- Day 01: Fligth to Beijing / Lanzhou and drive to labrang, 2900mts, 325Km. Night in Civil aviation hotel
Arrival in Lanzhou airport and drive directly towards labrang monastery. The road condition from Lanzhou to Labrang is a very good high way and you will see villages of Chinese Muslim, many small mosques in the village that you will see on the way, a white stupa, and some Tibetan families just before reaching Labrang or Xiahe county.
- Day 02: Labrang, visite and night in same hotel
In the morning, You will visit the Labrang Tashi Kyil , the largest monastery in Amdo. It was founded in 1709 by the first Jamyang Zhepa which was regarded as an emanation of Master Tsongkhapa , the founder of the Gelugpa school . You will also discover the printing house of the monastery where you see the traditional method of printing using carved wooden blocks . The sacred texts will be printed and used in monasteries in the area. You then visit the nunnery of Rabgya Saltenling and a temple ngakpas ( secular order of Buddhist practitioners ) . You can finally walk around the monastery with pilgrims.
- Day 03: Drive to Repkong , 2500mts, 180Km and night in Nuoerbang hotel or similar
After breakfast, you will take a nice road driving to Rebkong ( Tongren in Chinese ) through woodlands and rich pastures with the distant mountain range Amnye Nyemri . Along the way , you can also see herds of yaks and sheep. Arrival in Rebkong. The Rebkong county is a pretty big county and it has more trees, more warmer than Xining or Labrang. It is very popular to Tibetan Thangka arts and there is a town otherside of the river of the county called Senge Shong. It is full of Thangka school monastery where you can visit the Thangka painting.
Affternoon, visit Rebkong Rongwo Gonchen Dechen Choekorling. It was a Sakya monastery originally and later it was converted into Gelukpa. The monastery has a Lama called Rebkong Kyepgon Rinpoche he was the 8th reincarnation of Rebkong Kyebgon Rinpoche. The monastery has around 720 monks nowadays. The monastery has a chapel of Tamdrin Lhakang, Assembly hall, dedicated to the statue of Tsongkapa, Kedrupje and Gyeltsabje as the main object of the monastery. The wall was covered by the cloth wall painting which depicts the life story of the Bhuddha. There are many more chapels of Manjushiri, protector daities, several college, 11 meter maitreya outside the courtyard of the monastery.
- Day 04: Drive Rebkong-Jyakyong monastery- Kumbum, 2500mts,220Km and night at Tsongka hotel
Today, you will be driving through some beautiful Amdo farmers villages including the birth place of Gedun Choepal, a famous Tibetan artist and poet in early 20th century as well as the birth place of another famous Tibetan artist called Dundrup Gyel in the late 20th century.
On the way, visit Visit Jakhyung Shedrubling monastery , an important Gelug monastery of Amdo overlooking the Yellow River. Jakyung monastery is the first monastery of Tsongkapa, the founder of the yellow hat school. Lama Tsongkapa studied there since he was 7 years old.
Arriving Kubum monastery and stay in Tsongka hotel, just opposite of the monastery.
- Day 05: Morning visit Kubum & afternoon to Lhasa by train. ( 1972Km, 22hrs train ride ) Overnight on train.
After breakfast, walk to Kubum monastery and visit Kubum monastery.
Kubum monastery was founded in the 15 th century by one of the Tsongkapa's disciples, Jangsam Sherap Zangpo. It is the largest Gelukpa establishment in the Kham region and the development of the monastery was maintained over the centuries by the successive incarnations of Pakpa Lha whose father Kuchor Toden, had been an actual disciple of Tsongkapa. The most revered object in the monastery are the statue of Maitreya or the future Buddha, Tsongkapa and his two main disciples, Kedrup Je and Gyeltsep Je and the statues of 16 Arhats respectively.
After the sightseeing of Kubum monastery, transfer to Railway station and take the Qinghai Tibetan train.
This is the most beautiful Tibet train trip, starting from Xining, the capital city of Qinghai Tibet Autonomous region, enjoying the fantastic scenery of Qinghai lake ( Kokonor ), Tso Ngonpo in Tibetan, Kunlun mountain range, the no man plateau with many wild animals including the Tibetan antelopes. Crossing the Tanggu La, Tangla Pass, or Tanggu Pass is a wide mountain pass over 5000 metres elevation in the People's Republic of China used by the Qinghai–Tibet Highway and Qinghai–Tibet Railway to cross the Tanggula Mountains.
