• Tibetans praying at Jokhang Temple in Lhasa in Tibet, China. Pilgrims from all around Tibet come to this temple, the most important religious building in Tibet.

Classic Tibet Travel Package

This fully packed Classic Tibet Travel Package will allow you to discover a wide array of aspects of Tibet; cultural and religious landmarks, small towns and their friendly locals, lively markets. You will go from high mountain passes with stunning views of glaciers down to a holy, azure lake. You will go through barren, sandy lands to fertile plains in a loop that will first take you east from Lhasa to Samye and Tsetang and then west to Yamdrok Lake, Gyantse and then Shigatse, the second largest city of Tibet, before following the Yarlung River back to Lhasa.

Man in the countryside in Tibet, China

Day 1: Arrive at Lhasa Gongkar Airport & transfer to Lhasa City (3658m / 60kms)

Our local Tibetan guide and driver will welcome you at the airport with a traditional Tibetan white Katak (scarf) and escort you to your private vehicle. You will cross the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra River) stopping by an enormous thousand year old carved Buddha.

Day 2: Highlights of Lhasa

The Potala Palace is Tibet’s most recognisable building. Overlooking the holy city of Lhasa, it proudly stands high with 13 floors and over one thousand rooms. Winter palace to successive Dalai Lamas, it was built in the 1600s on the site of an even older fortress. The Potala Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, China

After a local Tibetan lunch, you will explore Tibet’s most important religious structure; the Jokhang Temple. Having attracted religious devotees from all over Tibet for centuries, the Jokhang Temple is the highlight for many pilgrims.

Pilgrims praying at Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet, China

The Jokhang Temple is often referred to as the "Mecca of Buddhism" and was built under King Songtsen Gampo's rule for his two brides; Princess Wencheng of the Tang dynasty and Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal.

Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet, China

The temple is located in Barkhor Square and is surrounded by an 800 metre long pilgrimage circuit.

Pilgrims around Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet, China

This vibrant area of Lhasa is busy with pilgrims, Tibetan bazaars, tea houses and restaurants.

Barkhor square in Lhasa, Tibet, China

Day 3: Monasteries of Lhasa

We head 8 kilometres west of Lhasa to the foot of Mount Gephel. Today’s first stop is the largest monastery of Tibet; Drepung Monastery.

Monks at Drepung monastery near Lhasa, Tibet, China

Together with the Ganden and Sera monasteries, Drepung is one of the Tibetan "Great Three" Gelug monasteries and was built in 1416.

In the afternoon you will visit Sera Monastery which is renowned for its lively monks’ debates which, if held, you will be able to attend.

Tibetan monks debating at Sera Monastery in Lhasa, Tibet, China

Tibetan monks debating at Sera Monastery

The original Sera Monastery was a huge complex of five structures and was founded in 1419, shortly after Drepung Monastery.

Day 4: Lhasa to Samye Monastery and then to Tsetang (3515m / 160km)

We depart early today, following the Yarlung River that meanders its way down to Bangladesh, cross the river and drive to Samye Monastery which is located on the river’s northern bank about 170 kilometres south of Lhasa. Indulge in the dramatic landscape along the Yarlung River; its deep river valley and yellow sand deposits.

Riverin Tibet, China

Samye Monastery is the first Tibetan buddhist monastery and was built in around 775 under the rule of King Trisong Detsen.

Sankang outside Samye monastery in Tibet, China

Apart from its historical importance, this monastery is also famous because of its unique design with the main hall representing the centre of the universe and temples that surround it representing geographical areas; oceans, continents and subcontinents.

Monks at Samye monastery in Tibet, China

We will have lunch at the restaurant in the monastery and then head to Tsetang, the fourth largest city in Tibet.

Samye monastery in Tibet, China

You will visit Yumbulakhang which is about 10 km south of Tsetang and the first ever building in Tibet. Palace to the first Tibetan King, Nyatri Tsenpo, this fortress stands high on the east bank of the Yarlung River overlooking the Yarlung Valley.

