This 8-day adventure of Tibet will take you from imperial palaces to monasteries, fortresses and over a mountain pass that is 17,000 feet above sea water. Starting with the cradle of Tibetan civilization, you will acclimate to the altitude and visit ancient tombs and see how modern day inhabitants live day-to-day. Later you will visit villages along the lake shores of a lake at 14,400 feet altitude, as well as the largest Buddha statue in the world, standing 86 feet tall and 38 feet wide. There will also be visits to the former winter residence of the Dalai Lama, former living quarters at the White and Red Palaces and the summer palace, Norbulingka. Accommodations vary from the Tsedang Hotel, which features a central oxygen system to help you acclimate to the altitude to meticulous rooms on the “roof of the world,” in Lhasa to Tibetan-style rooms featuring great hospitality and charm in Gyantse and Xigatse.
Arrive Lhasa Tsedang, Tibet
Welcome to Tibet. You are met on arrival in at the Lhasa airport and taken by private car for an approximate two-hour drive to Tsedang (Zedong). This former capital of the ancient kingdom of Yarlong, is the cradle of Tibetan civilization. It sits at the foot of Mount Gongbori, one of central Tibet’s holy mountains.
This afternoon, get acclimated to the altitude with a visit to the ancient tombs of the Tibetan kings of the Tubo Dynasty. Visit the splendid Tibetan art exhibit and the local market where Tsedang’s inhabitants buy and sell many of life’s necessities.
Tsedang Hotel, Tsedang
The morning visit the Yongbulakhang Imperial Palace. Sprouting from a craggy ridge overlooking the patchwork fields of the Yarlung Valley, this grand palace is reputed to be the oldest building in Tibet. Explore its many ceremonial rooms, winding passageways, and the prominent tower. Tour the 7th century Changzhu Monastery, built along the banks of the Yalong River, it houses shrines and lovely murals, and exudes a feeling of great serenity.
Return to your hotel for a lunch break, and then drive back to Lhasa.
This afternoon, explore Lhasa’s oldest quarter, visiting the great sacred Jokhang Temple. Pilgrims arrive from all over Tibet to worship here, creating a bustling atmosphere, alive with worshippers and redolent with incense and mystery. Its innermost shrine contains the oldest, most precious object in Tibet-the original gold statue of Sakyamuni, the historical Buddha, almost 1,300 years old.
Next, stop at the Sera Monastery, to learn about the education process of Tibetan monks. Visit late in the day to witness the monks gather in the Debating Garden for some heated conversations over the niceties of Buddhist teaching. (B)
St. Regis Hotel, Lhasa
This morning’s drive is a breathtaking ascent to the iconic and lofty Potala Palace, formerly the winter residence of the Dalai Lama. Built in the 17th century, it contains hundreds of rooms, labyrinthine corridors, and lavish decorations provide insight into the glory that was the Tibetan kingdom. Visit the White and Red Palaces, containing the Dalai Lama’s former living quarters, the Great West Hall, and the splendid West Chapel. See the eight gold stupas, which were the tombs of the Dalai Lamas.
In the afternoon, explore the Drepung Monastery, once home, church, and workplace for more than 10,000 monks. Situated dramatically against a sheer cliff, the sprawling buildings now house barely 500 monks. Then make a brief stop to see Nuosenle College with its excellent collection of religious art and ascend to the roof of Tsug-gyeng College for a magnificent view of the Tibetan plateau.(B)
St. Regis Hotel, Lhasa
Lhasa to Gyantse
Today drive from Lhasa to Gyantse, climbing to 17,000 feet to cross the summit of the Kamba La mountain pass, and skirt the long dazzling Yamdrok Tso, a 14,400-foot-high lake fringed with villages. En route, enjoy views of the deep turquoise lake, and the Nojin Kangtsang Glacier.
Arrive in Gyantse and explore the intimate monastery of Baiji, then Gyantse’s crown jewel, the 15th century monastery with a golden roof, called the Kumbum. The spectacular Kumbum stupa rises above Gyantse; a great pagoda with nine tiers and has more than 77 chapels, shrines and chortens (temples). Without a doubt, it is the most stunning architectural wonder in Tibet. Next visit the Dzong Fortress, where the Gyangtse people fiercely fought the invading British at the turn of the 20th century. Enjoy the view from atop Dzong Hill, with houses flying prayer flags dotting the vast landscape.(B)
Gyantse Hotel, Gyantse
Gyantse to Xigatse
This morning, drive to Xigatse, the seat of the Panchen Lama and his immense monastery, the wondrous Tashilhunpo.
This afternoon, tour the gorgeous Tashilhunpo Monastery, a landmark, with its soaring gold roofs. Tashilhunpo holds the giant Future Buddha statue-the largest Buddha statue in the world at 86 feet high and 38 feet wide, with thousands of precious stones inlaid in the body. An active monastery, you can witness a chanting service in the Jamba Chyenrnu (Maitreya Hall) or Gudang Main Chanting Hall. Next, enjoy time wandering the bustling bazaar of the old city.(B)
Shigatse (Xigatse) Hotel, Xigatse
Xigatse to Lhasa
This morning, embark on a full-day scenic drive across the wild Tibetan plateau with its striking landscape of stone, light, and snow. Drive alongside endless fields and pastures, seeing local villages, wildlife, and vista after incomparable vista.
Arrive back in Lhasa this afternoon. (B)
St. Regis Hotel, Lhasa
This morning explore the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas, Norbulingka. Built in 1755, the palace grounds cover more than 100 acres of jewel-like parks, immaculate gardens, wild forests, and stately pavilions.
This afternoon, return to Lhasa to visit the Barkhor Bazaar, where pious pilgrims from all around Tibet gather to offer donations and pray.(B)
St. Regis Hotel, Lhasa
Today you are taken to the Lhasa airport for your departing flight home or on to your next destination. (B)
October 31, 2011
From $2,715.00 per person double occupancy.
From $1,145.00 single room supplement.
- Accommodations as indicated in the itinerary
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary
- All transfers and fully guided daily sightseeing provided by private deluxe A/C vehicles
- Local English speaking guide for sightseeing in each city
- Entrance fees per final scheduled itinerary
- Airport porterage, where available (2 bags per person)
- Local taxes
- TravcoAssist (Medical Travel Assistance Plan)
All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.
Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.