Passing by Nagqu Prefecture which is the largest prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Nagqu has a total area of 450,537 km². The prefecture is divided into 11 counties and the capital of Nagchu Town is located within Nagqu County. Nagqu is bordered to the Golmud to the south and Ngari to the west and Lhasa to the east dominated by Namtso lake, Nyenchen Thangla mountain range.
- Day 06: Arrival in Lhasa railway in the afternoon and transfer to downtown Lhasa, 3650mts. Gang Gyen Lhasa hotel ****
Arriving in Lhasa, the ancient holy city of Tibet and Our guide and driver will be welcomed you at the railway station and transfer to the hotel. Rest in the afternoon.
- Day 07: Sightseeing tour in Lhasa, Potala Palace, Jokang temple, Bharkor Bazar. Gang Gyen Lhasa hotel ****
After breakfast, drive to Potala Palace which will take you 10 minutes from your hotel.
POTALA PALACE, the Potala is considered one of the great wonders of the world. It is held sacred by Tibetans as the former residence of successive Dalai Lamas, and is one of Tibet's most holy pilgrimage sites. A palace was originally built in the 7 th century by King Songtsen Gampo, and was believed to have been nine stories high, but around the 9 th century it is believed to have been destroyed by a big fire. The present Potala Palace was constructed by the great fifth Dalai Lama in the 17 th century after he became ruler of Tibet. The Potala Palace is divided into two sections, the White Palace (completed in 1653) and Red palace (completed 1694). It has more than one thousand rooms and is thirteen stories high. The White Palace was secular in nature and mainly used for government administration, whilst the Red palace was mainly used for religious functions and still has numerous chapels, including those containing reliquary stupas of the successive Dalai Lamas which are richly decorated in gold, silver and semi-precious stones.
Afternoon, visit Jokang temple and Bharkor Bazar. JOKANG TEMPLE the Jokang is Tibet’s most sacred temple, the main point of pilgrims from the entire Tibetan plateau. Located at the heart of the ancient town of Lhasa, it was built in the 7 th century by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo’s queen Bhrikuti on a site identified by Queen Wencheng according to her geomantic calculation. The temple is 3 stories high and it is constructed with enormous chapels including the most sacred statue of Budhha Shakyamuni, enshrined. It has around 70 monks nowadays.
ANCIENT BHARKOR Bazar is the most sacred pilgrimage site in Lhasa and it is full of pilgrims from down till dusk. There are four huge prayer flags situated in Bhakor street which surrounds the Jokang, known respectively as Gadhen Dharchen in the northeast, Juyak Dharchen in the west, Kelsang Dharchen in the southwest and SharKyaring Dharchen in the southeast. The Bharkor street is the most active market in all Tibet and it is possible to purchase traditional Tibetan artifacts, religious implements, antiques, modern goods, books, music, clothing, spices, fresh meat and vegetable.
- Day 08: Visit the two biggest Buddhist college, Drepung and Sera monasteries. Gang Gyen Lhasa hotel ****
After breakfast, drive to Drepung monastery which will take you 15 minutes drive from your hotel. DREPUNG MONASTERY is the largest monastery in Tibet, built in the 15 th century by Jamyang Choeje who is one of Tsongkapa’s foremost disciple. The monastery is beautifully located up in a hill at the distance of 7 Km from the old section of the city and it is the biggest monastery in Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery has four main colleges with numerous small chapels and house chapels, known as Khangtsen in Tibetan. There are around six hundred monks nowadays.
Afternoon, visit Sera and Norbu Lingka.
SERA MONASTERY was founded in around 15th century by Jamchen Choeje who is another famous disciple of Tsongka pa and it is the second largest monastery of Tibet. There are three big colleges with numerous chapels and house chapels. The most attraction to visit this monastery is to see the monks debating which hold from 3-5Pm everyday apart from Sunday.
