This epic tour showers you with the riches of Tibet culture and nature. The tour starts in Tsedang, the cradle of Tibetan Civilization, you could discover the mystery of Tibetan Buddhist in Tibet’s most revered Palaces and Monasteries there. Then leave for Lhasa for its marveled palace, temples and famous monasteries.
After full exploration in Lhasa city, you’ll have a chance to get lost in the endless Tibetan landscape while you take a short hike along the turquoise waters of Lake Yamdrok. This tour also allows you to explore the awe-inspiring Kumbum Stupa in Gyantse and the historic Tashilunpho Monastery in Shigatse. The tour finishes with a visit to the magnificent Nam-tso, which shades the valley floor a miraculous shade of turquoise while the stunning 7000 m peaks encapsulate you in a lost world.
- Start the tour in Tsedang, soak up the fabulous location and spectacular circular complex of Samye Monastery, and hike the Yarlang Valley, explore the iconic Yumbulagang.
- Fully explore the sunlight city Lhasa with its well-known Potala Palace and holy monasteries of Jokhang, Sera and Drepung.
- Follow monks, mendicants and fellow pilgrims around the Barkhor Street, Lhasa’s fascinating medieval pilgrim circuit.
- Marvel at the turquoise waters of Lake Yamdrok-tso, one of Tibet’s most sacred lakes.
- Have a deep discovery of the two important cities of Tsang, Gyantse and Shigatse, climb the dazzling Gyantse Kumbum, and worship before a 26m gold Buddha at Tashilumpo Monastery.
- Get a taste of the northern Changtang at the turquoise waters, snowy peaks and nomads’ tents of stunning high-altitude Lake Namtso.
Day 1: Arrive in Tsedang, get the first impression of Tibetan daily life
Welcome to the roof of the world. Your Tibet journey starts with a warm Tibetan style greeting from your local tour guide who will present you with Hada (traditional Tibetan scarves).
Then be escorted to your hotel in Tsedang city at the comfort of your own private vehicle. Along the way you could see Tibetan homes with their trapezoid shaped windows and fluttering prayer flags, and Tibetans walking beside the roads wearing their distinctive national costumes. Stay at the hotel after arrival for adapting to the high attitude. It is helpful to take things easy for the first few days, and try to drink some water just and now.
Tsedang, the capital of Shannan Prefecture, it's reputed as "the cradle of Tibetan Civilization", mainly for two reasons: First, the mild weather and fertile land in Shannan gestated the great Tibet dynasty. Second, it's the birthplace of the first Tibetans who were said to be the offspring of a monkey and a demoness. So Tsedang literally means "monkey's playground".
Day 2: Tsedang Highlights Escorted Tour
Begin this day with the tour to Yumbulagang. A fine, tapering finger of a structure that sprouts from a craggy ridge overlooking the patchwork fields of the Yarlung Valley, Yumbulagang is considered the oldest building in Tibet. It is a remarkably impressive sight, with a lovely setting. You could ride horses and yaks up the mountain to the temple if you prefer.
Then visit to the Trundruk monastery, one of the earliest Buddhist monasteries in Tibetan history. It is said that King Songtsan Gampo built the monastery to suppress the demon for prospering his kingdom in 641 A.D. And later it became the winter palace of King Songtsan Gampo and Princess Wencheng in Shannan. Of all the treasures and relics kept in this monastery, the pearled Tangka -- "Avalokitesvara at his rest" is the most remarkable one.
Day 3: Drive to Lhasa
In the morning, drive forward to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet and a holy city which is always full of sunshine. Visit to Samye Monastery on the way. Surrounded by barren mountains and dramatic sand dunes and approached via a beautiful river crossing, you will boat ride across the Yarlung Tsangpo, then trucks and tractors to Samye, just like the locals do. As Tibet’s first monastery and the place where Buddhism was established, the monastery is of major historical and religious importance. No journey in central Tibet is complete without a visit to Samye.
And have a tour for Mindroling Monastery nearby, the largest and most important Nyingmapa monastery in central Tibet. In this monastery, you can have a chance to enjoy the process of making Tibetan incense, which will leave you with a deep impression. The monks at Mindroling Monastery mix Tibetan drugs into Tibetan incenses which become the most famous incenses of Tibet.
Day 4: Lhasa highlights escorted tour
After breakfast, we go to the Potala Palace, a golden feather upon the roof of the world, which Tibetans proudly claim to be the prime miracle since the creation of this world. It is visible from any distance, with the golden roof shinning in the sun, spend one hour wondering around the inside of this magnificent building exploring the rooms previously used by the Dalai Lama and the many Buddhist icons within.
