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Day 01 – Arrive Lhasa
Arrival in Lhasa at airport or train station, pick-up and transfer to hotel for acclimatization, or you can have your free time hanging out at this holy city to get the first impression of Tibet. Overnight at the Lhasa.
Day 02 – Lhasa
In the morning, visit the symbol or landmark of Lhasa-Potala Palace (3,700m above sea level), the successive Dalai Lama’s winter residence. Great photographic opportunities along the way up as you will have a great view of the traditional Tibetan architecture. Hear the story of the Dalai Lamas and see chapels that the Dalai Lamas studied, rested and worked in. Pass former Dalai Lamas’ graves which are decorated with treasure beautiful treasures.
Continue your tour to Jokhang Temple, which is within walking distance from Potala Palace. It is considered the spiritual center of Tibet. You will see many pilgrims worship within or nearby the temple. Enter the first floor of the temple and absorb the religious atmosphere, you will see pilgrims are donating butter oil to keep the lights burning for the Buddha. While learning about more Buddhas and Lamas than you can possibly remember you will gain a feeling for the vast history of Tibetan Buddhism. Both sites are under the list of the world cultural heritages by the UNISCO.
Finally, join locals in a traditional pilgrimage route by taking a relaxing walk in a large circular path around Jokhang Temple at Barkor Street. The street is filled with pilgrims taking part in religious activities and street venders selling a wide variety of traditional Tibetan goods and religious items. If you like you can also ask your tour guide take you to visit a Thangka workshop to marvel at the fabulous Thangka art work. There are cafes along the street as well. You can relax and enjoy the life in Lhasa in a lazy afternoon. Overnight at the Lhasa.
Day 03 – Lhasa
In the morning, we will visit the Norbulingka Park, the former summer palace of Dalai Lama. Explore the beautiful gardens and experience one of the most holy sites in Tibetan Buddhism while soaking up the rich history. Next, come to visit Drepung Monastery, which was once the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery housing 10,000 monks in its heyday. The monastery used to be the winter residence of the Dalai Lama before the 5th Dalai Lama moved his residency to the Potala Palace.
Afternoon, we will visit another influential Gelugpa Monastery-Sera Monastery, where the largest scale of scripture debating among monks is famous all across Tibet. We will watch the debate session and you may join in too with the help your guide. Overnight at the Lhasa.
Day 04 – Lhasa – Gyantse
Today after breakfast, drive about 02hours via Nyangchu Valley to visit Yamdrok Lake, one of three most famous holy lakes in Tibet. For Tibetans, it is one of the four holy lakes of Tibet and the home of the “wrathful deities”. The scenery of turquoise blue water in the lake with the reflection of surrounding snow-capped mountains is awesome. Later drive to Gyangtse, you will see the imposing Karola Glacier at 18,241 ft. above sea level, and with an area of 9.4 sq. kms, this imposing glacier is visible from hotel window.
Upon arrival, check in to the hotel and later visit the Palcho Monastery. The highlight is the Kubum Stupa has a 35m-high chorten with its white layers trimmed with decorative stripes and its crown-like golden dome. Later climb up to the Dzong Fortress on which the Tibetan army used to fight against the British army’s invasion during the early 20th century. From the top of the fortress, you can get a great panoramic views of Gyantse city. Overnight at the Gyantse.
Optional night activity: Watch the magnificent living show of Gyantse Impression which performs about the history and culture of ancient Gyantse.
Day 05 – Gyantse – Shigatse
After breakfast, you will going to visit a very special site where you can learn about the living condition and tradition of old Tibet – Pala Manor. Located in a Tibetan village about 4kms from Gyantse city, Pala Manor is the only aristocratic manor preserved well in Tibet, and used to be the private manor of Pala families since 17th century. The aristocratic and the serfs both lived in the manor but completely different life. The aristocratic didn’t need to work, lived in bright, large and luxury rooms, used costly furniture’s and imported luxuries. While the serts lived in dark crude room in yards, got paid little but did all the labour works. Fortunately, the house, relics in the rooms are still remain the same as they used to be.
Later drive to Shigase, which is about 02-03 hours. Upon arrival, check in to the hotel and later visit the most important monastery in Shigatse region – Tashilhunpo Monastery. It is the seat of successive Panchen Lamas, also one of the six Gelug monasteries. Founded by the First Dalai Lama in 1447, its means “all fortune and happiness gathered here” or “heap of glory” in Tibetan. Covering an area of nearly 150,000 square meters, the monastery has more than 57 halls and 3600 rooms. Among them, the Coqen Hall can hold 2000 people chanting at the same time. Featuring an interesting sprawling amalgam of traditional Tibetan monastic style those halls, chapels and other structures are connected by precipitous steps and narrow cobblestone alleys. The interplay between the golden roofs and the white, red and black exterior walls creates a striking composition. Overnight at the Shigatse.
Day 06 – Shigatse – Lhasa
Today after breakfast drive to Lhasa city (approx. 05hours) along the legendary Yaluzangbu River, the mother river of Tibet. En-route visit Nyemo Tunba which was the home of Tunmi Sangbuzha who invented the Tibetan character as well as the famous Tibetan Incense. Here, you also have chance to witness the process of making Tibetan Incense with water mill. At the same time, the scenery here is fabulous – ancient cypress trees, green willows and murmuring river.
Continue your drive to Lhasa. You will stop by at the place which is 20kms before Lhasa to take a short visit to the Nyethang Buddha which is conveniently located along the road. Built more than 700 years ago, the Nietang Buddha is the largest and highest stone Buddha in Tibet and was colorfully painted by deep colors of golden, red, blue and black. Not far from here is the Nyethang Monastery where the famous ancient Indian Buddhist master Atisha meditated and taught Buddhism.
In the evening, you’ll have a Tibetan-style farewell dinner in a typical Tibetan restaurant with traditional Tibetan songs and dances. Overnight at the Lhasa.
Day 07 – Depart Lhasa
Today after breakfast you will be transfer to airport or train station to connect your flight/train for onward destination.