Tibet Exploration Tour

7 Days Lhasa/ Gyangtse/Shigatse/ Lhasa

People should visit Tibet at least once in their lives. It is only there that you will feel: how low the sky is, and how high the mountains are. This great Tibet tour is not long, but it is perfect for you to explore Tibet for the first time. It includes all the classic attractions in Tibet. Visiting Potala Palace inside, touching the Yamdrok Lake, strolling at Barkhor Street, you will be impressed by the stunning views of Tibet and the devotion to Buddhism of Tibetans. Experiencing the daily life of locals is also included in the below itinerary. This itinerary will be the best Tibet Tour that will purify one's soul and make you happier in the future.

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Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Lhasa
Yarlong Tsangpo River

When you arrive in Lhasa, your local tour guide, driver, and a private car will be ready to serve you.

Your guide will help you to check in at your hotel for a trouble-free start on your tour. On the way, the spectacular views of Yarlong Tsangpo River will present themselves to you. The rest of the day is up to you, and you could acclimate yourself to the high altitudes.

Lhasa is the capital of Tibet. It is also known as the Sunshine City because the sunshine duration is more than 3000 hours throughout the year. With a population of about 550,000, Lhasa has the smallest population among all provincial capital cities in China. Even so, there are flights to all first-tier cities in China in Lhasa Gongga International Airport. So you will have very many choices in terms of flights.

Yarlung Tsangpo River
Yarlung Tsangpo River
Day 2 Lhasa
Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street

In the morning, your guide will meet you at your hotel lobby, and your Tibet travel will start!

You will first visit the Potala Palace. The Potala Palace is located at Red Mountain with an altitude of 3,700 meters in the center of Lhasa. In the thirties of the seventh century A.D., Songtsen Gampo, the thirty-third leader of the Tubo tribe and the founder of the Tubo Kingdom, moved the capital to Lhasa. Then he built the Potala Palace as the royal palace. There are many legends about the Potala Palace. One legend has it that there are countless treasures buried under the Potala Palace, including gold, jewelry and Buddhist treasure, but no one can find them. Even if you are lucky enough to find the entrance, no one can come out of it. 

And then, you will visit Jokhang Temple. With a history of more than 1,300 years, Jokhang Temple is the most glorious surviving building of the Tubo period in Tibet. Jokhang Temple has a supreme status in Tibetan Buddhism. In the Jokhang Temple, you can see the exquisite statues of Songtsen Gampo and his beloved wife, Princess Wencheng. For Tibetan people, Songtsen Gampo and Princess Wencheng are bodhisattvas who turned into a king and a queen to save the Tibetans from hunger and poverty. Therefore the statues and paintings of them both can often be seen in Lhasa. Jokhang Temple is the main pilgrimage place for Buddhist believers. There are a lot of Buddhists in the morning every day.

And then you will walk along Barkhor Street. Barkhor Street is a famous pray road and commercial center in Lhasa, which has preserved the traditional appearance of the old city. There are wooden chairs on both sides of the street. Sitting on the chairs, you will see the Tibetans praying and kowtowing quietly. The piety of locals will impress you.

Potala Palace
Jokhang Temple
Day 3 Lhasa
Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, Norbulingka

In the morning, your local guide will meet you at your hotel lobby, and we will discover two monasteries and one garden today.

You will first visit Drepung Monastery. It is one of the three major monasteries of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism, is also the largest monastery in Tibet. There are many Buddhist festivals being held here every year. On June 30th of the Tibetan calendar, an annual Sunning of the Buddha Ceremony will be hosted in Drepung Monastery. This is to celebrate an important Buddhist festival, Shoton Festival.

After lunch, we will visit the Sera Monastery. Sera Monastery was built in 1434 and is one of the six main monasteries of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism. The most distinctive event at Sera Monastery is the daily debating Buddhist scriptures at 3 pm. In the shade of the trees, a group of monks dressed in red robes debate with looking angrily at each other, or waving rosary beads in their hands, or standing on one foot and clapping their hands vigorously. You might have thought they were fighting. In fact, debating the Buddhist scriptures is a method of study, a system of examination, and a way to clarify the doctrines.

Next, we will visit Norbulingka. “Norbulingka” means “precious garden” in Tibetan. It was built in the 1840s and is a typical Tibetan-style garden where the Dalai Lamas spent their summers in ancient time. It is the largest, most scenic, and most monumental garden among all artificial gardens in Tibet. After the Lhasa city tour, you will be transferred back to the hotel.

