Transfer to Lhasa downtown after arriving at the Lhasa Gongar airport or the Lhasa train station. Relax with free time in Lhasa to acclimatize to the high altitude
In the morning you will visit the spectacular Potala Palace and explore the grandest of its myriad 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, where 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 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 is 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.
It’s an adventurous drive between Lhasa and the Tsurphu Monastery, including a 2-hour bump-filled road, so we’ll be riding in a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Due to the higher elevation, we’ll take some time to relax and acclimatize after the rough ride. We will visit the Tsurphu Monastery itself after lunch.
Our first day of trekking will take about 4 hours to cover 11 kilometers as we walk through a verdant valley crisscrossed with countless mountain streams. Be on the lookout for various species of mountain goats that may be observing us, hidden amongst the gray rocks. Several small nomadic communities camp here for the summer herding months, and if you like we may have the opportunity to stop by a yak-hair tent for a cup of salt butter tea or some fresh yak milk. We will walk along a high plateau with a scattering of rock-enclosed huts to find a flat area for camping. Throughout this trek, the breathtakingly beautiful scenery of the ever-changing Tibetan landscapes will surround us.
Today’s trek will take us through a long deep valley, up to the highest point known as Lasar at an elevation of 5300 meters. At the first small pass of Damchen Nyingtri we’ll head left at the cairns at the crest and descend into a magical valley of lichen-coated boulders, meandering streams and expansive, powder-blue sky. Three hours later, we will cross the Lasar La (elevation 5300 meters) and descend into the Yangpachen Valley, with its wide-open plateaus, spiky grass hummocks and tundra-like parched, cracked patches of earth as we head towards Bartso. The views of “Brize” (translated as female yak herder) and “Tarze” (horse keeper) are superb, and you will feel safe in the care of the local mountain god, Nyenchen Tanglha. This evening we will camp overnight near Bartso, a “drokpa” (nomad) village of just five or six houses, surrounded by the same juniper that is used for incense all over the Tibetan world.
Leaving the village of Bartso behind this morning, we will head out on a wide trail leading across the valley and over another ridge where we will be rewarded with spectacular views of Nyenchen Tanghlha (elevation 7111 meters), the holiest mountain in central Tibet. We will pass through Tajung Village and then climb up gently rolling hills where young nomadic boys and girls picnic on the plateaus as they watch their herds of yaks and sheep grazing. The scenic vistas here are amazing! By midday we should reach the small and historic Djore Ling Ani Gompa (nunnery), near which we will set up camp for the night. It's possible that these nuns, some of the friendliest in Tibet, will invite you into the nunnery's teahouse and pass around a heaping plate of yak meat (you can use the bowie knife provided to hack a piece off) with plenty of photo opportunities for this memorable occasion.
Today’s trek will last around 4 hours, following the ox-bow Nyango Chu River as we make our way through the grassy valley heading for Yangpachen Monastery. This ancient Kagupa monastery, with Tibetan mastiffs keeping guard, overlooks part of the Trans-Himalaya range. Your 4-wheel drive Landcruiser will be waiting for you at the monastery to take you for a relaxing visit to the hot springs at Yangpachen before we drive back to Lhasa to spend the night.
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 Gyantse, Shigatse, the Everest Base Camp, etc. – 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.