If you are going to visit Tibet in winter and wish to see something different, then this 4-day birdwatching tour will be you perfect chance. Mainly travelling in and around the winter-warm city of Lhasa, you will visit its iconic landmarks, like Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple, as you enjoy birdwatching in nearby amazing sites. The famous Zongjiao Lukang Park, Lhasa River and Shugsheb Nunnery are all popular attractions where you can enjoy a pleasant birdwatching experience with different sights in each place. Wonderful trip worthy your try!
- Enjoy birdwatching in popular sites around Lhasa and discover the unique birds on Tibetan Plateau.
- Go down into the bowels of the Potala, the impressive but spiritless citadel of the Dalai Lamas.
- Join the shuffling, murmuring pilgrims around the shrines of the Jokhang, the spiritual heart of Tibet.
Day 1: Arrive in Lhasa, Get the first impression of Tibet
Welcome to Tibet! Upon arrival, be greeted by our local guide at airport or train station and be presented with traditional Tibetan White Scarf to wish you good luck!
After group photo at airport, you will board on the coach and transfer to your hotel. You will enjoy the spectacular scenery and the typical Tibetan villages on the way.
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.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 2: Lhasa Tour: Potala Palace, Zongjiao Lukang Park, Norbulingka Palace
Start the morning from 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 was put into use since the 7th Century by the 33rd great king of Tibet. The most valuable collections of Potala Palace are the gilded burial stupas of former Dalai Lamas and meditation Cave of the 33rd great king of Tibet.
Then it is on to the Zongjiao Lukang Park for the first bird watching session of the trip. It’s also a favorite place for locals to get their daily exercise, the park becomes the home of thousands of black-headed gulls and plenty of Ruddy Shelducks, Bar Headed Geese, etc. from November to around the middle of March every year, and the scene of the gulls hunting for food or just lazing on the waters of the small lakes with the Potala behind is an amazing shot.
After that, you will head to Norbulingka, where you can have your photo taken in traditional Tibetan clothes. Local photographers with a wide range of Tibetan outfits can take your picture in front of the palace or in the park, with the Potala Palace in the background as a momentous souvenir of your trip. You may also take a leisurely stroll and find lively birds in the woods inside the Norbulingka.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 3: Lhasa Tour: Jokhang Temple and Birding at Lhünzhub County, Lhasa River and Shugsheb Nunnery
After breakfast, we will enjoy the kora around Jokhang Temple. It is the center of the Tibetan Buddhism and the sacred land of Buddhist followers, where innumerable pilgrims come for worship every day. Inside, you can see the statue of Buddha Sakyamuni at the age of twelve, which is the most venerated object in Tibetan Buddhism.
Then, we will head out of the city to Lhünzhub County, to the northeast of the city on the banks of the Lhasa River. The river is a great place to witness and study migratory black-necked cranes, a rare and endangered species of crane that winters on the marshes and rivers of the area. You can also enjoy the Lhasa valley scenery and take photos of the birds nearby while driving along the River.
After that, we will head to Shugsheb Nunnery, which is another great place for birdwatching. It is also the largest nunnery in Tibet. A 45-minute hike from the road up to the nunnery, with its cave and shrine, this unique nunnery has amazing views down over the valley and is home to a huge number of indigenous birds, such as beautiful Tibetan Eared Pheasants, Tibetan snow cocks and pink Himalayan Rosefinches, etc.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 4: Finish This Unforgettable Tour and Depart from Lhasa
Our guide will transfer you to the airport or train station and help you get on board.
1. Free shuttle between airport/train station and Lhasa City (3 times a day)
2. Excellent local Tibetan English-speaking tour guide
3. AC tourist vehicle all through the trip in Tibet
4. All permits application service, and delivery the permit to your hotel in China before getting into Tibet
5. Drinking water provided daily
6. Welcome dinner at local Tibetan restaurant
7. Admission fee of all tourist attractions listed in Itinerary, including Potala Palace ticket booking service
8. Tibet tourist map & eco-friendly drinking bottle
9. Special dedicated authentic local custom experience: visit local teahouse, stone caving market. etc
10. Charge of handing all services in your tour, government tax
1. International flight to and out of China
2. Domestic flight / train to and out of Lhasa (If you need ticket booking service, please leave your requirements in the Online Inquiry form.)
3. Meals (Tour guide will organize the dinning for you but please pay on site for around 3-5 USD per meal.)
4. Accommodation in Lhasa (You are high recommended to book your favorite hotel in Lhasa online, or choose our hotel package from only 8 USD a night)
5. Tips and gratitude to the guide and driver. If you are satisfied with their service, you may consider tipping them at an amount you find it suitable
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.