|Duration:||16 Days 15 Nights|
* The price is per person, and depends on the number of travelers, accomodation options, extra-activities, extra-places, or tour-guide request.
|B : Breakfast
L : Lunch
|D : Dinner
SD : Special Dinner
We will visit:
The capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region with an elevation of 3650 meters (12,000 feet) above the sea level, is nicknamed Sunlight City. It is the highest city in the world. This ancient sprawling city, settled 1,300 years ago, is the region's political, economic and cultural center as well as a sacred place of Tibetan Buddhism.
The symbol of Lhasa, perched upon Marpo Ri Hill, 130 meters above the Lhasa Valley, it is the greatest monumental structure in Tibet and one of the most famous architectural works of the world. The construction was started in 641 AD and it was rebuilt by the Fifth Dalai Lama in three years, while the Thirteenth Dalai Lama extended and repaired it into what it is now. As the religious and political centre of old Tibet and the winter residence of Dalai Lamas, the palace witnessed the life of the Dalai Lamas and the important political and religious activities in the past centuries. The Potala Palace also houses great amounts of rare cultural relics including the gold hand-written Buddhist scriptures, valuable gifts from the Chinese emperors and a lot of priceless antiques.
Located in the center of the old section of Lhasa, built in 647 AD by Songtsen Gampo and his two foreign wives, and later extended by successive rulers. It has now become a gigantic architectural complex and it is the spiritual center of Tibet.
A circular street around the Jokhang Temple in the center of the old section of Lhasa, it is the oldest street in a very traditional style in Tibet, where you can enjoy bargaining with the local Tibetan vendors for the handicrafts which are rarely seen elsewhere in the world. Barkhor Street is one of the most important religious paths along which pilgrims walk around Jokhang Temple while turning prayer wheels in their hands. They have been doing this for countless centuries. Buddhist pilgrims walk or progress by body-lengths in a clockwise direction. This walk can continue all day and well into the night.
Norbulingka means "Jeweled Garden", built in 1751 AD as a summer palace for the Dalai Lama where they handled political affairs and practiced religious activities. It is now a large-scale palace complex and garden in Tibetan style covering an area of 40 hectares. The whole complex 370 rooms of different sizes and lawns shaded by green trees and enclosed by various flowers. Before 1959, commoners had no access to this park. Nowadays, on festivals and holidays, the local people in their colorful costumes come here with food and tents to sing and dance overnight.
Sera means "Wild Rose Garden" in Tibetan because lush wild rose woods once grew around it. The monastery is one of the three largest monasteries in Tibet. Located at the northern outskirts of Lhasa, it was built in 1419 AD by Jamchen Choje (or Sakyayeshe), one of the eight disciples of Tsong Khapa who was the founder of the Gelugpa Sect. The Sera Monastery houses three colleges built in the 15th and 16th centuries, and it is famous for the "Buddhism Scriptures Debating".
The largest monastery of the Gelug Sect in Tibet, standing on the slope of the majestic Mount Gambo Utse; it was built in 1416 AD and is the place where each reincarnation of the Dalai Lama received his training. In its heyday, it had more than 10,000 monks. Now it is home to about 700 monks.
Shigatse is the most colorful area in Tibet with vast grasslands, fertile fields in river valleys, flourishing semitropical jungles and snowfields at high altitudes.
Built in 1414 AD, it is unique because three Sects of Buddhism-Sakya, Gedan and Gelug are living harmoniously under one roof. The Palcho Pagoda beside the Monastery has 9 stories, 108 doors and 77 rooms housing some 100,000 statues of Buddha, so it is famed as the "100,000-Buddha Pagoda." The frescoes, statues and sculptures in the monastery are exquisite, succinct and life-like.
One of the three largest lakes of Tibet and one of the three holy lakes. It covers an area of 638 square kilometers with a coastline of 250 kilometers. The deepest point is 60 meters. The coast of the lake is an ideal pasture where you can enjoy the intoxicating, picturesque, and natural scenery.
Day by Day Itinerary
Arrival in Lhasa:
Arrive in Lhasa and check in at your hotel. Welcome to Lhasa.
In the morning of your first day in Lhasa you'll visit the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street.
Potala Palace (1 hour): Potala Palace is located on the Red Hill of Lhasa, hovering high above city. The Potala Palace was the winter home of the Dalai Lama. After being rebuilt in 1645 it became the seat of Dalai Lamas and also the political center of Tibet. Today it covers more than 130,000 square meters; it is a huge, awe-inspiring network of corridors and stairs leading through rooms of richly decorated statues, tombs, murals and antiques.
The Jokhang Temple is smaller than the Potala, but no less important. It is the spiritual center of Tibet. And many locals pray here regularly. Built in 647 by Songtsen Gampo, it has a history of more than 1,300 years. The temple is the combination of Han, Tibetan and Nepalese architecture techniques.
