This 27 day budget overland tour runs between Beijing & Kathmandu visiting highlights and natural wonders of China, Tibet & Nepal including the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, Giant Pandas, Lhasa & Mt Everest!
Price: £1995 Expedition Payment + $800 Local Payment
Length: 27 days
Accommodation: 100% hotels/guest houses/hostels
Transport: 100% custom-built Madventure overland truck
Age restrictions: none, all ages are welcome
Group size: 25 is average, minimum is 15, maximum is 40
Our proposed itinerary is here to give you an idea of where we will be going and what we will be doing during this expedition. This itinerary is the ideal route we would like to take providing all political and natural situations are acceptable during the time of our travels. Situations sometimes change during an expedition so please be prepared to take an alternative route in the event we encounter any problems. It’s all part of the adventure!
We meet at 0800 at our hotel in Beijing and after a quick briefing we climb aboard our truck and head directly to the iconic Great Wall of China where we spend our first day.
If you want to see more of Beijing’s sights such as Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City we recommend you arrive a couple of days prior to departure to give yourself time to explore.
Beijing is an easy city to explore on your own.
The well-preserved ancient walled city of Pingyao is a step back in time where you have time to explore the atmospheric cobbled streets of this typically Chinese town.
Xian gives you have the opportunity to visit the famous Terracotta Warriors and see the archaeologists at work uncovering new finds.
We have a night’s stop-over in Guangyuan before arriving into Chengdu where you have the opportunity to visit the Giant Panda Bear Breeding Research Center to get up close and personal with these adorable creatures.
In Leshan you have the option to visit the world’s largest stone Buddha, a UNESCO heritage site which has been carved out of a dramatic cliff face.
From here we continue towards the Himalayas and the fabulous land of Tibet!
Our first few days in Tibet are spent travelling through the Himalayas on one of the world’s most spectacular roads!
Here you will discover a traditional side of Tibet as we pass through small Himalayan villages that tourists rarely visit.
Lhasa is the spiritual home of Tibet where we have a couple of days to explore the holy Potala Palace, the golden roofed Jokhang Temple and the spectacular Norbulingka Palace, all former residences of the revered Dalai Lama.
From Lhasa we travel along a beautiful road hugging the shores of lake Yamdrok Tso and visit the town of Gyantse where the Pelkhor Chode monastery houses Tibet’s largest stupa with 9 tiers, 108 chapels and excellent murals.
Joining up with the Friendship Highway we continue on to Shigatse where you have the chance to visit the marvelous Tashilhunpo Monastery.
Our next destination is definitely the ‘highlight’ of Tibet – Mt Everest! A snaking track makes it possible for us to drive up to base camp where you can get a stunning view of the north face.
From here you can also send a letter from the world’s highest post box and visit the world’s highest Buddhist monastery.
Descending the Tibetan Plateau we now pass through remote villages as we head down towards the Nepal border.
Keep an eye out for the rare Tibetan Macaque monkeys which are often found in this area.
Entering Nepal we spend our first 2 days winding our way down a rough Himalayan track before arriving into Kathmandu, a tourist hub steeped in history where the smell of incense hangs heavy in the air of the alleyways & squares adorned with pagodas & temples, a magnificent ending to the Beijing to Kathmandu Overland Tour.
Before the start of this tour our truck travels through Western China & the 5 Stans so you are able to add on any of those places to this tour should you wish to.
After the end of this tour our truck continues to more of Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan & Iran so you could add on any of those places to this tour should you wish to.
We are happy to create a bespoke itinerary and price for you so please feel free to contact us to discuss all options.
How to Book
To make a booking please fill in our online booking form and then pay a £300 deposit by direct bank transfer or Paypal, or call us to pay using your credit or debit card over the phone. Once we receive your online booking form and deposit we will confirm your booking by email and send you all relevant information necessary for your expedition preparations.
The Expedition Payment of £1995 is the main bulk payment for your expedition and is payable in the U.K. in GBP (£ Sterling). In order to reserve a place on this expedition you must pay £300 as a deposit. Eight months prior to departure a further payment of £700 must be paid to secure your booking. The final balance of your Expedition Payment £995 must then be paid in full at least four months prior to the expedition start date. If you book between 4 to 8 months prior to the departure date a deposit of £1000 should be paid upon booking. If you book within 4 months of the departure date the full Expedition Payment of £1995 should be paid upon booking.
The Expedition Payment can be paid by direct bank transfer, Paypal or credit/debit card
Bank Details for Direct Transfers
NOTE: Please use your full name as a reference when paying by direct transfer.
Account name: Madventure Ltd.
