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Highlights of Central Tibet


8 days 7 nights

Code

Category Tibet Classic Tours

  • Group Size 1-10 persons
  • Difficulty Level 2
  • Rating Popular
  • Highest Altitude 5,045m ( 16,548ft) at Karo La
  • Trip Starts From Lhasa
  • Trip Ends At Tsedang
  • Accommodation Hotels
  • Type Classic Circuits
  • Destination Lhasa Gyantse Shigatse Tsedang Gonggar Airport
Dates & Prices

Overview

A cultural circuit of central Tibet, that commences in Lhasa-the heart and soul of Tibet exploring the major Buddhist monasteries and palaces of Dalai Lama and traverses through the two other major towns-Gyantse and Shigatse and concludes in Tsedang-the gateway to the ancient Yarlung Kingdom.

On this trip, we visit the major Buddhist monasteries,temples and palaces rich in history, culture and architecture. We travel on the high roads of Tibet, crossing some of the highest motorable passes of the world! We enjoy the serene nature, views of the vast Tibetan plateau and the Himalayan mountain in the backdrop. The road trip from Lhasa to Gyantse follows the shores of holy Yamdrok Tso lake for more than 40 miles and this is the most scenic part of this journey.

We share the pilgrimage path with the monks and devout Tibetans and rob shoulders with the locals in the traditional markets.

The trip is basically cultural sightseeing with some light walks. There is no serious hiking or any other extreme adventures involved in this trip. As Tibet is in high altitude, anyone who arrives in Lhasa will experience the symptoms of altitude sickness for the first few days which is common and symptoms should go away in a few days. Travelers with hearts and lungs issues are advised to consult with their physician before they sign up for this trip.

The trip starts and finishes in Lhasa. Please, allow minimum a night in Chengdu or Beijing before the trip so that you can pick up your Tibet entry permit (pre-arranged by us). You may also need a night in Beijing or Chengdu before you can connect with your international flight. Hotel in the gateway city and airfare into Lhasa are not included but we can help you book these services for you on additional cost.

The trip is guaranteed with minimum 2-participants. Trip date doesn't work for you? Choose your own date for a private trip.

Attractions:

  • Potala Palace, Norbulingkha Palace, Jorkhang Temple, Sera Monastery, Drepung Moanstery, Barkhor Street in Lhasa.
  • Spectacular drive across Kambala and Karola passes and along the shores of Yamdrok Tso Lake.
  • Gyantse Kumbum and Pelkore Chode Monastery.
  • Shalu Monastery and Tashilunbo Monastery in Shigatse.
  • Tradruk Temple, Yambulakhang Palace, and ancient Samye Monastery.
  • Opportunity to visit local schools and orphanage.
  • Meet the local Tibetan families.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Arrive in Lhasa (Alt 3,595m/11,792 ft.)

Arrive in Gonggar Airport of Lhasa. Airfare to Lhasa is not included but we can book it for you and bill you separately. You need to first arrive in Beijing or Chengdu on your own , at least day before your flight to Lhasa. Your Tibet entry permit will be shipped to your hotel.

Upon arrival in Lhasa airport, meet your Tibetan Guide and driver and transfer to your hotel in the city. Balance of the day is for rest for acclimatization. You are likely to experience mild symptoms of altitude sickness that includes headache, light headed-ness, disorientation, breathlessness etc. but it should go away in a day or two. Please, take rest, drink plenty of water and consume liquid food in meals.

Optional: Tonight, you may want to attend Tibetan Opera and folklore shows that help you understand Tibetan culture and traditions!

Overnight: Dekang Hotel, 3*
Day 02~Sightseeing of Lhasa

Today, we will visit the major historic and cultural attractions of Lhasa, that includes Drepung Monastery, Norbulingkha Palaces and  Jorkhang Temple and conclude the day with a relaxed stroll in the Barkhor Street.

Drepung Monastery, situated to the west of Lhasa city, was the largest and richest of the three major Yellow Hat Sect monasteries in Lhasa. Once the most powerful of the “Gelukpa” monasteries, Drepung had seven colleges and, at its height, housed over 10,000 monks. It owns many splendid murals, elaborate statues and other rich treasures.

Next stop will be at Norbulinka Palaces- the summer residences of the Dalai Lamas. The Norbilinka has three palaces, situated in a beautiful garden. Most visited is the private residence of current Dalai Lama that includes his private chamber, meditation room, the reception room and the throne room.

We will have lunch break in Barkhor area (Pay on your own) and after that we visit Jokhang Temple- situated at the center of old Lhasa. Originally, built in 647 AD, the temple site was believed to have been chosen personally by the wife of King Songtsan Gampo, the Tang Princess Wen Cheng. The temple is the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest destination for all Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims.

Now, we will go for a relaxed stroll in the Barkhor street that encircles the Jokhang Temple. Barkhor means “a pilgrim’s inner circuit”, and it's believed to be the earliest street of old Lhasa city. It dates back to the foundation of the Jokhang and is an essential pilgrim route. Houses and small inns were built all around the street. As time went on, shops and businesses sprug up in the Barkhor, and it slowly became a prosperous area.

