Start your trip from Kunming, a permanent spring-like city. Spending one day to tour Qiongzhu Temple and Stone Forest. Then, flying to Xining to visit serene Qinghai Lake, and taking a scenic train journey from Xining to Tibet. In Tibet, you will firstly visit the essence of Lhasa like Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, etc. Besides, you can trek to EBC to enjoy the stunning view of Mount Everest.
- Tour Qiongzhu Temple and Stone Forest in Kunming.
- Stroll along the Qinghai Lake and see beautiful scenery around.
- Get impressed by the brilliant Potala Palace, revered Jokhang Temple, and more important monasteries in holy Lhasa.
- Marvel at the turquoise waters of Yamdrok Lake, one of Tibet’s most sacred lakes.
- Climb the dazzling Gyantse Kumbum, a monumental chorten with mural-filled chapels.
- Worship before a 26m gold Buddha at Tashilhunpo Monastery, a walled complex the size of a village.
Day 1: Arrival in Kunming
Our guide will pick you up outside the arrival hall at Kunming Airport and transfer you to the hotel in downtown area. The remainder of the day is on your own to explore the city.
Stay overnight in Kunming.
Day 2: Kunming Sightseeing: Qiongzhu Temple, Stone Forest
Your tour will begin with a visit to the Qiongzhu Temple, which is located on wooded Yu'an Mountain and surrounded by verdant plants. The temple is famous for exhibiting five hundred painted arhat sculptures. Then, you will travel to the Stone Forest, a typical model of China's Karst landforms. Walking through the Stone Forest, you will be astonished by the extraordinary workmanship of nature. Stones in the figure of plants, animals and even humans can be found here, some elegant, some rugged.
Stay overnight in Kunming.
Day 3: Fly from Kunming to Xining
Take the morning flight from Kunming to Xining. When Arrive at Xining, tour guide will await you outside the arrival area and transfer you to hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to have a good rest or explore the city.
Stay overnight in Xining.
Day 4: Day tour to Qinghai Lake and Board the Overnight Train to Lhasa
In the morning, you will drive to Qinghai Lake. Qinghai Lake is the largest saltwater lake in China, and is a paradise for a huge variety of local and migrant birds. You can see a large area of clear water and reflections of distant snowcapped mountains. Every summer, Qinghai Lake is surrounded by Cole flowers in full bloom. The blue sky and golden yellow rapeseed fields constitute a beautiful landscape painting.
Then, board the train from Xining to Lhasa in the evening. The train departs from Xining Railway Station. Please arrive in train station at least 1 hour in advance.
Stay overnight in the train.
Day 5: Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Sightseeing by train, arrive in Lhasa
The train will move on Qinghai Tibet Plateau, and you will pass by Yuzhufeng, which is the main peak of Kunlun Mountain, World Natural Heritage Kekexili Naturel Preserve, Tuotuo River-the resource of Yangtze River, Naqu Grassland and Cuona Lake. Tour guide will meet you at railway station.
Stay Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 6: Lhasa Sightseeing - Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street
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 Street 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.
Stay Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 7: Lhasa Sightseeing - Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery
In the morning, you will 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.
In the afternoon, you are going to visit Sera Monastery, have a little hike for the beautiful valley scenery nearby and picnic there. Sera monastery 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. You may have the chance to watch the famous Monks Debate (usually from 15:00 to 17:00) before returning to Lhasa.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 8: Lhasa (3650m) to Shigatse (3900m)
In the morning, drive from Lhasa to Shigatse. On the way, drive over the Gampala pass (4790 m), and tourists will have a glimpse of Yamdrok-tso (4400m). The Lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains and in the distance, clients can have spectacular views of Holy Mount NyenchenKhangsar, (7191m) the highest mountain near Lhasa. Gyantse was historically Tibet's third largest city (after Lhasa and Shigatse). In Gyantse, tourists will visit the famous Pelkor Monastery and Gyantse Kumbum. After one and a half driving, we arrive in Shigatse, which is the second largest city in Tibet. In Shigatse, tourists will visit Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of Tibet's second highest incarnation, the Panchen Lama.
Stay overnight in Shigatse.
Day 9: Shigatse (3900m) to EBC (5200m)
Drive to Lhatse, it is a small town where tourists can have lunch. Then, head to Shegar and if the weather is clear enough then on the way down to Shegar tourists will view the Mount Everest in the distance. After 4 to 6 hours’ drive, tourists will arrive at Rongbuk monastery but on the way, they will pass one of the highest Passes in Tibet (pang la pass height 5050m) from that’s pass they will view the whole five highest peaks in the world.
Stay overnight in Rongbuk Tent Guest house or local Tibetan Tent.
Day 10: EBC (5200m) drive back to Shigatse (3900m)
Open your eyes, and wake up to the first sunlight shining over the pyramid-shaped summit of imposing Mount Everest. Grab your camera for an epic shot and stroll to the Rongbuk Monastery, exploring this world’s highest Buddhist compound. If you wish, you can do the meditation and experience the unparalleled tranquility and harmony there. Or you can interact with monks and nuns with the help of guide to learn more of their unique spiritual life.
The temperature can get bitterly cold in the early morning. Do wear enough cloths like your down jacket, scarf and mittens to protect the extreme coldness. Finally, jump into our tour vehicle and say farewell to the world’s highest peaks through the rearview mirror of the van. By following the zigzag roads on Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway, we head back to Shigatse.
Stay overnight in Shigatse.
Day 11: Shigatse (3900m) to Lhasa (3650m)
Today, we will drive back to Lhasa by following Yalong Valley. You can stand on the viewing platform and view the vast Yalong River bed. Finally, the guide will transfer you back to your hotels in Lhasa.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 12: Depart from Lhasa
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.