Central Tibet Tour - 10 Days
The Yumbulakhang Palace is situated about 12 kilometers (7 miles) south of Tsedang, built by King Nyatri Tsenpo who is believed to have descended from heaven. An amazing sight from any angle built on top of a hill with views of the entire region and thought to be the first building in Tibet. Yumbulakhang is the palace for the 1st Tubo King Nyatri in the Yarlung River Valley. It is also called the Mosher and Song Holy Hall. Yumbulakhang built in the 2nd century B.C. and is standing on the top of a hill on the east bank of the Yarlung River in the southeast of Nedong County. The palace can be divided into front and back parts. The front part is a three-storey building, while the back part is a castle like tall building. Enshrined in the shrine are the statues of Thiesung Sangjie Buddha King Niche, King Songtsan Gampo and the Tobu Kings after them. The legend goes that the "mysterious object" was on the roof of the castle, so Buddhists regard this area as the sacred-land. Situated about 12 km south of Tsedang, Si the first palace built by the Tibet and for their first recorded king Nyatri Tsenpo, who is believed to have descended from heaven. It is a 05 storied fortress-like dwelling built on the spur of a bill that commands an impressive view of the entire fertile valley. It was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and the present structure is an exact replica of the original rebuilt 1982. This ten days tour in Tibet will takes you to all the highlights of central Tibet. Following a circular route from Tsedang to Lhasa we explore the Yarlung Tsangpo valley, the cradle of Tibetan civilization, and then preceding on the southern route past Yamdrok Lake (Turquoise lake), to the historical towns of Gyangtse and Shigatse. From Shigatse we take the Northern route through the scenic, rugged Tsangpo river valley, culminating our tour in Lhasa, the once forbidden city. In Tsedang visit Samye the oldest Monastery in Tibet and the Yumbulakhang, castle of the Tibetan Kings. In Shigatse you will visit the great Tashilhunpo monastery and at Gyangtse the multi-storied Kumbum Stupa. In Lhasa you will visit the famous Potala Palace and Norbulingka summer palace, the great monastery of Drepung, the Jokhang Temple and walk through the bustling Barkhor Bazaar. Choices of hotels are available in Lhasa and best hotels in other places. This is the most comprehensive tour package to see all the fascinating places of Tibet.
Trip Outline/ 10 days
Day 1: Arrival/ Acclimatization
Day 2: Lhasa sightseeing visit Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple (three star hotel, Dhougu Hotel or Shangbala Hotel)
Day 3: Lhasa sightseeing visit Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery (three star hotel, Dhougu Hotel or Shangbala Hotel)
Day 4: Lhasa- Samye Monastery (140 km, visit monastery and stay overnight at Samye Monastery Guest House)
Day 5: Samye Monastery- Tsedang ( 50 km, visit Yumbulakhang, Traduk Temple, overnight at Tsedang Postal Business Hotel)
Day 6: Tsedang- Gyangtse (Yamdrok Lake, Kumbum Stupa and Gyangtse Monastery, overnight at Gyangtse)
Day 7: Gyangtse- Shigatse (90 km, visit Tashilhunpo Monastery, overnight at Shigatse 3 star hotel or 4 star hotel)
Day 8: Shigatse- Namtso (overnight in the local guest house)
Day 9: Namtso- Lhasa (250 km, over night at three star hotels, Dhougu Hotel or Shangbala Hotel)
Day 10: Lhasa Departure
The detailed itinerary from day to day
Day 01: Arrival at Lhasa
Tibetan tour guide (speaks well in English) and a Tibetan driver picks up you from Gonggar airport and transfers you to hotel in old of Lhasa within 1 an hour of drive. En route you'll enjoy the magnificent views along the Yarlung Tsangpo River. After arrival at your hotel, the rest of the day is free for you to explore the local area and acclimatize yourself to the high altitude.
