Transfer to Lhasa downtown after arriving at the Lhasa Gongar airport or the Lhasa train station. Relax with free time after your arrival in Lhasa to acclimatize to the high altitude.
In the morning you will visit the spectacular Potala Palace and explore the grandest of its multitude of chapels. Admire the bejeweled burial stupa of past Dalia Lamas with all of their accompanying statuary, frescoes and paintings. Afterward visit the most sacred temple in all of Tibet – the Jokhang Temple. This hallowed temple draws a tremendous number of pilgrims from all over Tibet, who are drawn by a magnificent image of Sakyamuni (Buddha) at the age of 12 years old. Upon leaving the temple you will have the opportunity to stroll around Barkhor, which has served as a pilgrimage circuit for centuries as well as being the largest bazaar market in Lhasa. Here you can find traditional handicrafts, ambers, handmade jewelry, Tibetan clothing, and much more.
Today you will explore Tibet's two greatest monasteries, the Drepung and Sera Monasteries. Drepung Monastery, founded in 1416 at the foothill of a mountain, was once the largest and most influential monastery in Tibet when it housed more than 10,000 monks. The monastery is divided into two different colleges – Drepung Loseling and Drepung Gomang. Nearby, the Ganden Podrang (Ganden Palace) is famous as the center of Tibetan government established by the 5th Dalai Lama in 1642. After lunch, you will visit the ancient Sera Monastery, founded in 1419 by another of Tsongkapa’s disciples, Jamchen Chojey. This monastery is divided in half by pathways, with the eastern section containing the Great Assembly Hall and the monk residences and the western section containing three famous monastic colleges – Sera Je Dratsang, Sera Me Dratsang and the Mgakpa Dratsang. t has the well-known three colleges: the Sera Je Dratsang, the Sera Me Dratsang; and the Ngakpa Dratsang, all instituted by Tsongkapa as monastic universities that catered to monks from 8 to 70 years old. Another notable feature of this monastery are the debates on Buddhist scriptures between the monks, which you can witness in the monastery’s courtyard around 6 to 7:30 p.m. each day. If you are up for it, you can attempt the “Kora”, which is a religious circuit around the sacred monasteries before returning to your hotel.
Today we will drive to Tsedang, the capital of Shannan Prefecture, located at Yarlung Valley and known as "the cradle of Tibetan Civilization". Here we will visit Yumbu lhakhang, the first imperial palace of the first Tibetan king, where you can witness the fantastic view of the entire valley from the palace. After that we will visit the Samye Monastery, which is the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet, built in the 8th century. A unique monastery layout was designed in the form of giant “mandala” - a representation of the Buddhist universe. The main temple in the center represents Mt. Meru, the mythical mountain at the center of the Buddhist universe. The four continents in the ocean around Mt. Meru are represented by the four temples at the cardinal points, each flanked by two smaller temples to symbolize islands in the ocean.
This morning we will enjoy a scenic drive from Tsedang to Gyantse. Along the way we will cross over the Gampala Pass (elevation 4790 meters) with its stunning views of the Karola Glacier and Yamdrok-tso Lake (elevation 4400 meters). The lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains with spectacular views of the holy Mt. Nyenchen Khangsar, (elevation 7191 meters), the highest mountain near Lhasa, We will proceed westward along the lake and drive towards Gyantse. Gyantse was historically Tibet's third largest city after Lhasa and Shigatse. In Gyantse, we will visit the famous Pelkor Monastery and Gyantse Kumbum (a “kumbum” is a multi-storied aggregate of Buddhist chapels).
In the morning we will drive to Shalu Monastery from Gyantse via a 49 kilometer asphalt road, where we will visit the Shalu Monastery. This monastery was the seat of Buton Rinchendrub (1290-1346), who was the great codifier of the Tibetan translations of the Indian Buddhist canon. After our visit there, in the afternoon we will start the trek to Upper Lungsang.
Today’s trek will take us through the farming fields to the Ngor village with its ancient monastery. The Ngor Monastery is renowned for its Sanskrit library and Newar-style murals. There were once five assembly halls, 18 colleges and 400 monks, but now only 25 monks remain.
Today we will trek from Ngor to Nartang, traveling through several villages, mountain saddles, and one electric utility. After our visit to Nartang Monastery, we will transfer to Shigatse.
This morning we will make the scenic drive back to Lhasa from Shigatse, which will take around 4 hours. Along the way, we will visit the largest monastery in west Tibet, the Tashilunpo Monastery, the last historic site on this Tibetan tour itinerary. The Tashilunpo Monastery is one of the six great Gelukpa institutions. It was founded in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama, Genden Drup, a disciple of Tsongkapa. Jamkhang Chenmo (future Buddha statue) contains the world's largest gilded copper image (26 meters high) of the future god Jampa. After our visit to Tashilunpo, we will drive along the Friendship Highway back to Lhasa.
We will pick you up from your hotel by private vehicle for the 90-minute drive to the Lhasa airport for your departing flight. However, if you prefer to stay longer in Tibet, you can also extend this trip to the Everest Base Camp and other sites in the Tibetan region – please contact us for additional options and information.
All travel permit and all other necessary permits for this trekking;
All entrance ticket fees for all tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
Knowledgeable English-speaking local tour guide;
Personal comfortable, clean and safe vehicle with reliable local driver; vehicle ranging from 4WD land cruiser to minibus depending on the group size;
All lodging listed in the itinerary;
All meals listed in the above itinerary;
One shared big Oxygen tank in the car;
Tourist accident/casualty insurance;
First aid kit;
Flight or train to and out of Tibet;
Domestic flight/train to Tibet 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 trip), optional tour activities, etc.