Experience Tibet – Classic 7 Nights

7 Nights, 8 Days

This Classic Tibet Experience tour will introduce you to Tibet’s in depth history, rich culture, and stunning scenery. This week long trip is the perfect introduction to the Tibetan Plateau. From high altitude emerald blue lakes, ancient temples, yak butter tea with locals, and hidden Himalaya wonders, this Tibet excursion is guaranteed to check off your Land of Snows list!

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Vacation Style:

Classic Adventures

Activity Level

Balanced 3/8

Group Size

Small, Tailor-Made Min 2, Max 12


Booking Options

Day 1 – Arrive in Lhasa

Arriving into Lhasa by train or plane you will be greeted by your guide who will help with permit and visa checks. First we will drive to your hotel which is located in a traditional Tibetan house near Barkhor square. After checking in we will get our first taste of Lhasa’s old quarter. Your guide will walk you through Barkhor Square and do a Kora (circulate) around Jokhang Temple. It’s important to take it slow this day to adjust to the jump in altitude! To help with this we will stop at a traditional Tibetan tea house for your first yak butter tea! In the evening you can either explore more of Barkhor on your own and get some shopping done or relax in the hotel.

Accommodation at Shambhala Palace or similar

(D)

Day 2 – Lhasa’s Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple

Right after breakfast we will walk to the 1400 year old Jokhang temple as early as possible. In the morning, Tibet’s holiest temple Jokhang is at its most atmospheric. The air is thick with the smell of butter lamps and juniper incense. Monks murmur chants as hundreds of pilgrims pile in to Jokhang’s many shrines to worship Tibet’s many deities. Our guide will explain the importance of Buddhism in every Tibetan’s daily life. After getting a crash course into Tibetan Buddhism we will try out Tibet’s unique cuisine at one of Lhasa’s oldest restaurants Snowland, how about some yak tongue! In the afternoon we will explore the previous headquarters of the Dalai Lama, the Potala Palace.  From the minute you arrive you will see Potala looming above the city, it’s hard to look away from this beautiful structure. With over a 1000 rooms you will explore tombs, dining rooms, and heavily decorated quarters. When we exit Potala we will do one complete Kora of Potala following in the footsteps of the pilgrims before ending the day at sunset from the famous Potala viewpoint.

Accommodation at Shambhala Palace or similar

(B, L, D)

Day 3 – Sera and Drepung Monasteries

In the morning we will drive 8km west of Lhasa to Drepung Monastery. Once the world’s largest monastery, Drepung resembles more of a village than a single monastery. This huge complex of white brick temples and sleeping quarters is scattered over the side of a picturesque mountain. Here we will walk alongside red robed monks and pilgrims to chapels filled with giant gold Buddhas, ancient thangka paintings, and the living quarters of over 450 monks! For lunch we will head back to Lhasa where you can try out another one of the cities great international restaurants. After lunch you can walk around Barkhor old town before we drive 5km north of Lhasa to Sera Monastery. Here we will attend the Debating of the Monks ceremony. During this ceremony you will see the monks debate by jumping and slapping their hands while fiercely asking their opponents questions. Typically the ceremony will also include Tibetan Gelugpa throat singing.

Accommodation at Shambhala Palace or similar

(B,L,D)

Day 4 – Yamdrok Lake and Gyantse Town

Today we begin our road trip through Tibet’s incredible Tsang Province. We will drive through the scenic Yarlung River Valley before we will climb to the Khamba-la pass (4794m) where you get a panoramic view of this spectacular lake with the nearby mountains. After we will descend down to the beautiful emerald blue Yamdrok Lake. Take a dip, if you dare! For Tibetans this scorpion shaped lake is one of the four holiest in Tibet and home of many wrathful deities. Many pilgrims come here to circumambulate it in seven days. We will stop at one of the lakes viewpoints where you can get a selfie with a white yak, or a giant Tibetan Mastiff. After lunch we will ascend to the Karo-la Glacier. Here, you can get an up-close view of Mt. Nojin Kangtsang and the glaciers nearby. After a few more hours of driving we will arrive to Gyantse, one of Tibet’s most beautifully preserved cities. We will walk around the city before supper.

Accommodation at Yeti Hotel or similar

(B, L, D)

Day 5 – Gyantse Kumbum to Shigatse

Today we will visit the massive Gyantse Kumbum Stupa as well as the Pelkhor Chode Monastery. The 32m high Gyantse Kumbum is Tibet’s most important Stupa. The exterior is just as impressive as the interior where you will walk past countless chapels adorned in beautiful paintings, after all Kumbum means 100,000 images! Beside the Kumbum is the massive Pelkhor Chode Monastery. The highlights of Pelkhor include a massive assembly hall, and the opportunity to get a panoramic view of the Kumbum from its rooftop. After we finish our Kora around the Kumbum we will continue to Shigatse which is a few hour drive away. We will pass through remote Tibetan communities and beautiful mountain valleys on way. In the evening we can walk around Shigaste’s pedestrian only boulevard, Shigaste Dzong, and the open air markets.  

Accommodation at 4 Star Gesar Hotel

(B, L, D)

Day 6 –Tashilhunpo Monastery and back to Lhasa

After breakfast we will head to Shigatse’s Tashilhunpo Monastery. This is now Tibet’s largest monastery and home to the world largest gilded statue. The Tashilhunpo Monastery is the seat of the Panchen Lama, the 2nd highest in the Tibetan Buddhist religious hierarchy. We also visit Shigatse Market and view the panorama of Shigatse Dzong (fort), with its architecture reminiscent of the Potala Palace before heading back to Lhasa.

Accommodation at Shambhala Palace or similar

(B, L, D)

Day 7 – Farewell  

On the final day you can pick up those last souvenirs, or walk the Barkhor before your flight or train out of Tibet. Say goodbye to the Land of Snow!

What’s included in this tour:

  • Travel permit for Tibet
  • English speaking local Tibetan tour guide
  • All transportation in Tibet
  • All admissions and administrative fees in Tibet
  • 3-4 star local and cultural accommodations 
  • Meals as indicated on the itinerary
  • Daily bottled water 
  • Emergency oxygen tank in the vehicle at all times

What’s not included in this tour:

  • Chinese visa fees and international flights
  • Personal expenses and souvenirs
  • Tips to the driver and guide (required $10 per day per traveler)

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Tibetan Travel Permits

If you plan to fly to Tibet, you must layover in China for at least one night to pick up your Tibetan travel permit. We recommend Beijing, as we have staff there and we can hand deliver the permit to you. However if you would like to layover elsewhere, let us know in advance and we’ll have the permit mailed to your hotel. Your Tibetan travel permit, which serves as your visa, is not stamped in your passport. It’s a stand-alone paper document. Therefore, we don’t need your physical passport at any time prior to the trip.

If you plan to take the train into Tibet, you don’t need the physical travel permit. You can show the immigration officer an electronic version of the travel permit at border crossing.

Taiwan citizens are unable to obtain Tibetan travel permits at this time. Norwegian citizens should check with us before booking, as there have been issues in the past with Norwegians obtaining Tibetan visas.

Altitude

You will need to adjust to the altitude. Take it easy the first two days and drink lots of water. You can also do some cardio training prior to your visit. If you need the oxygen, just let your guide know – we’ll have it handy.

Best time to visit Tibet

Tibet is closed for tourism in March. It’s open all year round aside from that.

In the winter, Tibet can get quite cold in the morning and evenings but in the afternoon, the sun will keep the temperature warm. Bring layers.


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