Your tour guide will greet you upon your arrival at Lhasa airport to transfer you to your hotel, where you will have the rest of the day to relax and acclimatize to the high altitude.
Because Tibet lies at such a high altitude, it is important to remember to take everything slowly to minimize the symptoms of altitude sickness. Drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep that first night – you should feel fine by the next day. However, if you feel extreme discomfort, please notify your tour guide immediately.
After breakfast at the hotel, we will visit the incredible Potala Palace – the highest palace in the world. As we climb to the entrance gate, you will have a spectacular view over all of Lhasa. After exploring the numerous interesting chapels and learning about the traditional culture and history of the palace and the city, we will move on to the spiritually significant Jokhang Temple, one of the most important temples in Tibetan Buddhism. To see the “real” Lhasa, we’ll stroll through Barkhor Street with its thriving local market where you can pick up some local Tibetan, Nepalese and Indian handicrafts and souvenirs.
Tips for Visiting Potala Palace
1. The number of visitors to the palace is strictly limited to 2,300 per day. Visitors can only visit during the time specified on the admission ticket.
2. Admission tickets to visit the Potala Palace are sold out almost every day, so it is strongly recommended to book your tickets several days in advance.
3. There are many steps at the Potala Palace, so it’s best to take it slowly to avoid possible altitude discomfort.
4. Visitors should respect the rules while visiting. Do not wear hats, wear revealing clothes or step on thresholds as these actions violate local customs.
5. Photography and the taking of videos are forbidden inside the Potala Palace.
6. A security search will take place at the entrance to the palace. Explosives, flammables, knives, lighters and even water bottles are not allowed inside the Potala Palace.
Today features visits to 2 of the most important monasteries in Tibetan Buddhism – the Drepung and Sera Monasteries. Drepung Monastery is located on the hillside west of Lhasa – at one time the world’s largest monastery with about 10,000 monks living there. A pleasant walk up the hill leads to the solemn ambience inside the monastery’s many halls and chapels. After Drepung, we will move on to the Sera Monastery. The main highlight of the Sera Monastery is watching the crowd of monks debating inside the shady courtyard behind the main temple. Every day except Sunday, hundreds of red-robed monks assemble in small groups and practice their debating skills – a very impressive sight to behold, as the monks are very animated as they debate the various attributes of Buddhist scriptures.
This morning we’ll take a drive up to the Kampala Pass (elevation 4797 meters) where you’ll have a glimpse of Yamdrok Lake down below as well as spectacular views of the holy Mount Nyenchen Khangsar in the distance. You will want to have your camera at the ready for the turquoise waters of Yamdrok Lake, which is one of the three holy lakes of Tibet, and the beautiful Mt. Nyenchen Khangsar glacier as seen from the Karol la Pass. Later on we’ll be able to visit the Karola Glacier before continuing along the southern Friendship Highway to Gyantse, where you will be able to see the famous Gyantse Kumbum, one of the most stunning architectural wonders in Tibet. Late in the afternoon we will continue on to Shigatse, the location of the Tashilunpo Monastery.
After breakfast we’ll set out towards the peak of the world – Mount Everest. Departing from Shigatse and traveling via Lhatse and Tingri, you will see some of the most beautiful and unique scenery in the world – incredibly blue skies, floating high clouds, endless grasslands and the highest mountain peaks in the world. We’ll also stop by the Rongbuk Monastery – the world’s highest altitude monastery before spending the night at the Everest Base Camp.
Today we will drive the old Tingri Road to Saga County, with views of Mount Everest and Mount Shishapangma (elevation 8012 meters), which was the last of the world’s 8000-meter peaks to be climbed. The road conditions get rougher from the old Tingri Road as it runs parallel to the to the Himalayan mountain ranges and the Nepalese sides known as the Anapurna Ranges. The main road passes through the desolate plains of Diger Tang, with its enormous sand dunes contrasting with the neighboring snow peaks of Shishapangma and Langtang to the south. As we leave the Bum-chu basin, we will descend into the relatively lower elevations of the Pelkhu-tso (elevation 4600 meters), a cobalt blue lake. After checking out the lake, we’ll drive the additional 69 kilometers on to Saga County and spend the night in the small town of Saga.
