DAY 1, 26 AUG 2020. ARRIVAL IN BEIJING
Arrive in Beijing, the capital of the world’s most populous country. Beijing is a fascinating city, a mix between old and new, and a true testimony to the changes and rapid development the entire country goes through. The drive from the airport to the city center reveals old-style communist era residential blocks slowly making way to ultra-modern skyscrapers, accommodating the increase of population, and offices of local and international companies who are taking advantage on China’s rapid development. Arrive at the hotel in the city center, and if time permit, take an orientation tour throughout the city center, where some of the most prominent monumental building telling the story of the city’s old and new. Enjoy a welcome dinner, with a first chance to enjoy local cuisine before reverting to the hotel for a first night in China.
DAY 2, 27 AUG 2020. FLYING FROM BEIJING TO LHASA
Early in the morning leave the hotel and drive back to Beijing airport for the morning flight to Lhasa, the provincial capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Commonly dubbed as the “Roof of the World”, with average altitude of 4900 meters above sea level, Tibet is the highest region in the world, with its provincial capital lying at 3490 meters above sea level. After landing at Gonggar Airport, and meeting the local guide, embark on the long drive to Lhasa. Take the day in a slow pace, to acclimatize to the high altitude. If time (and physical condition) permit, take a leisurely walk around the bustling Barkhor, a circular street encompassing the Jokhang Temple, the holiest temple to the Tibetan people. Join Tibetan pilgrims partaking in the Kora, the traditional circling of significant Buddhist worship sites. For some of these pilgrims this marks the end of a relentless journey, that at times stretches over a period of several months, in which they have walked for hundreds of kilometers to come and pay respect in front of the Jokhang. Completing the walk along the Barkhor, enter the Jokhang itself, built in the 7th century by the forefather of the Tibetan nation, King Songtesen Gampo, and today, home to the Jowo Rinpoche, the most revered Buddha statue to Tibetan Buddhists. The Jokhang has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the year of 2000, and ongoing restoration works are being conducted to bring it back to its old-age glory. At the evening revert to the hotel, for a first night in Tibet.
DAY 3, 28 AUG 2020. TOURING LHASA
Spend the first day of this Tibet private tour exploring the main sites of Lhasa, which to date still signify some of the most revered sites to the Tibetan people. Begin at the Potala, the city’s most prominent structure, rising high above the city. This World Heritage Site was the dzong of all Dalai Lamas from 1645 to 1959. A dzong is a Tibetan style fortress that serves as the residence of the ruler, a religious center, and the place where civil services were provided. To date, one can find within dzongs in neighboring Bhutan a functioning monastery by the local police station, court, and offices of the treasury. Tour the massive site, pause by the elaborately adorned chapels, the gilded tomb stupas of most Dalai Lamas that have passed away, and along the seemingly endless scripture halls, where thousands of Buddha figures are found. Leave the Potala and head to Norbulingka, the summer palace of Dali Lamas. Visit the old residence of the Dali Lamas, and walk amidst the lavish gardens surrounding it, where many Tibetan families enjoy a day out in the sun in the cool breeze coming from the man-made lake right at the heart of the complex. Continue to Sera Monastery, one of the three main religious colleges of the Gelug Pa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, the sect headed by the Dalai Lama. Head straight to the shaded courtyard where ongoing theological debates takes place. These debates accompanied by profound hand and body gestures, indicating the degree of invincibility of the arguments given by the contender. After watching the nearly ecstatic debates, head back to the hotel for a second night in Lhasa.
DAY 4, 29 AUG 2020. LHASA- EXCURSION TO DRA YERPA
Drive out of Lhasa to Dra Yerpa Monastery. Located at the city’s outskirts, Dra Yerpa consists of spiritual retreat caves naturally carved into a steep cliff, where monks used to and still are retiring for extended periods of time, meditate, and explore the path to enlightenment. The site offers not only an interesting visit to these meditation caves, full of Buddhist sculptures and paintings, but also great views over the natural surroundings. End the visit to the monastery with a scenic walk along the kora circling the holy mountain just off the temple complex before making the way back to Lhasa. En route make a stop at a traditional Tibetan village and get a first-hand encounter with the lives of rural Tibetans. Back in Lhasa, take an evening walk to the central city square, offering a view over the Potala which is beautifully lit in the evening. This is also a great chance to mingle with the locals as they come to enjoy some time in leisure at the end of another workday.
DAY 5, 30 AUG 2020. LHASA- THE SHOTON FESTIVAL
Today join the thousands of Tibetans who celebrate the climax of the Shoton Festival. The festival spans over a period of few days, but the undoubtable peak of the holiday is the unveiling of the great tangka (traditional religious painting with mystical motifs) over the walls of Drepung Monastery. After attending this event which occurs only once every year, take to the open-air theater to watch the Lhamo, or traditional Tibetan opera- a colorful and lively show. Roam the streets, the urban parks and other places of public gatherings to enjoy the festive atmosphere, and see the locals as they engage in traditional picnics. In the evening revert to the hotel for a fourth and last night in Lhasa.
