The Classical: Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse (6days)

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In this tour, we will explore the major monasteries and sacred sites under the guidance of our guide though overland drives across spectacular mountain ranges. Pilgrims from all over the country frequent the city Lhasa, the political and religious center of Tibet. Together with them we visit Potala Palace the holy land and landmark of Tibet, and Jokhang the holiest monastery in Tibet. Then we will pass by the beautiful Yamdrok Lake and cross over the Karo La (5.010 m) and Simi La before we reach Gyantse and Shigatse, where we visit the famous monasteries Pelkor and Tashilunpo separately.
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Detailed itinerary:
Day 1: Arrive in Lhasa

Highlights: Sightseeing along the way from Gonggar Airport to Lhasa City.

Welcome to Tibet! The guide will meet you at Gonggar Airport, and transfer you to Lhasa city with about 1 hours' driving (70km). Upon your arrival in Lhasa, you will find air is extremely pure and the sky is deeply blue. Transfer to the hotel. Better not do any activities at the first day, as the city is at an elevation of 12,000 feet, you may feel the effects of its high altitude. We strongly recommend that you plan on a minimum of two hours of bed rest upon arrival to help you acclimatize, and be sure to drink plenty of water during your time in Tibet. Afterwards, a lecturer will enlighten our group about Tibetan history and folk customs.

Day 2: Lhasa sightseeing

Highlights: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple

The first day of sightseeing starts from Lhasa's cardinal landmark- Potala Palace, a structure of massive portions. This Eastern architectural triumph was the world's tallest building before the creation of 20th-century skyscrapers. Afterwards, Some 2km to the east of the Potala is the most revered religious structure in Tibet, the 1,300-year-old Jokhang Temple, where we are likely to see Buddhist pilgrims making clockwise circuits on their hands and knees in reverence to one of Tibet's most sacred sites. Then walk on the Barkhor street surrounding Jokhang, a big free market with its prolific stalls for selling local specialties.

Day 3: Lhasa sightseeing

In the morning visit Drepung monastery the sacred land of Gelug Sect., which was established in 1416 and the second, third and fourth Dalai Lama once resided in. In the afternoon visit Sera monastery, which was created in 1419 and has always been an important Buddhist seminary. As rose are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called “the court of wild rose”. Today still 200 lamas live in there. After that have a visit to Dickey (Deji) Orphanage of Lhasa.

Day 4: Lhasa/Gyantse/Shigatse (360 km)

Highlights: Yamdrok Yumtso Lake, Pelkor Monastery and Kumbum Stupa

In the morning drive to Gyantse along the Kyichu River. On the Kamba La (4.796 m) have a fantastic view of the holy lake Yamdrok Yumtso (4441 m), one of the three holy lakes in Tibet and the largest habitat of waterfowls in south Tibet. It is worth visiting since it is called turquoise lake because of its beautiful view. Afterwards pass by the 5.010 m high Karo La and the Simi La to Gyantse (approx. 3.950 m). In the afternoon visit Pelkor Monastery as well as the splendid Kumbum Stupa (100-Thousand-Buddha Pagoda) nearby, both of them built in the15th century and situated in the northwestern edge of Gyantse. In the afternoon drive about 90 kilometers to Shigatse (3880m), the second largest city with 40,000 inhabitants in Tibet and the traditional capital of the Tsang.

Day 5: Shigatse/Lhasa

Highlights: Tashilumpo Monastery

In the morning visit Tashilunpo monastery of Gelug Sect, the seat of the Panchen Lama built in 1447 and one of the six grand monasteries in Tibet. The monastery houses a giant statue of the Maitreya Buddha, the biggest gilded statue of Maitreya (Buddha of the future) in China, and a tomb of the 4th Panchen Lama containing masses of jewels and gold. Today 600 monks live in the monastery. In the afternoon drive back to Lhasa (approx. 290 km).

Day 6: Tour ends

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