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“The Most Popular Tour in Tibet” comprises the prime Tibet tourist attractions worth visiting at least once in a lifetime. Your trip will take you past glittering turquoise lakes Yamdrok-Tso, which is one of the 3 largest sacred lakes in Tibet, and Nam-Tso, which is the highest saltwater lake in the world. Besides Potala palace and Jokhang temple, you will visit other major highlights including Samye monastery, the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet, and Drepung monastery, the largest monastery in the world. You will get a chance to visit the first palace of Tibet, Yumbu Lhakhang, and the largest stupa in Tibet, Kumbum pagoda. You will also visit the ‘electricity town’ Yangbajing, a lush green valley lying at the heart of the world’s highest hot springs, and Chim Phu caves, one of the most sacred retreat sites in Tibet. During your trip, you will cross a few high passes, visit old streets and towns, enjoy scenic, breathtaking mountain vistas and drive on long winding roads.
Tibet is a place that will likely change the way you see the world and it will remain with you for years to come. All the places you visit during your 9-day trip have their own history and religious significances. This popular tour in Tibet offers you a complete tour and merges the country’s most famous landmarks and sacred sites into an ideal Tibet tour package.
|Day 01 Arrival in Lhasa and transfer to Tsedang||3,550m/11,648ft|
|Day 02 Tsedang to Lhasa via Samye monastery, visit Samye monastery and Chim Phu caves||3,650m/11,976ft|
|Day 03 Lhasa sightseeing: Potala Palace, Norbulingka Palace and Tibet Traditional Hospital||3,650m/11,976ft|
|Day 04 Lhasa sightseeing: Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Bazaar||3,650m/11,976ft|
|Day 05 Lhasa to Gyantse via Karo La Pass and Yamdrok Tso Lake||5,045m/16,553ft|
|Day 06 Gyantse Sightseeing: Palcheo monastery, Kumbum Pagoda Stupa and Gyantse old town, then drive to Shigatse and visit Tashi Lhunpo monastery||3,900m/12,796ft|
|Day 07 Shigatse to Namtso lake via Tagdruka-Xugula pass-Yangbajing||4,718m/15,480ft|
|Day 08 Explore Namtso Lake and walk around Tashi Dor hermitage; drive back to Lhasa||3,650m/11,976ft|
|Day 09 Final departure||-|
We arrive at Gonggar Airport in Lhasa either by taking a direct flight from Nepal or via mainland China. If we decide to fly from Nepal, then we get to enjoy a beautiful hour-long trans-Himalayan flight that takes us over Everest (8,848m), Kanchenjunga (8,536m) and other Himalayan peaks and glaciers. If we choose to go to Lhasa via mainland China, we may fly from any of the major Chinese cities or take the world’s highest train route to Lhasa. Upon our arrival in Lhasa, a representative from Himalayan Glacier will escort us either from the airport or the train station to our designated hotel in Tsedang. We are advised to take plenty of rest for the remainder of the day for proper acclimatization in order to minimize altitude sickness. Overnight in Tsedang.
After breakfast, we will begin our drive to Lhasa via Samye monastery. Located in the southern part of Lhasa on the north bank of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, Samye monastery is the first monastery of Tibet built in the 8th century by the 38th king of Tibet called Trison Detsen and Guru Rinpoche. A unique monastery amidst breathtaking scenery, Samye is a major highlight and one of the most notable and marvelous places to visit in Tibet. Next, we will drive to Chim Phu Nunnery which is the beginning of Chim Phu caves. From here, hiking to the main cave and back takes four hours. It is practically not possible to visit all the caves as they are not all in the same place; they are spread all over the upper valley. So, we will visit only a few caves and retreat back to the nunnery. Then, we will continue our drive to Lhasa. Overnight in Lhasa.
We begin exploring Lhasa visiting the beautiful Potala and Norbulingka Palaces, better known as Winter palace and Summer palace respectively. Built in the 17th century, Potala Palace provides amazing views of the entire city, and houses the private quarters of the Dalai Lama. Norbulingka Palace houses what is considered to be the largest man-made garden in Tibet. Next, we visit the Tibet Traditional Hospital, which is the center for the treatment, training, research and production of Tibetan medicine. Overnight in Lhasa.
