6 days Lhasa Winter Tour (Horse Riding, Hiking and Monasteries)
Upon your arrival at Lhasa airport or train station, your Tibetan guide and driver will meet you for the transfer to your hotel in Lhasa's old town. The journey from the airport is approximately 68 km and takes around 1.5 hours, whereas from the train station it's about 15 km and a 20-minute drive. Take a good rest to acclimatize to the high altitude. Overnight stay will be in Lhasa.
Today is your first day of sightseeing on the high plateau, so we have purposely arranged only to visit Jokhang temple and Potala Palace.
The Jokhang Temple, Tibet's most sacred shrine, was built in the 7th century and is located in the heart of Lhasa's old town. The temple is typically bustling with local pilgrims and those from other parts of Tibet during winter. The circuit around it, known as Barkhor Street, is one of the most devout circuits and the central market in Lhasa city, an ideal place to buy souvenirs.
Afternoon visit the magnificent Potala Palace, a cardinal landmark globally recognized as a symbol of Tibet. This historic site served as the former seat of the Tibetan government and the winter palace of the Dalai Lamas. The Potala Palace comprises the rooftop White Palace, the Dalai Lama's living quarters, and the central Red Palace, used for religious functions. The Palace now serves as a museum and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
Afterwards enjoy a cup of sweet tea with locals in the sweet tea house.
Today you will be arranged to visit two important Gelupa (Yellow hat) monasteires in Lhasa - Drepung and Sera.
Drepung monastery was was founded in 1416, it was the seat of Dalai Lama until the 5th Dalai Lama built the Potala Palace. Drepung monastery is located on the outskirts of Lhasa, it was once the world largest monastery that houses more than 10,000 monks in Tibetan history; it is also known for its annual Shoton festival in August, a large Thangka is revealed on the nearby mountains.
In the afternoon visit Sera monastery, founded in 1419 by a disciple of Tsongkhapa named Sakya Yeshe, it was one of the biggest monasteries in Central Tibet grew to have about 5,000monks. Sera monastery is famous for its monks debates which takes places every afternoon 3:00pm except Sunday. It is said that debates create a deeper knowledge of the Buddhist philosophy and will allow the monks to reach a higher level of understanding of the Buddhism.
In the morning, commence a 60km journey eastward to Ganden Monastery, the prime monastery of the six major ones in the Gelugpa sect, constructed by Tsongkhapa, the founder himself. Beyond its impressive architecture and spiritual significance, the viewpoint from Ganden Wangpo Hill offers truly awe-inspiring panoramas. The Kichu Valley is situated behind Ganden Monastery, and it is highly recommended to take a hike around the monastery for a bird's-eye view of this picturesque valley.
In the morning, you'll drive to Thoilong village, located about 35km southwest of Lhasa. Here, you'll meet with your horseman in the village. Enjoy a rest in a traditional Tibetan house before horseback riding through the valley. You'll have the opportunity to see functional mill houses along the stream, which is mainly used for making Tsampa (roasted barley flour) since early days. Further up on a small hill, you'll encounter a nomadic community that regularly changes location. If available at the time of your visit, you'll be able to visit their nomadic tents. Afterward, hike down to the village and drive back to Lhasa for your overnight stay.
Your guide and driver will see you off at the airport or train station, end the trip.