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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
No available seat

Overview

Spectacular flight whisks us to the Gongar airport of Lhasa where we meet our Guide and driver and we transfer by 4WD Land Cruiser to our hotel in the city. We have two full days in Lhasa to explore the palaces of Dalai Lama-Tibet's exiled religious leader, major Gelugpa monasteries and the ancient temples. We will take relaxing stroll on the pilgrimage path old town and take chance to visit the orphanage and institute for traditional medicine.

From Lhasa, we head out west on the Tibet Nepal Friendship Highway and visit the two Tibetan towns of Gyantse and Shigatse. We drive over several high passes offering spectacular views of the Himalayas and vast Tibetan plateau. The road follows the shores of holy Yamdrok Tso Lake for more than 40 miles between Lhasa and Gyantse which could be the most scenic drive of this trip. We visit the major monasteries and temples in Gyantse and Shigaste, stroll in the vibrant markets and also stop in the private houses to see the local lifestyle. On the return, we take a different route along Yarlungdzanbo River and visit Tsedang-the gateway to the ancient Yarlung Valley civilization. We visit the Tradruk Temple and Yambulakhang Palace-the oldest building of Tibet. We will also visit the ancient Samye Monastery-the first Tibetan Monastery of Tibet.

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~Flight to Lhasa (Alt 3,595m/11,792 ft.)

Arrival in Gonggar Airport of Lhasa. Meet your Tibetan Guide and driver and transfer by private vehicle to your hotel in the city. Check in hotel and take rest for acclimatization. You are likely to experience mild symptoms of altitude sickness that includes headache, light headedness, 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!

Accommodation in Tibetan managed mid-range Kyichu or similar hotel in Barkhor area.

Day 02~At Lhasa

Today, we will visit Drepung Monastery, Norbulingkha Palaces, Jorkhang Temple and explore the Barkhor Street. Drepung Monastery, situated to the west of Lhasa city, was the largest and richest of the three major Yellow 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.

On our return from Drepung, we stop to visit Norbulinka- the summer palace 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.

The Jokhang Temple, situated in the center of old Lhasa, was original built in 647 AD. It is said the site was chosen personally by the wife of King Songtsan Gampo, the Tang Princess Wen Cheng. It was built by craftsmen from Tibet, China and Nepal and thus features different architectural styles. The Jokhang is the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest destination for all Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims.

The Barkhor is found in the heart of Lhasa circling the Jokhang Temple. Barkhor means “a pilgrim’s inner circuit”, and is 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 also set up in the Barkhor, and it slowly became a prosperous area.

Accommodation in Kyichu Hotel or similar

Meals : Breakfast
Day 03~At Lhasa

We visit Potala Palace in the morning and afternoon visit Sera Monastery. 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.

Accommodation in Kyichu Hotel or similar.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 04~Lhasa-Gyantse (13467 ft., 176miles, 6 ½ hrs.)

Today, we drive to Gyantse town which still maintains Tibetan characteristics. The journey involves crossing of two high passes Kamba La (15,700 ft.) and Karo La (16,500 ft.) and then follows the bank 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 offering breathtaking views of the mountain and vast Tibetan plateau. We arrive at Gyantse town late afternoon. Gyantse, perhaps is the only major town in Central Tibet which has been able to maintain its Tibetan characteristics. We check in hotel and after wash and change, we set out to visit the attractions of the town.

The town’s principal 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. History is in its 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.

Accommodation in the top end Gyantse Hotel which is a 3 star hotel by local standard.

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 will 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.

Accommodation in Shigatse Manasarovar Hotel, a 3 star stand Tibet and Western joint-venture.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 06~Shigatse-Tsedang (186miles, 7 hrs.)

After breakfast, we check out from the hotel. For the return journey, we take the southern friendship highway that runs along the Yarlung Tsambo River. The road is rough and rehabilitation work is going on. If time permits and if you are not already templed out, we will stop by Yundrungling Monastery in Tradruk. Upon arrival in Tsedang, we check in our hotel and take rest for the day.

Accommodation in the top end Tsedang Hotel, a 4 star property by local standard.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 07~Explore Tsedang

We explore the highlights of Tsedang. We visit Tradruk Temple, Ruins of Yambulakhang Palace and also visit Chongye Valley to see the tombs of ancient Tibetan kings. 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.