After breakfast, we visit Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Bazaar. Drepung Monastery, which was built in the 14th century, is the world’s largest monastery and believed to have sheltered around 10,000 monks in the past, but as of now there has been quite a declination resulting in only a few hundred. The history, culture, and religious beliefs of the Tibetan people are strongly concentrated and centered in this marvelous monastery. Sera Monastery is a preserved monastery of whitewashed walls and golden roofs. The main attraction to visit this monastery is to see the monks debating which is held from 3-5 pm every day apart from Sundays. Jokhang Temple is another important sacred site which unravels more deep-seated mysteries of Tibetan Buddhism. Inside you can see the statue of Buddha Sakyamuni when he was twelve-years old. We further stroll through Barkhor Bazaar (market). With its open air stalls, shops and crowds of pilgrims, it is the nerve center of Lhasa. Overnight in Lhasa.
Today, we take a scenic drive to Gyantse. On the way we cross the Khamba La Pass (4,794m) with a brief halt to savor the beauty of the Yamdrok Tso (Turquoise Lake), one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet and the beautiful Nazin Kang Sang glacier (7,252m). Soon, we come across another pass, The Karo La Pass (5,045m). From our vehicle, we can enjoy views of huge glaciers tumbling down into the road before reaching Gyantse. Overnight in Gyantse.
In the morning, we visit Palchoe monastery (also known as Pelkor Chode Monastery or Shekar Gyantse), founded in the 14th century by the 1st Panchen Lama and local chieftain Kusang Rabten. Then we see Kumbum Pagoda Stupa (hailed as the “King of Pagoda“), which was also built in the 14th century. It is the largest and the most significant stupa in Tibet. Then, strolling around Gyantse old town which consists of old Tibetan traditional houses, we drive to Shigatse. Here, we will visit Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, the home of Panchen Lama, which was founded by Gendun Drup, the 1st Dalai Lama in 1447. The monastery is located on a hill at the center of Shigatse city, the second largest city in Tibet. Overnight in Shigatse.
We start our journey driving from Shigatse along the Brahmaputra river with a landscape of sandy hills and villages. From Tagdruk, we will leave the main road and drive off road crossing the Xugu La pass until we reach Yangbajing from where we can have a beautiful view of Nyenchen Thangla mountain. Though not as famous as other scenic spots in Tibet, Yangpachen attracts visitors for its unique resources: hot springs. After a short drive, we finally reach Namtso lake. Overnight in Namtso Lake.
After breakfast, we witness the grandeur of Namtso lake, the world’s highest saltwater lake. The word ‘Namtso’ literally means ‘heavenly lake’. With its deep blue water and the fact that it is surrounded by the amazing Himalayan ranges, we realize that the name given to the lake is indeed a perfect match. We then visit Tashi Dor hermitage and hike around the peninsula, which houses more than 50 hermit caves including some small chapels. Nomadic herders frequently camp on the peninsula, and many species of migratory birds make their home there. Then we drive back to Lhasa. Overnight in Lhasa.
Our adventure in the Himalayas has come to an end today, leaving behind remarkable memories about this popular tour in Tibet. There is nothing to do but trade emails with travel companions and organize photographs. If time permits, we can engage in last minute shopping or stroll around. A representative from Himalayan Glacier will take us to the airport or the train station for our next journey.
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Only breakfasts are included in this trip. We are expected to pay for lunches and dinners on our own. Breakfast will be taken in the same place we stay for the night. Similar arrangements can also be made for dinner. Lunch will be taken en route to the next destination(s). We recommend our guest(s) to budget Yuan 60 to Yuan 100(US$10 to US$16) for lunch and dinner in a single day.
We will be staying at Yarlung River Hotel in Tsedang, Kyichu Hotel in Lhasa, Gyantse Hotel in Gyantse and Gesar Hotel in Shigatse. All of the accommodations are at 2-3 star hotels. It is also possible to upgrade to a better hotel in Lhasa by paying an additional cost. All the accommodations are on a twin-shared basis. Single supplement will be served on request and will cost 470 USD.
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