How to Plan a Tibet Motorcycle Tour

Probably it is the most incredible experience on two wheels in the world. A trip across the vast Tibetan plateau on a motorcycle is an adventure that no right-minded biker could pass up. There is nothing that could equal the experience of riding your bike across the Tibetan plateau for motorbike riders—crossing the vast arid plains and high-altitude passes of the Tibetan plateau and the Himalayas. The Tibet motorcycle tour is the most adventurous tour you will ever experience in Tibet.

Tibet Motorcycle Tour-Explore Tibet
Tibet Motorcycle Tour from Nepal to Lhasa with Explore Tibet

Taking a typical tour in a car is one experience, while cycling across the plateau is another. However, taking a bike along the open roads of Tibet is the perfect combination of the two. And is likely to be the biggest adventure of your life. Since there is nothing that beats that feeling of riding free on the open road with the wind in your face, this trip across the roof of the world is the ultimate in riding experiences.

Motorcycling Route in Tibet 

Once you have acclimatized, it is a good idea to test the bikes you will be riding. So a quick trip to Ganden Monastery, or around the area, will help you get used to the bike and the terrain, as well as how it feels to ride at high altitudes. With a thinner atmosphere, your reflexes and reaction times are slower even once you are acclimatized. Therefore, it is essential to get used to the roads and your reaction times before heading out on the region’s major highways. Lhasa lies at an elevation of 3,656 meters and is not the highest point in Tibet that you will travel to.


From Lhasa, the journey starts by heading west along with the G318 and the S307 towards Gyantse, which is usually the first stop on the journey across the plateau, 263 kilometers from Lhasa. Passing close by Lake Yamdrok (4,441 m), Gyantse is the home of the stunning Kumbum Stupa and sits at an altitude of around 4,000 meters above sea level. The road from Lhasa to Gyantse is average, with no gravel or dirt stretches for a paved road.

Bikers taking a break on way to Gyantse, Tibet
Bikers taking a break on the way to Gyantse, Tibet


From Gyantse, the next stop is Shigatse (3,800 m), where you can rejoin the G318 Friendship Highway. This shorter day of a trip of just 94 kilometers gives you a slight chance to rest from the long ride the day before. The road is well paved from Gyantse to Shigatse, and the short distance means that you will be ready for the next day’s ride. Then it is out of Shigatse to visit the most famous mountain in the world, Mount Everest.

Riders enjoying the beautiful moments at Everest Base Camp-Explore Tibet
Tibet Motorcycle Tour: Riders enjoying the beautiful moments at Everest Base Camp

Mount Everest Base Camp

Mount Everest lies around 340 kilometers from Shigatse by road, though the direct distance is much less. There is also an increase of approximately 1,400 meters between Shigatse and Everest Base Camp (EBC). The route takes you over some of Tibet’s highest passes through the Himalayan mountains, such as the Gyatso La Pass at 4,528 meters and the Gawu La Pass at 5,198 meters. The paved road ends at Rongbuk Monastery, a few kilometers from the base camp. And the last part of the ride to EBC is over dirt roads. This is also where you can trek to the base camp and enjoy the thrilling views as the mountain gets closer.


After a night at Rongbuk guesthouse, the route takes you back along the same road towards the G318 once more. Once you hit the Friendship Highway, it is a ride of 614 kilometers back to Lhasa. The route takes you back through Old Tingri and Shigatse, taking the main G318 Friendship Highway between Shigatse and Lhasa instead of detouring through Gyantse.


Travel Documents Required for Tibet Motorcycle Tour

Traveling to Tibet does require some documents that are not needed for most places around the world. For this kind of tour, you will need to ensure that you have all the necessary documents to complete your Tibet Motorcycle tour, or you may not be able to travel at all.

Heading from Lhasa to Kathmandu, you will need to have the Chinese Entry Visa to get into China and obtain the other permits you will need. The Tibet Travel Permit, which is required to get into Tibet, requires scanned copies of your passport and visa and must be applied for by us before you leave home for China. Processing takes around 20 days, and the completed permit will be forwarded to your hotel in China before you leave for Tibet.

Riders having meals at Shigatse -Explore Tibet
Riders were having meals at Shigatse after a long ride.

You will need the Alien’s Travel Permit to travel outside Lhasa and the Frontier Pass to travel anywhere near the border with Nepal, including Mount Everest. For those traveling from Nepal to Lhasa to begin their tour. You will not need a Chinese Entry Visa as your Group tourist Visa will be obtained by us once you arrive in Nepal. We will also ensure that all your other permits and passes are in place when you get to Nepal. You cannot even fly to Lhasa from Kathmandu without the Tibet Travel Permit, the Alien’s Travel Permit, and the Frontier Pass.

We will arrange Tibet Motorcycle Tours for you according to your needs if you are interested. You can contact us at [email protected].

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