On this 8th day we will drive to Drongpa County, which was founded around the bountiful resources of the Brahmaputra River. We will make a stop in a small village along the main road that consists of only a few basic guesthouses, restaurants and a small monastery known as “Old Drongpa”. Scattered around the monastery you will be able to observe a pile of yak heads that are carved with “sutras” and “mantras”. New Drongpa is another small town with a few shops, hotels and restaurants located about 25 kilometers from Old Drongpa monastery. We will continue on to the Baryang Township (elevation 4750 meters) and drive around Lake Manasarovar before reaching our final destination for the day, Darchen, where we will spend the night.
Today we will have a relaxing day with time to play around the lakeshore and explore the natural beauty of the lake. In the summer, flocks of swans gather on the lake, bringing grace and life to the area. You will also see many Tibetans and Hindus praying while circling around the lake with its beautiful backdrop of snow-capped mountains. We will spend the night in Darchen again tonight.
After our fun day at Lake Manasarovar, we will continue on another scenic route to Tsada, where we can enjoy the unique scenery of Tsada Tulin.
After breakfast, we will visit the ruins of the ancient Guge Kingdom and the Torling Monastery. Located in the Ngar Region of Tibet, the ruins of the Guge Kingdom were once an imperial estate, which fell into disrepair after the civil war revolt and the invasion of the 8 Allied Forces of foreign countries that destroyed the once prosperous state. Luckily the legendary kingdom has not been totally lost as much can still be learned from what remains of it today. After our visit there, we will continue on with more scenic driving to Shiquanhe where we will spend the night.
Today we will drive in an easterly direction from Ali to Gegye, about a 115-kilometer drive. We’ll make a stop in Gegye to refresh ourselves before continuing on to Gertse. Along the way we will cross over the beginnings of the Indus River and soon thereafter enter into a marshland with an abundance of bird life, including golden ducks and large black-necked cranes.
In the morning we’ll set off for Nyima, a small village in northern Tibet. The road from Gertse to Nyima is muddy and difficult to pass, so it will take almost one full day to reach it. Along the way though, we will be able to see Dong Tso Lake and the Qingtang Grasslands, which are excellent spots for seeing the natural scenery of rural Tibet as well as Tibetan wildlife.
Another interesting drive today from Nyima to Bange, where we will see Selin Tso and again have numerous opportunities to observe Tibet’s rare and unique wildlife.
Today features more opportunities for wild animal and rural Tibetan scenery observation. As we will be in the rarely traveled areas of Tibet, the roads will be rough so it’s best to be prepared for the bumpy ride.
This morning it is a good idea to get up early to view the magnificent sunrise over this holy sky lake. On our return journey we will pass the famous Yampanchen Hot Spring. If you are interested, we can make an optional stop here although the cost for visiting the hot spring is not included in the cost of the usual tour itinerary. You will have some free time this evening in Lhasa for your last night in Tibet.
Your day will be free until we pick you up to take you on the 90-minute drive to the Lhasa airport for your departing flight.
Tibet travel permit and all other necessary permits to Tibet;
All entrance ticket fees for all tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
Personal knowledgeable English-speaking Tibetan local tour guide;
Personal comfortable, clean and safe vehicle with reliable Tibetan local driver; vehicle ranging from 4WD land cruiser to minibus depending on your group size;
All lodging listed in the itinerary; it’s your decision about the accommodation class: luxury 5-star international hotel, comfortable 4-star hotel, economic 3-star hotel or budget hostel, guesthouse or tent. Please tell us your accommodation preference when submitting the enquiry; we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.
Domestic flight/train tickets listed in the itinerary;
All meals listed in the above itinerary;
Tourist accident/casualty insurance;
First aid kit;
International flight to and out of China;
Chinese visa (Note: we could help you with the Chinese visa application, like providing the invitation letter, presenting the hotel or domestic flight reservation copies, etc that you may need. )
Domestic flight/train not listed in the itinerary. (We can provide you the domestic flight/train ticket booking service at the BEST discount price; please contact us our travel experts for the details.)
Meals not specified in the itinerary; usually it costs about USD3-15 per person for one meal in TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region). Tips and gratitude to tour guide and driver;
Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks (please do the best to avoid the alcoholic beverages during your Tibet trip), optional tour activities, etc.