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Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse


7 days 6 nights

Code TCT74

Category Tibet Classic Tours

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

Overview

Lhasa, Gyantse, and Shigatse are the most visited towns in Central Tibet. Lhasa is the capital city and is the heart and soul of Tibet. It is the Mecca for Tibetan Buddhists. Lhasa, meaning "sacred earth" in the Tibetan language, used to be the most reclusive city on earth and remained shrouded in mystery and secrecy until the early 20th century. Today, Lhasa has gone through a vast technological change but the mystique still exists in the palaces of Dalai Lamas, Monasteries, and Tibetan quarters.

After spending 3 days touring in and around Lhasa (by then you are properly acclimatized to the altitude), you will be driven on the high roads of the Tibet Nepal Friendship Highway, crossing several high passes that includes the Kamba La (15, 700 ft.) and the Karola (16,500 ft.) and stop for the night in the towns of Gyantse and Shigatse. Here you will visit the major temples and Monasteries. The journey along the shores of the holy Yamdrok Tso Lake is probably the most memorable on this trip. The vast plains of Tibet and the views of snowcapped mountains across the horizon are just superb. The road passes through several small picturesque villages where you will have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the local lifestyle.

While you are visiting the major cultural and historical sites, you may also get the chance to do some small hikes on the pilgrimage path around the Monasteries, as well as visit Tibetan families, schools, and browse the flea markets.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Arrive in Lhasa

(Alt 3,595m/11,792 ft.)

Flights to Lhasa arrive from Kathmandu (Nepal), Beijing (China) and other major cities of mainland of China. Flights from Bangkok or Hong Kong may need a change in Chengdu or other cities.

Upon arrival, you are met and greeted by Far & High's local guide and you are transferred to the hotel in the city (1 hr.). Check into your accommodations and take rest for acclimatization. Obviously, you will experience some mild symptoms of the altitude sickness such as headache, dizziness, disorientation, breathlessness, etc. but it should go away in a day or two. Please drink plenty of water and consume liquid food. Take enough rest and do not overly exert yourself.

Overnight at hotel.

Day 02~Visit Potala Palace and Sera Monastery

Today you will have a full day sightseeing in Lhasa. You will visit the Dalai Lama’s Potala Palace, which is the landmark of Lhasa. The palace used to be the power center of Tibet until Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959. The palace still stands with all its glory and attracts visitors from all over Tibet and the world.

Next, we visit the Sera Monastery, which is the last of the three Yellow Sect Monasteries to be built in Lhasa. If you are a hiking enthusiast and if you are well acclimated, you may opt for 1 to 2 hours of hiking on the pilgrimage path around the monastery. Usually around 3.30 to 4 p.m. Sera monastery holds monks debating ceremony which is quite interesting and we will take chance to attend the debate.

Overnight at hotel.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 03~Visit Drepung monastery, Norbulingkha Gardens and Jokhang Temple

Today, you will visit the Drepung Monastery-the largest, richest, and the most powerful of the three major Yellow Sect monasteries of Tibet. Drepung served as the power center of Tibet before the 5th Dalai Lama moved into the Potala Palace. At Drepung, you will visit the Ganden Palace, the main assembly hall, and the colleges of Drepung. Hiking enthusiasts also can attempt one hour hike on the pilgrimage path of the monastery.

Next, we visit the Norbulingkha Gardens with the summer retreats of Dalai Lama. The palace of the 14th Dalai Lama is the major attraction here. We will have access to the private chamber of the 14th Dalai Lama.

After lunch break in Barkhor Street, we will visit the ancient Jorkhang Temple that lies in the old Tibetan quarter of Lhasa. This temple is regarded as the most sacred and important temple in Tibet. Here you will see many Tibetans in local dress spinning their prayer wheels, prostrating themselves, every few paces, as they make their way around the outside of the temple or at the temple entrance and the Barkhor Street that forms the pilgrim circuit around the Jorkhang Temple.

After visiting the temple, we take leisurely stroll on the pilgrimage path of Barkhor which maintains its ancient Tibetan look. Barkhor is a vibrant traditional market place and religious activities.

Overnight at hotel.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 04~Drive from Lhasa to Gyantse

(13467 ft., 176miles, 6 ½ hrs. drive).

Today, with your guide and driver, you will set off on the high roads of Tibet heading to Gyantse. Gyantse is the third largest town of Tibet and still maintains the ancient Tibetan characters. The journey involves crossing of two high passes the Kamba La (15,700 ft.) and the Karo La (16,500 ft.) and follows the shores of Yamdrok Tso Lake for more than 40 miles. Yamdrok Tso Lake is one of the four holiest lakes in Tibet and has beautiful turquoise water. As you leave the lake shore behind, the road climbs to Karo La (16,500 ft.), once again offering breathtaking views of the mountain and vast Tibetan plateau.

You will also take side trip of Samding and Ralung monasteries which are less frequented by the foreign visitors.

You will arrive in the Gyantse town late afternoon. We check into our accommodations and the balance of the day is at leisure.

Overnight at hotel.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 05~Drive from Gyantse to Shigatse

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

After breakfast, visit the Pelkor Chode and Kumbum Monastery-the main highlights of Gyantse. The Kumbum Stupa is a landmark of Gyantse and can be spotted from far away. We will also take a short hike to the historical fortress of Gyantse. The fortress offers great views of the town.

From Gyantse, it's less than a 2 hrs. drive to Shigatse, which is the second largest city in Tibet. About 13 miles (20 km) before Shigatse, we will take a 2.5 miles side trip of Shalu Monastery. It was the first of the major Monasteries to be built by noble families of the Tsang Dynasty during Tibet's great revival of Buddhism, and was an important 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 a nice bargain place to buy a Tibetan souvenir.

Overnight at hotel.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 06~Drive from Shigatse to Lhasa

 (186 miles, 5-6 hrs. drive).

After breakfast, we check out hotel and first visit Tashilunbo Monastery before we hit the highway for Lhasa. Tashilunbo Monastery is the principal seat of Panchen Lama- the second most revered religious leader of Tibet after Dalai Lama. Tashilunbo is also among the 6 major Gelugpa Monasteries of Tibet.

For the return journey, we will take the southern friendship highway that follows the Yarlung Tsambo River. The road is rough and a lot of rehabilitation work is going on.

We arrive at our hotel in Lhasa late afternoon. Balance of the day is free for your personal interests.

Overnight at hotel.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 07~Depart Lhasa

You have free time until the airport time. Your guide and driver will transfer you to the airport for flight to your next destination. 

 

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

Dekhang Hotel 3*, Lhasa

Gyantse Hotel 3*, Gyantse

Gesar Hotel 3*, Shigatse

Bramhaputra Hotel 4* or Four Points By Sheraton 4*, Lhasa

Gyantse Hotel 3*, Gyantse

Van Ray Hotel 3*, Shigatse

Shangril-La Hotel 5*,Lhasa

Gyantse Hotel 3*, Gyantse

Qomolongma Hotel 4*, Shigatse

 

Hotels subject to availability.

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1 866 838 5818
(Toll Free from USA & Canada)

612 605 4428 (t)

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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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