DAY 6, 31 AUG 2020. THROUGH YAMDROK LAKE TO GYANGTSE
Leave Lhasa and head for an amazing six days of exploration deep in the Tibetan highlands. Today’s destination is Gyangtse, Tibet’s fourth largest city, located at the junction of the major trade routes between China, India, and Sikkim. Make a stop at Kampala (Gambala) Pass at nearly 4,800 meters (15,728 feet) above sea level for magnificent panoramic view over the holy Yamdrok Lake, with the ever-snowed peaks of Lhagoi Kangri range at its backdrop. Continue driving along the lake’s shores and pause by the small town of Nagarze for noon break. Early at the afternoon arrive at Karo Pass which rises to 5,036 meters (16,622 feet) above sea level. Here, embark on a short hike to the foot of Noijin Kangsang glacier. Late in the evening arrive at the city of Gyangtse, and from the backyard of the hotel enjoy the view of Gyangtse Dzong beautifully lit at night.
DAY 7, 1 SEP 2020. DRIVE TO SHIGATSE
Begin the day with a visit to Palkhur Choide Monastery. Dating back to the 15th century, this is the only monastery in Tibet worshiped by followers of all different sects of Tibetan Buddhism. Within the Monastery nestled the Kumbum, a beautiful three-dimensional mandala portraying the Tibetan cosmos. After walking through the Kumbum, stopping by the different chambers, drive to Rabtse Nunnery. Though Buddhist religion invites worshippers from all genders, the Tibetan Buddhism is mainly governed by male-dominated hierarchy. The nunnery is an excellent opportunity to see those women which have chosen to dedicate their lives to the benefit and the spiritual well-being of the community. Leave Gyangtse for the 90 km drive to Shigatse, with a stop at Shalu Monastery en route. Originally built in 1050, the temple was totally destroyed by an earthquake in 1329 and then reconstructed in 1333. It is known as a center of scholarly learning and psychic training, and its mural paintings are considered to be the most ancient and beautiful in Tibet. Late in the evening arrive in Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest city, and spend the night here.
DAY 8, 2 SEP 2020. FROM SHIGATSE TO SHAGARE
Being the seat for the Panchen Lama, one of Tibet’s spiritual leaders, the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery was initially constructed by the first Dalai Lama in 1447 in honor of his teacher. Visit the vast monastery complex, which seems to be a city within the city, featuring a 26 meters (85 feet) high Maitreya Buddha statue at its center. Continue for a walk through the small local market and then leave Shigatse for Shagare. This is when the mighty Himalaya range would be fully exposed, adding to the overall marvelous views seen through the vehicle’s windows. After pausing by the 5,232 meters (17,165 feet) high Gyatso La, arrive in the small town of Shagare, and check-in the very basic hotel for the night.
DAY 9, 3 SEP 2020. SHAGARE – VIEW OVER MT. EVEREST
The day offers one of the highlights of any trip to Tibet. Wake up very early in the morning, and head through the winding road to view Mt. Everest, locally known as Qomolangma- The Mother Mount. Hopefully, weather would permit good view over the world’s highest peak, and prayers for clear sky are answered. First drive to Gyawula Mountain Pass, rising 5,210 meters (17,093 feet) above sea level for the first chance to get a glimpse over the Everest. If lucky, get in time for a beautiful sunrise. Continue driving to the world’s highest monastery, Rongbuk Monastery, of the most ancient sect of Tibetan Buddhism. At an altitude of 5,100 meters (16, 732 feet), the monastery, lies at the foot of Rongbuk Glacier, serves as home for some 30 monks. Climb to the monastery and enjoy the closest view of Mt. Everest any non-climber could have. In the afternoon drive back to Shagare, for a second night here.
DAY 10, 4 SEP 2020. DESCENDING TO GYIRONG
Leave Shagare and head towards Gyirong Valley. En route stop by the picturesque Paiku Lake, offering a view over Mt. Shishapangma, the world’s 14th highest peak at 8,027 meters (26,335 feet) above sea level. This is the only peak over 8,000 meters which is entirely within the territory of Tibet, and thus, a great source of pride to the Tibetan people. Gyirong valley was, until quite recently, off the charts for most foreign visitors to Tibet. Being the deepest of the five mid-Himalayan valleys, Gyirong is one of the most beautiful valleys of Tibet, and probably one of the most fertile of them all, in contrast to the arid highlands typical to Tibet. After pausing by Kongtang Lamu Pass at 5,236 meters (17,178 feet), and as the vehicle start to descend into the valley, the dry landscape would abruptly change into thick pine forests covering the walls of the dramatic canyon the road drives through. Late in the evening arrive at the city of Gyirong- a very typical border town which has a feel to it as if much more is happening underground than what meets the eye. Set in for the night in a very basic hotel (third in a row, and last one for this trip).