The Jokhang Temple is surrounded by the circular Barkhor Street. Barkhor Street ('pilgrims' circuit') is located in the center of Lhasa. It exhibits Tibetan culture, economy, religion and arts and is also a famous commercial and commodity-distributing center.
On your second day in Lhasa you will have enough time to explore Norbulingka, Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery.
Norbulingka ('Jewel Garden') is now the largest garden in Tibet. It was built in 1751, served as a palace and residence of the 7th Dalai Lama and later served the government administration. Its architectural style is borrowed from the inland areas of China but it maintains local ethnic elements.
Our next stop is Sera Monastery and you'll be able to spend around 3 hours there. The Sera Monastery is located in the northern suburbs of Lhasa. It was founded in 1419 by Jamchen Chojey of Sakya Yeshe of Zel Gungtang (1355–1435), a disciple of Tsongkhapa. It was surrounded by wild roses and therefore the name: 'Sera' – wild rose. It is famous for its copper Buddhist Statue, religious painting and the "famous daily Buddhism debates" that take place here. Visitors can watch the debate, but of course you need to keep quiet.
in west of Lhasa under Mt. Gambo Utse you will find Drepung Monastery (=monastery of collecting rice). Its white buildings make a dramatic contrast with the surrounding black mountains. Drepung Monastery is the largest of all Tibetan monasteries, and indeed used to be the largest monastery of any religion in the world.
Lhasa to Gyantze to Shigatse (B,L):
Today you will drive from Lhasa to Gyantze, where you will visit Yomdrok Lake and the Palgor Chorten (also named Palcho Monastery or Pelkor Chode Monastery). Then, you will drive from Gyantze to Shigatse.
The Pelkor Chode Monastery is located about 270 kilometers (168 miles) south of Lhasa and 100 (62 miles) east of Shigatse at the foot of Dzong Hill. It is famous for the architecture, sculpture, and mural painting art. Its architectural style is a very unique blend of characteristics of Han, Tibetan and Nepali. The monastery precinct is a complex of structures, believed to be the largest such structure in Tibet.
On your way today you will also explore Yamdrok Lake, a turquoise- blue lake that has indescribable scenic beauty. Yamdrok Lake is one of the three largest holiest lakes in Tibet. It has the highest power station in the world, and is also the largest habitat for water birds in Tibet, attracting numerous swans and gulls every summer. Surrounding the lake are many snow-capped mountains which add to the enchanting atmosphere.
Shigatse to Lhatse to Sakya (B,L):
Today you will drive from Shigatse to Lhatse and from Lhatse to Sakya. En route you will visit Sakya Monastery - "White Earth" or "Pale Earth", a Buddhist monastery situated about 150 km west of Shigatse, the first Sakya sect Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism created by Khon Konchog Gyalpo in 1073. Sakya Monastery is divided into two parts - the south and north and resembles a castle, the typical Yuan Dynasty style. It contains some of the most magnificent surviving artwork in all of Tibet that was not damaged in recent times. There are a lot of historical articles in the monastery, among them imperial certificates, gold signets, crowns, costumes bestowed by the Yuan Dynasty emperors. It has over 84,000 volumes of Tibetan scrolls on astronomy, medicine, calligraphy, and history. The monastery has a colossal collection of highly valuable art pieces, including abundance great number of handwriting sutra copied by all the Tibetan calligraphists.
Sakya to Saga (B,L):
Today you will drive from Sakya to Saga.
Saga to Payang (B,L):
The plan for today is driving from Saga to Payang. On the way, you will take a tour to Lake Manasarovar or Mapam Yumco. Lake Manasarovar is a freshwater lake about 1,000 km (580 mi) from Lhasa. It lies at 4,556 meters above sea level, thus the highest fresh-water lake in the world. According to Hindu religion, the lake was first created in the mind of the Lord Brahma. Hence, the name "Manassarovara", in Sanskrit manas =mind and sarovara = lake. As per Hindu belief, the lake is an epitome of purity, and one who drinks its water will go to the Abode of Lord Shiva after death. Another Hindu belief is that the lake is the summer habitat of swans, considered as sacred birds and represent wisdom and beauty.
Payang to Darchen (B,L):
Today's plan is to go from to Payang to Darchen. Darchen is a small village in Purang County in Tibet situated right in front of the sacred mountain Mount Kailash, so naturally you will visit Mt.Kailash that lies near Lake Manasarowar and Lake Rakshastal. You will also visit Lhanag-tso---the Ghost Lake.
The mountain Mount Kailash or Mount Kailas is called in Tibetan language "precious jewel of snows". The name originates from the eternal snow on its peak and its religious associations. It elevates 6,638 m (21,778 ft) above sea level and lies near the four longest rivers in Asia: the Indus River, the Sutlej River, Brahmaputra River, and the Karnali River. It is considered a sacred place in four religions: Bön, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.
