1 612 869 8502 

Central Tibet with Shoton Festival

9 days 8 nights

Code TFT67

Category Tibet Classic Tours

  • Group Size 2-16 persons
  • Difficulty Level 2
  • Rating Popular
  • Highest Altitude 5,045m ( 16,548 ft.) at Karo La
  • Trip Starts From Lhasa
  • Trip Ends At Lhasa
  • Accommodation Hotels
  • Type Tours
  • Destination Tsedang Samye Lhasa Gyantse Shigatse
Dates & Prices
Please, contact us for the price and the dates for this trip


The timing of the trip is with the Shoton Festival, Tibet's one of the grandest festivals. We observe the annual giant Buddha Thangka painting display, enjoy the Tibetan opera, and take the opportunity to join the local Tibetans amidst a picnic, singing, and dancing. Of course, we will also visit the grandest Buddhist monasteries, temples, and palaces of Central Tibet, including Potala Palace. We take a scenic drive across the mighty passes of Tibet, offering spectacular views of vast Tibetan plateaus and Himalayan mountains. The holy lake of Yamdrok Tso with turquoise green water is also one of the attractions of this trip.

Shoton Festival, also known as the "Yoghurt Festival," begins on the 30th day of the sixth Tibetan month. The origin of the festival dates back to the 17th century and first started when pilgrims served yogurt to the monks as they took a break during their summer retreat. Years later, Tibetan opera performances were added to the event to amuse the monks in monasteries. During the festival, giant Thangkas of the Buddha are unveiled at the Drepung Monastery while Tibetan opera troupes perform at Norbulingka.

Land Cost

US$ 1999 per person. Private Room Supplement $ 298.

There are no Airfares included.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Arrive in Lhasa Airport and transfer to Tsedang

Flights to Lhasa arrive from Kathmandu (Nepal), Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, and other mainland Chinese cities. We will pre-arrange the Tibetan entry permit. Upon arrival at Gongaar Airport of Lhasa, you will meet our local guide and driver. Following introductions, you will get transferred to Tsedang (, altitude (3,100m/10,168 ft.), distance 120km/7.5miles, 1.5 hrs. drive).

Tsedang is the gateway town to the ancient Yarlung Kingdom of Tibet. The Yarlung Valley is considered to be the cradle of Tibetan civilization, and it was from Yarlung that the early Tibetan kings unified Tibet in the 7th century. Check into the hotel and take the rest for acclimatization to the altitude. Please, drink plenty of water and take liquid food in meals.

Overnight: Tsedang Hotel
Day 02~Explore The Yarlung Valley.

Today, you will explore the historical and cultural sights of the Yarlung Valley. We begin from the ancient Trandruk Temple (7 km/4.5 miles), which is one of the earliest Buddhist monasteries of Tibet, and contemporary to Jorkhang and Ramoche Temple of Lhasa. At Tradruk, you will visit the courtyard area, ringed by cloisters, the principal chapel with statues of Tara or Drolma. And five Dhyani Buddhas (Buddhas in meditation) and a famous Thangka painting of Drolma in the chapel upstairs.

From Trandruk Temple, we head south to the Yumbulgang Palace (6km, 1.8 miles), which is claimed to be the first Tibetan building. It is a fine tapering structure that pops up from a rocky ridge overlooking the patchwork of fields of the Yarlung Valley. We will visit the ground floor chapel consecrated to the ancient kings of Tibet; the upper floor chapel has an image of Chenresig (Avalokityaswora). We will also see some excellent murals depicting the descent of Nyentri Tsenpo from heaven to Yumbulagang. Walk up along the ridge above the building to enjoy fabulous views of Yarlung Valley.

Our next destination will be the ancient Samye Monastery, which is a bit of rough ride but worth visiting. Samye Monastery is the first Buddhist Monastery in Tibet. Samye is famous for its sacred Mandala design: the central temple symbolizes the legendary Mount Meru, a center of the universe. It is a renowned pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Buddhists, some of whom travel on foot for weeks to reach this holy shrine.

Overnight: Tsedang Hotel
Meals : Breakfast
Day 03~Drive from Tsedang to Lhasa

(Alt. 3,658m/12,193 ft., 183km/122miles, 4 hrs. drive).

After a leisurely morning breakfast, we depart Tsedang for Lhasa- the heart and soul of Tibet. We will have time to settle into our accommodations, and later we proceed to the Barkhor- the old Tibetan quarter and visit the Jorkhang Square and the temple. Jorkhang is the most revered religious shrine in Tibet. In front of the entrance, you can see crowds of Tibetan pilgrims in prostrations. The temple houses the images and chapels of various Buddhist deities and gurus, including Tsongkhapa, eight Medicine Buddhas, Chenresig (Avalokiyataswara), Jamapa, Sakyamuni, King Songsten Gampo, etc. We take a relaxing stroll around Barkhor, which is Lhasa’s most interesting Kora (pilgrimage circuit). It encircles the Jorkhang Temple. Barkhor is both the spiritual heart of the holy city of Lhasa and the commercial hub for Tibetans.