In the afternoon we go inside of the Jokhang Temple. The Jokhang, like most of the larger temple structures have numerous individual temples within it dedicated to specific enlightened beings, protectors, high lamas, or saints. Images, both sculpted and painted, are everywhere. Every inch of wall and ceiling is brightly painted with images of clouds, beings, mandalas, or decorative patterns. Colorful silk banners, three stories high, hang in various places. Color, pattern, and images crowd in around you. The central image inside the building is a 30-foot high gilded image of Maitreya Buddha. Then stroll around the back alleys of the Barkhor area of Old Lhasa. The streets smelled of yak butter and incense while hordes of pilgrims shuffled along the main Kora (circumambulations) around Jokhang Temple. If someone just walked at a normal pace, one kora would take about 15-20 minutes.
Day 5: Drepung and Sera Monastery
In the morning have a tour for Drepung Monastery, the ever largest monastery with more than 10 thousand monks, Buddhist debates often occur there. Seen from afar, its grand, white construction gives the monastery the appearance of a heap of rice. As such, it was given its name which, in the Tibetan language, means Monastery of Collecting-Rice. Learn about the lives of Tibetan monks there.
The afternoon is spent touring Sera Monastery, have a little hike for the beautiful valley scenery nearby and picnic there, in the afternoon, visit Sera monastery, which was created in 1419 and has always been an important Buddhist seminary. As rose are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called “the court of wild rose”. Today still 200 lamas live in there. Catch the famous debate session of the monks before returning back to Lhasa.
Day 6: Lhasa-Gyantse-Shigatse
After fully explore Lhasa, you'll have a chance to get lost in the endless Tibetan landscape while you take a short hike along the turquoise waters of Lake Yamdrok, one of the four holy lakes in Tibet. This dazzling lake is normally first seen from the summit of the Kamba-la (4700m). The lake lies several hundred metres below the road, and it is shaped like a coiling scorpion. Far in the distance is the huge massif of Mt. Nojin Kangstsang (7191m).
Afterwards pass by the 5,010 m high Karo-la Glaciers and the Simi La forward to Gyantse (3,950m). Visit Pelkor Monastery as well as the splendid Kumbum Stupa (100-Thousand-Buddha Pagoda) nearby, both of them built in the15th century and situated in the northwestern edge of Gyantse. In the afternoon drive about 90 kilometers to Shigatse (3880m), the second largest city with 40,000 inhabitants in Tibet and the traditional capital of the Tsang.
Upon arrival, you’ll have an opportunity to explore the Tashilumpo Monastery, the holy seat of the Panchen Lama, which is essentially a walled town with cobbled and twisting lanes that revolve around a magnificent monastery.
Day 7: Drive to Lake Namtso from Shigatse
Drive forward to Lake Namtso this morning. Pass by Damxung town and the 5,150-meter Lhachen La and reach the Nam Tso or Tengri Nor (heaven lake in Mongolian) along the newly paved way and set up camp at Tashi Dorie peninsula. In clear weather the water is a miraculous shade of turquoise and there are magnificent views of the nearby mountains.
When arrival, enjoying the glory of sunset over the lake. By the lake, you can view the peak of Nyianchentangula (7162m). It is said the holy lake and the holy mountain are a couple of lovers, who altogether guard the vast pasture and cattle. The wide open spaces, dotted with the tents of local nomads are intoxicating. If lucky enough, there is the opportunity to get a peek at the otherwise inaccessible nomadic life at the Changtang, Tibet’s vast northern plateau. You may get the opportunity to stop at the brown or black spider-like tents of nomads.
Day 8: Drive back to Lhasa
Enjoy the clear morning by the lake, and snap the amazing view of sunrise. You can also have a little hike along the lake shore to Tashi Dor Island to explore the meditation caves. In the afternoon, drive back to Lhasa, have a comfort stop in Yangpacheng for the fabulous views of the grassland and its famous hot spring.
Day 9: Finish this unforgettable tour
Our guide will transfer you to the airport or train station and help you get on board.
1.Tibet Entry Permit
2. Comfortable, clean and safe vehicle depending on your group size with reliable local driver;
3. Admission fees of tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
4. Professional English speaking tour guide;
5. Accommodations depend on your preference. Please tell us your preferred accommodation class when submitting the enquiry, and we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.
