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 the 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 are the debates between the monks on Buddhist scriptures, 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. For the Kora, we would drive to the Ganden Monastery in the late afternoon to begin the trek, which takes around 90 minutes to complete.
In the morning, we will leave the valley floor and make our way through a steep gully that rises from the stream bank below. Through beautiful scenery, we will climb the Shug La Pass and carefully begin our climb down through treacherous boulder fields. After we cross the Tsotup Chu, a large stream winding through the valley floor, we will set up a comfortable camp in one of the sheep herder’s fields for a rustic and fun overnight stay.
Today we will follow the Tsotup Chu down through its tributary and trek towards the Chitu La pass. After ascending this magnificent rocky pass, we will go back down amongst the quiet herder camps to find a comfortable campsite in one of the fields surrounding the stream.
Today the trail gets wider and easier to follow as we work our way through scrub forests in the main valley. Beautiful streams and lush forests surround us as we walk towards our next destination. The next few hours may very well be the most beautiful part of our trek. More than 15 types of scrub trees, blooming rhododendrons, and vast meadows will be a feast for the eyes every step of the way! After passing through this wondrous landscape, we will trek through the Changtang Village. Tour participants can also choose to take a one-hour hike to the Yamalung Hermitage. Yamalung is an ancient and holy Buddhist meditation site, but it is completely up to you as to whether you want to go there. Later on we will continue on through the Samye Valley as we walk along the babbling tributary stream. We will spend the night at another comfortable and picturesque campsite, not far from Samye.
The Samye Monastery is the first temple built in Tibet and the first to contain the three Buddhist jewels of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. With these unique features, this splendid temple has become an attraction for visitors from all over the world. After visiting Samye, our trek will be complete after we take a ferry across the across the Yarlungzongpo River to board our vehicle for the scenic ride 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 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.