Central Tibet Tour
Day 01 Kathmandu-Lhasa: 3600m/11811ft (BB)
Transfer to Airport. An hour flight to Lhasa will enchant you with the spectacular, breathtaking view of the Himalayan Ranges. You will see most of the highest mountains on earth including Mt. Everest.Arrive in Gongkar airport and take a 2-hour drive to Lhasa along the banks of the river Kyi-chu that flows through to Lhasa. The drive will take you to the west of the city at Dongkar, and just west of Dongkar the Potola Palace will be visible from afar. At 3600m, it is advisable to take the rest of the day in leisure in order to acclimatize. You can go around the hotel area for light walk and sightseeing. O/N Hotel
Day 02 Lhasa (3600m) – Potola Palace, Jokhang Temple and Bakhor Market: 3600m/11811ft (BB)
This morning we visit the Potala Palace, winter palace of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, It is a 13th storied complex monument rising to a height of above 117m which houses 10,000 shrines and over 200,000 images and about 1000 rooms. In the afternoon we will take a tour of Jokhang Temple. Jokhang a seventh-century geomantic temple at the heart of Lhasa is the most sacred temple of all Tibet. It is considered to be a Power Place in all Tibet. Queen Bhrikuti a Nepalese princess married to King Songtsen Gampo founded Jokhang Temple and in recognition of Queen Bhrikuti the main gate of the temple faces west towards Nepal. The most impressive structure of the Jokhang Temple is the many chapels surrounding the temple. Later you can walk and shop in the popular Bakhor Square (Bazaar) where Tibetan handicraft items, Buddhist artifacts, carpets, paintings etc. are all in sale for your delight. O/N Hotel.
Day 03 Lhasa (3600m) – Sera Monastery - Drepung Monastery: 3600m/11811ft (BB)
This morning we will drive 5km away from Lhasa to Sera Monastery founded in 1419. It sits in the prettiest and most charming atmosphere at the base of Mount Purbuchok. Sera Monastery used to be an important center for learning where 5,000 to 6,000 monks resided. The most intriguing feature here is the nine-meter image of the Monastery; here one can also witness the practicing debate among the monks, who pitch their knowledge against each other. In the afternoon we will drive 8km northwest of Lhasa to visit Drepung Monastery. It was the residence of the Third, Fourth and the Fifth Dalai Lamas. This winter Palace was the resident of hundreds of monks from all the major Geluk monasteries for staffing individual Chapels. The 20,000 sq m complex has survived unscathed even during the Cultural Revolution. O/N Hotel.
Day 04 Lhasa – Gyantse: 3950m/12956ft – 7 hours (BB)
Leaving Lhasa and a long drive of 261km, taking about 5/6 hours including break for lunch at one of the villages’ en-route. We will drive over two spectacular high passes – the Kampa La at 4750m and Karo La at 5010m, over, and along the beautiful deep blue green Lake called Yamdrok Lake or Turquoise Lake. The landscape of the Tibetan Plateau is truly unusual and spectacular. We will arrive in Gyantse an old Tibetan Town against a backdrop of magnificent 14th-15th century fortresses and temples. Here we will visit Pelkhor Chode Temple, which served the Gelug Sakya and Buluk orders. Here the Kumbum Stupa is an architectural masterpiece built in the style of 108-sided Mandela. It is the most revered stupa in Tibet and houses 112 chapels of which only 23 are open to the public. O/N Hotel.
Day 05 Gyantse – Shigatse: 3900m/ – 2 hours (BB)
After breakfast 2 hours, 90km straight drive to Shigatse the second largest town in Tibet. Shigatse the capital of Tsang Province is 395km west of Lhasa via Gyantse. Shigatse was one of the first towns to be visited by westerners due to close distance with the Indian border. Here, Tashilumpo Palace is the place to visit. His Holiness the Panchen Lama (great scholar), the second highest spiritual figure in Tibet after His Holiness The Dalai Lama. The Fifth Dalai Lama built this artistic Palace. There are about 39 amazing chapels inside the Palace including the huge Maitreya Chapel coated with gold, its workmanship certainly impresses everyone, Tushita Chapel containing one thousand small statues of Tsongkhapa founder of Geluk order. Victory Chapel, which is concerted into a school for study and in side the chapel there is a huge gold image of Tsokapa and his two disciples and also the Tomb of the Tenth Panchen Lama just to name a few. In the afternoon, we will visit the local markets for shopping and local sightseeing. O/N Hotel.
Day 06 Shigatse – Shegar: 4200m/13776ft - 8 hour (BB)
Today we drive 240km. The friendship highway takes about 7/8 hours to reach Shegar. We will lunch in Lhatse, which is about 90km away. Lhatse is a small relatively modern town in the banks of the river Tsangpo. Lhatse Dzong is an old town of Lhatse, where few monastery of Lhatse Chode were founded at the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama. The most significant historical site in Lhatse Dzong is the small meditation cave located in the northern face of Dzong (castle). Shegar is further 90km west of Lhatse. On the dirt highway we will cross the high pass of Gyatso La or Lhakpa La 5220m. On the decent, if the weather permits you will have the first view of mighty Mt. Everest south face and other prominent mountains of the world. O/N Hotel.
Day 07 Shegar – Zhangmu: 2500m/8200ft - 8/10 hours (BB)
Today we drive 370km - 8 to 10 hours to reach Zhangmu. We will pass through Lhatse (4050m), a small relatively modern town on the banks of the river Tsangpo. Lhatse Dzong is an old town of Lhatse, where few monastery of Lhatse Chode were founded at the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama. The most significant historical site in Lhatse Dzong is the small meditation cave located in the northern face of Dzong (castle). Shegar is further 90km west of Lhatse. On the dirt highway, we will cross the high pass of Gyatso La or Lhakpa La 5220m. On the decent, if the weather permits you will have the first view of mighty Mt. Everest south face and other prominent mountains of the world. And Shegar (4200m). Continuing on the way we will probably view one of the most spectacular landscapes including herds of yak and sheep amongst the backdrop of the Himalayas. We will stop at an old village town of Tingri for lunch. People on expedition to Mt. Everest Base Camp take the Tingri South dirt road. On the way to Zhangmu we may catch a glimpse of the majestic Mt. Everest and other peaks over 8000m such as Shisapangma. Today, the difference in landscape is quite special-the barren rugged landscape of Tibet to the mighty Himalayas, where the scenery changes to rich forests, typical of the Nepalese foothills. Zhangmu is a small border town teetering on a precipitous hillside. It serves as the main port of entry into Tibet when coming overland to and from Nepal. O/N Hotel.
Day 08 Zhangmu – Kathmandu: 1300m/4265ft – 5 hours (BB)
After breakfast, we cross the Friendship Bridge into Kodari, Nepal and drive into Kathmandu via Araniko highway. By now, you will have entered into a completely different landscape one which is vastly different from just where you were a few days ago. The Nepali foothills and the greenery will make the drive pleasant and enjoyable. Arrived Kathmandu. O/N Hotel in Kathmandu.