For the second half of the day, we have options of visiting either Samye Monastery-Tibet's first Buddhist monastery or the tombs of ancient Tibetan kings in Chongye Valley. Samye monastery is hugely popular among the Buddhist pilgrims from around the world.

If you have interest on Tibetan history, then we recommend Chongye Valley with the tombs of ancient Tibetan kings which are historical sites giving evidences of pre-Buddhist culture in Tibet. Late afternoon, we retrace drive to our hotel in Tsedang.

Accommodation in the top end Tsedang Hotel.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 08~Depart Lhasa

Transfer to the airport (1 hr.) for flight to next destination. You can fly to Kathmandu (Nepal) or Beijing or any other major Chinese cities. You can also fly to Bangkok or Hong Kong via Chengdu.

Service ends.

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Cost 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.

Cost Does Not Include

  • International and internal air fare.
  • Airport Taxes.
  • Chinese visa fee.
  • 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.
  • Optional tipping to local staffs, hotels etc.
  • Items of a personal nature (sodas, alcoholic beverages, laundry, telephone 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. 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

There are all kinds of accommodations in Lhasa but limited choices in other places. We use the best hotels in each category. We offer hotels in three variations. Variation A hotels are usually 3 star hotels by local standard. Wherever possible, we provide 4 start and 5 star hotels in variation B and C respectively and the best available where choices are limited. All hotels provide en suite bathroom with running hot and cold water. Hospitality industry in Tibet is still underway and so Tibetan hotels do not meet western standard. Power outage is common problem in Tibet and if that happens, it may disrupt the supply of hot water.

While variation B & C hotels (4-5 star) provide most modern amenities such as heating, cooling, phone, WiFi, toilet supplies, hair dryer, iron and ironing board etc. Hotels are staffed with friendly locals but except receptionists and wait staffs, others may speak little or no English. 

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$ 8-9 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 Issues

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 lessen within a few days. A supply of bottled oxygen is carried in the vehicle at all times should it be required. Hotels in Lhasa are equipped with oxygen. Doctors will also be available on call.

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.

Clothing/Checklist

During the day a light shirt or jumper and lightweight pants will be suitable, but a warm fleece or sweater is recommended for the evenings and mornings. Night temperatures can fall below freezing point even in summer.

  • Warm fleece top.
  • Thermal underwear (top and bottom).
  • Cotton shirts (short and long sleeved).
  • Warm and cotton trousers.
  • Sun polarized sunglasses.
  • Beanie or warm woolen hat and gloves.
  • Scarf (to keep out dust as well as cold).
  • Sandals (flip-flops).
  • Towel.
  • Rain and wind proof jacket.
  • Strong sun cream and lip protector.
  • Moisturizer.
  • Water bottle.
  • Camera (and plenty of film and spare batteries).

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. A deposit of US$200 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.

Accomodation

Snow Pigeon Hotel 3*, Tsedang

Dekhang Hotel 3*, Lhasa

Gyantse Hotel 3*, Gyantse

Gesar Hotel 3*, Shigatse

Tsedang Hotel 4*, Tsedang

Bramhaputra Hotel or Four Points By Sheraton 4*, Lhasa

Gyantse Hotel 3*, Gyantse

Van Ray Hotel 3*, Shigatse

C (5*)

Tsedang Hotel 4*, Tsedang

Shangril-La Hotel 5*,Lhasa

Gyantse Hotel 3*, Gyantse

Qomolongma Hotel 4*, Shigatse

 

Hotels subject to availability.

 

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(Formerly Highland Asia Travel)

United States

8030 Old Cedar Ave S, Suite 123
Minneapolis, MN 55425
Tel: 1 612 605 4428
Fax: 612 807 1137

Nepal

Kapoordhara, Samakhusi, Kathmandu
Tel (977 1) 4351780, 4381823
Fax +977-1-4381369

Bhutan

KMT Building, Nordzin Lam, Thimphu
Tel (975-2) -329098 / +975-77204087
Fax (+975) 2 337004

Tibet

B5-1-2, B3 dong, Renchen garden,
No 13 Jiangsu road Lhasa Tibet China.
Tel: +86-(891)-6836609,
Fax: +86-(891)-6836619


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