TIBET WINTER SPECIAL TOUR

Overview

This tour has been designed to give you a full insight into the culture of Tibet and its amazing landscapes. The most incredible sights of Tibet are included in this well-organized program which allow you to not only cross rapidly the Tibetan plateau but to immerge yourself completly in the mystery of this Asian High Land.

We have included a special departure date in February 2008 to discover and experience the Tibetan New Year while in Lhasa.

  • TRIP FACTS
  • Trip length: 12 Days
  • Grade: Cultural tour 
  • Starts in: Lhasa
  • Ends in: Lhasa 
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Maximum altitude: 5250m
  • HIGHLIGHTS

* A 12 day excursion to all the legacies of Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, Namtso Lake, Tsedang, Yarlung, Samye and Drak Yerpa Caves.. 
* English speaking Local Tibetan Guide 
* Comfortable transportation / hotels with Tibetan character wherever possible 
* complete hassle free Chinese (Tibetan) travel documentation

OUTLINE ITINERARY

OPTION #1: 

Day 01  - Arrive Lhasa (3660m) & drive to Tsedang (3550m) - 183km 
Day 02  - In Tsedang - Yarlung Valley & Samye monastery 
Day 03  - Tsedang - Lhasa via Mindroling - 200km 
Day 04  - Lhasa Sightseeing 
Day 05  - Lhasa Sightseeing 
Day 06  - Day excursion to Namtso Lake
Day 07  - Day tour to Ganden and Tsurpu
Day 08  - Gyantse (3950m) 261 km
Day 09  - Drive Gyantse - Shigatse (3900m) 90 km
Day 10  - Drive Shigatse – Lhasa (280 km) 
Day 11  - Day excursion to Drak Yerpa Caves 
Day 12  - Depart Lhasa

Visits to Kumbum, Tashilhunpo, Norbulingka, Sera and Drepung monasteries evoke a sense of perspective and awe. Moreover, you also attain profound spirituality. Tashilhunpo Monastery being the home of the Panchen Lama holds an irresistible charm for those who seek to explore Buddhism. As you transverse historical and cultural heritages like Potala Palace, Jokhang temple, fort of Gyantse, Tsetang and Yarlung Valley etc, you get an in-depth understanding of Tibetan ancient cultures and civilizations.

Under the mystical spell of a bewildering variety of climates and landscapes, you are guided along a host of indigenous cultures as you tour to Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse and many other exotic locales. Colorful mosaic of Tibetan arts, crafts, history, culture, custom, tradition, lifestyle and cuisine sprawls before you as you explore every nooks and corners of Barkhor markets. While wandering around the cities and towns of Tibet, you will encounter stalls hawkers with Tibetan prayer flags, jewel-encrusted yak skulls, traditional Tibetan dress, Tibetan thangkas, Tibetan mastiff, Tibetan Mandalas and many other accessories and goods. You will walk past several magnificent buildings. Embracing a truly enriching experience from your Tibet adventures, you finally reach to the climax of the tour with stunning snapshots, souvenirs and pleasant memories.

Detail Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Lhasa (3660m) & drive to Tsedang (3550m)- 183 km

You will be met at Gongkar Airport by your Tibetan guide. After immigration formalities take a 1.5-hour drive along 93 km road leading to Lhasa lying at an altitude of 3650 meters. A 2-hour drive from Lhasa passing through barley and wheat fields brings you to the third largest city in Tibet, Tsedang. En route Tsedang you stop at Nyethang , a temple built in 10th century by Atisa, an Indian Buddhist. The temple contains interesting artifacts and hold significant importance in Tibetan Buddhism


Day 2: In Tsedang –Yarlung Valley and Samye Monastery

Today you visit Yarlung Valley .According to ancient Tibetan history, Tibetan civilization originated from Yarlung valley. Over there you can spot massive burial mounds of Tibetan Kings. Today’s sights also include Tandruk monastery, a 7th century monastery, which holds a fantastic carved wooden altar, interesting relics and murals.

Yambulakang, the castle perched dramatically on a pinnacle above the valley, is the oldest known dwelling in Tibet, reputedly the home of the Yarlung Kings. The view from the castle is awesome.

