Land of snows…
Tibet is cautiously opening up to the western world offering travel seekers a fulfilling authentic experience, which can be adventurous and unpredictable due to the lack of infrastructure which is poor to non-existent, making a simple road trip a complete adventure. (At least we think so).
After centuries of virtual isolation local monasteries are striving to find a place in a country that’s crashing into the twentieth century. Tibet is the perfect destination to try exotic foods while embarking on a spiritual journey, leaving you feeling internally rejuvenated whilst stepping back in time. For the culture lover’s witness displays of people so optimistic yet so proud of their religion and beliefs, remaining much the same as they did one hundred years ago.
The majority of this land rests above 4000 meters (13,000 feet), housing many secrets which presents the perfect opportunity to explore the highest Himalayas in the world giving you ultimate thrill of climbing, trekking and other challenging adventurous activities.
Day 01: Fly Kathmandu to Lhasa (3650 m)
After breakfast, transfer to the International airport for the 1 ¼ hour flight to Lhasa by China Southwest Airlines (ETD 10:00 Hrs). Upon arrival at Gonggor airport met by representatives and drive 90 kilometers (2 hours Drive) to Lhasa. Upon arrival at hotel the guest will be welcomed with a drink and later assigned to the room.
The rest of the day is free for acclimatization.
NOTE: Tibet follows Beijing time and is 2 hours ahead of Nepal Time and 8 hours ahead of GMT . Watches should be collaborated accordingly.
Lhasa – The City of Sunshine at 3,650 meters is the capitol city of Tibet and means holy land in Tibetan. It is situated on the northern bank of Lhasa River, a tributary of Yarlung Zangbo River. It is famous for its living history. Lhasa is also famous as a city of Sunshine for its sunshine of more than 3,000 hours a year. It’s the capital city of Tibet and its political, economic and cultural center of the region. It boasts many historical sites and scenic spots both in its urban areas and outskirts such as Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, Norbulingkha, Tibet Museum, Ganden Monastery, Tibetan Medicine institute, Tsrupu Monastery, Drigung Monastery, Reting Monastery, etc.
Overnight at Hotel
Day 02: Sightseeing Tour of Lhasa (3650 m)
After breakfast meet the representative and proceed for the sightseeing tour of Potala palace. Potala Palace – this architectural wonder, a spectacular edifice whose gold roofs soar high above the town and rises more than 300 meters above the valley floor can be seen from all directions for miles around. The present Potala was built mainly in the Fifth Dalai Lama’s reign between1645-1693 and remained the centre of political and religious power for the Dalai Lamas. With over 1000 rooms, it contained the living quarters of the Dalai Lamas while they lived, and their magnificent golden tombs when they died. Regents, tutors and other high lamas had apartments in the palace too. The Potala held the offices of government, a huge printing house and a seminary run by the elite order of monks who surrounded the God-King to train government officials. Hundreds of elaborately decorated chapels and shrines, halls and corridors contain thousands of gilded statues – Tibet’s pantheon of Buddhas, Boddisattvas, saints and demons.
Today the Potala is a statue museum with 35 caretaker monks, but too many thousands of Tibetan pilgrims, it remains a beloved shrine.
PM: Lunch, after lunch proceeds for the sightseeing tour of Jokhang Temple.
Jokhang Temple : Situated in the heart of old Lhasa, it houses Tibet’s most precious religious relic, a golden Shankyamuni Buddha which was brought as a gift by the Chinese Princess Wen Cheng on the occasion of her wedding to the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gompo. JOKHANG is the spiritual centre of Tibet, its mostly holy place, the destination, over time, of millions of Tibetan pilgrims. Its oldest part dates back from the 7th century A.D. Legend says that Songtsen Gampo, who built the temple, threw his ring into the air, promising to build a temple where it landed. The ring fell into a lake and struck a rock where a white stupa miraculously appeared – an auspicious sign.
Surrounding the Jokhang Temple is the bustling Barkhor market place which is the religious and social focus of Lhasa. This, the spiritual centre of Tibet, is also the heart of Lhasa. After visiting Jokhang Temple proceed for the sightseeing tour of Ramoche Temple.
Ramoche Temple is a Buddhist monastery widely considered to be the second most important in Lhasa after the Jokhang Temple. Situated in the northwest of the city, it covers a total area of 4,000 square meters (almost one acre). This temple is one of the key cultural relic protection sites of the Tibet Autonomous Region as well as a popular attraction in Lhasa. The original building complex reveals a strong Tang architecture influence as it was first built by Han Chinese architects in the middle of the 7th century (during the Tang Dynasty). Han Princess Wencheng took charge of this project and ordered the temple to be erected facing towards her home in the east to show her homesickness.
EVE: After sightseeing tour of Ramoche Temple board the waiting vehicle and drive towards the hotel. Rest of the evening is free to relax.
Overnight at Hotel
Day 03: Sightseeing Tour of Ganden Monastery & Sera Monastery
After breakfast met by the riding crew and drive towards Ganden Monastery – Located 45 km east of Lhasa along the road that follows the south bank of the Kyi Chu River, Ganden Monastery denotes the Paradise of Tushita and the abode of Jampa, The Future Buddha. Ganden is the foremost Monastery of the Gelugpa Sects. It is also the most divested. Of all the Great Six Monasteries (Ganden, Sera, Drepung, Tashilumpo, Labrang and Kumbum) of the Yellow Hat sect, none suffered as disastrously as Ganden. The ruins here, a result of the Cultural Revolution when artillery and vast quantities of dynamite were deployed, are the most extensive in Tibet. Over the last decade, hurculean efforts have gone into the rebuilding. Before the holocaust, over 2000 monks lived here. Now there are 300.
