Tour of Central Tibet
7 Days/8 Nights
This tour of central Tibet is the ideal trip for those seeking adventure, but only having a short amount of time to spend in this sacred location. The trip explores the central hub of Tibet, including Lhasa, Tsedang and the Yarlung Tsangpo Valley, the Samye Valley, Gyantse and Shigatse. History and religion both blend and come alive as you explore ancient monasteries, see incredible views of the Himalayas and watch traditional traders as they have worked the ancient marketplaces for centuries. There is even an optional train trip through the forbidden region of the Gobi Desert
DAY 1 – Kathmandu to Lhasa and Tsedang – The flight time from Kathmandu to Lhasa’s Gonggar Airport is only 70 minutes, but what a flight. The plane has to rise above the highest ranges of the Himalayas, and from it you will see five of the highest mountains in the world, all above the 8000 meter range. From your flight, you will see Mt. Everest (8848 m), Lhotse (8516 m) Cho-Oyu (8188 m), Makalu (8485 m) and Kangchenjunga (8586 m). Upon arrival at Gonggar Airport, you will be taken to the city of Tsedang where you will visit what is considered the oldest monastery of Tibet: Thandruk Monastery.
DAY 2 – Siteseeing Tour of Tsedang – Tsedang is steeped in ancient history. This was the site of the first of the royal palaces of the old Tibetan kings, and the impressive tombs to these great men still stand today. You will visit Yambulakhang, the first royal palace as well as see tombs that date back 1300 years. After lunch, travel through the majestic Samye valley, visiting Mindoling Monastery which dates back to the 10th century. From here, visit Samye Monastery, which was the first one built in Tibet by King Trison Detsen. It is an architectural marvel in Tibet.
DAY 3 – Samye to Gyantse (elev. 3,950 m/12,969 ft.) – It’s a day of passing through valleys and beside snowcapped peaks as we travel from Samye to Gyantse. A long tunnel goes under the mountain and connects the Samye Valley to the Lhasa Valley. Once through the tunnel, the road climbs upwards to Kamba-La. From Kamba-La comes fantastic views of the famed Yamdruk Tso. This lake is world famous for its turquoise color in the midst of the mountains. Once we arrive in Gyantse, we will tour the ancient fortress high above the city, along with the Kumbum, which is said to contain 100,000 images of Lord Buddha.
DAY 4 – Gyantse to Shigatse (elev. 3,900 m/12,795 ft) – It is about an hour drive today to Shigatse and the Tashilumpo Monastery. We will also visit the Shalu Manstery, which was built in 1000 AD. It has a unique architectural style as it blends Han, Tibetan and Nepali architecture. Tashilumpo Monastery dates back to 1447 AD and is one of the six major monasteries of the Gelukpa Sect of Budddhism. This monastery covers 300,000 square meters and the centerpoint is a statue of Meitreya Buddha 22.4 meters high of copper, the largest statue in the world. This monastery is also the seat of the Panchen Lama. We wil spend the night in Shigatse.
DAY 5 – Shigatse to Lhasa (elev. 3,650 m/11,975 ft) – Today’s journey brings us to the capital city of Tibet as we travel along the northern highway. The road descends down the mountians toward the Lhasa Valley. Today’s journey is about four hours.
DAY 6 – Lhasa – An incredible city along the Kyi-Chu (Lhasa) River. Today is the first day of exploration of the city as we visit the incredible Potala Palace, Norbulinka Palace and finally explore the ancient market of Barkhor Bazaar.
DAY 7 – Lhasa – There’s plenty to see and do in Lhasa, and today will continue visiting the cultural and spiritual highlights of the city. On tour today will be Sera and Drepung Monasteries.
DAY 8 – Departure – Today will be the end of the journey in Tibet. From here, you have many options. Some chose to fly to the main cities of China or return to Kathmandu. One option is the train back through China, which will take in a myriad of landscapes.