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8 day trip to the holy city of Lhasa and visits to Gyantse, Shigatse, Tsethang and Yarlung valley, the cradle of Tibetan civilization.

Departure: Kathmandu
Duration: 8 Days
Best season: April to October

Tibet is described as the roof of the world and its capital, Lhasa is the soul of this fascinating place. Lhasa still remains the city of wonders, with Potala Palace, which dominates the skyline, and the bustle of the local markets.

There are the temples and monasteries such as the Jokhang and the Drepung Monastery where one can soak up the atmosphere of the rich Buddhist culture. With never ending fascinating sites and culture that resides in Tibet, and with so much to see and explore, it becomes a perfect place for short holidays an unforgettable experience. We stay in the best traditional Tibetan hotel in the centre of the Lhasa, close to the major attractions.

In the towns of Gyantse and Shigatse we explore further monasteries like Pelkor Monastery and Kumbum stupa and fully immerse ourselves in the Buddhist culture.

BRIEF ITINERARY

Day 01: Fly Kathmandu (1300m) to Lhasa (3650m)
Day 02: Sight seeing in Lhasa
Day 03: Sight seeing in Lhasa
Day 04: Drive from Lhasa to Gyantse (3950m)
Day 05: From Gyantse to Shigatse (3990m)
Day 06: Drive from Shigatse to Tsethang  (3510m)
Day 07: Visit valley of Tombs (3500m)
Day 08: Flight to Kathmandu

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 01: Fly Kathmandu (1300m) to Lhasa (3650m)
Surely we have the world’s most spectacular flight ahead of us this morning as we board the flight in Kathmandu. We fly over the highest mountain range in the world and land deep inside Tibet, the mysterious land for so long closed to outsiders.

We will be met at Gonggar Airport by our Tibetan guide and take the 2 hour drive to Lhasa, through a mountain! Due to the jump in altitude today we advise that you rest and take it easy for the remainder of the day.

Day 02: Sight seeing in Lhasa
Today we can immerse ourselves in this amazing city – the heart and soul of Tibet! Our sightseeing will be accompanied by a guide and interpreter and we will visit the Sera Monastery, one of the best-preserved monasteries in Tibet. Within its whitewashed walls and golden roofs, several hundred monks live and study.

After lunch we'll visit the Norbulingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama, followed by the Jokhang Temple. This temple is possibly the most sacred shrine in Tibet and there is always a procession of devout Tibetans through the complex. Surrounding the Jokhang is the Barkor - a maze of narrow cobbled streets, which is the central market of Lhasa. This is truly fascinating stuff and you will be mesmerised by the energy and feel of this

Day 03: Sight seeing in Lhasa
No visit to Tibet could be complete without visiting the Potala Palace. A spectacular building, it literally dominates the skyline of Lhasa. It contains the private quarters of the Dalai Lama as well as numerous grand staterooms and many important chapels. There has been a palace on this site since the 5th or 6th century, but the present palace was constructed in the 17th century.

After lunch we will visit the Drepung Monastery which was founded in the 14th century. This monastery was once the largest in the world, with a population of around 10,000 monks! These days that figure is down to several hundred, but there is still much here of interest as it was left relatively unscathed during the Cultural Revolution.

Day 04: Drive from Lhasa to Gyantse (3950m)
Today we have a 260km overland journey from Lhasa to Gyantse. Traveling by jeep along the Friendship Highway we cross the Khamba La (‘la’ means ‘pass’) (4794m) from which there are stunning views across the waters of Yamdrok-tso (lake) to the snowy summit of Nazin Kang Sa (7252m). Coming down from the pass, we wind around the banks of this stunning turquoise lake for about 20km.

We continue westwards over yet another high pass, the Karo La at 5045m. From here we are have to the awesome sight of a huge glacier tumbling down towards the road. After passing through beautiful valleys and colourful Tibetan villages we arrive in the town of Gyantse.

Day 05: From Gyantse to Shigatse (3900m)
Before we leave for Shigatse this morning, we have time to explore Gyantse. We will visit the Gyantse Dzong, the Pelkor Chode Monastery and the famous Kumbum. The Dzong is a fort dating from the 14th century from which there are amazing views of both Gyantse itself 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.

It is only 90kms to Shigatse and en route we will visit Shalu Monastery founded in 11th century and noted for its 14th century murals which fuse Chinese, Mongol and Nepalese style.

Shigatse is the second largest city in Tibet and after exploring the local market we will make a detailed visit to 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.

Day 06: Drive from Shigatse to Tsethang (3510m)
Bidding Shigatse farewell, we head towards Tsethang, the third largest city in central Tibet. On the southeast of Tsethang, we get to see the stunning view of mountain Gangpo Ri rising up to 4130m.

Gangpo Ri is a mountain of special significance for Tibetans as it is the legendary birthplace of the Tibetan people. From Tsethang we access the Yarlung Valley which is considered the cradle of Tibetan civilization and it was from Yarlung that the early Tibetan kings unified Tibet in the 7th century.

Day 07: the Valley of Tombs (3500m)
Today we wrap up our remarkable journey visiting the Yarlung Valley, also known as the Valley of Tombs and considered to be the cradle of Tibetan civilisation. The creation myth locates the valley as the origin of the Tibetan people and it was from Yarlung that the early Tibetan kings unified Tibet in the seventh century. We see the massive burial mounds of these kings in Chongye.

We will also visit Yumbulakhang, perched on a crag like a medieval castle and is considered the oldest building in Tibet. After a full day off exploring in the Yarlung Valley we return to Tsetang for the night.

Day 08: Flight to Kathmandu
This morning we leave Tsetang early to drive 96 km to Gongkar airport for the flight back to Kathmandu.

Again we have that spectacular flight, this time Leaving Tibet behind as we fly over the Himalayan Range and into comparatively bustling and lush Nepal. It will take us two hours and is without doubt one of the most spectacular commercial flights in the world. The flight path takes us just east of Mt Everest before circling to the south where the entire Himalayan Range from Makalu to the Annapurnas can be appreciated.

The rest of the day is free for relaxing, shopping, or extra sightseeing and we will get together in the evening for our farewell and celebration of our fantastic Tibetan experience.

 

 

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