Sort code: 400810
Account number: 91618415
IBAN : GB14HBUK40081091618415
Swift/Bank BIC: HBUKGB4B
Branch BIC: HBUKGB4116A
Bank address: HSBC Bank, 6 High Street, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 5AZ, United Kingdom
Paypal account name: email@example.com
This is a cash payment of USD $800 that must be paid to your expedition leader at the beginning of your trip and will be used to pay for all expenses while you are on the road.
Please bear in mind that this is not a kitty and is not refundable. The local payment is simply a way for us to get cash to the expedition leaders so they can run the trip.
Please bring your local payment in new unmarked $100 bills if possible.
Although all local payment amounts are advertised in USD you may be asked to bring the equivalent amount in either Euros or GBP.
We realise that not everyone is going to visit every site or partake in every activity along the way so we have left most of these activities as optional and therefore kept the expedition payment to a minimum.
Below is a list of the most popular optional excursions along with the most recent prices. Prices can of course change and are not controlled in any way by Madventure so please use the list below as an approximate guide only.
Forbidden City, Beijing £6
Great Wall, Beijing £5
Pingyao city pass £15
Terracotta Warriors, Xian £15
Panda Research Centre, Chengdu £10
Big Buddha, Leshan £12
Potala Palace, Lhasa £45
Jokhang Temple, Lhasa £9
Norbulingka, Lhasa £9
Lake Yamdrok Tso Free
Kumbum Monastery, Gyantse £7
Tashilhunpo Monastery, Shigatse £9
Mt. Everest Base Camp Free
Mt Everest flight, Kathmandu £110
We will be travelling in a purpose-built Madventure overland vehicle 100% of the time on this expedition. A standard bus simply wouldn’t be able to tackle many of the roads we travel on.
The overland vehicle we use is a custom-built expedition truck which can accommodate up to 40 people although most of our expeditions travel with approximately 25 people.
Comfort and safety is of course a big factor during expeditions of this length and nature so all our vehicles have high-backed coach seats with safety belts. The seating is on the upper level of the vehicle giving you an almost 360° view of the surrounding scenery.
Our vehicles are designed to allow sufficient luggage storage and are also equipped with lockers to keep all your all your gear safe.
Our long range diesel and water tanks ensure our self sufficiency in remote areas and the equipment we take with us is also of vital importance. In case of a breakdown we are equipped with a good selection of spare parts as well as a comprehensive tool kit to undertake any necessary repairs on our own as and when we need to.
There may also be times when we get stuck in the sand or mud when travelling off road so all necessary recovery equipment such as sand mats, cables, ropes, shovels and pickaxes are also on board.
We usually carry 500 litres of treated drinking water and we are equipped with a good kitchen which includes all cutlery, plates, cups, pots, pans, utensils, gas cooker, BBQ grate, etc. should we ever need to prepare a meal on the truck.
All our vehicles are equipped with a small fridge which is used for lunch or dinner food only when we have to prepare a meal on the truck. For personal food & drinks we have cooler boxes for everyone to use.
Fold up chairs are provided for outdoor seating and we also have a large tarpaulin to keep us dry on those rainy days.
Our vehicles are equipped with USB charging points only so try and bring all of your important electronic devices such as telephone, tablet & head-torch to charge from a USB socket. We do not have a 120V or 240V power supply on the vehicle but you will have the opportunity to charge your 120/240V electronic equipment at the hotels we stay at.
We carry a comprehensive first aid kit for emergencies but we do recommend you bring your own for general use.
Eating well is a very important factor on our expeditions and good food is vital for everyone’s health and well-being. We always strive to provide you with one healthy, wholesome and plentiful meal every day, usually breakfast at the hotel.
Occasionally we may decide to cook lunch or dinner using our own kitchen on the truck but in general you are responsible for your own lunches and dinners.
For lunch we usually stop at a cheap local restaurant giving you a chance to taste the local fare. In the evenings once we are checked into our hotel you are free to choose where you want to eat.
Local food is generally very cheap so if you are on a budget then eat what the locals eat. Western restaurants tend to be more expensive.
You will spend 100% of your time on this expedition staying in local hotels, guest houses and hostels. There is no camping on this tour.
We always try to use decent, clean budget hotels, guest houses and hostels, however, taking into consideration the sometimes unpredictable nature of this expedition and the remoteness of some of the areas we visit, please be aware that in some circumstances we just have to take what we can get – good or bad. When staying in hotels/guest houses/hostels you can expect to share your room with other expedition members of both sexes.
There is usually an opportunity for anyone to upgrade to a single room or a superior room if they so wish. All accommodation upgrades are at your own expense.