NORBU LINGKA is the first summer Palace which was founded by the seventh Dalai Lama in 18 th century and the first Palace Kelsang Podrang was also constructed as the same name as the 7 th Dalai Lama, Kelsang Gyatso. The eight Dalai Lama Jampel Gyatso (1758-1804) did more initiated work on the Norbulingka, expending the gardens and digging a lake which can be found south of the new summer Palace. The thirteenth Dalai Lama (1876-1933) was responsible for the three Palaces in the north west corner of the park and the fourteen the Dalai Lama built the new summer Palace in 1956. Nowadays there are some monks who are taking care of the Palace.
- Day 09: Excursion to Ganden monastery and back to Lhasa (3650Mts/120Km) Gang Gyen Lhasa hotel ****
You will start your tour at around 9Am and drive along the Lhasa river dominated by beautiful Tibetan villages and flocks of yaks grazing on the side mountain of Ganden monastery. We will visit the monastery and walk around Ganden monastery, known as Lingkor in Tibetan. Ganden monastery is situated 60Km east of Lhasa and it was founded in the 14 th century by Tsongka pa himself, named after the paradise of the future Budha Maitreya. Ganden was the first and leading Geluk pa monastery, constructed by Tsongkapa himself. The monastery has two main colleges known as Shartse ( east point ) and Jangtse ( North point ) were respectively founded by two of Tsongka pa's closest disciples, Namka Pel Sangpo Neten Rongyelwa. There is also a tantric college, established by another of Tsongka Pa's students. Je Sherap Senge.
- Day 10: Drive Lhasa to Samye monastery (3600Mts/120Km ) Monastery guest house
You will start your tour at around 9Am and drive along the Lhasa river where it joins the Bharmaputra river at Chushur bridge. Drive along the Yarlung Tsangpo river and enroute stop over at Dorjedark monastery.
Afternoon, visit Samye monastery is located 210Km south of Lhasa and it is the first monastery of Tibet, built in 8 th century by the Tibetan King Trisong Detsen under the patronage of Pedmasamvawa and Shatarakshita. Samye's design was based on that of the Odantapuri temple of Bihar in India and is a mandalic symbol of the universe. The central temple represents Mt Meru known as Sumeru in Sanskrit and the temples around it represent oceans, the continents and the sub-continents that surround the mountain in Buddhist cosmology. The monastery has around 170 monks nowadays.
Hike to Hepori cave which will take you around an hour and half to get to the top. From the top of Hepori cave, you will enjoy the most beautiful view of the whole Samye monastery and it’s village. You can also see Chimpu cave in a long distance. Hepori cave was the first cave which was blessed by Padmasavawa or Guru Rinpoche in Tibetan and he used to take meditation there prior to the construction of the Samye monastery. It is also the place where Guru Rinpoche defeated all evil spirits.
- Day 11: Samye to Chimpu cave, hike around and back to Samye (3600Mts/50Km ) Monastery guest house
After breakfast, you will be driving to Chimpu cave at the distance of around 25Km. To visit the cave, you need to walk from the nunnery because you can only drive till the nunnery. Chimpu is the sacred mountain where Guru Rinpoche used to take meditation and the mountain is also called Zangthok Pelri. Nowadays, there are many different sized caves which are usually occupied by the devotee pilgrimages or monks and nuns. They spend more than three years and meditate in a cave without meeting anyone or talking to. Besides Guru Rinpoche, many great masters such as Mahacarya Atisha, Longchenpa, Dakini Yeshe Tsogyel and many ohers have blessed the Chimpu cave and meditated there.
There are more than hundred small caves and if you visit all, it will take you a whole day.
- Day 12: Samye to Tsetang (3600Mts/50Km ) Tsetang hotel ****
Drive along the Yarlung Tsangpo river at the distance of 50Km and get to Tsetang which is the cradle of Tibet. Afternoon, Visit Yumbu Lhakang and Traduk temple.
Yumbu Lhakagang is the first Tibetan building, founded in 127 BC for their first King, Nyatri Tsenpo and it had been used as the palace by the Numbers of Tibetan Kings. According to the legend, Nyatri Tsenpo is said to be descended from heaven and he was greeted by some herdsmen when they were grazing their animals because the herdsmen found Nyatri Tsenpo as a complete special good looking man, totally differed from them so they respected him as their king and carried him on their neck and named Nyatri Tsenpo, meaning neck throned king. Nevertheless, today the Yumbu Lhakang serves as a chapel and it is inhabited by 5 monks who are taking care of the chapels.
