This tour during Gyantse Horse Racing Festival offers you a great opportunity to mingle with a Tibetan crowd picnicking and partying in their finest garb with fun and games include yak races, archery competitions, equestrian events and musical performances. A large 480-year old Thangka is unfurled at sunrise as well.
- Go down into the bowels of the Potala, the impressive but spritless citadel of the Dalai Lamas.
- Join the shuffling, murmuring pilgrims around the shrines of the Jokhang, the spiritual heart of Tibet.
- Follow monks, mendicants and fellow pilgrims around the Barkhor, Lhasa’s fascinating medieval pilgrim circuit.
- Take in a prayer meeting or some monk debating at Sera and Drepung, two of the largest and most intact of Tibet’s great monasteries.
- Marvel at the turquoise waters of Yamdrok-tso, one of Tibet’s most sacred lakes.
- A close touch with Tibetan traditional arts and their daily life. Join into them, become one among them, enjoy this new life style thoroughly.
- A short hiking to Gyantse Dzong, shot the sunset there and enjoy the amazing view of Gyantse ancient town.
- Attend to Gyantse Horse Racing Festival, get a great opportunity to mingle with a Tibetan crowd picnicking and partying in their finest garb with fun and games
Day 1: Arrive in Lhasa, get the first impression of Tibetan daily life
Arrive in Lhasa today, upon arrival, be greeted by local guide at airport/train station and be presented with traditional Tibetan White Scarf to wish you good luck! After group photo at airport, transfer back to hotel, you will enjoy the spectacular scenery and the typical Tibetan villages on the way. Your first afternoon, take it easy to acclimate.
After checking into the hotel, have a visit to the Barkhor, the central square in Old Lhasa. The Barkhor surrounds the Jokhang which for Tibetans is their most sacred temple. At all hours, but especially in the morning and evening, pilgrims are doing kora (circumambulations) around the Jokhang. For the hundreds of people walking around the Jokhang, it is as much a religious as a social practice. It is a time to meet with neighbors and hear the latest news as well as to say prayers. If someone just walked at a normal pace, one kora would take about 15-20 minutes.
Day 2: Lhasa highlights escorted tour
After breakfast, we go to the Potala Palace, the pre 1959 residence and administrative home of the various Dalai Lamas. It is 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.
In the afternoon we go inside of the Jokhang. 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.
Day 3: Tibet Nunnery and Sera Monastery
After breakfast we walk to another section of Old Lhasa. Our destination was the Ramoche. Something about travel seems to heighten the senses. Smell is one of the most active senses when one travels. You will encounter a wide range of aromas in Tibet, the one that may be predominant in your memory is the scent of burning sage. All of the larger temples have one, sometimes two, fire pits with chimneys almost 20 feet high near the entrance.
Pilgrims go to each of the fire pits and throw handfuls of sage into the fire and some spoon in powdered incense. After Ramoche, head past Muslim tea stalls and butcher shops, along part of the Lingkhor pilgrim circuit to the yellow walls of the Ani Sangkhung Nunnery. This small, friendly and active nunnery is the only one within the precincts of the old Tibetan quarter. The site of the nunnery probably dates back to the 7th century, but is housed a monastery until at least the 15th century.
The busy nuns run a great teahouse in the courtyard. Then drive to 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 4: Lhasa-Gyantse
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 and the Simi La forward to Gyantse (3,950m). You will be invited to explore a Tibetan village on the road side, even into a local Tibetan home, where you can witness their traditional way of life, and chat with them over an unending glass of yak butter tea, where you will get a chance to experience how local Tibetans express their faith when you are brought to a local place of worship. The secret world of a Tibetan’s life untarnished by the media, will come into full perspective. Then continue your way to Gyantse, you can enjoy Ningjinkangsang Snow Mountain and Karola Glacier from a distance on the way as well.
Upon arrival in Gyantse, have a visit to 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. After dinner, a short hiking to Gyantse Dzong, shot the sunset there, it is worth the stiff climb to its upper limits. There is amazing views of Gyantse, the monastery compound at the end of town and the surrounding Nyang-chu Valley.
Day 5: Gyantse/Shigatse
Attend to Gyantse Horse Racing Festival. Hang out with locals in the festival, you will see various festival activities like horse racing, dancing shows, etc. Late 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. It is a good place to hang out, explore the nearby monasteries and enjoy a beer in the Tenzin Hotel while gazing across at the ruins of the Shigatse Dzong fort.
Day 6: Drive back to Lhasa
This morning 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. Then you'll take a slightly different route back to Lhasa along Yarlung Tsangpo River, be wrapped again in the endless vistas of the Tibetan plateau.
Day 7: finish this unforgettable tour
Free time at your disposal this morning, explore the bustling markets of the Barkhor to buy some souvenirs for your families and friends. After lunch, departure transfer to see off, tour services end and Tibet welcome you back forever.
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.