Day 02: Lhasa sightseeing visit Potala palace and Jokhang Temple
In the morning we visit Jokhang temple and afternoon we will visit Potala Palace (according to you and yours guide's daily plan). Potala palace is remarkable, which was constructed in 637 AD by the great king of Tibet Songtsan Gampo, the first king of united Tibet and later reconstructed and served as winter residence of the Dalai lamas. The Potala Palace in Lhasa was the primary residence of the Dalai Lama until 1959. Today the Potala Palace is a state museum, a popular tourist attraction, and a UNESCO world heritage site. It was also recently named one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World" by the television show Good Morning America and the newspaper USA Today. The Potala Palace is made of two main parts, easily distinguished by their color: the Red Palace and White Palace. The two are joined by a smaller, yellow-painted structure that houses the sacred banners hung on the exterior for the New Year festivals. The rooms inside the palace are identified by numbers as well as names. Jokhang temple for most Tibetan it is the most sacred shrine and important in Tibet. It is in some regards Pan- sectarian, but is presently controlled by the Gelugpa School. It was built in the reign of King Songtsan Gampo during seventh century. Tsuglakhang in Tibetan means house of science of compassion and wisdom, the spiritual heart of Tibet. Tibetan does pilgrimage for days, weeks, months and years to see this holiness of a spiritual centre of Lhasa. Jokhang Temple ("House of the Lord Buddha") in Lhasa is the holiest site in Tibetan Buddhism, attracting crowds of prostrating Tibetan pilgrims and curious foreign tourists every year. It hosts the annual Great Prayer Festival, as well as all ceremonies of initiation for the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lamas. Barkhor Street is a very important pilgrimage destination for Buddhists. Pilgrims come from all corners of Tibet, usually on foot and often performing austerities for penance along the way. The most devout pilgrims cover the last several miles prostrate on the ground. More prostrations are undertaken in the plaza in front of the temple. Before entering, most pilgrims circumambulate the temple on the Barkhor. A sacred path that is also lined with market stalls selling yak butter for offering, meanwhile you can take a Kora (circumambulate) along the street.
Day 03: Lhasa sightseeing visit Drepung and Sera Monastery
In the morning you will visit Drepung monastery and in the afternoon you will visit Sera monastery. Drepung monastery is one of the three great Gelugpa monasteries of Tibet. Drepung is the largest of all Tibetan Monasteries. Freddie Spencer Chapman reported after his 1936 -37 trip to Tibet that Drepung was at that time the largest monastery in the world and housed 7,700 monks , but sometimes as many as 10,000 monks . It was founded in 1416 by Jamyang Choeje Tashi Palden (1397-1449) of Lama Tsongkhapa main disciple. Sera Monastery is one of the great Gelugpa School of learning centre and famous debate session of monks on Buddhist sciences of philosophy, metaphysics, psychology and epistemology. The history of sera monastery is strongly connected to master lama Tsongkhapa (1357-1419) the founder of Gelug order, the much venerated and highly learned Guru in Buddhist sacred scriptures. It was under his divine tutelage that his disciple Jetsun kunchen lodroe Richen Senge established the Sera monastery complex in early 15th century AD.
Day 04: Lhasa- Samye Monastery
We will drive along the Tsangpo River to visit the fantastic Samye Monastery. Samye Monastery is at a distance of 191 km from Lhasa and can be reached in around 3 hours. Built in the 8th century, Samye Monastery was the first Buddhist monastery to be founded in Tibet. It is also notable as the site of the "Great Debate" (792-794) between the Indian Mahayanists and Chinese Chan (Zen) Buddhists. Samye is famous for its sacred Mandala design: the central temple symbolizes the legendary Mount Meru, center of the universe. It is a popular pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Buddhists, some of whom travel on foot for weeks to reach there. Samye Monastery was built in the 8th century during the reign of King Trisong Detsen with the help of the Indian Buddhist masters Padmasambhava and Shantarakshita, whom the king had invited to Tibet to help spread Buddhism. Padmasambhava is credited with subduing the local spirits and winning them over to Buddhism. The first Tibetan monks were ordained here after examination, and are referred to as the Seven Examined Men. Over the centuries Samye has been associated with various schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Padmasambhava involvement makes Samye important in the Nyingma School, but it was later taken over by the Sakya and Gelugpa schools. Today, Tibetans of all traditions come to worship here.
