|Max. Altitude:||5,044m/16,549ft (Karo La Pass)|
|Group Size:||2 - 12|
This Tibet tour takes you to not only the ‘must see’ sights such as the Potala Palace and Tashilunpo monastery, but also to places that many tourists do not usually see, such as the hermit retreat at DrakYerpa and the manor house at Namseling.
In the ‘Valley of Kings’ you will visit the tombs as well as the iconic castle of Yumbulakhang, with a visit to the nearby magnificent Samye monastery. Founded 1,200 years ago, the legendary monastery is a fabulous place and in many senses the centre of Tibetan Buddhism. After spending some time in Lhasa we travel west and use the quicker ‘northern’ route to reach Shigatse and then the slower ‘southern’ route back past the spectacular lake of YamdrokTso.
This exciting cultural tour to Tibet offers an amazing experience, both for the scenery you will encounter and for the Tibetan Buddhist culture. It gives you the opportunity to visit some of Tibet’s most important historical, religious and cultural sites and to travel through the awesome landscapes of the high Tibetan plateau.
|Day 1:||Fly over the Himalaya to Gonggar airport in Lhasa. Drive to Tsedang (3,550m/11,647ft), the capital of Shannan prefecture and the second largest city in Tibet. According to legend, the Tibetan race originated on the nearby hill called GongpoRi.|
|Day 2:||Drive to the legendary Samye monastery founded 1200 yrs ago. Enjoy fantastic views of Samye & Tsangpo valley from Hepori Hill. In the afternoon, drive to Yarlung valley & visit the fortress/chapel of Yumbulakhang, said to be the oldest building in Tibet.|
|Day 3:||Drive to Lhasa (3-4 hrs). En route, visit Namseling, the old but impressive manor house built in the 14th century and the famous Mindroling monastery belonging to the Nyingmapa sect.|
|Day 4:||Enjoy full day sightseeing in Lhasa visiting the Tibet Museum and the Norbulingkha (meaning Jewel Park), formerly the summer palace and recreation gardens of the Dalai Lama.|
|Day 5:||In the morning, visit the Potala Palace, home of successive Dalai Lamas & their monastic staff. Visit Tibets most sacred temple, the Jokhang, established in the 7th century by king SongtsenGampo. Visit Barkhor market surrounding the Jokhang.|
|Day 6:||Today you will visit DrakYerpa, a very sacred place & one of Tibet’s principal cave retreats. Situated at 4885m/16,027ft, the monastery offers lovely views of the valley down below. Drive back to Lhasa & visit AniTshamkhung, the charming little nunnery.|
|Day 7:||Drive to Shigatse (4-5 hr), second largest Tibetan city & an important trading centre. Visit the castle of the kings of Tsang & the Tashilunpo monastery, founded in 1447 & housing the worlds largest gilded copper image of Maitreya (the future buddha).|
|Day 8:||Drive to Sakya, the de facto capital of Tibet in the 13th & 14th century. Visit the Sakya monastery, founded in 1073 & presided over by great lama Sakya Pandita. Explore the ruins of Northern Sakya, where esoteric tantric practices were formerly taught.|
|Day 9:||Drive to Gyantse (3,899m/12,467ft). Visit the castle where a military siege took place in 1904. Explore the monastic complex of Pelkhor Chode, which houses the marvelous nine-story 15th century Kumbum Stupa and the Tsuklakhang Temple.|
|Day 10:||Drive to Lhasa over two passes, the Karo La (5,044m/16,549ft) and the Kamba La (4,793m/15,724ft), past a huge glacier, in between gigantic peaks, down to Yamdrok Tso Lake and across the Yarlung Tsangpo River.|
|Day 11:||After an early breakfast you will drive to Gonggar airport where you will say goodbye to your Tibetan guide and driver and board your spectacular flight over the Himalaya to Kathmandu. The afternoon is free for you to relax, sightsee or shop for souvenirs|
Cost Includes: *A Tibetan English-speaking leader *All internal flights and hotel/airport transfers *Good standard hotel accommodation in Kathmandu, twin share, bed and breakfast basis *Best available hotels in Tibet on full board *All road transport by private vehicles *Sightseeing where specified
If wishing to travel at other times alternative itineraries are available.