Overnight: Dekhang Hotel
Meals : Breakfast
Day 04~Attend Shoton festival in Drepung Monastery, Norbulingkha Gardens and Potala Palace

Today is the first day of the Shoton Festival, and so we leave the hotel early morning for Drepung Monastery to secure the best spot for watching the festival. There will be a giant Buddha Thangka displayed amidst an exciting atmosphere. We watch the festival activities for some time, and as the festival activities move towards the center of the town, we will also follow them.

We spend the rest of the day watching the festival in Norbulingkha Gardens and the Potala Palace. The celebration includes Tibetan opera and local folklore singing and dancing. People also enjoy a picnic in the gardens.

Overnight: Dekhang Hotel
Meals : Breakfast
Day 05~Attend the second day of the festival and visit the monasteries.

After breakfast, we attend the second day of the festival, and later we visit the majestic Potala Palace-the landmark of Lhasa. It was the power center of Tibet until Dalai Lama's departure in 1959! The palace still draws a large number of local and foreign visitors every day. Time permitting, we will also visit Sera Monastery, which is among the largest monasteries of Tibet. The main assembly hall, its' printing press, and colleges of instructions are significant attractions here. We may also get a chance to attend the debating ceremony of the monks.

Overnight: Dekhang Hotel
Meals : Breakfast
Day 06~A scenic drive over the high passes and along the shores of Yamdrok Tso Lake to Gyantse

(13467 ft., 160miles, 6 ½ hrs. drive)

Today, you will drive on the roadways of the high Tibetan plateau and head Gyantse westwards. As you cross the Tsangpo Bridge, the road climbs to the Kamba La pass (15, 700 ft.) from where you will enjoy magnificent views of the Himalayas as well as the dazzling views of Yamdrok Lake. Yamdrok Tso Lake is one of the four holy lakes in Tibet; legend has it that if the lake ever disappears, it will mark the end of Tibet. The road descends and follows the shores of the lake for more than 40 miles and then again climbs up to the Karo La pass (16, 500 ft.) before descending into the Gyantse Valley, making it a very scenic drive. You will enjoy splendid views of the Himalayas and the vast Tibetan plateau all along the way to Gyantse. The Gyantse town, unlike Lhasa and Shigatse, still maintains its Tibetan characteristics. Check into the hotel and take the rest of the day for your leisure.

Overnight: Gyantse Yeti Hotel
Meals : Breakfast
Day 07~Continue our journey to Shigatse

(Altitude 12,785 ft., 57miles, 2 ½ hrs. drive).

After breakfast, you will visit the Pelkor Chode and the Kumbum Monastery, which are the highlights of Gyantse City. The Kumbum Stupa is a landmark of Gyantse, and you can spot it from very far away. If you are a hiking enthusiast, you may also attempt a hike the historical fortress of Gyantse. Views from the fortress overlooking the city just superb. From Gyantse, it's less than 2 hrs drive to Shigatse, which is the second-largest city of Tibet. About 20 km before Shigatse, you will take a 4 km side trip of Shalu Monastery. It is the first of the major monasteries to be built by noble families of the Tsang Dynasty during Tibet's great revival of Buddhism, as well as an essential center of the Sakya tradition. Upon arrival in Shigatse, check into the hotel and later take a relaxing walk through Shigatse's Flea market. It is an excellent place to buy Tibetan souvenirs at a bargain.

Overnight: Shigatse Gesar Hotel
Meals : Breakfast
Day 08~Return drive to Lhasa via the northern Friendship Highway

(186miles, 7 hrs.)

After breakfast, check out of the hotel to visit the famous Tashilunbo Monastery before hitting the highway for the journey back to Lhasa. The Tashilunbo Monastery is the principal seat of Panchen Lama, who was the second most venerated religious leader of Tibet. And this is also one of the six major Gelugpa Monasteries of Tibet. For the return journey, you will take the southern friendship highway that runs along the Yarlung Tsambo River. The road is rough, and there is a lot of rehabilitation work going on. If time permits, and you are interested, you can stop by the Yundrungling Monastery in Tradruk. Upon arrival in Lhasa, check into the hotel and take the rest of the day for your leisure.

Overnight: Dekhang Hotel
Meals : Breakfast
Day 09~Depart Lhasa

Transfer to the Gonggar airport for your flight to your next destination.

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Trip includes

  • Accommodation on double occupancy basis.
  • Daily Breakfast at your hotel.
  • All transfers and sightseeing by a private van or bus.
  • Sightseeing admission fees.
  • English speaking local Tibet guide.
  • Tibet Travel Permit.

The trip does not include

  • International and internal airfare.
  • Airport Taxes.
  • Chinese visa fee.
  • Lunch and dinner except as indicated.
  • Drinks, tips, and other expenses of personal nature.
  • Travel & Health Insurance.
  • All extra expenses caused due to nature or unforeseen events.
  • Excess baggage charges.
  • Optional tipping to local staff such as guides, drivers, etc.
  • Items of a personal nature (beverages, laundry, telephone, etc.).

