Highlights of Central Tibet
THE TOUR AT THE GLANCE
A cultural circuit of central Tibet that commences in Lhasa-the heart and soul of Tibet, exploring the major Buddhist monasteries and palaces of Dalai Lama. And traverses through the two other major towns-Gyantse and Shigatse and will conclude in Tsedang-the gateway to the ancient Yarlung Kingdom.
Central Tibet Tour leads you to the most fascinating land in central Tibet, Arrive Lhasa. The trip exhibits the best tour experiences insight into the life and culture of the friendly Tibetan people and get the wonderful opportunity to experience all these cultural and natural delights by joining central Tibet. On this trip, we visit the major Buddhist monasteries, temples, and palaces rich in history, culture, and architecture. We travel on the high roads of Tibet, crossing some of the highest motorable passes of the world! We enjoy the serene nature, views of the vast Tibetan plateau, and the Himalayan mountain in the backdrop. The road trip from Lhasa to Gyantse follows the shores of holy Yamdrok Tso Lake for more than 40 miles, and this is the most scenic part of this journey.We share the pilgrimage path with the monks and devout Tibetans and rub shoulders with the locals in the traditional markets.
The trip is cultural sightseeing with some light walks. There is no severe hiking or any other extreme adventures involved in this trip. As Tibet is in high altitude, anyone who arrives in Lhasa will experience the symptoms of altitude sickness for the first few days, which is common. Symptoms should go away in a few days.
EXPERIENCES AND VISITS IN THIS TOUR JOURNEY
- Potala Palace, Norbulingkha Palace, Jorkhang Temple, Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery, Barkhor Street in Lhasa.
- Spectacular drive across Kambala and Karola passes and along the shores of Yamdrok Tso Lake.
- Gyantse Kumbum and Pelkore Chode Monastery.
- Shalu Monastery and Tashilunbo Monastery in Shigatse.
- Tradruk Temple, Yambulakhang Palace, and ancient Samye Monastery.
- An opportunity to visit local schools and orphanages.
- Meet the local Tibetan families.
- Experience cultural and natural delights
- Explore ancient Tibetan monasteries
- Explore wonderful Tibetan Landscape
- Ancient monasteries of Yarlung Tsangpo valley including Samye monastery.
- Inspiring landscapes, super mountain views, rich Buddhist history and culture.
- Comfortable transportation/hotels with Tibetan character wherever possible
VIEW FULL ITINERARY
Arrive in Gonggar Airport of Lhasa. Upon arrival at Lhasa airport, meet your Tibetan Guide and driver and transfer to your hotel in the city.
You need to first arrive in Beijing or Chengdu on your own, at least a day before your flight to Lhasa. We will ship your Tibet entry permit to your hotel.
The balance of the day is for rest for acclimatization. You may experience mild symptoms of altitude sickness like headache, lightheadedness, disorientation, breathlessness, etc. But it should go away in a day or two. Please, take rest, drink plenty of water and consume liquid food in meals.
Optional: Tonight, you may want to attend the Tibetan Opera, and folklore shows that help you understand Tibetan culture and traditions!
Today, you will visit the significant historical and cultural attractions of Lhasa, which includes the Drepung Monastery, Norbulingkha Palaces, and Jorkhang Temple. And later, conclude the day with a relaxed stroll in the Barkhor Street.
Drepung Monastery, situated to the west of Lhasa city, was the largest and most prosperous of the three principal Yellow Hat Sect monasteries in Lhasa. Once the most powerful of the “Gelukpa” monasteries, Drepung had seven colleges and, at its height, housed over 10,000 monks. It owns many splendid murals, elaborate statues, and other precious treasures.
The next stop will be at Norbulinka Palaces- the summer residences of the Dalai Lamas. The Norbulinka has three palaces, situated in a beautiful garden. Most visited is the private residence of the current Dalai Lama that includes his private chamber, meditation room, the reception room, and the throne room.
We will have a lunch break in the Barkhor area (Pay on your own), and after that, we visit Jokhang Temple- situated at the center of old Lhasa. Originally, built-in 647 AD, the temple site was believed to have been chosen personally by the wife of King Songtsan Gampo, the Tang Princess Wen Cheng. The temple is the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest destination for all Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims.
Now, we will go for a relaxed stroll in the Barkhor street that encircles the Jokhang Temple. Barkhor means “a pilgrim’s inner circuit,” and it's believed to be the earliest street of old Lhasa city. It dates back to the foundation of the Jokhang and is an essential pilgrim route. Houses and small inns were built all around the street. As time went on, shops and businesses sprung up in the Barkhor, and it slowly became a prosperous area.
Today, you will visit two exciting destinations; visit the magnificent Potala Palace in the morning and the Sera Monastery in the afternoon.
The world-famous Potala Palace of the Dalai Lama is located on "Red Hill," to the west of old Lhasa. Architecturally, it is considered to be one of the wonders of the world, and thousands of domestic and foreign tourists visit the palace every day.
From here, we will head to Sera Monastery- the last of the three principal Yellow Sect monasteries to be built in Lhasa. Sera means” Hailstone” in Tibet, and legend tells that it hailed during the foundation of this famous monastery. Sera comprise a great sutra chanting hall, a college, and 32 sections. It once housed nearly 10,000 monks and is proud of its glorious history during the Ming Dynasty. Here, we take a chance to attend the debating ceremony of monks in which the monks discuss their knowledge of Buddhism. It is an ancient method of learning and sharpening their understanding of Buddhism and quite amusing to onlookers as well.
