Starts any day. January; April to December8 days from $2445.00
Arrive Lhasa & Tsedang, 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 & Lhasa
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)
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)
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 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)
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)
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)
Today you are taken to the Lhasa airport for your departing flight home or on to your next destination. (B)
Tsedang Hotel, Tsedang
With pleasant climate and convenient location, Tsedang Hotel is a four star hotel featuring three restaurants, a bar and café, business center and beauty salon. Rooms feature a private bathroom and central air-conditioning. An elegant garden allows for a lovely, relaxing walk around the grounds, and traditional Tibetan handicrafts and local products are sold on-site.
Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa
You arrive at the luxury urban resort of Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa to find a copy of Lost Horizon by James Hilton in your elegant and spacious room. This is the legendary story of Shangri-La, a paradise for travellers high among the Himalayas – and the inspiration for the hotel's brand. There are several relaxing retreats that you can enjoy, perhaps a cup of tea while reading the book on the cool patio of the Lodgers Lounge, overlooking the city and majestic mountains or as the temperature drops in the peaceful night, you marvel at your experience in Lhasa so far. You have found your way to the original Shangri-La. Guests can enjoy stunning views of Potala Palace or the breathtaking mountains and relax among traditional Tibetan architecture and interior design.
Gyantse Hotel, Gyantse
Gyantse Hotel is ideally located in the center of the ancient city near the local market and famous Kumbum Monastery. The hotel features both western-style and Tibetan-style rooms with private bath, three restaurants and bar, business center and shopping center.
Shigatse Hotel, Xigatse
Decorated in popular Tibetan tradition, the Shigatse Hotel lies in the center of Xigatse, with four restaurants featuring Tibetan, Chinese and western cuisine, a dance hall, fitness center, and beauty salon. Surrounded by snow-capped high mountain peaks, there are numerous wonderful monasteries in the region. Rooms feature modern comfort and convenience, along with a hair dryer and extensive mini-bar.