6.All measl listed in the itinerary;
7.Tourist Accident/Casualty Insurance
What’s not included?
1. International flight to and out of China;
2. Chinese Visa
3. Domestic flight / train not listed in the itinerary (If you need ticket booking service, please leave your requirements in the Online Inruiry form.)
4.Meals not specified in the itinerary;
5.Tips to driver and tour guide, Tip as you wish
6.Personal expenses, such as laundry, phone call, optional tour activities and so on.
1. Tibet Travel Permit
Tibet Travel Permit is a must for Tibet tour. Its cost is included in the tour quotation. Send your passport and China visa copies to us 20 days in advance, and we will apply for the permit after you book a Tibetan tour with us. Shortly after we get your permit from Tibet Tourism Bureau, we will inform you and mail it to your hotel in China via express.
In some extreme cases, our staff will hand it over to you at the airport or railway station. In our experience, we can virtually guarantee to get your permit during times when Tibet is open to foreign travelers.
Tibet is never known for its 5-star luxury resorts, though you can find some like Intercontinental Lhasa Paradise, St.Regis Lhasa Resort, Sheraton hotel, etc in Lhasa. Overall, the accommodation facilities and services are not as good as those in coastal and central parts of China. However, from cheap and clean youth hotel, to distinct Tibetan style 3-star and international 5-star luxury hotel, you will find one that suits your interest and pocket in Lhasa.
We’ve handpicked cozy and safe hotels in the central area of Lhasa, where you will find Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street are just steps away from you. You can easily experience more of the local life and culture. Normally, as you travel to remote areas in some parts of Shigatse like Tingri, or EBC, Ngari, Nagqu, etc. the accommodation would be much poorer. Some may have air-conditioning in the hotel;others may only have electric blanket in the guesthouses. And the food is also very basic.
3.Guiding and Tipping
Our English-speaking guides are natives of Tibet with good knowledge of Tibetan culture, history, and Buddhism. Most are trained to offer Western-standard service. Throughout your stay in Tibet, we will minor your health and provide prompt help to you. If you run into any trouble, please do not hesitate to reach them or our customer service manager.
Travelers’s tipping to Tibetan guide and driver is taken as an extra gratitude to their good service, just like what you do in the west. Normally, a tipping of 7 USD/day is acceptable. The basic rule is good service for good pay.
Admittedly, to many western tourists, using toilets in Tibet is the most dreadful experience. So, please down play your expectation. If you take Tibet train to Lhasa, both western toilet and squat toilet are available in the train. If you stay in hotel above 3-star hotels in Lhasa, Shigatse, etc. you will have no complaining using standard western flash toilet.
However, if you visit some of the attractions like Yamdrok or Namtso, EBC outdoor, mostly you will see the smelly and filthy pit toilet.It's better to carry enough toilet paper.
5. Tibet Weather
One of the biggest features of weather on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the dramatic temperature change between day and night. The annual temperature in Lhasa is -2℃-- 12℃(spring), 9℃-- 22℃(summer), 7℃-- 19℃(fall), -7℃-- 9℃(winter). Do wear clothes properly such as thermal tops, fleece jacket, breathable underwear, down jacket, jeans, beanie, etc.
Of course, sun screen, lip balm, sun glasses are essential to shield you from powerful blinding sunlight on the plateau. Do drink more water and eat more vegetable as you travel in Tibet. It can prevent you from dehydration.
6. Acclimatization to the High Altitude
For the first timer to Tibet, either by flight or train, a good rest is a must for quick acclimation to the high altitude in Lhasa. Never rush to tour the street or attractions on your own. Walk slower and do not exert yourself like running or jumping. Spending at least two days in Lhasa is a good way to get acclimatized before heading to Shigatse or Namtso. If you have any discomfort, do tell it to your guide,and he will help you out.
7. Other Dos and Don'ts
Normally, taking photos is forbidden in the monastery. If you want to take photos of Tibetan pilgrims, a gentle ask of permission would be appreciated or you can do it from a long distance. Swimming and fishing are not allowed in holy lakes in Tibet; Do not talk about sensitive topics like politics; International tourists are not allowed to travel alone in Tibet according to the policy; Walk clockwise around Barkhor Street; Never venture into the unknown trails; do as much as you can to protect the fragile eco-system in Tibet, etc.
As Tibetan Buddhism is deeply-rooted in every facet of Tibetans' life, always follow and respect the unique customs in Tibet. If you are uncertain about something, it’s advisable to ask your guide before you do it at will.