6 days Lhasa Hiking, Cycling and Horseback Riding Tour
Upon arrival at Lhasa, our Tibetan guide and driver will transfer you to your hotel in Lhasa, which is only 68km away and takes about 1.5 hours from the Lhasa Gonggar airport (or 15km, taking around 20 minutes from Lhasa train station). Take some time to rest and acclimatize to the altitude, ensuring a comfortable start to your stay. Overnight 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.
Jokhang Temple is the most sacred Temple in Tibet, built in the 7th century and situated in the heart of Lhasa's old town. The Jokhang Temple is particularly significant because it houses the life-sized statue of the Shakyamuni Buddha at age 12, which is considered the most sacred statue in all of Tibet. The temple, with its golden roofs and richly decorated interiors, attracts thousands of pilgrims annually who come to prostrate, pray, and make offerings. The temple's architectural style is a mixture of Indian vihara design, Tibetan and Nepalese design.The circuit around Jokhang Temple, 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 get on your bike and your Tibetan guide will take you to visit Drepung and Sera monasteries. Both monasteries are Gelugpa (yellow hat) sect monastic colleges. Drepung Monastery, once the seat of the Tibetan government before the construction of Potala Palace, held great significance in history. It was once the world largest monastery in the history with 7,700 monks hailed from different monasteries all over Tibet. Sera Monastery, on the other hand, is renowned for its practice of Buddhism philosophical debates. Witness the captivating sight of monks engaging in vigorous debates, accompanied by the rhythmic clapping of hands. It is a sight worth experiencing.
Morning you will drive to visit Pabongka Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries in Lhasa built in the 7th century, older than Jokhang Temple. The great King Songtsen Gampo himself is said to have meditated in a cave here before the construction of Jokhang. The name "Pabongka" means "located on a rock" because the monastery sits on a massive rock on the hillside, giving it its unique name. It is located about 6 to 7km north of Lhasa.
Take some time to explore the monastery complex and treat yourself to a cup of traditional Tibetan butter or sweet tea at the monastery tea house.
Afterwards, you will have the hike from Pabongka Monastery to the Chupsang Nunnery in a scenic valley. This hike is not too challenging and lasts only about an hour. It's a delightful day spent outdoors, in the suburbs of Lhasa. As you follow the narrow path between large rocks, you'll cross small streams and may even encounter cows and yaks grazing on the mountain slopes. Along the way, you'll also catch glimpses of Lhasa city and the magnificent Potala Palace in the distance.
Once you have finished visiting the Chupsang Nunnery, you will return to Lhasa. The rest of the day is yours to freely explore Lhasa.
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 Lhasa airport or train station, end your trip in Tibet.