Lhasa Valley, also known as Kyichu Valley by locals, is the most enchanting valley on the roof of the world and home to a variety of monasteries. After visiting the iconic attractions in Lhasa like Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Drepung and Sera Monastery, you will traverse along the zigzag road to Ganden Monastery built on the Wangpori Mountain and appreciate the stunning view of Lhasa Valley there. And then, continue the car ride to Tridum to refresh yourself in the famous Tridum Hot Srping and visit Tridum Nunnery a stone throw away. After visiting the stunning architecture of Drigung Til Monastery which is famed for the best sky-burial ceremony of all, you will visit the holy Namtso Lake surrounded by the snow-capped Nyenchen Thanglha ranges and take a bath at Yangpachen Hot Spring on the way back to Lhasa.
Itinerary Day by Day
Day1 Arrive in Lhasa
When you arrive in Lhasa, your tour guide will hold a board with your name on it at the exit to welcome you. A private car will take you to the reserved hotel. You may view the Yarlung Tsangpo River/Bhamaputra River (the longest and largest river in Tibet) and Lhasa River on the way from airport to Lhasa. Then, you can take a good rest at hotel to acclimatize to Tibetan plateau environment.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day2 Lhasa Sightseeing: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and Barkhor Street (B)
Today, you’ll pay a visit to the famous Potala Palace, the world culture heritage. You can explore its audience halls, the jeweled and golden burial chortens (stupa tombs) of past Dalai Lamas, and tremendous number of Buddhist frescoes, thangkas, combinations of mandala, etc.
Then tourists will head to the holiest temple in Tibet, the Jokhang Temple, built during Songtsen Ganpo's reign by Princess Wencheng of Tang dynasty, 647 A.D. Here you can observe sincere pilgrims making prostration in front of Jokhang Temple. While entering inside the temple, you can see the holiest statue of Buddha. Around the monastery is the famous Barkhor Street, where you can do the kora with pilgrims and locals. And then we’ll go to explore the old market and you may have chance to see the traditional jewelry trading between people from different parts of Tibet.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day3 Lhasa Sightseeing: Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery (B)
Today, you will visit two important monasteries in Lhasa, the Drepung and the Sera. Drepung Monastery, the largest monastery in Tibet, was founded by Jamyang Choeje in 1416. Situated at the foot of Gebeiwoze Mountain, it was once home to more than 10,000 monks. Here you can see the biggest monastery kitchen inside and then pay a visit to the Buddhist Sculpture Carving Workshop near Drepung.
After having lunch, you’ll continue to visit the Sera Monastery, which was founded in 1419 by Tsongkapa's disciple Jamchen Choeje. The most interesting thing is to see monks debating in the courtyard at around 3-5 pm in the afternoon. Besides, you can also see the colorful Rock Painting of Buddha and the three sand Mandalas and then visit the Tibetan religious text printing house.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
After finishing the sightseeing, if time allows, you may go with tour guide to visit Tibetan Handicraft Art Center or Tibetan Traditional Medicine Center. Besides, you can also choose to upgrade your tour to enjoy Tibetan Culture Show in the evening (fr. 60USD).
Day4 Lhasa - Ganden Monastery - Tidrum Nunnery (B)
In the morning, you will visit Ganden Monastery about 60 kilometers northeast of Lhasa. Ganden Monastery is situated on the Wangpori Mountain and is one of the “Great Three” Gelugpa monasteries founded by the Great Tsongkhapa in 1409. You can go for Lingkor (circuit) around the monastery, visit the Great Tsongkapa’s meditation cave, and appreciate the beautiful view of Lhasa Valley.
In the afternoon, drive about 100km to Tidrum, a great location in a narrow gorge at the confluence of two streams. You can enjoy the famous medical Tidrum Hot Spring there and visit Tidrum Nunnery nearby.
Stay overnight in guesthouse (dorm bed).
Day5 Tidrum - Drigung Til Monastery - Reting Monastery (B)
Today you will visit Drigung Til Monastery (4150m). It is the leading monastery of the Drigungpa school of the Kagyupa order and hosts about 270 monks. The monastery is on the south slope of a long mountain ridge, and you can get a stunning panoramic view of the Drigung Valley there. Up to the hill of Drigung Til, lies one of the holiest sky-burial site in Lhasa region. Please kindly note that it is forbidden to watch sky-burial ceremony or take pictures of it.
Then head for Reting Monastery. Established in 1057, Reting Monastery has spectacular cypress forest which is said to have developed from the hair of its founder Drom Toenpa. Besides visiting the monastery, you can walk outside of it, hike along the Lingkhor, or visit villages down the Kyichu River Valley.
Stay overnight in guesthouse.
Day6 Reting - Namtso Lake (B)
Today, take the car ride to Namtso Lake one of the three holy lakes in Tibet. On the way, you can see Nyenchen Tangula Mountain Range and lots of nomads with yaks and sheep grazing in the flourishing grassland (in summer). Then you can take a leisurely trek around Tashi Island and enjoy the stunning sunset of Namtso Lake. Finally, we will head to Damxung (or Yampachen) and spend the night there (since the accommodation facilities around Namtso Lake were closed by the government in late 2018). The lower altitude at Damxung and Yampachen shall bring you a sound sleep.
Stay overnight in Dumxung or Yampachen.
Day7 Journey back to Lhasa (220km)
The trip back to Lhasa is relaxing both to body and soul. You will make a stopover at Yampachen, where the famous mineral-rich hot spring will remove your tiredness and get your refreshed. Having enjoyed the joyful time at the outdoor hot spring, you again hit the road to Lhasa. The final leg of the road trip takes you to visit Chimelong Nunnery (Phyirmil Lung Nunnery) and you may have a far view of a sky burial site nearby.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Cultural Tips: Tibetan Buddhists believe that the corpse is nothing but a discarded shell, and offering their bodies to vultures is an offering of generosity back to the earth that gave them life. The master of the sky burial ceremony will perform rituals over the body, summon vultures by burning incense and tsampa, and dispose of the body into pieces. Sky burial is a private and sacred matter, it is not recommended to go to sky burial sites or take pictures.
Day8 Depart from Lhasa
The driver will take you to Lhasa Gonggar Airport or Lhasa Railway Station.
- Tibet Travel Permit and all other necessary permit to Tibet
- All lodging listed in the itinerary.
- Meals listed in itinerary
- Entrance fees of all tourist sites listed in the itinerary
- Local Tibetan English-speaking guide
- Local tour transfer, comfortable tourist vehicle according to group size
- One shared big Oxygen tank in the car
- Tourist accident/casualty insurance
- First aid kit
- Chinese visa
- International flight to and out of China
- Domestic train/flight to and out of Tibet. (We offer domestic train/flight ticket booking service, please contact our travel experts for the details.)
- Meals not specified in the itinerary
- Tips and gratitude to tour guide and driver
- Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks, optional tour activities, etc.
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