Traduk temple is the first temple of Tibet and according to the legend, it is one of the geomantic temples founded by King Songtsen Gampo in order to press down branches of the Supine Ogress body on which Tibet is believed to be situated. The assembly of Traduk is surrounded by numerous small chapels like Jokang and the most revered object in Traduk temple is the ancient appliqu's Thangka of Buddha Shakyamuni and the Avaloketsvara Thangka made of pearls.
- Day 13: Tsetang-Mindrol Ling-Ralung monastery-Yamdrok Lake-Gyangtse.(3950Mts/340Km) Yeti Hotel 3***
After breakfast, we will drive along the Bramaputra river and after Dranang county, we will turn left from the main road to Mindrol Ling monastery and drive off the beaten path for 8Km and reach Mindrolling monastery and visit.
Mindrol Ling monastery was built in the 17 th century by Orgyen Terdak Lingpa and it is believed to be the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in the Utsang region. The monastery has one main assembly hall and it is dedicated to the statues of Guru Rinpoche and Terdak Lingpa. The main assembly hall itself has another statue of Terdak Lingpa, along with Dorje Chang ( Vajradhara ) and a row of Kadam-style Chortens. The monastery has around 70 monks at the present day.
Continue your journey towards Gyangtse through 3 big mountain passes, Kampa La, Karo La, Simila respectively. Karola is the highest pass among them and it is over 5000Mts with it's most beautiful Karola glaciers, beautiful Yamdrok lake emerged as coral color from the top of Kampala pass. You will have your lunch at Nakartse country which is just between the Yamdrok lake and Karola glacier.
After Karola glacier, you will take another 8Km off the beaten bath train to Ralung monastery and visit.
Ralung monastery is the seat of Dukpa Kagyupa order and it was founded in around 12th century. The monastery is located to the south east of the main road just after crossing Karola pass at the distance of 7Km from the main road. The Ralung monastery is one of the most sacred and one of the most oldest monasteries of Drigung Kagyupa sect in Tibet. it has some beautiful old paintings and old statues of Kagyupa order Lamas. The monastery has around 30 monks.
- Day 14: Drive from Gyantse-Shalu-Shigatse. (3900mts/ 98Km ) Mansarovar hotel ***
You will start your tour at around 9Am from your hotel and then drive towards Palchoe monastery which will just take a few minutes. Visit Palchoe monastery and Kubum Pagoda stupa.
Palchoe monastery was founded in 14 th century by local Chieftain, Rebtan Kunsang for funeral of his mother's death and it was once a complex of 15 monasteries that brought together three different Tibetan Buddhist sects in the one compound. Nine of the monasteries were for Gelukpa Sect, Three were for Sakyapa Sect and the rest three were for Botonpa Sect which is one of the minor orders in Tibetan Buddhism. At the present day, the monastery is composed of one main assembly hall and some small chapels, inhabited by 70 monks.
The Kubum Pagoda stupa was also built in 14th century by Rabten Kunsang. The Stupa is nine storey high and 75 chapels, dedicated to the murals and statues, describing the tantric Tibetan Buddhism.After the sightseeing, You will have your lunch and then continue your journey to Shigatse by passing one of the biggest farming land in Tibet where people grow barley, wheat, different kinds of vegetables.
After visiting Gyantse, continue your journey to Shigatse through one of the biggest farming lands in Tibet where they grow lots of barley, vegetable, wheat, beans etc.
On the way, visit Shalu monastery.
Shalu monastery was originally built in the 11 th century by Jetsun Sherap Jungne of Shangshung and renovated with monastery extension in 15 th century by Gonpopel, Drakpa Gyeltsen and Buton Rinchendrup with the financial aids, provided by the Mongolian Emperor, Oljadu. Shalu's construction style is differed from those of other monasteries in Tibet that it has a Chinese style roof, made of yellow and green glazed turquoise tiles with porcelain relief carvings and it murals are painted in Niwari, Chinese and Tibetan styles. The monastery is three storeys high and it has one assembly hall with some chapels on both ground and upper floors. The main object of the monastery is the black stone statue of Chenresig Kasrapani. Shalu has 65 monks nowadays.
Pm visit Tashi Lhunpo monastery and old market of Shigatse.
