Day 1: Arrive, Chengdu. You will be met at the airport in Chengdu. The rest of the day is open for you to either take a rest or stroll around the city to buy souvenirs or necessities. Chengdu is a prosperous and lively metropolis famous for its delicious food and attractive tea houses. Accommodations: Prime Hotel, Chengdu (3 star).
Day 2: Chengdu, Lhasa. Transfer to airport for flight to Lhasa. Be met and transferred to your hotel. Free at leisure to acclimatize yourself to the high latitude. Lhasa, a palace for the Dalai Lama at the very beginning and later served as the whole governmental administration. It is the heart and soul of Tibet and an object of devout pilgrimage, is still a city of wonders. "Lhasa" in Tibetan means "the land of gods" and is the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 3: Lhasa. Full day trip to Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhore Street. The Potala Palace is a landmark of Lhasa and Lama Buddhism. It is a 13 stores and 1000 rooms palace and one winter residence of the Dalai Lama. The construction of the present structure began during the reign of the fifth Dalai Lama in 1645 and took more than 50 years to complete.
The Jokhang Temple is the spiritual center of Tibet - a destination for millions of Tibetan pilgrims. The Barkhor Street is Lhasa's inner pilgrim circuit shaped roughly like an octagon that runs around the Jokhang. The circuit is lined with markets, shops, stalls and street vendors providing every conceivable item a Tibetan could need. The best place to start the circuit is right outside the Jokhang in a clockwise direction. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Lhasa. Full day trip to Drepong Monastery, Sera Monastery, Norbulingka, and the Carpet Factory. The Drepong Monastery: a cluster of white buildings resembling a rice heap, against the backdrop of Mount Gyenbuwndze. Founded in 1416, Drepong is the biggest and richest monastery in Tibet that was divided into four Tantric colleges - that specialized in different branches of knowledge. The Sera Monastery lies on the northern edge of Lhasa at the base of Tatipu Hill. "Sera" means "merciful hail" denoting its rivalry with the "Rice Heap" (Drepong) since hail destroys rice.
Sera was smaller than Drepong with about 7,000 monks but was very rich and comparable in power. The Norbulingka Park: Norbulingka means "Jeweled Garden". It was constructed as a summer palace for the Dalai Lama at the very beginning and later served as the whole governmental administration. The Carpet Factory: The highland of Tibet is the actual home of the oriental carpets. By visiting Carpet Factory you will have a general idea of how carpets are produced. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Lhasa, Tsedang. Drive to Tsedang on the Yarlung-Tsangpo river junction. Since we have just made a sudden ascent to an altitude of over 3,700 meters (12,139 ft), the morning is left open for you to acclimatize to the new environment. Afternoon activities will be limited to a visit to Yumbu Lagan, a reconstruction of Tibet's oldest palace originally established on this site by the founder of the Yarlung dynasty - Nyatri Tsenpo during the 1st century BC. Accommodations: Tsedang Hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Tsedang, Samye monastery. In the morning, we will drive along the Tsangpo river to visit the fantastic Samye monastery, believed to be Tibet's first monastery, built between 775 and 779. The original building is no longer intact due to destruction caused by wars and natural disasters, but the monastery has been rebuilt each time and still remains the symbol of Tibet's national identity.
Its main building is a three-story tower with an interior influenced by Tibetan, Han and Indian styles. The wide expanse of the river and sand dunes give an almost eerie sense of remoteness here. We will ride on horseback at Dorjidrak valley and explore the caves, nunnery and active hermitage in the area. At night, we will camp in the fields near the main monastery. Accommodations: Camping.
Day 7: Samye, Lake Yamdrok Tso. We will leave Samye in the morning for Lake Yamdrok Tso, stop at Samding Monastery. Founded in the 12th century, the monastery is the residence of Samding Dorje Phagmo, the only female living Buddha in Tibet. After lunch, we will continue our drive to the holy lake of Yamdrok Tso (4408 m).
There you will enjoy the unforgettable vista of its prince-shaped expanse of turquoise water, with the mysterious Mt. Donang Sangwari (5,340m) on the peninsula beyond, and the snow peaks of Nojin Gangzang (7,191m) in the distance. Many Tibetans believe that the life of Tibet will no longer continue when the lake dries up. We will hike around the lake and spend the night camping on its shore. Accommodations: Camping. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Lake Yamdrok Tso, Gyantse. We will drive towards Gyantse, an attractive, relaxed town offering a splendid sight of the Kumbum Stupa situated at its Northern edge. Housed within the compound of a rather barren looking Pelkor Chode Monastery, Kumbun consists of 8 levels and contains a total of 75 chapels with wonderful murals revered by art scholars around the world. Accommodations: Gyantse Hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Gyantse, Shigatse. In the morning we will drive to Shigatse (3900m/12,793ft), the second largest town in Tibet and the traditional capital of the Tsang. On the way visit Karola Glacier and Baiju Monastery. Stay overnight in Shigatse. Baiju Monastery: It is with 9 stories, 108 doors and 77 rooms. Each room contains a different statue of Buddha and the wall frescoes telling the story about it. We will visit Tashilhumo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama built in 1447 and a prominent Gekupka monastery. The monastery houses a giant statue of the Maitreya Buddha and a tomb of the 4th Panchen Lama containing masses of jewels and gold. Accommodations: Shigatse Hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Shigatse, Tingri. We'll get up early and listen to the morning prayers in the Grand Hall of Tashilhumo Monastery, where you can see lamas rushing around pouring yak butter tea into endless rows of cups. Drive to Tingri, stop at the Palace of Panchen Lama, Sakya Monastery and Lhatse city. Drive westwards on the Tibetan Plateau and cross over several passes - the highest one, Jiatsuo La Pass being 5200 m high. Road conditions permitting, go on an excursion (about 25 km) to the Sakya Monastery (4280 m). The monastery, built by Kublai Khans, is one of the oldest and most important monasteries in Tibet. Palace of Panchen Lama: Located in the south of Tashilunpo monastery (20 minutes?walk). The Summer Palace built for the 10th Panchan in 1954. Accommodations: Tingri Mt Ever Hotel (2 star, best available). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11: Tingri, Everest Base Camp. Drive from Tingri to Everest Base Camp. Visit Rongbuk Monastery then back to Tingri - Rongbuk Monastery: once the largest monastic center in the region. Accommodations: Tingri Mt Ever Hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 12: Tingri, Zhangmu. Drive over the Thang-La Pass (5214 m) to Nylam. Afterward visit the meditation cave of Milarepa. Milarepa, the yogi, has played an important role in the religious life of Tibet and his teachings still influence the people everywhere.
Accommodations: Zhangmu Hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 13: Zhangmu, Kathmandu. Cross the border between Tibet and Nepal to Kathmandu. Service Ends. Includes: (B), (L).
Also see tour packages in:
Asia China Spiritual Odyssey Pilgrimage/Spirituality Archeology/History