The monastery, one of Gelugpa’s Great six was is built on a ridge called GokpoRi, the site where TsongKhapa first meditated inorder to choose a place for the main monastery of the sect. Ganden’s foundation was laid in 1409.
Later return to the hotel in Lhasa.
PM: Visit Sera Monastery: 5 kms (3 miles) north of Lhasa. Sera setting are one of Lhasa’s prettiest. Once a community of more than 5,000 monks, it was a virtually extinguished by the Chinese. The restored monastery sits below the brow of hill on which Tsongkhapa built a hermitage and spent several years meditating. One of the monk’s disciples began building Sera in 1419, completing it a few years later.
After the sightseeing tour return to the hotel.
Rest of the day is free to relax or explore around the city.
Dinner and overnight at Hotel
Day 04: Drive Lhasa to Gyantse (3950m) 264 km
Set out from Lhasa for about 26 kilometers to Chusul and then climb steeply to the Kamba La (pass) at 4790 m with views of the turquoise blue waters of the manmade lake caused by the dam for the hydro project below and the Himalayan peaks in the far distance. Here, there are nomads who will bring Yaks and Tibetan Mastiffs for photo opportunity.
Later, descend to the Lake and drive along the picturesque trail of the colorful Lake Yamdrok, the Tibetan lifeline river Brahma Putra (Yarlung Tsangpo). Yamdrok Tso or Turquoise Lake: A lake of a glaring blue that radiates a near mystical charm. It is about 240 kms in circumference and is more like an Island sea. There are Yak herders around and the lake itself supports a population of scale less fish in its non-saline waters.
From here ascend to the Karo La (5010 m) once again meet Yak Herders who offer photo opportunities to dress in traditional costumes and drive their Yaks for a nominal fee.
Continue drive towards Gyantse by following another manmade lake and ascending to Simi La at 4300 m and then finally descending to the town of Gyantse.
Gyantse still retains the charm of a traditional Tibetan town untouched by modern expansion. It made world headlines in 1904 when Colonel Young husband, who led British Expedition to Tibet, defeated the Tibetan army there. As a crossroad on the principle trade route to India, it used to be renowned for the excellence of its carpets. The compound, encircled by an impressive wall, once contained 19 monasteries, presided over by the still intact fortress perched atop a nearby mountain. Here one visits the Kumbum Stupa and Pelkhor Chode Monastery.
Upon arrival check in to the hotel.
Late PM: Sightseeing tour of Gyantse Kumbum Monastery.
Gyantse Kumbum: Commissioned by one of the early Gyantse princes in 1440 A.D., the Gyantse Kumbum is rated by many as Gyantse’s foremost attraction. The chorten rises like a crown over four sets of eyes that gaze serenely out in the cardinal directions of the compass. There are excellent views of the Kumbum from the hills behind the monastery. A clockwise route spirals up through all six floors of the Kumbum taking in the chapels that line the walls of the chorten. There are two sets of four central chapels, which extend to the floor above from the 1st and 3rd floors, and each of these are surrounded by smaller chapels in diminishing order. The Gyantse Kumbum is a famous three dimensional 112 room Mandala Structure and the Palkhor Chode Monastery compound. Stroll through the traditional Tibetan village of Gyantse which is truly a photographers dream!
Also visit the Pelkhor Chode Monastery. Located near the Kumbum, it was founded in the 15th century. It has been remarkably well preserved and many of the statues and paintings inside it date back to the time of its founding.
After the sightseeing tour return to the hotel.
Rest of the day is free to relax or explore around the town.
Overnight at the Hotel
Day 05: Drive to Lhasa via Shigatse
After breakfast, drive to Shigatse (90 kms). Shigatse – A Granary of Tibetis the famous cultural city with a history of more than 500 years. It is 90 kilometers from Gyantse and 3,800m above sea level. It has been a place in which Panchen lamas of various historical stages were authenticated. Later it has become a political and religious center in rear Tibet. To its south stands the world known Qomolangma Peak. Around the city there are the Sakya, Palkor and Shalu monasteries.
Upon arrival, proceed for the sightseeing tour of the Panchen Lama’s Tashilhumpo Monastery founded in 1447 AD by GendunDrup, the first Dalai Lama. It is the seat of the Panchen Lama who is second to the Dalai Lama in Tibetan Buddhist Hierarchy. The 5th Dalai Lama in declared that his teacher, then the Abbot of Tashilhunpo, who a manifestation of the Buddha Amitabha and the Panchen Rinpochhe. Tashilhumpo has one of the world’s largest status – a 9 storeyed gilded bronze statue of Maitriya, the future Buddha.
After the sightseeing tour of Tashilhumpo Monasteryboard the vehicle and drive back to Lhasa. The trail today on tarred road is a pleasant and enjoyable one. The drive takes about 6 – 7 hours. We follow the YarlungTsangpo River and scenery of irrigation fields, yak hair skin boats are a typical scene of Tibet.
Upon arrival at Lhasa check in to the Hotel.
Overnight at the Hotel
Day 06: Fly Lhasa to Kathmandu
After breakfast transfer to the airport for the flight towards Kathmandu.
Upon arrival in Kathmandu airport met by the representative and transfer to the Hotel.
***END OF ARRANGEMENTS***