Destinations: Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, Tsetang, Lhasa
Tibet - A sacred land of myths and mysteries inhabited by the ever smiling people, has not only exerted a magnetic pull upon travelers for centuries but also spies, missionaries, scholars, geographers, mystics, soldiers and cranks, etc. Yet, few intrepid, serious and determined have been able to make it.
Tibet was opened to tourism in 1985. Before this, it avoided influence from the West and this country developed its unique culture and religion independently. Since the spiritual leaders governed Tibet, monasteries and religious institutions were the backbone of power so the importance and prestige were shown by the size and magnificent architecture of these buildings. Tibetan Buddhism contains many elements of their older religion,” Bon Po” which worshipped the sky, moon, sun, fire, soil and even evil spirits and this is why a monastery such as Tashilhumpo contains thousands of unique statues, paintings (thangka), religious and historical books that to visit in detail would take weeks. Pilgrims who often travel long distances to fulfill their vows crowd the Monasteries and wishes and their emotions show that religion still holds a very important place in their daily lives.
It is extremely remote and isolated by the most formidable Himalayan ranges is a fascinating world of timeless splendor, unique tradition and breathtaking scenery awaits all travelers to the Roof of the World.
Fly to Lhasa in the morning taking one of the world's most scenic flights to Lhasa (3,650), flying across the Hindu Range and the valleys of three of Asia's greatest rivers, the Salween, the Mekong, and the Yangtze. Overnight at Lhasa.
Visit the Potala Palace and explore the grandest of its myriad rooms; audience halls; and the immense, jeweled burial chortens of past Dalai Lamas; its chamber after chapel after shrine of statuary, frescoes, and paintings. Overnight at Lhasa.
Visit Tibet's holiest temple, the Jokhang. No place in Tibet attracts so many pilgrims. The Barkhor, Lhasa’s old market, circles the Jokhang. We may also visit Tibet's two greatest monasteries, Drepung and Sera. Drepung once housed 10,000 monks and Sera almost as many. Overnight at Lhasa.
Drive to Gyantse (12,956 ft.), following the Lhasa River to the Tsangpo, the highest river in the world. Visit the Palkhor Chiode, a monastery complex in which each of the four major sects of Tibetan Buddhism had temples and small monasteries. Overnght at Gyantse.
Its immense Tashilumpo monastery is the seat of Tibet's second highest incarnation, the Panchen Lama. After a morning hike, visit the monastery complex, a rambling warren of chapels, shrines, and halls linked by alleyways and steep staircases. Visit the dark and evocative chanting hall and an adjacent kitchen where tremendous vats of Yak butter tea are kept bubbling. Overnight at Shigatse.
Drive to Tsedhang & sightseeing. Overnight at Tsedhang.
Exploration of Yarlung valley. Overnight at Yarlung valley.
Early breakfast and transfer to the airport for flight to onward destination.