8 days Tibet in-depth tour
The Tibet In-depth tour covers the hightlights of Central Tibet. In Lhasa, you will visit the World Heritage Sites of the Potala and Jokhang Temples. You will tour the Barkhor Pilgrimage circuit, the monastic institution of Drepung and Sera Monasteries. In Tsedang, you will visit Yumbulakang Palace, Tibet's first palace, and Samye Monastery, Tibet's first monastery. On the way to Gyantse, you will visit Tibet's Holiest Lake - Yamdrok Lake. In Gyantse, you will tour the famous Gyantse Kumpum Stupa. In Shigatse, you will visit the seat of the Panchen Lama - Tashilhunpo Monastery.
Upon arriving at the Lhasa airport or train station, you will greeted by your Tibetan tour guide and driver. Your guide will drive you to your hotel or hostel. It is 68 km from the airport to Lhasa and is an hour and a half drive. From the train station it is just 15 km to Lhasa and only takes 20 minutes. Be sure to rest during the afternoon in order to to acclimatize to high altitude. Overnight at Lhasa.
Today is your first day of sightseeing on the high plateau and we have purposely arranged to visit Jokhang Temple and Potala Palace only as you also need some time to acclimatize the high altitude. Jokhang Temple is the most sacred temple in Tibet, built in the 7th century and located in the heart of Lhasa's old town, Jokhang temple is truly a sight to behold. Many souvenir shops and gift shops can be found on the encircled Barkhor Street. Famous worldwide, Potala Palace has come to symbolize Tibet. This massive structure contains a small world within its walls. The palace is world-renowned as the residence of the Dalai Lama lineages (Avalokiteshvara). Both Jokhang Temple and Potala Palace are focal points for pilgrims from all over Tibet and the world. Overnight at Lhasa.
Today you will visit Drepung Monastery in the morning and Sera Monastery in the afternoon. Both Drepung and Sera monasteries are Gelugpa (yellow hat) sect monastic colleges. Drepung Monastery was the seat of the Government prior to Potala. It was once the world's largest monastery with 7,700 monks hailing from monasteries all over Tibet. Sera monastery is famous for its practice of debating Buddhism and philosophy, the clapping sound and the aggressive expression of the monks -all are well worth seeing. Overnight at Lhasa.
In the morning, you will drive to Tsedang city. The city is located in the Yarlung Valley, which is reputed to be the cradle of Tibetan civilization. Here you will be arranged to visit the first monastery Samye and first palace Yumbulakang in Tibet. After a 2-3 hour drive along the Yarlung Tsangpo river, you will reach Tsedang town, after your guide assisted you to get the PSB permit (travel permit), you will visit Yumbulakang Palace - considered the first palace in Tibet. Then continue driving along the north bank of the Yarlung Tsangpo River to Samye monastery, the first monastery in Tibet, boasting over 1200 years of history. Nestled in a scenic valley, Samye is an important pilgrimage location shaped like a Mandala. Overnight at Samye monastery hotel.
Chim-Puk Hermitage is to the north-east of Samye monastery, about 40 minutes drive. It's an ideal route for a day hike. It is said that there are 108 meditation caves, 108 spring mouths and 108 sky burial grounds. Embraced by lush hills on three sides and facing the broad Yarlung Tsangpo River Valley, the Chimpuk Caves is renowned not only for being the most famous meditation place of Tibetan Buddhism but also for its unique humane climate and beautiful scenery presented at an altitude of 4,300m. Just depend on your health condition, you will spend about 4-6 hours hiking at this holy place. Late afternoon drive back to Tsedang. Overnight at Tsedang.
Morning drive along Yarlung Tsangpo River back to Chushul, where the car needs to be driven up to cross Kambala Pass with the altitude of 4794m high. Kambala Pass provides you the first sight of the holy lake - Yamdrok Tso. Then descend to the bank of Yamdrok tso Lake, a half an hour of driving along the beautiful lake brings you to the nearest town - Nangartse. Normally groups eat lunch here. After lunch, continue on Southern Friendship Highway towards west, enjoy the spectacular views of the snow capped mountains, valleys and grasslands dotted the groups of nomads. Arrive at Gyantse in the afternoon, In Gyantse, you will be arranged to visit the famous stupa - Gyantse Kumbum, which is the most stunning architectural wonder in Tibet. Overnight at Gyantse
After breakfast, climb up to Gyantse Dzong, an old fort where you will enjoy a great view of the old Gyantse Town. Late morning drive about 1.5 hours to Shigatse, the second largest town in Tibet. Upon arrival in Shigatse, you will visit Tashilunpo Monastery, which is one of six great Gelugpa monasteries in Tibetan area and is the seat of the Panchen Lama lineage. The monastery is also famed for its Grand Hall, which houses the opulent tomb of the fourth Panchen Lama.
Afterward, take a walk to the free market in the old part of Shigatse city. Compared with the Barkhor Area in Lhasa, the souvenirs in this market tend to be much cheaper. Walk around here and see if there are anything you want to buy.
Board afternoon train back to Lhasa (Z8802, 17:30 - 20:32). Lhasa train station pick-up and transfer to the hotel. Overnight at Lhasa.
Your guide and driver will see you off at the airport or train station. Rnd of the trip.