Overnight: Dekang Hotel, 3*
Meals : Breakfast
Day 03~Continue sightseeing of Lhasa

As we gradually acclimate in Lhasa's altitude, we have two interesting destinations to visit today. We visit the magnificent Potala Palace in the morning and the Sera Monastery in the afternoon.

The world famous Potala Palace of the Dalai Lama is located on "Red Hill", to the west of old Lhasa. Architecturally, it is considered to be one of the wonders of the world and thousands of domestic and foreign tourists visit the palace every day.

From here, we will head to Sera Monastery-the last of the three principal Yellow Sect monasteries to be built in Lhasa. Sera means” Hailstone” in Tibet, and legend tells that it hailed during the foundation of this famous monastery. Sera comprise a great sutra chanting hall, a college and 32 sections. It once housed nearly 10,000 monks, and is proud of its glorious history during the Ming Dynasty. Here, we take a chance to attend the debating ceremony of monks in which the monks discuss their knowledge of Buddhism. It'a an ancient method of learning and sharpening their knowledge about Buddhism and quite interesting to onlookers as well.

Overnight: Dekang Hotel, 3*
Meals : Breakfast
Day 04~Lhasa-Gyantse

(13467 ft., 176miles, 6 ½ hrs.)

By now, you should have been well acclimated and ready to hit the high roads of Tibet. Today, we drive to Gyantse town in central Tibet. While Chinese influences rapidly engulfing many Tibetan towns, Gyantse still preserves its Tibetan characters.

The journey involves crossing of two high passes Kamba La (15,700 ft.) and Karo La (16,500 ft.) and then follows the shores of  Yamdrok Tso Lake for more than 40 miles. Yamdrok Tso Lake is one of the four holiest lakes of Tibet and has turquoise green water. As we leave the lakeshore behind, the road climbs to Karo La (16,500ft), once again opportunities of breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks and vast Tibetan plateau. We should arrive in Gyantse town in mid- afternoon. We check in hotel and after wash and change, we set out to visit the attractions of the town.

Gyantse's major attractions are the Gyantse Kumbum, a magnificent tiered structure that has only one ruined and remote contemporary (at Jonang, 60km north-east of Lhatse ) in the Buddhist world and the Pelkor Chode Monastery. Kumbum and Pelkor Chode monastery share the same compound which ones contained 15 Monasteries of different faiths.

Depending on available time and your interest, we may take a hike to the historic Gyantse Dzong. There is of course history in place, but what attracts most is fascinating views of Pelkhor Chode, the ancient alleyways, and the jagged surrounding peaks. We descend and visit the Tibetan dwellings, and take a peek into their lifestyle.

Overnight: Gyantse Hotel or Yeti Hotel 2**
Meals : Breakfast
Day 05~Gyantse-Shigatse

(12,785 ft., 57miles, 2 ½ hrs.)

After breakfast, we leave Gyantse for Shigatse. About 13 miles before Shigatse, we take Shalu Monastery turn off. Shalu Monastery lies about 5 miles from the main highway. The monastery was built in the year 1000 by Jetsun Sherab Jungne. The architecture of the monastery with a feature of completely Chinese Yuan Dynasty's temple, it is a rare and unique work of art, mixed feature of Tibetan and Han. The monastery enshrines various relics such as religious objects, Buddhist scriptures written on "pattra" leaves, and an important decree of Pagpa, the Sakya abbot.

Upon arrival in Shigatse, check in hotel and after refreshment, we visit the famous Tashilunbo Monastery-the principal seat of Panchen Lama-the second most venerated religious leader of Tibet. The monastery is the landmark of Shigatse and associated with the Gelugpa order and is one of the six great Gelugpa institutions along with Sera, Drepung, Ganden, Kumbum and Labrang. We also take chance to visit the vibrant 'free' market of Shigatse, where we can get good bargains on local handicrafts embedded with coral and turquoise, Tibetan Daggers, Chinese pottery and yak butter and local produces.

Overnight: Van Ray or Gesar Hotel 3*
Meals : Breakfast
Day 06~Shigatse-Tsedang

(186miles, 7 hrs.)

We have an early start today as we have a long day drive to Tsedang. We take the southern friendship highway that runs along the Yarlung Tsambo River.

We bypass Gonggar Airport and arrive in Tsedang late afternoon. Check in hotel and balance of the day is for rest.

Overnight: Snow Pigeon Hotel, 3*
Meals : Breakfast
Day 07~Explore Tsedang and Samye

We explore the highlights of Tsedang. We visit Tradruk Temple, Ruins of Yambulakhang Palace and the ancient Samye Monastery.

Tradruk Temple, one of the earliest temples of Tibet lies about 5 miles from main Tsedang. The temple is contemporary to Ramoche and Jorkhang Temple of Lhasa. It's one of the major attractions of Tsedang. From here, we continue to Yambulakhang Palace-the oldest building of Tibet. It is situated atop a craggy ridge overlooking the patchwork fields of Yarlung Valley and makes an impressive sight with a lovely setting.