We recommend a budget of £150 – £200 per person per week to live comfortably during this expedition. This budget should cover day to day things like lunches, snacks, soft drinks, meals when not camping, the odd few beers, etc.
Budget approximately £150 for your visas, security clearances and letters of invitation.
Souvenirs are something that can be very cheap or very expensive so if you are going to be buying things like silk carpets you should budget for it.
Please also have a look at our Optional Excursions list as you may want to budget for a few of those activities too.
We recommend you bring 1/3 of your money in cash US Dollars and the rest of your money on your Visa or Mastercard credit/debit card.
They generally accept all major currencies for exchange but US Dollars are accepted everywhere.
ATM’s are widely available for you to draw local currency using your Visa or Mastercard credit/debit card.
To keep your money/credit cards/ipod/camera/laptop safe we recommend you purchase a ‘Pacsafe Travelsafe’ product. They offer various size portable anti-theft bags that can be attached to the vehicle when travelling and also attached to the toilet/bed/closet in your hotel room when off the vehicle.
Below is general information and recommendations regarding visas and passports. Visas are ultimately your own responsibility to obtain and visa requirements may vary according to your nationality and place of application, so use the information below as a guide only. Madventure is in no way responsible for obtaining your visas or passports.
We recommend you obtain the following visas in your passport before departure – China.
Nepal visa can be obtained en-route. Tibet is covered by your China visa.
You can either obtain visas yourself or use the services of a visa agency such as www.thevisamachine.com
Should you require an official Letter of Invitation in order to apply for your China visa we can provide this for you via our Chinese agent for a fee.
Approximately 3 months prior to departure you will be sent the information required in order to complete your application and apply for your visa (there are often time restrictions on visas so you can not apply earlier). We recommend that you make your passport available 2 months before departure in order to obtain your visa comfortably.
Budget approximately £150 for all your visas and letters of invitation.
Please ensure you have 4 free pages in your passport in order to accommodate all the visas and ensure your passport is valid for at least 8 months after your departure date.
You will need approximately 2 passport photos for the duration of the expedition.
Vaccination requirements are constantly changing so we recommend you seek the latest professional medical advice at least 8 weeks before departure to ensure you allow yourself enough time to obtain all necessary vaccinations. Nomad Travel’s website has up-to-date information on vaccinations, malaria and other general medical advice for all the countries we will be visiting and they also administer vaccinations at their Travel Clinics in various locations within UK.
Alternatively speak with your local Health Professionals for current accurate information. You will need to make an appointment with your GP or Travel Clinic and take a list of the countries you are visiting and the approximate dates when you will be there.
An up to date Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate should be brought with you as it is sometimes required to enter certain countries on this tour.
Medically Fit & Able
You need to be in good general health for this expedition and be reasonably fit and able. The main concern is that everyone is able to pitch in equally and do their fair share when it comes to group activities like the occasional communal cooking and cleaning up when preparing a meal from the truck’s kitchen, packing your gear in and out of the truck, etc. You do not need to be super-fit by any means and all ages are welcome. We always attract a very broad age range on these expeditions, from people in their 20’s through to people in their 70’s.
Please inform us of any medical conditions that you have before departure so that your crew know how to deal with a medical situation if it should arise. All information will be kept confidential unless you request us to inform your fellow travelers. For example, it may be wise to inform fellow travelers if you are allergic to something like bee-stings so they know what to do if you get stung.
First Aid Kit
We carry a comprehensive first aid kit aboard the vehicle but it is recommended that you bring your own basic first aid kit for general use.
It is compulsory that every person who travels with Madventure obtain travel insurance for the complete duration of the expedition. Proof of travel insurance must be shown before joining an expedition.
There are various travel insurance companies to choose from and a Google search will bring up a vast selection but for clients who are resident in UK we recommend a London based company named Campbell Irvine, www.campbellirvine.com, tel. 020 7938 1734. They are familiar with what we do, so mention our name and the expedition you are travelling on and they will provide excellent cover for you.
If you choose to obtain your travel insurance through another company please ensure you read the small-print and make sure you are covered for Medical Repatriation.
Backpack/sports bag/suitcase: We recommend you carry your luggage in a backpack but irrespective if you prefer a sports bag or a suitcase you are restricted to a maximum 100 liter volume.
Day bag: You are also permitted to bring a day bag with a maximum 40 liter volume that you can carry in the overhead luggage rack on the back of the truck with you.
Pacsafe: in order to keep your valuables safe we recommend a Pacsafe product. They make a range of anti-theft bags which vary in sizes and can accommodate your money, credit cards, passport, camera, laptop, etc. They can be attached to the overhead luggage rack on the back of the vehicle when travelling and/or to a fixed item in your hotel.
