Whether you arrive in Lhasa by train or by plane, your tour guide will meet you at the train station or at the airport to take you to your hotel and help you get checked in. Along the way into downtown Lhasa from the airport, you will be able to see the Yarlung Tsangpo/Bhamaputra River along the way – the largest and longest river in Tibet. Once you are at your hotel, you will have time to rest and relax to become acclimatized to the higher altitude, or, if you are ready to get started sightseeing, you can visit Potala Square with its different colored fountains and fantastic views of the Potala Palace.
Today we will start off with the fantastic Potala Palace, which historically served as the winter home of the Dalai Lama. It was first used in the 7th century by the 33rd king of Tibet. The most valuable collections in the Potala Palace are the gilded burial stupas of the former Dalai Lamas and the meditation cave of the 33rd great king of Tibet. After lunch, we will move on to the Jokhang Temple, which was also founded in the 7th century by the 33rd great king of Tibet to promote the Buddhist religion. Inside you can see the statue of the Buddha Sakyamuni as he was at the age of twelve – this is perhaps the most venerated object in Tibetan Buddhism. Around the temple is Barkhor Street where you can perform the “Kora” (a religious circuit around a sacred building or mountain) with pilgrims and locals. The Barkhor market is also a great place to pick up locally made handicrafts and souvenirs.
This morning we will visit the Drepung Monastery – one of the great three Gelug monasteries of Tibet. Founded in 1416 by Jamyang Choge, on Tosngkhapa’s main disciples, the Drepung Monastery is home of Ganden Palace, which formerly served as the Dalai Lama’s palace before later moving on to the Potala Palace. In the afternoon we will move on to see another of the great three of the Gelug monasteries in Tibet – the Sera Monastery. Founded in 1419 by another main disciple of Tsongkhapa, Jamchen Chojey, the main attraction of this monastery is the lively scene of the monks debating Buddhist scriptures in the courtyard behind the monastery in the afternoon.
Today we will enjoy a drive from Lhasa to Gyantse. En route we will travel over the Gampala Pass (elevation 4790 meters) where will be able to have a scenic overview of Yamdrok-tso Lake (elevation 4400 meters). This lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains with a view of the holy mountain Nyenchen Khangsar (elevation 7191 meters) in the distance. Mt. Nyenchen is one of the world’s tallest mountain peaks, and it is also the tallest mountain nearest to Lhasa. Our drive will take us westward along the lake as we drive on to Gyantse, which was historically Tibet’s third largest city behind Lhasa and Shigatse. We will take time in Gyantse to visit the world-famous Pelkor Monastery, which is also known as Gyantse Kumbum. This “Kumbum” (a multi-storied aggregate of Buddhist chapels) has nine floors with each tier containing its own unique chapels. This structure is considered to be the largest stupa in Tibet.
This morning we will have the opportunity to visit the famous Tashi Lhunpo monastery where you can see the well-preserved largest statue of Jampa (future Buddha) in the world. This monastery is also the home of Tibetan Buddhism's second highest incarnation, the Panchen Lama. In the afternoon, we will drive back to Lhasa along the Friendship Highway. It’s a scenic drive of around 280 kilometers for about 6 hours along the Yarlung Tsangpo / Bhamaputra River, which is the longest and largest river in Tibet as well as being the highest altitude major river in the world.
Your tour guide will pick you up from your hotel to escort you on to the Lhasa airport or train station and help you make sure that you find the right place to board your flight or train for your departure from Lhasa.
Private professional English-speaking tour guide.
Private vehicle and Luggage Transfers.
All necessary Tibet travel permits.
All accommodations, based on double-occupancy. Medium standard accommodation with attached bathroom on twin sharing basis. Guesthouse or tent in remote areas.
Meals, as noted in the itinerary.
Admission fees and activity expenses, as noted in the itinerary.
Service Charge (the planning, handling, operational and communication charges) & government taxes.
Tourists Accident/Casualty Insurance
China visa, all air tickets and train tickets to and from Tibet.
Sightseeing not listed in the itinerary.
Meals not listed in the itinerary (all lunches and dinners).
Personal expenses such as laundry, drink, fax, telephone call, optional tour activities, etc.
Gratuities, tips to guides, drivers, bellboys, etc.
Excess Baggage Charges.
Single room supplement.