Shoton Festival: The Shoton Festival is an important festival for Tibetans and Tibetan Buddhism. “Shoton” means yogurt in Tibetan. Every year, from April to June in the Tibetan calendar (around from mid-May to mid-August), insects come out due to the warm weather. If the monks walk down the hill during this period, it is inevitable that they will step on and kill insects on the way, which is against the Buddhist precept of "no killing". Therefore, the precepts of the Gelugpa school stipulate that monks can only chant sutras in the monastery between April and June of the Tibetan calendar. At the end of June, the monks are allowed to leave the monastery and descend the mountains. and the Buddhist believers will treat the monks with yogurt along the way. This is the origin of the Shoton Festival.

Drepung Monastery
Sera Monastery
Day 4 LhasaGyangtse
Yamdrok Lake, an ancient Tibetan village

Today we will drive to Gyangtse. Gyantse is 270 km southwest of Lhasa. It needs to drive for about 5.5 hours. After a 2.5-hour drive, you will enjoy the spectacular view of Yamdrok Lake. Yamdrok Lake is a must-visit attraction to Tibet. It is a holy lake to the locals. Yamdrok Lake is decorated with many small islands where you can see many wild animals on them. In summer, you may also see wild Tibetan antelope and foxes on the plain of the lakeside.

Due to the condition, you will have simple lunch. In the afternoon, we will go to an ancient Tibetan village and you will see traditional Tibetan-style houses. You will also see the real life scenes of local Tibetans. 

After arriving in Gyangtse, you will first check in the hotel. In the Tibetan language, Gyangtse means “the peak of victory”. Gyangtse is one of the famous national historical and cultural cities and is also an emerging tourist town. One of the specialties of Gyangtse is the traditional carpet. The carpet weaving industry has a history of more than 600 years in Gyangtse. During the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1912), Gyangtse carpets were the main tribute paid by local Tibetan government officials to the imperial court in Beijing. If you have any chance to see it, you will be impressed by its exquisite patterns and a special craft.

Ancient Tibetan village
Yamdro Lake
Day 5 GyangtseShigatse
Pelkor Monastery, Tashilunpo Monastery

Today we will first visit Pelkor Monastery. Located in the western suburbs of Gyangtse, it was built in 1418. Pelkor Monastery is the only monastery in which three major sects of Tibetan Buddhism (Sakya sect, Shalu sect, Gelugpa sect) gathered in one. 

After that, we will drive northwest to Shigatse and it takes around 2 hours(95KM). After arriving at Shigatse, we will visit Tashilunpo Monastery. The more than 1,000-year-old Tashilunpo Monastery is the largest monastery of the Gelugpa sect in Shigatse and one of the six major monasteries of the Gelugpa sect. Tashilunpo Monastery is second in size only to the Potala Palace. When you visiting Tashilunpo Monastery, you will find that the guide leads you to move forward clockwise. It is also a local custom to show respect to Buddha.

Tashilunpo Monastery
Pelkor Monastery
Day 6 ShigatseLhasa
local Tibetan family

This morning we will drive back to Lhasa. It takes around 5 hours (275KM). Lhasa is to the east of Shigatse. It’s a long drive from Shigatse to Lhasa, but hopefully, the views will lessen your fatigue! On the last day of your Tibet tour, don’t miss any chance to admire the views of holy snow mountains and glittering lakes on the road. On the way back to Lhasa, you will visit a local Tibetan family. It is a good chance for you to experience Tibetan daily life. After arriving in Lhasa, you will check in the hotel and have a rest.

Tips for visiting a local family:

  1. Don’t touch any religious objects in the house.
  2. If you want to take pictures inside the house, you need to ask the owner's permission.
  3. If the host presents a gift to you, accept it with both hands to show respect and gratitude.
  4. When seated indoors, sit with your legs crossed, not with your legs stretched out.
Day 7 Lhasa
Fly back to your sweet home

Your Tibet tour is coming to an end. This morning you are free to explore Lhasa city. Your guide will take you to the airport on time according to your flight schedule and assist you with check-in. I believe this impressive Tibet tour will make your life different.

Editor: Summer Hou

Proofreader: Betsy He

This tour ends here
Tour Map
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Lhasa Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa Thangka hotel
Shigatse Qomo Langzong Hotel Shandong Building
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