Afternoon is for the excursion of ancient Samye Monastery-the first Buddhist monastery of Tibet. Samye monastery is hugely popular among the Buddhist pilgrims from around the world.Built in the shape of universe as described in Buddhist scriptures, the monastery expands in a vast area of more than 25,000 sq m. The monastery features Tibetan, Chinese and Indian style architecture and is among the most important monastery for Tibetans.

Late afternoon, we retrace drive to our hotel in Tsedang.

Overnight: Tsedang Hotel
Meals : Breakfast
Day 08~Depart Lhasa

Following an early morning breakfast, you are transferred to the Lhasa Gongaar airport in time for flight to your next destination. You have option to fly to Kathmandu (Nepal) or any other Chinese cities. Flights to Hongkong or Bangkok can be connected from Chengdu.

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Trips 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.

Trip Does Not Include

  • International and internal air fare. Internal airfare is billed separately
  • Airport Taxes.
  • Chinese visa fee. You will have to apply Chinese visa beforehand
  • Lunch and dinner except as indicated.
  • Drinks, tip and other expenses of personal nature.
  • Travel Health Insurance.
  • All extra expenses caused due to nature or unforeseen events.
  • Excess baggage charges.
  • Tipping and items of personal nature such as drinks, laundry, internet usage etc.

Chinese visa and permits

Remaining validity of your passport must be minimum 6 months after your trip. Make sure you have enough blank visa pages for visa sticker, entry and departure seals.

Traveling via mainland China

Apply Chinese visa in your country and provide us a copy of the visa and photo page of the passport minimum 45 days prior your trip date. For some good reason, DO NOT disclose your Tibet intention otherwise 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, such as Chengdu or Beijing where you need to arrive minimum a day before your flight to Lhasa. Tibetan tourism does not allow shipping permits to the foreign address. You will need to present the original 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 traveling 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 your Chinese visa in Kathmandu. We will obtain Visa Invitation Letter for you from Tibetan Tourism Bureau at Lhasa and submit this document with your passport and completed visa application forms at Chinese embassy in Kathmandu. Chinese embassy accepts visa application only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Regular processing takes 3 business days but we can obtain the visa and passport back the same day evening by paying urgent processing fee. While this sounds complicated, we will take care of all these process, leaving you free for sightseeing. Please bring one passport size photo.

Accommodations and facilities

The accommodation will be three star hotels, by local standard. Please, do not compare them with western standard.  Hospitality and professionalism in Tibet are still  underway and so please, do not compare these hotels with western hotels.You will have private bathroom with running hot and cold water. In case you experience any issues in your room, we request your patience and please report the housekeeping or ask your guide for help.

Food

Tour cost includes breakfast only. Hotel restaurants cater Chinese, Tibetan, Indian, Nepali and western style breakfasts. Lunch and dinners are not included and so you should allow US$ 10-12 per meal in regular tourist standard restaurants and few dollars more if you eat in your hotels. We can arrange set meals for groups on your request. Restaurants in town cater wide ranges 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.

Transportation

Tibetan roads are now greatly improved and so 4WD vehicles are no longer required 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.

Guide

You will be accompanied by experienced and knowledgeable English speaking local Tibetan Guide throughout the tour. Besides, leading you on sightseeing excursions, your guide helps you check in 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 main 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 go away within a few days. 

It's strongly recommended that you start some physical exercises like jogging, swimming, cycling, hiking and aerobics about several weeks ahead of the trip that helps you keep fit and lessen the chance of getting altitude sickness. You should have a good sleep the night before you fly in to 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.

International/Internal Airfare

The trip does not include any airfares but we can help you book the airfares. Because you need to pick up Tibet entry permit locally, you need to plan to arrive in Beijing or Chengdu minimum one day before your flight to Lhasa. You can collect Tibet entry permit when you check in your hotel in Chengdu (or Beijing). Hotel in Beijing or Chengdu is not included but it's easy to book an airport hotel online. Ask your travel adviser for suggestion.

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. A deposit of US$300 on land plus the cost of internal airfares is requested along with complete trip application form and passport copies.

Balance Payment

Balance payment is due 90 days prior to your departure. Depending on the number of applicants, we may set an early payment date. If balance of payment is not received by the requested date, we reserve the right to cancel your booking without prior notice

Cancellations

  • 90 days prior departure: Administrative fee US$ 150 per person.
  • 60-89 day's prior departure: US$ 250 or 25% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • 45 days to 59 days prior departure: US$ 450 or 50% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • 30 days to 44 days prior departure: US$ 600 or 75% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Less than 30 days: 100%.

Travel Protection Plan

While we plan and do our best to make your trip smooth and seamless, 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. that may cause interruption or delay or total cancellation 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 get ill or involve in an accident when you are traveling in remote areas. Far & High’s Tour cost does not cover any of these expenses or losses and so we strongly recommend you that you should protect yourself and your travel investment against those unfavorable conditions.

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Tel: 1 612 605 4428
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