The tour continues to the west of Tsedang, along the Tsangpo river on a boat to Samye Monastery. Samye Monastery, founded in 779 AD, is in a green valley among barren mountains surrounded by a village. Samye Monastery is one of the most imposing sights of Tibet. Built between 763 and 75 AD and modeled on the University of Otantapuri in India, it was planned as a representation of the universe.


Day 3: Tsedang-Lhasa via Mindroling

Traveling from Tsedang to Lhasa you stop at Mindroling, a 10th century monastery, rebuilt in 1676 and highly reputed for its contribution towards astronomy, astrology, medicine and calligraphy. The murals on the wall have special significance and show the typical Tantric arts. Another distinctive feature of Mindroling monastery is the fact that the monks who reside there can have wives and children.  


Day 4: Lhasa Sightseeing

Today you will be taken for a sightseeing tour to Lhasa. On your awe-inspiring visit to Sera monastery, you are introduced to the important aspects of Buddhism. After lunch, you pay a visit to Norbulinka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama. Jokhang temple provides yet another exciting and educative tour. Wandering around Barkhor market is another major highlight of the day.


Day 5: Lhasa Sightseeing 

In the morning, after breakfast, you will set off to view the majestic Potala Palace, which towers above the city of Lhasa. You get to see an overwhelming array of intricate Tibetan murals, temples, stupas, and the tombs of the eight Dalai Lamas. After lunch, you will be taken on a visit to beautifully landscaped Drepung monastery. At the monastery you can observe nuns and monks chanting and performing religious discourses.


Day 6: Day excursion to Namtso Lake

Today you will be taken on an excursion to one of the most beautiful places in Tibet, the Namtso Lake.  In Tibetan, Namtso means 'Heavenly Lake.' It is one among the three holy lakes in Tibet. Namtso lake is at an altitude of 4720 m. It covers a vast area of about 757 square miles. The crystal-clear water of this lake and the scenic beauty of its surrounding are sure to leave you spellbound.


Day 7: Day tour to Ganden and Tsurpu

Today you will be taken to two very famous monasteries, Ganden and Tsurpu. Ganden monastery was founded in 1409 by Je Tsongkapa, the founder of the Gelupka (Yellow Hat) sect.  This monastery is the first Gelug monastery in Tibet. It lays 57 km east of Lhasa .

Besides its typical Tibetan style, it is three times as large as Potala Palace. The Tsurpu monastery situated at an altitude of 4300m has a history of 800years. Located high in the tributary of the Tolung Valley, the huge temples and chanting halls of Tsurphu monastery has been rebuilt from the rubble of the Cultural Revolution.


 Day 8: Gyantse (3950m) 261 km

After passing through beautiful valleys and colorful Tibetan villages you arrive in the town of Gyantse. In Gyantse you will visit the Gyantse Dzong and Gyantse Kumbum. The Dzong is a fort dating from the 14th century. From there you can enjoy the spectacular views of Gyantse and the surrounding Nyang Chu Valley.

The Kumbum is a large gold-domed Stupa and its many small chapels house an impressive array of Tibetan Buddhist murals. En route you will be escorted to visit Shalu Monastery founded in 11th century and noted for its 14th century murals which fuse Chinese, Mongol and Nepalese style.


Day 9 Drive Gyantse - Shigatse (3900m) 90 km

After exploring Gyantse, you will take a 90 km drive to Shigatse. Having driven to an average altitude of 3900 m, you find yourself at Shigatse, second largest city of Tibet. Tashilhunpo monastery being one of the largest functioning monasteries in Tibet is a major attraction of Shigatse.  

Day 10: Drive Shigatse to Lhasa (280km)

After hearty breakfast at hotel you will be guided to explore the local market and the Tashilhunpo Monastery. This monastery is one of the largest functioning monasteries in Tibet and there is much to explore within its high surrounding walls. After detailed visit of Shigatse you will drive via shorter road to Lhasa.

Day 11: Day excursion to Drak Yerpa caves

 The Drak Yerpa caves are about an hour’s drive to the northeast of Lhasa. Songtsen Gampo meditated here, as did Padma Sambhava and several of his disciples. The site is strongly associated with Jowo Atisha and the early Kadampa masters.

Day 12 Depart Lhasa

You will be transferred to the airport in time to catch your flight home.

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