DAY 11, 5 SEP 2020. CROSSING THE BORDER TO NEPAL
The last drive in Tibet would probably be one of the most scenic of them all. Drive through the lower part of Gyirong Valley, enjoying the lush greenery and fertile lands of this lower region as the elevation drops dramatically. At the bottom of the valley drive along the Gyirong Zangboo river, which changes its name to Trisuli once it crosses the border into Nepal. Late in the morning reach the border post between China and Nepal. Though only a tiny bridge over the river separates the two nations, a quick look at the newly constructed terminal on the Chinese side, and the chaotic market-like border post on the Nepalese side tells a lot about the balance of power in the region. After the unavoidable immigration processes on both sides of the border, embark on a six hours’ ride through a rather rough road along Nepalese rural area. Late in the evening arrive in Kathmandu, and if time permit, take a walk through the Thamel- the backpacker’s district at the heart of the Nepalese capital city, before driving to the hotel for the night.
DAY 12, 6 SEP 2020. TOURING KATHMANDU
Leave the hotel for a full day of exploring the Nepalese capital city and its surroundings. Begin with a visit to Boudhanath Stupa, also known as “Little Tibet” due to its popularity with Tibetan pilgrims. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the oldest monuments in the entire Kathmandu Valley. On to Pashupatinath, the main temple of Hindu’s in Kathmandu. Forbidden to all non-Hindus, visitors can sight the cremation ceremonies taking place on the banks of the Bagmati River, right outside the temple. This is also a popular site for Sadhus, those who chose to disengage from materialistic lifestyle, and dedicate their being to spiritual discipline. Just like Boudhanath, Pashupatinath has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1979. End the day at Bhaktapur, locally known as Bhadgaun, the city of devotees. The city is one of three ancient kingdoms that ruled Kathmandu valley in ancient times. It is often referred to as the best-preserved heritage site of Nepal, dotted with sites such as the Fifty-five windows palace, the Nyatapol, the five storied temple- the tallest pagoda style temple, the Royal Bath, Pottery square and Dattatreya temple, all major attractions scattered around Bhaktapur. At the evening return to the hotel in Kathmandu for the last night of the trip.
DAY 13, 7 SEP 2020. DEPARTURE FROM KATHMANDU
After breakfast at the hotel drive to Kathmandu airport for the departing flight out of Nepal.
Dates & Pricing
Tibet private tour rates are quoted in US Dollars and are valid for two confirmed travelers and above.
Note: Tibet private tour rates are valid all year round, but are not valid for trips that occur (in whole, or in part) during Chinese national holidays:
New Year (1-3 Jan 2021)
Chinese Spring Festival (11-17 Feb 2021)
Qingming Festival (4-6 Apr 2020, 2-4 Apr 2021)
Labor Day Holiday (1-5 May 2020, 28 Apr-2 May 2021)
Dragon Boat Festival (25-27 Jun 2020, 12-14 Jun 2021)
Mid-Autumn Festival (19-21 Sep 2021)
National Day Holiday (1-8 Oct 2020, 1-7 Oct 2021)
Discounted rates for groups of 4 travelers and above:
4 travelers- US$3417/ person
6 travelers- US$2912/ person
8 travelers- US$2797/ person
- Applicable only for travel groups of 4 people or more booking their trip together.
26th August, 2020–7th September, 2020
- $4,379 Per Person (From 2 people)
- $798 Single Room Supplement
- Accommodation as per program including breakfasts
- Flight Beijing - Lhasa
- English speaking guide for each region
- Transfers by A/C vehicle
- All entrance fees as per program
- Tibet tour permit
Tibet tour permit requires all travelers to send a copy of their passport's first page & Chinese tourist visa at least 45 days prior to first day of the trip
- International airfare to Beijing and from Kathmandu
- Chinese tourist visa
- Nepalese tourist visa (can be issued on arrival at the Nepalese border for most nationals)
- Travel insurance, or insurance of any kind
- Meals other than those specifically mentioned in the program
- Excess luggage
- Anything not mentioned in the program
- Beijing: Park Plaza Wangfujing 4-star
- Lhasa: Four Points by Sheraton 4-star
- Gyangtse: Gyangtse Hotel 3-star (best available)
- Shigatse: Qomo Langzong 4-star
- Shagare: Qomolangman Hotel 2-star (best available)
- Gyirong: Kyirong Hotel 2-star (best available)
- Kathmandu: Shambala Hotel 4-star
Note: the above listed hotels are tentative, and shall be confirmed only upon confirmation of the trip.
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