Headtorch: an invaluable investment! Check out the Petzl range of USB rechargeable headlamps.
Water purifier – quite a handy thing to have to purify contaminated water and avoid ‘Delhi Belly’. Check out the range of Lifestraw products.
Kindle: optional but great to keep all your travel guides and books in 1 place.
Ipad/Tablet: not a necessity but many places have WiFi available these days so having your own Ipad or Tablet will save you hanging around internet cafes.
Smart phone – not a necessity but very convenient for emailing, taking photos, mapping, and calling home using local sim cards.
Camera: completely up to you but most people bring one.
Toiletries: available everywhere but start with some toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, deodorant, soap and shampoo.
First aid kit: only a basic one is recommended but should include plasters, antiseptic cream, bandage, pain relief tablets, scissors and safety pins.
Passport photos: You will need approximately 2 passport photos for the duration of the expedition.
Passport: please ensure you have 4 blank pages in your passport to accommodate all the visas required on this tour.
Yellow Fever vaccination certificate: an up to date certificate is sometimes required to enter certain countries.
Clothes & shoes:
1 pair of flip flops
1 pair of walking shoes, trainers or boots
4 pairs of socks
4 pairs of undies
4 t-shirts and/or vest tops
2 pairs of zip-off trousers which can be worn long or short
1 swimming trunks/bikini
1 lightweight long sleeve top
1 decent fleece top or fleece jacket
1 beanie/woolly hat for the cold days
1 wet weather jacket
1 light-weight dress/skirt for the ladies
1 collared shirt for the blokes
A pair of thermal gloves
As our expeditions are not your average run of the mill overland tours we would like to go through every aspect of the trip with you to ensure that you are as informed and prepared as possible. At Madventure we believe in giving you the nitty-gritty details as well as the obvious highlights, as in our opinion these are just as important and we want to explain the expedition in as much detail as possible so you can be sure you are suited and prepared for one of our overland adventures. If after reading this, you decide that this expedition is not for you then, as long as it is within 14 days of your initial booking, you can cancel off the expedition and receive a full refund of your deposit.
The following may sound a little negative at times, but it’s just so we are secure in the knowledge that we have provided you with as much information as possible, the good and the bad, to ensure everybody is completely aware exactly what type of trips we run for the benefit of you, us and your fellow expedition members as there is nothing worse than getting someone booking on the trip when it is not what they actually wanted or expected as our expeditions are too long and too full on. You need to know what you are in for and be able to handle it!
At times you will be exposed to all the elements, from extreme cold to intense humid heat and high altitude. And, for example, as wonderful as places like Tibet & Nepal are, they often do not have a western infrastructure and their acceptable level of hygiene standards are very different to ours.
Mucking In: This is a full participation expedition so you need to be able to participate fully in all aspects of the trip. This may include cooking & cleaning on the rare occasion we prepare a meal on the truck, collecting firewood for BBQ’s and an evening around the fire, digging your vehicle out of a bog or soft desert sand in the unlikely event we get stuck (it’s not ‘planned’ to happen but if it does then it’s all hands on deck).
We get everyone to agree that you are medically fit and able and can physically participate fully in all aspects required. Don’t worry, you don’t need any prior experience or knowledge or to be a fitness freak, just to be happy to do your share and have a willingness to get stuck in when necessary.
When things go wrong: The only thing we can guarantee is that at some point things will not go according to plan! We have to follow the legislation of each individual country and they may all have different regulations and attitudes towards us. Generally everyone is always friendly and it’s usually obstacles such as breakdowns, bad roads and natural disasters that have a bearing on the expedition. Everything changes from trip to trip depending on what the current situation or problem is, so it’s not ‘if’ something goes wrong, it’s ‘when’.
Please be prepared to expect the unexpected and accept that things will go wrong from time to time. These instances are usually the stories that remain with everyone so enjoy the experience. An easy-going approach will help the situation immensely. Moaning about every little thing that doesn’t go our way will not!
Attitude & Group Living: A good, easy-going attitude will help you get through this trip and ensure you are liked by your fellow travelers as well as the locals. The one thing that is extremely detrimental to an expedition such as this is your common ‘moaner’. It has nothing to do with age, sex or nationality, it just matters that although they signed up for this ‘in theory’ they cannot cope ‘in practice’ and it’s always got to be someone’s fault. It sounds a bit harsh but by weeding out any moaners early on we can have a chat with them and ensure your expedition is as good as it can be. It’s hard enough at the best of times without in-house problems so by ensuring everyone is on the same page from the get go will start us off in good stead.
