Finding out more about different cultures and seeing dramatic scenery are two popular reasons why many people take gap years. If these are things you're keen to do on your travels it's worth taking a tour of Tibet, as doing so gives you the chance to follow the exciting overland route from Kathmandu to Lhasa.
Commonly regarded as one of the world's great journeys, this trek makes for an iconic adventure and among the things to catch your eye as you travel are towering mountain, historic temples and pretty towns.
Your starting point is the bustling capital of Nepal - Kathmandu. Although you'll find all the modern amenities you could possibly require, it's worth getting acquainted with the city's history by exploring its ancient landmarks.
Many of these are to be found around the vibrant Durbar Square, among them the Kal Bhairav - which is a large stone monument of the Hindu deity Shiva - and the Jagannath temple. This religious building dates back to the 16th century and is famous for its intricately carved roof struts.
Head outside of the city centre and you can hike up to the Swayambhunath Stupa. This hilltop place of worship is revered by both Hindus and Buddhists, and as you explore you can take in magnificent views of Kathmandu below.
Once you've finished your tour of Kathmandu, you're all set to cross the Tibetan border and head to Lhasa. As you travel to the checkpoint, look out for the valley of the stunning Sun Kosi river, the waterway's name translates as 'river of gold' in English, as well as take in the verdant countryside.
You can expect to continue to see amazing scenery as you enter Tibet, with the Bhote Kosi valley among the first areas you will pass through. Here, you'll be greeted with the sight of towering mountains - a common feature throughout much of the region - including Phurbi Chhyachu, which is 6,637 m above sea level.
Ascending steadily upwards, you will eventually arrive at the Lalung La Pass. With the stretch 5,050 m high, you'll be at a significant altitude. However, you're likely to think at a relatively minor height when you take in views of the nearby mountains, including Cho Oyu and Xishapangma, which are 8,201 m and 8,012 m high respectively. Another peak that will definitely catch your attention from here is Everest, the world's tallest mountain which is 8,848 m high.
However, it's not just the spectacular natural scenery that makes travelling from Kathmandu to Lhasa an exciting proposition, but the dozens of astounding buildings that can be seen too.
One structure that certainly stands out is Tashilhunpo Monastery, which has been the residence of the Panchen Lama - Tibet's second most important spiritual leader after the Dalai Lama - since it was first built in 1147. You can see Buddhist monks praying within the complex, before visiting the Great White Wall - an expansive partition that is covered in thangkas (a type of traditional silk painting) during festivals.
Your final destination before arriving at Lhasa is Gyantse, where you'll discover the stunning Pelkor Chode Monastery. Also known as the Shekar Gyantse, this complex contains an array of bronze statues and golden prayer wheels. Another building in the town well worth seeing is the Gyantse Kumbum. This mound-like shrine features a golden dome and contains more than 100,000 Buddhist paintings, and is bound to be unlike anything else you have seen back home.
Eventually, you'll arrive at the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, where monks are to be found praying on the streets of the bustling Barkhor square. You should also check out the Mani Lhakhang prayer wheel and the Jokhang Temple, the latter of which combines elements of Tibetan and Nepalese architecture.
The city, however, is perhaps most famous for being the former home of exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama and you can visit several of his residences, including the 7th century Potala Palace. This complex consists of two main palaces and numerous buildings and is considered an iconic symbol of Tibetan Buddhism.