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Lhasa, the remote abode of the Dalai Lamas, object of devout pilgrimage and heart and soul of Tibet, is still a city of wonders, despite the large-scale encroachments of modern Chinese influence. First hint that Lhasa is close is the Potala, a vast white-and-ochre fortress soaring over one of the world’s highest cities.
It’s a sight that has heralded the marvels of the Holy City to travellers for close to four centuries and it still raises goose bumps. It is hard to imagine a thriving city at such an altitude, functioning as the religious, cultural and economic hub of Tibet.
While the Potala dominates the skyline, the Jokhang, some 2km to the east, is the real spiritual heart of the city. An otherworldly mix of flickering butter lamps, wafting incense and prostrating pilgrims, the Jokhang is the most sacred and alive of Tibet’s temples.
It is here and the encircling Barkhor pilgrim circuit that most visitors first fall in love with Tibet.
The old Tibetan quarter makes up a small area of Lhasa these days. The modern city is a Chinese boom town, where a new train line has fuelled massive growth in tourism changing the face of Lhasa daily.
For all its modernisation Lhasa remains a fantastic cultural hybrid, its streets bustling with a diverse mix of people. As the gateway to the ‘real’ Tibet, out in the countryside, Lhasa deserves at least a week to see all the sights, soak up the backstreets and organise the adventures that beckon at the city limits.
Day 1 Arrival KATHMANDU (1300m/4265ft)
Arrive at Kathmandu International Airport where you will be warmly welcomed by our representative and check in to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore this historic and vibrant city. Meals: Welcome Dinner
Day 2 Fly to LHASA (3650m/11976ft)
From Kathmandu International Airport we have 1 hour 10 minutes, Trans Himalayan Flight to Gonggar airport, considered one of the most beautiful flights in the world that takes us over Everest (8848m) and Kanchenjunga (8536m). Those who wish to join in Lhasa, can arrive Lhasa on the date mentioned. We will be meeting at Gonggar Airport by our Tibetan guide. After immigration formalities we take a 1.5-hour drive along 93 km road leading to Lhasa lying at an altitude of 3650 meters. It’s advisable to rest and take it easy for the remainder of the day due to Lhasa’s altitude. Meals: Breakfast
Day 3 Sightseeing in LHASA
Foremost, our tour begins with a visit to SERA MONASTERY. An experienced tour guide also working as an interpreter escorts us to this preserved monastery of white-washed walls and golden roofs. Equally adventurous and exciting tempo builds up while touring NORBULINGKA, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama. JOKHANG TEMPLE is another important sacred site which unravels more deep seated mysteries of Tibetan Buddhism. Visit to BARKHOR MARKETS can be quite a change from other visits as we roam around the city savoring every tiny detail from stall hawkers coaxing their clients to purchase their goods to exhibition of Tibetan culture, custom and tradition. Eventually, the tour for the day concludes as we return to the comforts of our hotel. Meals: Breakfast
Day 4 Sightseeing in LHASA
Like the previous day, we experience invaluable insights during our visits to POTALA PALACE and DREPUNG MONASTERY. This 17th century POTALA PALACE offers an awesome view of entire city and also has private quarters of the Dalai Lama, numerous grand state rooms and chapels. Ancient history has it that Drepung Monastery which was built in 14th century used to shelter around 10,000 monks but as now there has been quite a declination resulting in only few hundreds. Tibetans’ respect and belief are immensely knotted with this monastery. Meals: Breakfast
Day 5 GANDEN MONASTERY & DRAYERPA CAVE
Drive to GANDEN MONASTERY that has extremely delicate and fine murals and sculptures. It also keeps an armor decorated with gems, which was worn by Emperor Qianlong and was bestowed to the monastery as an offering to Tsong Khapa. Afternoon we drive to DRAYERPA CAVE to visit local Lama in caves. Drayer Pa cave is 35kms far from Lhasa city and there are more than 30 caves for silence thinker lama for religious, we need 1.5 hours to visit some of them, and we need give little money for their wild cave life. It lies in valley with beautiful view around and evening back to Lhasa. Meals: Breakfast
Day 6 Fly back KATHMANDU
We take a last memorable look at the Potala Palace before being transported to airport for the flight back to Kathmandu. Meals: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
Day 7 Fly back HOME or extend your HOLIDAYS
If you prefer to stay longer, you can consult us for short tours such as game drive at National parks, rafting, mountain biking, India or Bhutan tours etc. Meals: Breakfast