Lhanag tso---the Ghost Lake: It is located 10 km west to Mapam Yumco Lake, with an altitude of 4,573 meters and an area of 70 sq. km. The name in Tibetan language means 'poisonous black river'. The water in the lake is very salty and there are only a few plants around the lake, and everything around it seems dull and lifeless, hence the name Ghost Lake.
Darchen to Tsada (B,L):
After breakfast, you will head from Darchen to Tsada. Along the way you will visit The Ruins of Guge Kingdom which is in today Zhada County, Ngari Region of Tibet. Guge is said to be the highest ancient kingdom - More than 1,000 years old - located on the ridge of Tibet. Now the ruins cover an area of 200,000 square meters. The buildings follow the hill to the top in a rigid layout and an imposing manner. The 11-storey castle is more than 300-meter high including houses, caves, pagodas, blockhouses, defense works and tunnels. It was a powerful kingdom with a splendid civilization and prosperous state. The Estate was almost ruined after the civil revolt and the invasion of the allied armies of eight foreign countries, but the legendary kingdom hasn't been totally vanished and one can learn a lot about it from its remains. The structure of The Ruins of Guge Kingdom was the political center of The Guge Kingdom and the religious center is the sublime Tholing Monastery which you will explore on Day 10 of the tour.
Our base today is Tsada, from there we will drive to explore Tholing Monastery and Zanda County. The Tholing Monastery is located in Zanda County, in the Ngari Region in Tibet. It was built by Yeshi-O, the outstanding second king of the Guge Kingdom in 996, and is the most ancient Buddhist temple in the region. From structural point of view, The Tholing Monastery integrates the architecture and artwork of Buddhist statues of neighboring India, Nepal and Ladakh (Kashmir), molded after the archetypal Tibetan temple - the Samye Monastery. Tholing in Tibetan means 'hovering in the sky forever', and this indicates the imposing position occupied by the monastery. During its prime, it was the main centre for the translation of Buddhist scriptures and the holding of religious ceremonies. Tholing Monastery still maintains an important place in Tibet.
Zhada is a county in Nagri. Zanda means: "A downstream place of grassland". Driving 255 kilometers along the Rutog-Ngari highway, you will arrive in Elephant Spring River Valley, where the Zanda County is. Entering into Zanda, you will find an earth forest (also called "clay forest") of 5 km standing on both sides of Elephant Spring River. Some resemble warrior defending the mountain top, some look like galloping horses. Wherever you watch, you can get different wonderful views.
Tsada to Darchen (B,L):
Drive from Tsada to Darchen. Today you will be driven to Darchen and check in the hotel upon arrival.
Darchen to Saga (B,L):
Drive from Darchen to Saga. Today you will be driven to Saga and check in the hotel upon arrival. Saga ("happy land") is a town in Shigatse Prefecture in southern Tibet. It lies 4,640 meters (15,223 ft.) above sea level. Saga is also an important stop-off point for travelers on the way to visiting Mount Kailash being the last town on the southern route with supplies.
Saga to Lhatse (B,L):
Drive from Saga to Lhatse. Today you will be driven to Lhatse and check in the hotel upon arrival. Lhatse County is about 200 kilometers from Mount Everest
Lhatse to Dingri (B,L):
Drive from Lhatse to Dingri. After breakfast, you will head to Dingri. When getting to Dingri, you will check in the local hotel.
Dingri to Zhangmu (B,L):
Drive from Dingri to Zhangmu .Today you are going to make an expedition to the Everest Base Camp and have sightseeing at the Rongbuk Monastery. There is an Entrance Fee for Mount Everest.
Mount. Everest, "'Goddess the Third'" in Tibetan, also called Mt. Qomolangma, is the highest mountain on earth. It stands at the south of Tingri County in southern Tibet. Its north slope belongs to China and the south one to Nepal. With an altitude of 8,848.13 meters (29,017 ft.), this mountain is permanently covered with snow. The area has 4 peaks above 8,000 m. (26,247 ft.) and 38 peaks above 7,000 m. (22,965 ft.), hence the label 'the Third Pole of the Earth'. The Everest Base Camp is the very beginning for every climber. The Base Camp is a small flat piece of land in front of the north face of Mount Everest. It is at an altitude of 5200m (17,500ft) above sea level and many people might experience difficulties with the high altitude. The journey to Mt. Everest Base Camp is a challenge, but it is definitely rewarding, with the most incomparable views. You will next go from the highest mountain to the highest Monastery.
Rongbuk Monastery was built by a local Lama in 1899. It is located at the North Slope of the Mt. Everest, only 20 kilometers below the peak of the mountain, 5,154 meters above the sea level. It is an ideal location to view Mt. Everest and has been known as having some of the most unparalleled views in the world. The temple has been reconstructed in 1983 and the painted murals here are worthwhile of your attention. After visiting Mount Everest, we will drive to Zhangmu.
Depart Zhangmu (B):
Today you depart Zhangmu to your next destination. Have a safe trip!