You should have been well acclimated and ready to hit the high roads of Tibet.
Today, travel by road to Gyantse town in central Tibet. While Chinese influences are rapidly engulfing many Tibetan towns, Gyantse still preserves its Tibetan characters.
The journey involves the crossing of two high passes Kamba La (15,700 ft.) and Karo La (16,500 ft.) and then follows the shores of Yamdrok Tso Lake for more than 40 miles. Yamdrok Tso Lake is one of the four holiest lakes of Tibet and has turquoise green water. As we leave the lakeshore behind, the road climbs to Karo La (16,500ft), once again opportunities of breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks and vast Tibetan plateau. We should arrive in Gyantse town in mid-afternoon. We check in the hotel, and after wash and change, we set out to visit the attractions of the city.
Gyantse's major attractions are the Gyantse Kumbum- a magnificent tiered structure that has only one ruined and remote contemporary (at Jonang, 60km north-east of Lhatse ) in the Buddhist world- and the Pelkor Chode Monastery. Kumbum and Pelkor Chode monastery share the same compound which ones contained 15 Monasteries of different faiths.
Depending on available time and your interest, we may take a hike to the historic Gyantse Dzong. There is, of course, history in place, but what attracts most is fascinating views of Pelkhor Chode, the ancient alleyways, and the jagged surrounding peaks. We descend and visit the Tibetan dwellings, and take a peek into their lifestyle.
Today, travel by road to Shigatse. About 20 Kms before Shigatse, we take Shalu Monastery to turn off. Shalu Monastery lies approximately 12 Kms from the main highway. Jetsun Sherab Jungne built this monastery in the year 1000. The architecture of the monastery features completely Chinese Yuan Dynasty's temple, which is a rare and unique work of art, a mixed feature of Tibetan and Han. The monastery enshrines various relics such as religious objects, Buddhist scriptures written on "pattra" leaves, and an essential decree of Pagpa, the Sakya abbot.
Upon arrival in Shigatse, check-in hotel, and after refreshment, we visit the famous Tashilunbo Monastery-the principal seat of Panchen Lama-the second most venerated religious leader of Tibet. The monastery is the landmark of Shigatse and associated with the Gelugpa order and is one of the six great Gelugpa institutions along with Sera, Drepung, Ganden, Kumbum, and Labrang. We also take a chance to visit the vibrant 'free' market of Shigatse, where we can get excellent bargains on local handicrafts embedded with coral and turquoise. There are also Tibetan Daggers, Chinese pottery, and yak butter, and local produce.
Today, early start your long drive to Tsedang. We take the southern friendship highway that runs along the Yarlung Tsambo River.
We bypass Gonggar Airport and arrive in Tsedang late afternoon. Check-in hotel and balance of the day is for rest.
Day dedicated to visits of Tsedang.Visit Tradruk Temple, Ruins of Yambulakhang Palace, and the ancient Samye Monastery.
Tradruk Temple, one of the earliest temples of Tibet, lies about 5 miles from main Tsedang. The temple is contemporary to Ramoche and Jorkhang Temple of Lhasa. It's one of the major attractions of Tsedang. From here, we continue to Yambulakhang Palace-the oldest building of Tibet. It is situated atop a steep ridge overlooking the patchwork fields of Yarlung Valley and makes an impressive sight with a lovely setting.
The afternoon is for the excursion of ancient Samye Monastery-the first Buddhist monastery of Tibet. Samye monastery is hugely popular among the Buddhist pilgrims from around the world. Built-in the shape of the universe as described in Buddhist scriptures, the monastery expands in a vast area of more than 25,000 sq m. The monastery features Tibetan, Chinese, and Indian style architecture and is among the most famous monastery for Tibetans.
Late afternoon, we drive back to our hotel in Tsedang.
Early morning breakfast, you will transfer to the Lhasa Gongaar airport in time for the flight to your next destination. You have the option to fly to Kathmandu (Nepal) or any other Chinese cities. It is possible for flights to Hongkong or Bangkok to connect from Chengdu.
WHAT YOU WILL RECEIVE IN YOUR TOUR COST
- Accommodation for (total 07 nights) sharing double / twin room as per program
- Meals: on Full board basis.(Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner)
- Transfers, sightseeing/excursions as per the program by air-conditioned vehicle.
- English speaking local Tibetan Guide as per program.
- Monument entrance fees as per the itinerary.
- Tibet Travel Permit.
- Visit Bamboo School in Kathmandu
- Company representative for assistance on all arrival and departure transfers.
- All presently applicable taxes including all Government taxes.
- Two bottles of mineral water each day during sightseeing.
TOUR COST WILL NOT INCLUDE FOLLOWING EXPENSES
- International / Domestic Airfare
- Any new admission fees / taxes / fuel surcharges/ Chinese Visa
- Meals not mentioned
- Travel and medical insurance.
- All personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, trip cancellation and personal insurance, gratuities, excess baggage fees
- Early check-in/late check-out (except as noted)
- Camera/video fees at monuments
- Evacuation charges, damage of any nature.
- Communication costs
- Any additional expenses due to unforeseen problems like natural disaster, war or strikes, cancellation or misconnection of flights or last-minute change of timings etc.
- Any other service, which has not been specified as "included".
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