Tashi Lhun is the seat of the Penchen Lama, built in 15th century by the first Dalai Lama,called Gedun Drub. On the slops of Drolmari, situated to the west of the fortress of Shigatse Dzong. The monastery is composed of 3 big colleges such as Tsennyi college, Ngapa college,Tse Gonkang college and one big assembly hall with numerous chapels around. The main object of the monastery are the giant gilled copper statue of the Future Buddha Maitreya which is (26Meters) high, built in 1914, embodying loving kindness, contains 6,700 teals of gold and 150 metric tons of copper, and within it, an enormous juniper tree from Reting monastery functions as a life-supporting axis, Sok-Shing in Tibetan, The tomb sutpas of the successive Penchen Lamas, the tomb of the 4th, 10th and from those of 5th to the 9th together respectively. There are around 500 monks nowadays.
Old market of Shigatse is a traditional local market which is just located to the foot of the Shigatse fortress. The fortress was rebuilt to the present size in around 2000. It is the market where local people buy all their daily necessary needs such vegetable, meat, cheese, butter, Tibetan jewelry, carpet, traditional Buddhist instruments etc.
- Day 15: Shigatse-Phuntsokling-Sakya (4050m, 230Km ) Mansarovar hotel ***
You will start your tour at around 9.30Am from your hotel and drive through She Tongmon valley to Phuntsokling at the distance of 180Km. The road condition is quite good and you will reach Phuntsok Ling monastery after three hours drive. Visit Phuntsok Ling monastery.
Phuntsok Ling monastery was once the central monastery of the Jonang Pas ( Jonang Kagyu subsect ). This Jonang Kagyu subsect is especially known for the examination of the nature of emptiness which is practised in the monastery by it's greatest scholar, Dolpopa Sherap Gyaltsen ( 1292-1361 ). The Jonang Kubum was built by Dolpopa Sherap Gyaltsen in the 14 th century and it was the spiritual centre of Jonang Pas.
The murals on the wall in Jonang was painted by Tibetan artists in the 14 th and 15 th centuries and they were strongly influenced by the Nepalese styles. It was said to be one of the best preserved monuments in Tibet, resembling the Gyangtse Kubum.
After visiting Phuntsok Ling monastery, continue your journey to Sakya via Old Lhatse and the new county seat of Lhatse. From the new county seat of Lhatse, you will take the friendship highway which leads to Nepal Tibet border or to Mt. Kailash.
- Day 16:Sakya-Shiagtse (3900m, 180Km ) Mansarovar hotel ***
Morning visit Sakya and walk around the Sakya monastery.
Sakya monastery was built in 12 th century by Khon Konchok Gyelpo from Sakya clan. The monastery was originally built for the schools of Sakya tribe and later on it was expended to the present size by Dogon Chogyel Pakpa. Drogon Chogyel Phakpa is the first Tibetan Lama who took the ruling power in Tibet. Sakya is the mother monastery of Sakyapa sect. The temples of North Sakya were built first and within these temples, the Gorum temple to the northeast was the oldest, built in 1073 by Khon Konchok Gyelpo. The Utse Nyingpa, Utse Sarpa, Manjughosa temples were constructed by Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, Choje Drakpa Gyeltsen and Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyeltsen around the meditation cave of Sachen but most of those temples are invisible now.The temples of South Sakya, composed of one main assembly hall, college buildings, palaces and some chapels were gradually built during the time of Drogon Chogyel Phakpa. The Sakya monastery has 160 monks nowadays.
After visiting Sakaya monastery, have lunch and then continue your journey to Shiagtse through Tsola pass which is 4500m above sea level.
- Day 17: Drive from Shigatse to Lhasa (3650Mts/ 280KM ) Gang Gyen Lhasa Hotel 4****
You will start your tour at around 9.30Am from your hotel and drive along the Bharmaputra river with a landscape of sandy hills, villages, and Rulak Yungdrung ling at the otherside of the river. You will have lunch in a small town called Nyenmo which is the border point between Shigatse and Lhasa . Free afternoon for shopping.
- Day 18: Drive from Lhasa to Lhasa Gongkar airport.(3600Mts/ 60Km ) End the trip
Leave Lhasa according to your departure flight schedule. Say good bye to the holy city of Lhasa and the giant Potala Palace, taking one hour drive to Gongkar airport along the Lhasa river which is the tributary of the Bharmaputra river.