The seven days Lhasa-Gyantse-Shigatse tour package is the "Golden Route" of Tibet tours. If you stay in Lhasa, you can only get a little taste of Tibet's majesty, charm and diversity. The "Golden Route" will show you most of the real highlights of Tibet travel: the unique overland landscapes, the snow-covered mountains, plateau lakes, more and different monasteries and the chance to get close to the real people of Tibet.
Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, covers an area of 544 square kilometers and is "The Land of Gods" in Tibetan, sits on the north bank of River Lhasa, a tributary of the Yarlung Tsangbo River, at an altitude of 3,700 meters. It has a history of over 13 centuries. With more than 3,000 hours of sunshine annually, Lhasa is famed as " the City of Sunshine". It is the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region and the center of Tibet's political, economic, cultural and religious activities. There are many historic sites and famous relics in the city proper and its suburbs, among which the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery and Ganden Monastery are world famous.
Gyantse was once considered to be Tibet's third largest town-after Lhasa and Shigatse, but nowadays its status has undoubtedly diminished. Nonetheless Gyantse has preserved much of its old-world atmosphere, and Tibetan rural life continues here, virtually unchanged, against a backdrop of magnificent 14th-15th century fortresses and temples.
Shigatse, commanding the confluence of the Nyang-chu and Brahmaputra rivers, is still Tibet's second largest city, but it may not remain so for long in view of the recent rapid development of other cities in East Tibet. The city is slightly higher than Lhasa, at 3,900 metres; with an oxygen content of 67 percent and average annual temperatures are 16C in mid-summer and -5C in mid-winter.
This route is appropriate for people:
The itinerary map shows not only the route from Lhasa all the way to Mt.Everest, but also shows you how you use different transportation tools.Say for instance from Lhasa Shigatse on the way towards Everest, you sit on the van, or jeep, or mini-bus, but on the way back to Lhasa, you can have one more choice which is take train instead of the same vehicle as on the way towards
Your local guide will meet you upon your arrival in Tibet and will escort you to Lhasa. On the way, you will enjoy the heart-stopping views along the Yarlong Tsangpo River (the longest river in Tibet). After arrival at your hotel, the rest of the day will be free for you to explore the local area and acclimatize yourself to this high altitude city at the top of the world.
The first day of sightseeing starts from Lhasa's cardinal landmark- Potala Palace, a structure of massive portions. Its towering image is shown on all travel literature, but nothing can compare to your first sight of this incredible, amazing wonder of the world. It is absolutely awe-inspiring and you will be enchanted as you visit the rooms, halls and chapels of the palace.
In the afternoon, we will visit the Jokhang Temple which is the spiritual center of Tibet. Everyday, pilgrims from every corner of Tibet trek here from long distances to worship. The temple is the product of Han, Tibetan and Nepalese architectural techniques. Finally we will visit Barkhor Street which is the oldest street in this very traditional Tibetan city.
About 8 km west of central Lhasa is the Drepung Monastery which was once the largest Monastery with over 10,000 monks. This day's sightseeing begins with these white monastic buildings piled up on the hillside. Walking up to the hill is a pleasant thing, an easy break from the solemn ambience inside the halls and chapels. At the plat roof of the hillside, you will experience wonderful views of the whole of Lhasa city and the distant mountains.
Drepung is one of Lhasa's two great Gelugpa monasteries, the other is Sera. Around 5km north of central Lhasa, Sera may not be as grandiose as Drepung, but is more serene surrounded by many small temples. The 'Buddhism Scriptures Debating' in Sera is very famous.
Today you will be driven 300KM to the city of Gyangtse. You will experience the magnificent "Yamzhog Yumco Lake" as well as the "Kalais Kora Glacier" along your route. You will also see "Yamdrok Lake" which is like a coiling, many-armed body of water shaped like a scorpion. It doubles back on itself on the western side, effectively creating a large island within its reaches. For Tibetans, it is one of the four holy lakes of Tibet and the home of the "wrathful deities". And the home of wrathful deities. The lake lies several hundred metres below the road, and in clear weather is a fabulous shade of deep turquoise. Far in the distance is the huge massif of Mt. Nojin Kangtsang (7191m)
In the afternoon, you will arrive in Gyangtse and tour the Palkhor Temple which was built in the 15th century and is situated west of Gyantse Town with mountains enclosing it on the east, west and north sides. Its uniqueness is that the three sects of Buddism – Shaja, Ningma and Guolu were able to exist in harmony under one roof.
Today you will travel 90KM to Shigatse which is the second largest city in Tibet. It is also the home town of the Banchen Lama. In the afternoon you will visit "Tashilumpo Monastery" which sprawls on the slops of Mount Niser, southwest of Shigatse. The monastery grounds cover an area of approximately 300,000 square meters. There are many priceless and rare historical articles in the monastery.
Take flight to Chengdu.
Extension optional tours
Namsto Lake: Namsto, approximately 190km north-west of Lhasa, is the second-largest saltwater lake in China. It is over 70km long and reaches a width of 30km. They Nyenchen Tangula range, with peaks of more than 7000m, towers over the lake to the south. Namtso is a tidal lake and the ring marks of earlier lake levels are clearly visible by the shoreline. In clear weather the water is a miraculous shade of turquoise and there are magnificent views of the nearby mountains. The wide open spaces, dotted with tents of local nomads, are intoxicating.
Gandan Monastery: Gandan, just 40km north-east of Lhasa, was the first Gelugpa monastery. If you only have time for one monastery excursion outside Lhasa, Ganden would probably be the best choice. With its stupendous views of the surrounding Kyi-chu Valley and fascinating kora, Ganden is an experience unlike the other major Gelugpa monasteries in the Lhasa area.
Tsurphu Monastery: Tsurphu Monastery around 70km west of Lhasa, is the seat of the Karmapa branch of the Kagyupa order of Tibetan Buddhism. The Karmapa are also known as the Black Hats, a title that dates back to 1256.
Dear Janet, I would like to thank you and your team for a wonderful tour setup. Begging with your professionalism, warm support and willingness to make our group tour successful one.And great thanks to Dhargye our tour guide who took care of whole group and especially myself during a night of vomiting. He and Mr. Namla- the driver were superb. I will send you some photos separately. Feel free to use them on your company's website. Am happy to give references as required.
Dear Janet,We are safe and sound home and are looking back at a very impressive trip to Tibet and Zhangye. We have between us some 3000 pictures – some quite stunning. Yesterday the four of us expressed what an unforgettable trip this has been. We want to share our appreciation for the way the trip has been organised. Like clockwork. All guides appearing at the right time and place. Everything was very well organised. It was a bit double for us when we were in Lanzhou hearing about the earthquake creating havoc in Nepal, but not leaving Tibet unaffected either. Thank you again for a trip to be remembered for a long time.
Dear Nancy,I feel embarrased that I am answering only now but another couple of weeks of travelling and the beginning of the next semester at the university made me really busy. However, me and Olaf wanted to thank you for the amazing trip we had in Tibet! The organization was simply excellent, thank you for a very quick and informative communication from your side. Many thanks go also to our guide, Danluo as well as to our driver; both of them acted very professionally and kindly towards us. It was really great that our guide was of the Tibetan origin, providing us with a unique cultural insight and first-hand information. His English language skills were just perfect and the communication with him very pleasant.