Yumbulakhang in Tibet, China

Yumbulakhang

Next you will head to one of the oldest geomantic temples in Tibet, only the Jokhang Temple was built before it; Tradruk Temple. Built in the 600s under King Songtsen Gampo, its most valued treasure is located in the central chapel; a marvellous thankga (Tibetan painting on silk and cotton) embroidered with one thousand pearls. The thankga is said to have been made by Princess Wencheng, wife of King Songsten Gampo and a historical figure revered in China for having spread culture and civilisation.

Candles in a buddhist temple in Tibet, China

Day 5: Tsetang to Gyantse (3980m / 360km) via Yamdrok Lake

Have your camera ready and fully charged to take some amazing pictures of the dramatic landscape of the Tibetan Plateau. You will go through 3 major mountain passes; Khamba-la (4,370 metres), Karo-la (5,045 metres) and Simi-la (4,200 metres).

views from high up of Yamdroktso lake in Tibet, China

You will drive down from the Khamba-la pass to the bright blue shores of the holy Yamdrok Tso (lake). Enjoy a tasty local Tibetan lunch at the town of Nangarste; a small, dusty town with an amazing backdrop located in the middle of Gyantse and Lhasa. You will then ascend again reaching Karo-la where there are spectacular views of Mount Nojin Kangsang (7191 metres above sea level) and its glaciers.

Yamdroktso lake in Tibet, China

Yak at Yamdroktso Lake

The next stop is Gyantse town. This town’s location is where ancient trade routes once met. It has a fortress that overlooks south toward the Yarlung Tsangpo Valley and once had a 3,000 metre long wall surrounding it.

Day 6: Gyantse to Shigatse (3840m / 90km)

The Pelkor Choede complex is the most important monastery of this town of around 8,000 people.

Tibetan monk in Gyantse monastery in Tibet, China

It is home to the iconic Gyantse Kumbum; a 37 metre tall, 8 story stupa with 100,000 images. It is the largest chorten in Tibet.

37 metre high Gyanste Kumbum in Tibet, China

Another remarkable landmark of Gyantse is its famous fortress; the Gyantse Dzong. One of the most best preserved fortresses of Tibet, construction of its main building dates back to the late 1300s, though originally there was a fortress built there in the 9th Century.

Gyantse Dzong i.e. Gyantse fortress in Tibet, China

Gyantse Dzong

Taking pictures with locals in Gyanste, Tibet, China

Meeting locals in Gyantse

After exploring Gyantse and having lunch there, you will head north through some of Tibet’s most fertile lands where locals grow a wide array of vegetables, barley and wheat.

Tibetan farmer in Tibet, China

Upon arriving at Shigatse, the second largest city of the Automous Region of Tibet, you will visit Tashi Lhunpo Monastery.

Tashilhunpo Monastery Tibet China

Founded in the 1400s, it is the largest religious institution in Tibet, seat to the Panchem Lama and one of the most important Gulukpa monasteries.

Shigatse fortress. Shigatse is the second largest city in Tibet, China

You will then be able to see what daily life is like for Tibetans in Shigatse at the vibrant local market.

Day 7: Shigatse to Lhasa (3658m / 280km)

We will follow the course of the Yarlung River that meanders its way down to Bangladesh, heading east through sandy hills and remote rural settlements. After stopping to visit Rulak Yundrungling you will have lunch at opposite side of the river at the small town of Nyemo that borders the counties of Shigatse and Lhasa.

Cow outside a house in Tibet, China

Once in Lhasa, you will have the afternoon off, a great chance to absorb the atmosphere at local bazaars in Barkhor and purchase some Tibetan souvenirs.

Barkhor in Lhasa Tibet, China

Day 8: End of your Classic Tibet Travel Package

Transfer to the airport or train station after breakfast. Departure time will depend on your train/flight schedule.

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