Chinese visa and permits

The remaining validity of your passport must be a minimum of six months after your trip. Make sure you have enough blank visa pages for visa sticker, entry and departure seals.

Traveling via mainland China

Apply for a Chinese visa in your country and provide us a copy of the visa and photo page of the passport a minimum of 45 days before your trip date. For some good reason, DO NOT disclose your Tibet intention; otherwise, the visa procedure becomes tedious. We will obtain your Tibet entry permit at Lhasa and will ship it to your address (e.g., hotel) at the gateway city in China. Tibetan tourism does not allow shipping permits to the foreign address. You will need to present the original entry permit to get on the flight to Lhasa. Besides Entry Permit, there will be a few other permits that your Guide will be holding for you.

Traveling via Kathmandu, Nepal

If you are going to Tibet via Kathmandu, Nepal, you don’t need to do anything at your end. In this case, the Tibet Tourism regulation requires that we apply for your Chinese visa in Kathmandu. We will obtain a Visa Invitation Letter for you from the Tibetan Tourism Bureau at Lhasa and submit this document with your passport and completed visa application forms at the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu. Chinese embassy accepts visa applications only on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The visa processing takes three business days. While this may sound complicated, we will take care of all this process, leaving you free for sightseeing. Please bring one passport size photo.

Accommodations and facilities

The hotels in this trip are four-star properties in Lhasa, Tsedang and Shigatse, and three-star in Gyantse by local standard. Please, do not compare them with the western hotels of the same rating. All hotels provide an en suite bathroom with running hot and cold water. The hospitality industry in Tibet is still underway, and so Tibetan hotels do not meet the western standard. A power outage is a common problem in Tibet, and if that happens, it may disrupt the supply of hot water.


Tour cost includes breakfast only. Hotel restaurants offer Chinese, Tibetan, Indian, Nepali, and western-style breakfasts. There is no lunch and dinners added. So you should allow US$ 8-9 per meal in regular tourist standard restaurants and a few dollars more if you eat in your hotels. We can arrange set meals for groups on your request. Restaurants in town serve a wide range of Chinese, Tibetan, Nepali, and Indian and Western dishes. You may want to bring some extra foods like dry fruits, chocolates, energy bars, vitamin supplements, etc.


Tibetan roads are now much improved, and so there is no need for 4WD vehicles anymore for most of the trips in central Tibet. We provide air-conditioned van and buses for all transfers and tours. Drivers speak little or no English.


You will be accompanied by experienced and knowledgeable English speaking local Tibetan guides throughout the tour. Besides, leading you on sightseeing excursions, your guide helps you check in the hotel and buy admission tickets in the monasteries and deals with check posts and bureaucracies. Guide and driver are different persons.

Health concerns

There is no mandatory vaccination required to travel to Tibet. But you may consider vaccination against rabies, and Hep A. Travelers with cardiac-pulmonary issues or any other medical conditions are recommended to consult their physician. The primary health consideration in Tibet is altitude-related illness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea, and sleeplessness, but these should lessen within a few days. Doctors will be available on call.

You should start some physical exercises like jogging, swimming, cycling, hiking, and aerobics about several weeks before the trip. You should have a good sleep the night before you fly into Lhasa and take complete rest on the first day. It's also advisable to drink 3-4 liters of water daily and consume liquid food.

Note on Itinerary

Although we will do our very best to adhere to the itinerary schedule as listed, it is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.

Booking and Cancellation

When you are sure you are traveling, please don't delay in booking. The internal flights are the key factor in determining whether your trip can be realized or not. We request you for a deposit of US$300 on land, plus the cost of domestic airfares along with completed trip application form and passport copies.

Balance Payment

Balance payment is due 90 days before your departure. Depending on the number of applicants, we may set an early payment date.


  • Ninety days prior departure: Administrative fee US$ 150 per person.
  • Sixty-Eighty-nine day's prior departure: US$ 250 or 25% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Forty-five days to Fifty-nine days before departure: US$ 450 or 50% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Thirty days to Forty-four days before departure: US$ 600 or 75% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Less than Thirty days: 100%.

Travel Protection Plan

We plan and do our best to make your trip smooth and seamless. But there may be chances of unforeseen events and conditions such as illness, accident, inclement weather, and flight cancellation or missed connection or loss of baggage, etc. It may cause interruption or delay or total removal of your trip, putting your hard-earned travel investment in jeopardy. It’s also possible that you may need medical assistance, emergency evacuation, or medical transportation when you are traveling in remote areas. Far & High’s Tour cost does not cover any of these expenses or losses. So we strongly recommend you that you should protect yourself and your travel investment against those unfavorable conditions.


Tsedang Hotel, Tsedang (4*)

Dekhang Hotel (3*)

Gyantse Hotel, Gyantse (3*)

Van Ray Hotel, Shigatse (4*)

Note: Hotel ratings are as classified by local authorities. Hotels are subject to change.


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 1 612 869 8502

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