Mt Everest. If you are lucky you will get to see the peak. The rest of the day is spent driving, so take your time here and enjoy the scenery.
Again, you can hike back or take the horse carriage back. Once inside the jeep, your final destination will be Shigatse, where you will stay the night, before heading to Lhasa.