Day 05: Samye Monastery - Tsedang Town
It is at a distance of 50 km from Samye, is one of the third largest cities in Tibet and is located in the Yarlung Valley. Tsedang has been the capital of Yarlung since ancient times and was the seat of the ancient kings of Tibet and, as such, a place of great importance. It is situated near the flank of Mount Gongbori (3,400m) and is home to many ancient ruins. It is known as the cradle of Tibetan's civilization. In Tsedang you can see and explore, Yumbulakhang, Traduk Temple and to see the tombs of ancient Tibetan kings. Stay Tsedang town for over night. Yumbulakhang palace is an ancient palace in the Yarlung valley, according to legend it was the first building in Tibet and the palace of first Tibetan king called Nyatri Tsenpo. It stands on a hill on the eastern bank of the Yarlung River in the Yarlung Valley of southeast of Nedong County, about 192 km southeast of Lhasa and 9km south of Tsedang. Traduk Temple was built in the seventh century which is said be built before Jokhang Temple.
Day 06: Tsedang-Gyangtse
It is at a distance of 330km from Tsedang. On the way to sightseeing, you can see the Yamdrok Lake through Carola pass glacier. Stay at Gyangtse for over night. Gyangtse is one of the most beautiful ancient towns but later destroyed during the British invasion 1903-1904 A Kumbum (Tibetan: "One hundred thousand holy images". The Kumbum or great Gomang (many-doors) chorten at Gyangtse is a three dimensional Mandala, meant to portray the Buddhist cosmos. The Kumbum, like other Mandalas, which are portrayed by a circle within a square, enables the devotee to take part in the Buddhist perception of the universe and can depict one's potential as they move through it. Mandalas are meant to aid an individual on the path to enlightenment. The Kumbum thus each Lhakhangs and each level creates a Mandala, and the entire Kumbum represents a three-dimensional path to the Buddha's enlightenment in terms of increasingly subtle tantric Mandalas.
Day 07: Gyangtse - Shigatse
It is at a distance of 90km from Gyangtse. Visit Tashilhunpo monastery, sightseeing local free market. Shigatse is the second largest cities in Tibet and in particular residence of the Panchen Lama. Is one of the six great Gelugpa institutions, along with Drepung, Sera and Ganden monastery in Lhasa and Kumbum and Labrang in Amdo (modern Gansu and Qinghai provinces). It was founded in 1447 by Gedun Drupa, who was the first Dalai Lama. Tashilhunpo monastery initially isolated from mainstream Gelugpa affairs, which where center in Lhasa region. The monastery’s standing rocketed, however when the fifth Dalai lama declared his teacher –then the Abbot of Tashilhunpo –to be manifestation of Amitabha the Buddha of infinite light. Thus Tashilhunpo became the seat of important lineage: the Panchen (great scholar) lamas. The monastery has a very high profile as the largest functioning of monastic institution Tibet. Monks here can be some what cool. Stay at hotel Manasarovar over night
Day 08: Shigatse -Namtso
Namtso is at a distance of 337km from Shigatse. On the way you will pass Shugu La over 5600 altitude from sea level and you can see the awesome snow peaks. Namtso is the largest saltwater in Tibet and one of the most beautiful natural sight in Tibet. It is over 70km long, reaches 30m at its deepest point. When the ice melts in April, the lake is miraculous shade of turquoise and there are magnificent views of the near by mountains. Namtso is renowned as one of the most beautiful places in the Nyenchen Tangla mountain range. Its cave hermitages have for centuries been the destination of Tibetan pilgrims. A surfaced road across Laken Pass at 5186 m was completed to the lake in 2005, enabling easy access from Lhasa and the development of tourism at the lake. It is often incorrectly written that Namtso is the highest lake in Tibet (or even the world). Namtso is the highest lake in the world with a surface geographically area of more than 500 km. Stay over night in a guest house near by the lake and enjoy the evening view of the miracle sun set.
Day 09: Namtso-Lhasa
Leave from Namtso by driving back to Lhasa. On the way you can experience the taste living in the tent discussing with your guide. You can discuss with the guide and driver wherever its good view to take the picture of the northern grassland. Meanwhile you may see some nomad people who are looking after their yaks for grazing. You can stop regarding to the driver's parking for the security. Then after reaching Lhasa it’s your free time to explore the rest of Lhasa as relating with your desire or free shopping time for you before you leave from Tibet.
Day 10: Lhasa Departure
Today is your last day in Lhasa city and say good bye to your private local guide and driver. They transfer you to the airport/train station in time for your flight/train. We would love to send you all our best wishes for your continue happy journey.