We have no age restrictions and if there is one thing we have come to realize, through experience, is that it’s the mental attitude that counts the most and a broader age range is better on a long trip as it stops the stereotyping – the more in the mix the better.
There will be parties and there will be quiet nights. There are no set rules and it always sorts itself out depending on the individual personalities of who’s on board.
Laziness and selfishness will also be spotted early on so we advise everyone to pull their weight. We can guarantee that at some stage during the expedition you will have to just fit in and go with the flow when it’s not what you personally wanted to do. When situations arise where we can’t please everybody we always aim to please the ‘majority of the group’ not the individual.
Please be aware that if any particular person is constantly causing the rest of the group (or the crew) grief due to their behavior they will be warned and then asked to leave the expedition if nothing improves and no refund will be given. This is obviously the most extreme situation but we will not let one or two lazy or selfish individuals spoil it for everybody else. Everybody knows the score from the start and this is for everyone’s benefit. Usually everybody who does our trips has a relaxed approach and everybody gets on very well and any unsuitable people do not last long and leave on their own accord.
This is a once in a lifetime experience so let’s all enjoy it!
Drive times, routes and proposed itineraries: We are driving a fair distance in a 27 day time frame, so yes, there are going to be a fair amount of drive days and some of them will be long. This is where you have to be able to take pleasure in the scenery or a good book from time to time.
Generally on a drive day we leave in the morning around 7 – 8 AM (after breakfast) and arrive at our destination before dusk in daylight, but this really depends on the distance between destinations and the road conditions.
Sometimes it will be a full day’s drive between destinations and you’ll have the following day or two free. On rare occasions like The Himalayan Highway it will be 3 – 4 drive day’s in a row where you’ll leave early, stop overnight at a guest house/hotel and continue early again the next morning. Areas like The Himalayan Highway are remote and the pleasure is in the scenery.
Sometimes however it’s only a few hours drive between destinations and don’t worry, the trip is designed to allow plenty of free time in places of interest.
Please note: At times we may placed under military or police escort when travelling through troubled areas. If this occurs then we are at their mercy and they make the decisions with regard to driving hours and routes. We do not argue with those who are trusted to ensure our safety so please be aware that sometimes the pace will be much faster than we would personally choose and the route they pick will be the one we follow, regardless of our proposed itinerary.
Delays: We always strive to arrive at our destinations on time but if we experience any delays we will adjust our itinerary accordingly. If we experience any major delays our end date can be extended to suit our needs.
The proposed itinerary is just that, ‘proposed’, and can and will change at the crew’s discretion if need be.
Drugs: In a lot of the countries we travel through drugs such as marijuana and hashish are in abundance and readily available. Please be aware that they are still illegal and some countries hold the Death Penalty as punishment for being caught in possession. Obviously you are free to do whatever you want to do in your own free time but there is NEVER to be any illegal drugs onboard the expedition vehicle at any time.
If you are caught with any kind of illegal drugs on the expedition vehicle, regardless of the amount, you will be asked to leave the expedition immediately and no refund will be given. This is a very serious rule as any inconsideration can lead to the vehicle being impounded, the expedition cancelled and other innocent party’s arrested. We will not hesitate to remove someone if we have to so please respect your other expedition members.
Your Crew: You will normally have a crew of 1 experienced person who fills the role of being the driver/expedition leader. Sometimes our crew prefer to work with a partner so there may occasionally be 2 crew who share the roles of driver and expedition leader. On some expeditions we may also have a cameraman who is there to help market our tours and update our social media accounts.
Your crew member will drive and maintain the vehicle as well as sort out all the accommodation, permits, border crossings and generally ensure the smooth running of the expedition. Your crew member is not a tour guide and will not be giving you the history and facts of every country you travel through. Apart from the odd optional extra that needs to be organized in advance, we leave most of that stuff to you guys, this way ensuring you get to do what you want, at the price you are happy to pay.
You do the reading up on the places we are going to in advance and decide how you want to spend your time and what activities you want to do. Apart from some basic truck rules this is not a trip where we hold your hand, it’s an expedition and we expect that you will want to be as independent as possible when it comes to your free time.
Your crew will be hand-picked and trained by Madventure and will have experience of overland travel but they may or may not have done this expedition before. They will however have detailed notes from previous expeditions and backup from the office in UK.
Tipping: Tipping the crew at the end of your expedition is always appreciated. As this is a fairly short expedition, but also a budget one, we recommend you tip your driver/expedition leader a minimum of £2 per day if you are happy with their service. Thank you.
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