For centuries, Tibet – the Land of Snow Lion and Roof of the World – has had a unique hold on the imagination of the West. This mysterious Buddhist kingdom locked away in the Himalayan mountains was a forbidden land of treasure and riches. Dreamers on a spiritual quest have long whispered of a lost Shangri-la, steeped in magic and mystery.
Featured Tibet Tours
6-day Tibet Tour Sample (can be added as an extension to your Asia tour)
visiting Lhasa – Gyantse – Shigatse
Day 2: Lhasa
Situated in a wide, mountain-fringed valley on the north bank of the Kyichu River, Lhasa (elevation 3700m) is a rapidly expanding city with a population of over 540,000. An important settlement for well over a thousand years, Lhasa was originally called Rasa, but was renamed by King Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century when he moved his capital here from the Yarlung Valley. Following the collapse of the Yarlung dynasty two centuries later, power dispersed among local chieftains and the city lost its pre-eminence. It was not until the seventeenth century, with the installation of the Fifth Dalai Lama as ruler by the Mongolian emperor, Gushri Khan, that Lhasa once again became the seat of government.
This morning we visit the Dalai Lama’s Potala Palace. Afternoon sightseeing at Jokhang Temple, one of the oldest Buddhist buildings in Tibet and a remarkable combination of Tibetan, Indian, Nepalese and Han Chinese architectural styles. No visit to Jokhang Temple is complete without checking out the Barkor Street bazaar outside the temple.
Day 3: Lhasa
Morning visit to the Dalai Lama’s summer residence Norbulinka. This afternoon we tour grand Sera Monastery, where lively debates held Monday to Saturday from 3 to 5 pm between resident monks often draw a large audience.
Day 4: Lhasa – Gyantse – Shigatse
Following breakfast, we drive along the Southern Route to Gyantse (265km). Highlights of the scenic drive include Kambaba Pass (4700 metres/15416 feet above sea level) and the holy lake Yamdrok Yumtso. Every summer throngs of Tibetan pilgrims come to the lake to pray for blessings by the lake fairy. Afternoon sightseeing in Gyantse takes in the Fortress of Gyantse Dzong and Pelkhor Choede. We continue on to Shigatse (90km) in late afternoon arriving at the second largest city in Tibet around dinnertime.
Day 5: Shigatse – Lhasa
This morning we visit Tashilunpo Monastery, the religious and administrative headquarters of the Panchen Lama – paramount leader of the Yellow Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Return to Lhasa via better paved Northern Route (295km). Vast pastureland, barren mountain slopes, snow-capped peaks, blue skies, white clouds, scanty population, and ubiquitous prayer flags – these images combine to conjure a sense of solitude and mystery.
Day 6: Departing Lhasa
Transfer to the airport or train station to continue on to your next destination.
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